A Home for our Dishes…

That’s right! Our dishes now have a cozy little place to call home, because…our cabinets are in! In addition to outfitting our kitchen with a special set of custom cabinets, we also designed built-in storage for the laundry room and our master bathroom. So, our laundry detergent, dirty clothes, and toiletries also have places to call home in our little nest 😉 Our cabinet maker took in lots of questions, sketches, and patiently listened to us jabber on about “our vision” for getting the most out of our space, then he brought our sketches and plans to life with the most beautiful cabinets we’ve ever seen!

We decided on a traditional shaker-style cabinet (with a little added “bead” detail in the door panels) painted Sherwin Williams‘ Pure White to match our trim. For a traditional house like ours, keeping things simple just felt right. And once it all came together, our new cabinets seemed to blend right in with those in the butler’s pantry that are original to the house.

While we have done what we can to maximize the floor plan of our nest, we are still working with – by today’s standards – small spaces, so we put a lot of thought into our designs to use every square inch of space! Here’s what we came up with:

Kitchen Cabinets

This sketch was our first pass at a layout for our kitchen cabinets... and it's pretty much what we went with!

This sketch was our first pass at a layout for our kitchen cabinets… and it’s pretty close to the final design!

Cabinets going in... no island yet!

Cabinets going in… no island yet.

Hello, Kitchen!!

Hello, Kitchen!!

The Newton Nest DIY Kitchen Renovation IMG_9118

The Newton Nest DIY Kitchen Renovation IMG_9117

Putting on the trim.

Putting on the trim.

Prepping for paint... again.

Prepping for paint… again.  (Working late into the night; Matthew’s halo is shining bright! 😉 )

Trim painted and hardware on. It's starting to look pretty good around here :)

Trim painted and hardware on. It’s starting to look pretty good around here 🙂

Door Details

Door Details

Drawer Details

Drawer Details

Special thanks to my Aunt Julie who researched the cabinet hardware for us and found great quality knobs and pulls for a really good price!

Sneak peek at the Butler's Pantry cabinets (I'll do a full post on this soon!) With a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, they blend right in with the new cabinets!

Sneak peek at the Butler’s Pantry cabinets (I’ll do a full post on this transformation soon!) With a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, they blend right in with the new cabinets!

One of my favorite things we did in the kitchen was turning the old ironing board cabinet into a place to keep all our spices. The cabinet maker removed the old built-in ironing board (and relocated it into our laundry room cabinets) and added small shelves just the right size for spice jars. I had our cabinet maker restore the little "trap door" used to store the iron and keep that as part of the cabinet -- so cute!

One of my favorite things we did in the kitchen was repurposing the old ironing board cabinet into the perfect place to keep all our spices. The cabinet maker removed the old fold-down ironing board (and relocated it into our laundry room cabinets), then added small shelves just the right size for spice jars. I had our cabinet maker restore the little “trap door” at the bottom that was used to store the iron. It felt right to keep this little piece of history as part of the cabinet — so cute!

Laundry Room Cabinets

Our sketches:

The Newton Nest DIY Kitchen/Laundry Room Renovation IMG_7622

The Newton Nest DIY Kitchen/Laundry Room Renovation IMG_7615 (1)

The Newton Nest DIY Kitchen/Laundry Room Renovation IMG_7614

The finished product:

Cabinets over the Washer/Dryer.

Cabinets over the Washer/Dryer.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets for all kinds of laundry things...

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets for all kinds of laundry things…

Like... storage and ironing...

Like… storage and ironing…

...pull-out folding surfaces...

…pull-out folding surfaces…

...and pull-out hampers!

…and laundry hampers!

Master Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

Installed!

Installed!

Hardware on!

Hardware on!

It wouldn’t be The Newton Nest without a couple of older pieces mixed in with the new…

While we’re talking about cabinets, I’d be remiss not to point out two pretty special ones that aren’t custom, but fit pretty seamlessly into our space – if we do say so ourselves! 😉 Both of these found pieces made themselves at home in our hall bathroom, giving it a lot of character and extra storage space!

1.  The Hall Bathroom Vanity

The hall bathroom vanity was just a pedestal sink before we began our renovation. We worked hard to create a more functional space there by moving the doorway and creating an “end cap” wall at the foot of the tub to close in the shower and form a definitive vanity space. This little nook is the perfect spot for a petite vanity, so Matthew and I searched for months for a piece of furniture we could repurpose in this space. After trips all over Greenville and nearby Asheville, and lots of Craigslist surfing, we found ourselves at a little salvage place in Powdersville, SC and stumbled upon a small server that was just the thing! Cute, isn’t she?

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2.  The Hall Bathroom Built-in Cabinet

The hall bathroom “built in” was a completely different story. We weren’t looking for something like this at all. In fact, my mom stumbled upon this cute little antique cabinet and had the idea for us to build it into the wall (like a giant medicine cabinet) above the toilet in the hall bath. It took her about a month to convince me to buy this from a little antique store in Seneca, SC, but I’m SO glad she did! It has become an adorable focal point as you enter the hall bath and an essential storage space for toiletry items and guest towels.

Here's the cabinet! This is the picture my mom sent me from the antique store. It's the only one I have showing the cabinet with the legs still attached.

Here’s the cabinet! This is the picture my mom sent me from the antique store. It’s the only one I have showing the cabinet with the legs still attached.

Making this little gem a reality was no easy task though (what else is new??).  Since my mom came across the cabinet back when we were still doing the framing, my dad was able to frame a hole in which the cabinet could be set. Acting like an oversized medicine cabinet, this idea would allow us to use the full depth of the cabinet without having it stick out into the room more than a few inches. Genius! Well, until we realized there was an old iron sewer vent pipe right where the cabinet would go… Luckily, our plumber had planned to shatter all the old sewer pipes and replace them with new ones as part of our plumbing scope. We just made sure to have him route the new pipe in a different location clearing the way for our special cabinet.

See the giant black pipe right where we want to put the cabinet?

See the giant black pipe right where we want to put the cabinet?

Not any more! ;)

Not any more! 😉

Next, the cabinet itself had to be modified. My dad helped us by cutting off the cabinet’s legs. A delicate job that almost came off without a hitch… until one of the glass panes broke. 😦 This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we replaced the lower panes with bead board which now allows us to use the lower storage space for toiletries that are better kept out of sight. We also had to trim the trim. Yes, we had to cut down the trim at the top of the cabinet, but just the part that would interfere with recessing it into the wall. Make sense?

Holding it up to make sure we like it :)

Holding it up to make sure we like it.  “A little higher, Dad!”  😉 😉

Trimming the trim!

The perfect vantage point for trimming the trim!

Look at that concentration!

Look at that concentration!

Lastly, my mom swooped in to put on a few coats of paint before installation. And, voila! 

Mom carefully painting both hall bathroom cabinets -- what a life saver!

Mom carefully painting both hall bathroom cabinets — what a life saver!

Finally… time to install!

The Newton Nest IMG_9625

The Newton Nest IMG_9627

Ta-daaaah!

Ta-daaaah!

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Behold, New(ly refinished) Floors!

Besides the obvious benefit of being able to walk around in our house barefoot, we have brought the final “eyesore” of the nest back to its former glory. Behold, our rich, glossy, good-as-new hardwood floors!

It was quite the process to bring our 75 year old white oak and heart pine floors back to life. First, we patched-in new white oak in the great room where we built up the subfloor to match the height of the kitchen floor. We had to tear out and replace the floors in the kitchen and butler’s pantry/laundry room because the glue used to apply the linoleum we scraped up was toxic and couldn’t be sanded with the rest of the hardwoods. And finally, we had professionals sand, stain, and refinish the original wood flooring left in the majority of our house – white oak downstairs and heart pine upstairs.

Once the old floors are sanded down to the raw wood, they could almost pass as brand new! We thought it might be difficult choosing a stain color to make the floors feel old and “original” to our house, but our refinishing crew put down a few test patches and Matthew and I both liked the “Provincial” stain color. No contest; that was it. (Finally! An easy decision!!) “Onward!” we said, so down went the stain. Three coats of polyurethane later, we have a fabulous set of floors in the nest.

Lots of patching to do in the new hallway (routed through the old laundry closet and guest bedroom closet).

Lots of patching to do in the new hallway (routed through the old laundry closet and guest bedroom closet).

The Newton Nest Floor Refinishing IMG 001

The Newton Nest Floor Refinishing IMG_0007

Hall patching complete!

Hall patching complete!

Hall bathroom patched! (We moved the doorway about 18" to the right, leaving a gap in the hardwoods).

Hall bathroom patched! (We moved the doorway about 18″ to the right, leaving a gap in the hardwoods).

Test patch to discover what species of wood we have under all that gunk. White oak it is!

Test patch to discover what species of wood we have under all that gunk. The answer:  white oak!

The Newton Nest Floor Refinishing 004

New hardwoods going down in great room and kitchen.

Progress!

Progress!

Butler's pantry floors are installed.

Butler’s pantry floors are installed. (The tan goopy stuff that looks like peanut butter is actually a filler the floor professionals use to fill gaps and help join the new wood to the old in the most seamless way. The filler takes the stain just like wood!

Installation complete!

Installation complete!

Miss Pepper approves.

Miss Pepper approves.

Let the sanding begin!

Let the sanding begin!

The miracle machine!

The miracle machine.

Sanding in progress... can you believe the difference??

Sanding in progress… can you believe the difference??

All the noble sanding pads sacrificed to make our floors look good as new!

All the noble sanding pads that sacrificed their grit to make our floors look good as new! (The floor guys said our floors were the worst they’d seen and that the finish just turned to goop on the pads. They had to sand them twice as much as “normal” jobs. Eeeek! Sorry guys…from the beginning, this has been no ordinary job.)

Testing stains.

Testing stains.

Test patches -- the bottom left was our winner, Minwax's "Provincial."

Test patches — the bottom right was our winner, Minwax’s “Provincial.”

Peeking through the front door at the stain! (We weren't allowed to walk on the floors, but you couldn't keep us away! :) )

Peeking through the front door at the stain! (We weren’t allowed to walk on the floors, but you couldn’t keep us away! 🙂 )

Peeking in the french doors at the dining room.

Peeking in the french doors at the dining room.

Peeking in the dutch door at the great room.

Peeking in the dutch door at the great room.

Polyurethane is down. Our floors look brand new!

Polyurethane is down. Our floors look brand new!

The Newton Nest Floor Refinishing IMG_0051

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The Newton Nest Floor Refinishing IMG_0049

Upstairs, too! These floors are all heart pine and were treated with one coat of poly first, then stained with a mix of stain (red mahogany) and polyurethane to recreate the look of aged heart pine. We had to use this method because pine is notorious for staining very unevenly. So, essentially, we stained the first coat of poly instead of the raw wood. This gave it an even, naturally aged pine color.

Upstairs, too!
These floors are all heart pine and were treated with one coat of poly first, then stained with a mix of stain (red mahogany) and polyurethane to recreate the look of aged heart pine. We had to use this method because pine is notorious for staining very unevenly. So, essentially, we stained the first coat of poly instead of the raw wood. This gave it an even, naturally aged pine color to match the ceiling.

Miss Pepper says, "When can we move in??"

Miss Pepper says, “When can we move in??”

 

 

 

 

We’ve got the power!

It took a signed easement from one of our neighbors, a lot of underground boring, and a crew of Duke Power dudes with a bulldozer squeezing into the smallest part of our yard, but permanent power is ours! Hooray!

Whoa, Dozer!

Whoa, Dozer!

We see the light!

Our first glimpse of light at The Newton Nest!

This is the first time we have ever seen the inside of the Nest with the lights on and it’s an incredible feeling!

Prep, prep, prep, PAINT!

Fill. Putty. Caulk. Sand. Repeat… as with the outside paint job, the prepping proved to be the hardest part! To say the least, painting an entire house from ceilings to baseboards is quite a challenging (read: sanity testing) experience. I can’t say that either of us have ever – literally – started from scratch with bare sheetrock and trim in every inch of a house, so it was eye opening to realize just how many nail holes must be filled and how many coats of paint it takes to get to the final coat. We prepped for days before we popped the lid on our first can of paint. Fortunately, our painting crew returned and we had lots of help! Matthew’s father, Wayne, carried the team (again!) through more than two weeks of painting frenzy. He was our MVP for sure!

Endless Prepping:

Putty Man Matthew

Putty Man Matthew

(With the help of his momma!)

(With the help of his momma!)

Power Sanding

Power Sanding

Sanding by hand

Hand Sanding (still powerful).

Baseboards for days...

Baseboards for days…

Caulking all the seams!

Caulking all the seams!

Finally, a paint brush... putting on the primer coat upstairs.

Finally, a paint brush… putting on the primer coat upstairs.

How many Newtons does it take to paint one corner?

How many Newtons does it take to paint one corner?

Thank goodness for good help!

Thank goodness for good help!

The Boss and The Master. ;)

The Boss and The Master. 😉

Scraping all the original doors.

Scraping all the original doors.

Bringing them back to life!

Bringing them back to life!

Bringing out the big [spray] guns!

Bringing out the big [spray] guns!

The fun part, of course, was choosing paint colors and seeing our walls come to life! We chose a pretty neutral palette with bright white trim and we think it brings a crisp-yet-calm look to the inside of our nest.

Nest Neutrals:

Our final selection!

Our final selection!

The Transformation:

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Our biggest challenge in the painting project was making the formal living room suit our style… the wormy chestnut built-ins were very nice, but the heaviness of the dark wood just didn’t agree with the rest of our house. So, brace yourselves wood lovers, we painted it. (I know, I know; you’re horrified.)

A reminder of what the dark woodwork looked like... not bad, but a little dreary for our taste.

A reminder of what the dark woodwork looked like… not bad, but a little dreary for our taste.

No turning back!

No turning back!

While the whitewashed woodwork certainly brightened up the room, a new problem surfaced… despite many coats, the paint just amplified all the little holes and imperfections in the wood. It literally looked like someone had splattered black paint all over whitewashed wood. It wasn’t pretty. Enter: The Peacock Twins (my mom and her twin sister, Julie.)

Holes, holes, and more holes!

Holes, holes, and more holes! Yuck!

As with many times in my life, my mother came to the rescue! She and my Aunt Julie helped me spackle and putty every single hole. Seven hours and 30 raw finger tips later, things were looking much better and my spirits lifted. FINALLY, this disjointed room was coming together. I spent the next few evenings after work sanding away to make sure it was smooth before the final coat of paint.

Peacock twins to the rescue!

Peacock twins to the rescue!

Filled, primed and ready for paint!

Filled, primed and ready for paint!

So, here it is, the big reveal:

Ta-daaah!

Ta-daaah!

Although painting the wormy chestnut was a really tough decision, we feel like this is an improvement that brightens the room and makes it feel less disjointed.

Although painting the wormy chestnut was a really tough decision, we feel like this is an improvement that brightens the room and makes it feel less disjointed.

Despite the long days and our struggle with “to paint or not to paint” the woodwork, we are oh-so-happy with the final product! (And overjoyed to retire our brushes for a while!!!)

 

All the trimmings. 

Boy, oh boy, the details are fun!
For two weeks now, the trim carpenters have been busy little birdies trimming our nest and making it look its very best. They’ve been more than patient, too. As with any old house, things aren’t exactly plumb and square around here… so the carpenters had to take a few deep breaths and get creative on projects like re-hanging old doors, dealing with a few slightly sloping floors and installing a tongue and groove ceiling in a room that is slightly off from square (They were within a few boards of being done when this little snag became apparent and had to rip it all off and start again with a slight adjustment to compensate. Yikes!).

But, despite a few old-house hiccups, the trim-work is complete and we are just beside ourselves with the transformation! Check out our nest with all the trimmings…

Trim materials have arrived!

Trim materials have arrived!

Window Trim! (Guest Bedroom)

Window Trim! (Guest Bedroom)

Laundry Room Doors are up! (This wall is new, but these doors are original to the house. We repurposed them from a small hall closet that was removed when we rerouted the hallway to the bedrooms.)

Laundry room doors are up! (This wall is new, but these doors are original to the house. We repurposed them from a small hall closet that was removed when we rerouted the hallway to the bedrooms.)

A view of the doors when they're open -- they fit perfectly and lay flat against the walls, so they don't block the butler's pantry pass-through.

A view of the doors when they’re open — they fit perfectly and lay flat against the walls, so they don’t block the butler’s pantry pass-through.

Baseboards and crown molding are up in the guest bedrooms!

Baseboards and crown molding are up in the guest bedrooms!

Powder room window is trimmed and looking fantastic...

Powder room window is trimmed and looking fantastic…

Powder room doors go up.

Powder room doors go up.

The HVAC ductwork that runs through all the upstairs dormers is being hidden with little window seats :)

The HVAC ductwork that runs through all the upstairs dormers is being hidden with little window seats 🙂

Master bedroom ceiling trim is in place. We are really loving the way this detail turned out!

Master bedroom ceiling trim is in place. We are really loving the way this detail turned out!

Master bathroom!

Master bathroom! (Blurry, but you get the idea…)

Ta-dah! Great room ceiling is in.

Ta-dah! Great room ceiling is in.

What a difference!

What a difference!

 

Going Gray!

Hooray — we’ve gone gray! 

No, I’m not talking about our hair color beginning to fade as a result of nearly eight months of home renovation (although, the lone long-locked Newton has noticed a few new silver strands). We have finally said goodbye to the patchwork shingles and painted the exterior of our house! We settled on a medium gray color for the cedar shakes and then called in reinforcements to help with the transformation.

The slightly more senior Mr. and Mrs. Newton (Matthew’s parents) joined the painting party and we were able to prime and paint the exterior of our little nest in two weekends’ time. Not too shabby for a bunch of amateurs—well, three amateurs and our fearless leader, Matthew’s father, Wayne, who owned his own paint contracting business for 30+ years… as the sole professional on site, he kept the rest of us from messing anything up! Painting all those shakes was no easy task and start-to-finish it took us a month of weekends if you count the prep work too, but we were strutting around with grins of accomplishment when it was all done!

We began by prepping the exterior (a lot more work than I thought!):

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Taping off the windows!

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Puttying all the little nail holes!

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Caulking windows!

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Double caulking!

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Triple caulking!

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Rooftop refreshment 😉

Here we go! Check out the power of a coat of paint:

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Shaking up the paint! (My staring totally helped…)

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Primer coat is on!

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Mr. Newton – head painter in charge – spraying more primer.

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Two Newtons and a dormer.

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Three Newtons and a dormer. 🙂

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All primed and ready for the final coat!

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Revving up the sprayer for the final coat!

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Matthew and his Momma taking a little break.

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Final coat of gray is on; ready to start painting all the trim along the roof!

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Trim is looking crisp and white!

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Oops! We almost forgot the garage…

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Goodbye, basketball goal!

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Hello, Bat who was hiding underneath the goal. (Sorry little guy!)

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All done!

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Hello, gorgeous gray! All that hard work paid off… we are really digging our Nest’s new look.

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Many, many thanks to the Newtons for helping us with such a big job – we couldn’t have done it without them!!!

A few Eggs of Wisdom…

  • It’s true, many hands make light work.
  • Happy music and time with family makes even the hardest jobs more fun.
  • If you have a choice between rolling/brushing paint and using one of those handy sprayers, choose the sprayer every time! 😉

Drywall, y’all!

It feels a little like we have come full circle… the Nest has come so far since we were swinging sledgehammers to take down walls. Now, we are celebrating new ones!

It’s honestly hard to put into words how exciting it is to have solid walls again and see all the changes we’ve made take shape. Not to mention, drywall marks the beginning of the “pretty things” like trim, paint colors, cabinets, and more! Get ready, y’all—we’re about to really start dressing up the Nest!

Great Room/Kitchen (The great room ceiling will be covered by tongue and groove, so no drywall there!)

Great Room/Kitchen (The great room ceiling will be covered by tongue and groove, so no drywall there!)

Kitchen view.

Kitchen view.

View of great room and kitchen from the back door. Looking good!

View of great room and kitchen from the back door. Looking good!

Who needs a ladder? Stilts are the way to go!!

Who needs a ladder? Stilts are the way to go!!

Dining Room

Dining Room

Dining Room opposite view, looking toward butler's pantry and stairs to second floor.

Dining room opposite view, looking toward butler’s pantry and stairs to second floor.

Formal Living Room

Formal Living Room

Powder Room and Office

Powder Room and Office

Office, opposite view.

Office, opposite view.

Looking from formal living room into the powder room (thanks to my dad for adding that beautiful window on a whim -- more on that in a future blog post :) ).

Looking from formal living room into the powder room (thanks to my dad for adding that beautiful window on a whim — more on that in a future blog post 🙂 ).

Guest Bedroom #1

Guest Bedroom #1

Guest Bedroom #2

Guest Bedroom #2

Hallway/Hall Bathroom

Hallway/Hall Bathroom/Guest Bedroom

Super stilts to put the finishing touches on the master bedroom!

Super stilts to put the finishing touches on the master bedroom!

Master Bedroom!

Master Bedroom!

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

…and just because I am so impressed by the stilts, here is a little video of our guy in action: