No, I haven’t lost my mind and confused February with October. It’s just that up until now, I have only shown blog posts focusing on the Dupont house living / dining room space. And it’s only one room out of 4 that I should be including in my blog posts. The other 3 are: the family room, the kitchen, and the breakfast nook.
So, today, I am showing the family room. During the renovation process, this room got lots of time and attention (oh, and a little money, truth be told), but the final result is well worth all of it.
Now, back to October pictures in February. I took these pictures last fall and never got the post up. And now I’m getting twitchy to show the renovation work done in the family room. So I thought I would do so, using pictures from October. I hope you don’t mind!
I’m just going to show before and after pictures, and then some of the listing pictures of the outdoor areas around our home.
When we first toured the Dupont house, the family room walls were covered in dark vinyl paneling. The French doors had a heavy curtain to cover them, and there were small blinds inside the glass doors. Of course, we knew right away that the walls needed to be painted a color with a high LRV (light reflectance value), and clearly that is what we did, using Sherwin Williams SW7104 Cotton White.
More importantly, there was a fireplace angled into a corner of the family room. But like everything else, it was covered in dark vinyl paneling, with only a small tile hearth in the front that was flush with the floor. I saw the fireplace during our first walk through the house, but when I mentioned it later to Sailor, he was totally surprised. It was so well ‘hidden’ in the family room, he didn’t even see it.
We removed the drapery from the French doors that lead out to the deck. Inside those glass panels were blinds, that apparently were used to dim incoming sunlight, even though these windows face directly north. We could not replace those glass inserts fast enough to do away with those blinds blocking so much light.
Exactly as we did in the living room, we simply pulled up the carpet in this room and extended the engineered wood floors already existing in the kitchen & breakfast nook. We painted the walls SW Cotton White, and added crown molding and baseboards.
Let’s see…what else? Oh, the fireplace.
Initially, we just wanted to convert the fireplace from wood burning to gas.
But then the HVAC guy came out to do a preliminary inspection and quote for the necessary work. He took one look at the 40+ year old fireplace and told our contractor: “This whole unit has to come out.” And it’s good thing he made that call. When they tore away the drywall in the fireplace, you could see where there was fire damage OUTSIDE of the actual firebox.
They took the whole unit down to the studs, and then rebuilt it from there. And while it was a little (okay, a lot!) more than we originally thought we would spend, the end result was we had a very safe fireplace unit, a bigger firebox complete with very pretty faux birch wood logs, a tile background, AND Sailor got a raised hearth, which he really had his heart set on.
Since we needed less than 30 square feet of material for the surrounded, we splurged on natural stone. The search for a mason to build the stone surround was another huge challenge. But we finally did find a mason to do the installation. They finished the stone surround THE DAY BEFORE the moving company came with our household furniture. Talk about a nail-biter!
Our contractor asked me what I wanted for a mantel, and I told him I wanted a simple wood mantel, 7” deep. He custom made the mantel for me after I approved the wood and stain color. This mantel is shorter in length and deeper in depth than the mantel at Red Shutter Cottage. The combination of shorter length and deeper depth makes it MUCH easier to decorate this mantel seasonally, and for every day.
The mantel at Red Shutter Cottage was a little ornate, with a molding design. Despite that fact that it seemed miles long and very shallow, I loved it. And I loved decorating it! But I think you’ll agree that this mantel and fireplace suits both the family room AND the Dupont house overall.
A few thoughts on the Dupont house, if you will indulge me. When we saw the listing on-line for this house, we went to the open house. Not unusual; we went to LOTS of open houses, almost every single one that we could find. So, when we pulled up to the Dupont Open House, I never expected this to be The One.
But it had 3 things that were on my non-negotiable list. It had a dining room for our dining table, a breakfast nook for the breakfast table, and a fireplace. (Unfortunately, I forgot to specify a roomy kitchen with lots of storage space and counter space. But more on that another time.) Another priority that I didn’t specify, but was important to me was a kitchen sink with a window to an outside view. The Dupont house does include that, and every single day I appreciate it.
It also had the characteristics that we both wanted: a single story ranch, with no basement and no stairs. And we did not want to be in a housing development. And for Sailor, his big priority was enough space to add or build a workshop with room for a bass boat. (And a lawn tractor. And a snow blower, as it turned out!) With an acre of land, and no HOA, you can pretty much build a workshop wherever you want!
The day after we called the realtor and asked him to make an offer, I was panic-stricken. I wasn’t sure I even LIKED the Dupont house, much less wanted to BUY it! And then I realized we were trading a 1,550 square foot house (Red Shutter Cottage) for a 2,100 square foot house. Was I crazy? Did I want to spend my entire retirement cleaning a bigger house?
At the same time, though, the first time I walked into the breakfast nook, I could instantly see where my breakfast table, my corner hutch and one of my baker’s racks would go. The windows in the living room, while not my dream of nearly floor to ceiling windows, were nonetheless deep, and let in an amazing amount of sunshine and light. I could easily see past the salmon colored walls in the dining/living room, and blue colored walls in the master bedroom. And I was thrilled to find lots and lots of closets and storage space. All of this to say that the Dupont house had some excellent characteristics,
Still, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight with the Dupont house. Not even on second sight when the realtor came over with us to look at it. But now, after living here for over a year, my heart has wrapped around the wide open feel of this house, the way the light comes in on both sides, how incredibly cozy the fireplace is on a winter night, and how every single day, Max sits in the exact center of the kitchen/breakfast nook/family room, watching Sailor and I as we put dinner together.
We closed on the Dupont house on July 6, 2021. We grabbed a bottle of champagne and the house keys and headed to our new forever home. In the times we had toured the Dupont house, we never actually walked the property. Champagne bottle in hand, we walked around our 1 acre of property. All of a sudden I was walking in a park-like setting, under an umbrella of leaves and branches, while the setting sun played patterns on the beautiful green grass. That’s all it took; I was a goner. Head over heels in love. It was tranquil, beautiful, and it was ours. I slept like a baby that night.
From our home to yours