Sunday, June 21, 2009

Schoolhouse Charm

Although the historic schoolhouseturned-weekend-getaway had great architectural bones and a solid structure, it lacked clear walkways, vitality, and cheerful color. Taking design cues from Upstate New York cottages as well as traditional Greek Revival schoolhouses, the homeowner began the update by creating better access to the front and side entrances via a walkway made with interlocking pavers. With both entrances clearly marked, the homeowner could focus on the landscape. A white picket fence, also reminiscent of traditional Colonial style, creates a border around the home’s lawn and complements the front railing. Small boxwoods were added in front of the railing and along the fence. In the planting beds on the side of the house, the homeowner planted ornamental grasses and shrubs, and finished the look with planters and a trellis. Green-and-white striped awnings over the front windows enhance the color scheme, while yellow paint on the door provides a focal point for passersby. A heavy pitched entry was removed for a fresher look.

Pretty With Purpose

1. Lanterns with a rustic-brown finish evoke seafaring New England charm.
2. These attractive awnings minimize the amount of direct sunlight that enters a room, thereby protecting lightsensitive artwork and antiques.
3. A wooden railing adds interest to the front entrance.


1. End pillars with caps were added to the picket-fence panels for a customized look.
2. Seasonal potted plants add color and make the side porch look lush and lively.
3. The homeowner’s trellis provides architectural interest and a spot for a vine to grow. Lowe’s has a wide variety of trellises available to suit your style.

pavers (Portage, #59765)
picket-fence panels†

door (Valspar Ultra Premium,
Pale Butter 3003-3C, semi-gloss)
fence (Valspar Ultra Premium,
Du Jour 7002-6, semi-gloss)

address plaque and numbers (DeSignIt, brushed nickel; plaque, #41311††; numbers, #55260†, #54940†)
striped awnings (Dickson, Boston Green, Model 7513, special order)
wall fixtures (Portfolio, rustic brown; large, #109415; small, #80551)
terra-cotta pots

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market, or the cost of plants.
**Does not include lead time for special-order materials.
Selection/availability varies by market.
††Available by special order in some stores.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Small Kitchen That Works

She loved her 1920s bungalow, but the poorly configured appliances and limited work areas caused her to cook most of her dinners in the microwave. By applying small-space solutions and choosing products that matched her budget, she gained all the ingredients of a successful kitchen makeover—and the seamless cottage style is like the sweet icing on the cake.

What She Did
THE CHALLENGE: The kitchen in this home was outdated and far less than functional. The homeowner had only 2 feet of countertop space and inadequate cabinetry.

THE SOLUTION: Moving the water heater from the kitchen to the attic freed up room for a pantry. The homeowner added floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and an extra workstation, gaining much more drawer and countertop space. She purchased new appliances, including a built-in dishwasher to replace the old portable model. Beaded-board paneling, wide trim and moulding, a farmhouse sink, seeded-glass cabinetry door fronts, and wooden countertops all contribute to the kitchen’s updated cottage style.

1 The farmhouse sink was a must-have splurge item for the homeowner, who wanted to retain the vintage charm of her cottage. The complementary
stainless faucet is simple and practical.

2 This freestanding range and a microwave/hood combination, both in a stainless-look finish, were placed together vertically for a more efficient food-preparation area.

1 Easy-to-use cup pulls on the cabinet drawers feature a streamlined shape and convey a vintage look.

2 The wooden butcher-block countertops have a penetrating oil finish. They require special maintenance, such as reapplying oil, but the longevity and beauty are well worth it.

3 An island wasn’t possible in this small kitchen, but a cabinetry workstation providing countertop space plus storage for cookware fulfills the same purpose. The cabinets’ smoky-blue glaze adds a splash of color in the otherwise white kitchen.

4 Seeded-glass cabinetry door fronts impart the feel of a country cottage. Open shelving helps the room seem casual and inviting.

Small-Space Strategies
  • Go vertical. Extend the cabinets up to the ceiling or crown moulding to use all available space.
  • Organize. Choose cabinets and drawers that offer organizational inserts, or add inserts to your existing cabinetry.
  • Consider the use. Think about what you use daily versus infrequently. Open shelving and clear-glass cabinetry door fronts make it easy to see everyday dishware. Upper cabinets are perfect for special china or rarely used appliances.
  • Color counts. While kitchens are all about function, choosing white or a light paint color makes a small space feel airier and larger.
  • Appliance options. This homeowner chose full-size appliances, but there are options for smaller, hardworking refrigerators or ranges.

1 A beverage cabinet above the refrigerator holds wines, ciders, and sodas fit for special occasions.
2 This stainless-look refrigerator has the sleek metal vibe but is less expensive and easier to clean than stainless steel.
3 A water heater once filled this space, which now serves as a pantry. A new, more efficient tankless water heater was installed in the attic.

How To Manage Your Budget
A kitchen remodel is a wonderful investment, but it also can be a large expense. A few simple guidelines will help you contain your cash flow.
  • Expect the unexpected. Figure out the maximum amount you can afford for your kitchen remodel, and then decrease that amount by 20% to determine your budget. You’ll have padding for the unplanned expenses that almost always occur.
  • Pick and choose. Decide what’s most important to you. Do you want new countertops but like your range? Then opt for the countertops of your choice,such as granite or butcher block, and pass on the new range. Alternately, cabinetry and countertops can siphon the bulk of your budget. If you’re okaywith the look of your kitchen but want the latest culinary technology, then replace all your appliances and simply paint your cabinets.
  • Stick to the plan. You can make small decisions that add up to a big expense. Take a step back before adding new items that weren’t in your original plan.


cabinets (KraftMaid, Whiteplains Square, white, special order)
seeded-glass doors (KraftMaid, Antiquity, special order)
workstation cabinets (KraftMaid, Briarwood Maple, Beaded, Wedgewood Glaze, special order)
hardware (Amerock, satin chrome; cup pulls, #150264†; oval knobs, #17094)
butcher-block countertops (special order††)
backsplash (KraftMaid, beaded-board paneling, white, special order)

refrigerator (Frigidaire, Silver Mist, Model FRS3LR5EM, #247886)
electric range (Frigidaire, Silver Mist, Model FEFL68GM, #7003)
microwave/hood combo (Frigidaire, Silver Mist, Model FMV158FM, #180278)
dishwasher (Frigidaire, Silver Mist, Model FDB1050REM, #226379)
gas tankless water heater (Bosch, AquaStar, Model 1600H, special order)

tile (12-inch-square, Portobello, Ibiza, #121141)
biscuit-colored grout

farmhouse sink (Barclay Products Limited, Fire Clay, Model FS30, white, special order)
faucet (Peerless, Brilliance Stainless, #100363)
garbage disposal (InSinkErator, Evolution SpaceSaver, #240439)

6 recessed lights
4 under-cabinet lights
pendant fixture (1-light, Kichler, antique pewter, #166107)

walls (Valspar Signature Colors, Earth Elements, Swoosh EE2046B, satin)
crown moulding and trim (Valspar Ultra Premium, Anthem White 7006-24, semi-gloss)
ceiling (Valspar Ultra Premium, Anthem White 7006-24, flat)

crown moulding (45/8-inch, primed white)
baseboard and window casing (41/4-inch, primed white)
beaded-board ceiling (3/16-inch, primed white, #29469)

shelf brackets (5- x 8-inch, pine, #64387)
utensil hooks (#58448)
stand mixer (KitchenAid, white, #213829)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market.
** Does not include lead time for special-order materials.
Selection varies by market.
††Availability varies by market.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

4 Seasons Are Better Than 1

“With this sunroom, we spend more time together than ever.”

The screened-in porch at the rear of this family’s house had one major thing going for it: its size. But it was only usable during the best weather. By adding sliding windows and new doors, the space is transformed into an all-season sunroom. During good weather, the open windows allow air to circulate, blurring the lines between indoors and out. When it’s cold or rainy, the homeowners can close the windows and still enjoy the space. New paint, flooring, lighting, and furnishings brighten the room and tie the look together. And now that this area is appealing to the family as well as to guests, a new hospitality center and adjacent outdoor patio with a grill make it a hot spot when the homeowners entertain.


1. Freestanding storage units—which were constructed from poplar boards, plywood, and beaded-board paneling— create shelving around the TV.
» SPLURGE APPROACH: Design a wall unit with customized kitchen cabinetry.

2. The brick walls were painted a soft cream color for a restful background.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Leave the exposed brick unpainted for an edgier look.

3. Three new ceiling fans overhead keep the room comfortable during the warmer months; their light color allows them to blend more with the ceiling.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Install just one fan, or try out the space without them. You can add them next year if needed.

4. New V-groove pine paneling on the ceiling, coated with a clear finish, emphasizes the casual cottage feel of the space.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Paint the original ceiling a light color.

5. Sconces with an oil-rubbed bronze finish are mounted to each post for additional lighting.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Use a fan/light combination for general lighting, and then add a couple of standing lamps or sconces.

6. Sliding windows transform the porch into an all-weather retreat. They minimize the visual boundaries between the sunroom and the yard.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Take a staged approach. Install new windows this year, and then update the ceiling and floors next year.

7. Repainting the existing furniture was a low-cost way to liven up a set of table and chairs.
» SPLURGE APPROACH: Choose from a wide selection of all-weather furniture from Lowe’s.


1. A blue-and-white striped window awning adds a playful focal point and architectural interest to the hospitality area.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Simply paint an accent wall for a punch of color.

2. The tile backsplash is not only beautiful, but also easy to clean.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Use a less expensive material, such as laminate, for the backsplash.

3. Eighteen-inch-square beige tiles, used throughout the sunroom, supplanted the old concrete flooring. The tiles make for easy wiping of muddy footprints (and paw prints) tracked in from outside.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Stain the original concrete floor with
a new color.

4. Maple base cabinets, painted a soft beige, offer a place to store utensils and dishware. Pulls with a wavy design add a relaxed touch.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Use open shelving for some or all of the
cabinetry in your plan.

5. A stainless sink with an in-stock high-arc faucet will save trips to the kitchen.
» SPLURGE APPROACH: Add more bells and whistles with a double sink,
pullout spray faucet, or hot-water dispenser.

6. The wine chiller and ice-maker add extra convenience when entertaining guests.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Choose a compact refrigerator with an ice tray.

Smart Choices
If you like the look of this sunroom but you have a smaller space or budget, consider forgoing some elements or installing them at a later date. For example, the hospitality center is a welcome amenity, but you’ll still have an attractive, functional space without it—and you’ll shave more than $3,000 off the price tag. Similarly, the outdoor patio area can easily be omitted or added in the future.


On this small patio connected to the sunroom, a stainless steel grill, with an infrared searing burner, cooks everything from steaks to vegetables. The sand-colored pavers feature an interlocking design that does not require mortaring, which means easy installation and maintenance.

  • Wait until next season to create this area.
  • Use pea gravel instead of pavers, or stain an existing concrete pad.


tile (18-inch, Ravello beige, #187175)
bone-colored grout

windows (ThermaStar by Pella, special order)
exterior single door (Therma-Tru, Model S118, special order)
exterior double door (Therma- Tru, Model S118, special order)

tongue-and-groove ceiling (12-foot-long, 1 x 6s, southern yellow pine†)

knob and dead bolt (Kwikset, Venetian bronze; knob, #34706; dead bolt, #36229)

wall-mounted sconces (Portfolio, #230092)
ceiling fans (52-inch, white, #153928)
recessed lights

walls (Valspar Ultra Premium, Muslin Wrap 7003-11, eggshell)
accents (Valspar Ultra Premium, Lovebirds 4004-5C; Oakmoss 6005-3C; Strawberry Pink 2001-3C; semi-gloss)

(8-foot-long) 1 x 8s, poplar†
(48- x 96-inch) 3/4-inch-thick birch plywood†
(4- x 8-foot) beaded-board paneling†

dining table and chairs (Freeport; table, #131832; chairs, #132638)
tile inserts (12-inch, Corinth Brownstone, #58976)
jute rug (#229511)
throw rug (#111168)
wall accent (Celestial Garden Sun, #47126)
paper lanterns (white, #237095; blue, #237089)


in-stock maple cabinetry
drawer pulls (satin nickel, #224630)
cabinetry knobs (stainless finish, #98575)
marble countertop and backsplash tile (12-inch, #163424††)
bone-colored grout
ice-maker (Whirlpool, stainless, Model GI1500XHS, special order)
wine cooler (Haier, stainless, #43005)
single-bowl sink (8-inch-deep, FrankeUSA, stainless steel, #171199)
faucet with side spray (Moen, Caldwell, two-handle, high-arc, stainless steel, #113117)
cabinetry paint (Valspar Ultra Premium, Drumskin 7003-10, semi-gloss)
awning (FutureGuard, Pacific Blue/Natural Splash, Model 4783, special order)


pavers (Countryside, sand/tan; 6- x 9-inch, #123162; 6-inch-square, #123424)
gas grill (4-burner, #242608)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Does not include lead time for special-order materials.
Availability/selection varies by market.
††Available by special order in some stores.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Grass is Greener

Surprise guests with these lush place mats.

1. Make a 14- x 18-inch template from cardboard.

2. Using a marker, trace the template onto the back of a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet (#151360). Repeat for the number of place mats you need.

3. Use sharp utility scissors to cut the pieces of carpet. (One square yard or 3 linear feet of carpet should yield four place mats.)

Quick Fixes

Change the vanity faucet to give your bath a new look. Here are some of our favorites.

Achieve a retro feel with Kohler’s Bancroft (#188739) in polished chrome and porcelain.

Add a faucet with refined appeal, such as the brushed-nickel Treviso (#185437) from Price Pfister.

Install Delta’s Victorian faucet with a Venetianbronze finish (#211644) to echo centuries of beauty.

Channel the charm of a cozy farmhouse with Price Pfister’s Ashfield in rustic pewter (#231242).