Sunday, February 24, 2013

Salt Lake City clean air, and stunning February day!

Every winter Salt Lake City suffers from inversions, where cold air gets trapped in the valley and fills with pollutants. 2013 has been one of our worst years for bad air days in memory.

But today was a clean air day, and it was stunning! Photos from the mountains just above my house:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Success! Salt Lake City historic home renovation, end of phase two

Not only did we finish some deferred projects, improving the place even more, I got an appraisal high enough to reach my goals! It was a lot of work, and a small miracle. I had significant help from generous and talented friends. The place is coming together.

The newly painted hall viewed from the kitchen.

The house is substantially renovated since my purchase in November 2011:
  • A second bathroom was added
  • Completely new kitchen from the floors to the ceiling and everything in between
  • Approx. 80% rewired
  • 100% replumbed
  • New laundry room
  • New roofing on the one section that was the most dated (the rest of the roof is in good shape)
  • Big start on landscaping (which like the rest of the house had been completely neglected)
  • Fully repainted inside
  • New floors throughout
  • Original bathroom 90% redone
  • Insulation added to every wall that was touched, over 50% of walls have heavy duty insulation now, versus none previously
    • The other walls are double-thick adobe brick which is well insulated by itself (unlike traditional brick)
  • And seemingly hundreds of other details
Next project . . . well there are many more things I want to do including expand into the second floor which has been shut for 100+ years--when the owner's at the time stopped using it, took out the stairs, and made it into an attic. Currently the second floor is only accessible via a ladder. There are about 900 square feet and high ceilings up there.

But the primary goal now is to spend very little money on home improvements for the rest of 2013. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Final staging: declutter!

To prep for the appraisal, I was told to declutter, declutter, declutter. Photos from just before the appraiser arrived:

Loving the new ledge, below. Installed by two of my favorite people. It is such an improvement. It was completely unfinished since round one of the renovation in early 2012. 

Turning the hall into a jewel "that pops"

After the initial renovation the little hall that connects four rooms sat unpainted for a year.

Four doorways, three doors, lots of trim. Two colors. For me this was the painting job from hell.

I was lucky to receive advice from actor Eric Gunhus (also an expert color consultant). He helped me choose a color I love but would never have picked myself. Perhaps I was even luckier to have angelic friends who helped me paint.

During the job--the wall color looks fantastic!

The three doors removed and being painted:

Before and after shots from master bedroom to hall:

Before and during shots from hall to dining:

Little details

From 50 year old curtains, to a sheet stapled up as a curtain, to a grungy old mirror. Here are some before and after shots:

A piece of molding was added, above, as an important finishing touch in updating the original bathroom. The wainscoting itself was completely reskimmed last year with plaster, correcting a bad 1950s update when aluminum tiles were placed on the wall. The aluminum tiles were scraped off before the reskimming. The wallpaper (circa 1980?) remains for now. I plan to paint the deep window well white. 

While I've done much to update this bathroom, my favorite two improvements are the tile floor, replacing a nasty and well worn circa 1970s vinyl floor. Second, and not easily visible here, a new sink that fits well in the space. The previous sink and vanity were dated and too big for the room, sticking out further and making it feel much more crowded. 

The new mirror, below, was also a massive improvement. 

This curtain in the master bedroom was at least 50 years old:

The new curtains aren't fancy, but they're clean and fresh (the difference in real life is more dramatic):

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Staging and cleaning

Front bedroom :

Dining room. I Still love these arches! I believe they are a circa 1930s update--kind of art deco. They go well (there are two arches like this) with the table I've had since the early 1990s and the light fixture that came with the house. Cleaning here.

Front porch with borrowed furniture:


Who needs it?

For a year a camping table served me in my bedroom:

But, sometimes actual furniture is nice:

I bought this piece, and many others, at Chic and Unique, my favorite vintage furniture shop in Salt Lake City located at 778 S 300 W. 

Making strides with the great room

Based on the advice of my friend Phil, I turned this room into a great room extension of the kitchen. While it looks very different from when I bought the house (much wider opening vs. standard doorway, entire pantry demolished, walls all one color, drywall and cheap closet removed), it has remained far from finished for a year:

While much remains to do, including painting the walls, it's a little better now!

Staging of great room, kitchen still needs work:

Late April update: Walls finally painted:

Time for a doorknob

For the last year, this has been my doorknob:

Functioning period doorknob:

Vintage knob from George's Salvage, Salt Lake City. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

More photos from the renovation

This is the 1950s kitchen as it looked when I bought the house. It didn't look too bad, until you started opening things, and it smelled old, because it was. The aqua tiles were plastic, and many were broken.  The cabinets were metal, rusty, and clunky. I took a sledge hammer to all of it the minute I took possession of the house. That was fun.

Here's the same angle after the main phase of renovation, it gives an idea, but barely. In the photo above where the dishwasher sits, that whole wall was removed. Also, a drop ceiling was removed making the ceiling much higher for the entire, and now larger, room:

I still need a new backsplash!

To see more photos of this Salt Lake City historic home renovation go to:

That post is from late October 2011. From that date through the end of March 2012 I did the bulk of the interior work and that is almost the exclusive content on the site during that time period. You can find these posts by following the link above and then clicking on "newer post" at the lower left of each post.

Also you can navigate by month on the upper right of any page with October 2011 through March of 2012 having the bulk of the house photos prior to this new round of work in February 2013.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

On the set of Winter's Tale

Last month I had the privilege of returning to New York to work on Winter's Tale. We shot a scene at Grand Central Station. Too much fun.