Friday, May 31, 2013

Three porches, Zero Chairs (But Spring is Here!)

I snapped this photo while taking a few for our last post, and thought I would share. It might not look like it, but we're slowly getting ready for Spring and Summer.

... Unless you consider "having two large porches, one patio, and not owning a single piece of outdoor furniture" not being ready. ;-)

Coming from a condo, we didn't have a place for patio furniture, so we have some catching up to do! Some things will just have to wait until the budget allows. In the meanwhile we're just enjoying the opportunity so spend more time outside watering plants or working in the yard... While constantly hunting some good deals for quality pieces. Hopefully some great sales will pop up in a couple of months!

Any tips on buying patio furniture or getting your outdoor space ready?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Newels and Hardwoods, a Peek (Before & Kinda-After)

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

As I mentioned last week, we decided to refinish the hardwoods before moving in. Boooo for the checkbook, yay for the floors!

As you can see in this snapshot, the previous owners left a few scratches from their own sweet pets. 

We decided to make the plunge and enjoy the opportunity to scratch newly refinished hardwoods ourselves. Why scratch floors that are already marked up?  There's no fun in that.  It's much more interesting to spend lots of hard-earned money and watch your dog scratch them twice, really bad, in a week. (Not that I know what that's like or anything...). Ha!

Moving along... so I decided to switch out our stairposts. Apparently, whether I wanted them to or not, the hardwood company was going to take the stair posts down,  and replace them with new unfinished rails of the same style. (It's easier than trying to get all that finish off from little nooks and crannies.)

Hardwoods + Newels BEFORE
So I'm thinking, this is an opportunity to make this minor upgrade that (I think) makes a big difference aesthetically, for the money. It was probably a difference of about $300 for two newel posts, versus them replacing them with the same style we had before.

I showed inspiration photos to our hardwood guy who very fortunately had two on-hand!

Why these newels?
1. Box newels look a little less "builder" to me than the style that was installed (I'm not talkin' nasty about "builder" homes. HEY.  We all have builder homes! But you guys know what I'm sayin....). 
2. The lines seem more classic architecturally... and suit the style of the house
3. Antique or custom newels would have been wonderful, but I didn't have the budget or time to investigate that as an option.
4. I was able to get them in our timeline (and not wait for shipping)
5. They're affordable.

Ready for a look at the "almost" after?
Newel posts, (dwell and tell)
From anothah angle...
Newel posts, (dwell and tell)

I'm really happy with the result so far! And I love the hardwood color!

Why do I say "so far"? Well, it all looks pretty good, until you zoom in a little...

Yup, my friends, there was a LOT of mess (hardwood stain that was slopped onto the trim) on the stairs, all over the trim and even the doors and door frames. Fortunately, the hardwood company is paying to have them repainted. I'll try to keep you posted on that.

So what do ya think? Agree with the update? Do you have a preference about newel styles or stair rails? Do you have any experience with hardwood floor refinishing--good or bad?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Staircase Inspiration + Hunting Some NEW Newels

I have some lovely eye-candy that I found as inspiration for our first "project" that had to be tackled at the new house, even before we moved in.

One of the things the inspector (and our own eyes) identified at the inspection was that the hardwoods really need to be refinished. The planks were cupping from moisture under the house and they were pretty scratched up in a few areas. Sure, it could have been put off for awhile, but anyone who has had this done will tell you it's best get this done before you move all your furniture inside! 

The hardwood company said they have to replace the stair rails (apparently it's easier to do that than sand down the existing post and re-stain it). I wasn't thrilled with the shape of the current stair posts, and figured, hey, may as well update those suckers now! How often will I have the opportunity to do this sort of work for me?

I started doing some digging on the posts that I wanted for the stairs. I had to make a decision within a couple of days to fit our timeline for the move so I immediately started hunting inspiration. Here are a few examples of a few of my favorite images that show what a difference a lovely stair post (newel post) can make!

First up, this dramatic, large newel post. Totally drool-worthy... 
by Rachel Rider Interiors, via Houzz
...but our entryway isn't grand enough to handle it. AND my timeline and budget didn't allow to go this route!

I quickly focused on another alternative: box newels. They are beautiful, can be very cost-effective (especially for the simpler designs), and I think they have a classic, polished appeal.

Here's an example of a box newel sained the same color as the stairs and floor... 
designed by Clawson Architect Projects, via Houzz
Here's one with a white base and a stained top...
via House & Home (April 2008 issue)
And painted black, with a matching stair rail...
via Lonny, Sept/Oct 2011 issue
Isn't she pretty painted white, and dressed up for the holidays?.... 
Maison and Demeure November 2010 issue via House & Home 

In the end, I opted for the box newels and I'm so happy with how they turned out! I shall share the results next week!

What do you think about box newels or stair posts? Do any of these appeal to you more than the other? Which would you prefer for your home?