Setting the stage

I haven’t talked a lot about the Baltimore House, but we bought it over two years ago, and it was our first house. It was also a hot mess. It hadn’t been renovated in at least 30 years, and despite it’s gorgeous 1928 bones, it was a travesty of everything awful from the 1960s and 70s.

Over two years, we stripped the house down and rebuilt. We did most of the work ourselves, so it wasn’t a complete overhaul — there is still paneling on some of the walls (which despite all efforts to the contrary, I actually grew to really like), some of the original wiring is still there, etc, but as a brief rundown we:

– Exposed all of the original mouldings and casings
– Completely renovated the kitchen
– Completely renovated the bathroom
– Replaced all of the plumbing
– Had half the electrical replaced
– Removed all carpet throughout the house and restored most of the original floors
– Painted acres of cream/aged with smoke mouldings
– Landscaped
– Installed a privacy fence (in concrete. The third week we were in the house — I’m really proud of this fence and the fact that it’s still standing)
– Painted everything. Probably three or four times.

I’m sure there’s more that I can’t remember. Not a room in the house hasn’t been touched, and it is very much our labor of love.

When we lived there, we went for a more modern design. I love the juxtaposition of modern furnishings with historical homes. I feel like it’s mixing the best of two eras, and each plays off of the other in a way that is really elegant and fresh feeling. Below is just a sampling of what we did in the house, and things changed constantly as my design interests developed, but it gives a good basis of where we were before we moved:





While we didn’t want to have to completely refurnish the house, or work on it at all again (at least not for a long time), I’m trying to view this selling/staging process as an opportunity to expand my design capabilities and portfolio. While House 1.0 was all about being modern, House 2.0 is all about being sophisticated and luxurious (at bargain basement prices, because let’s be for reals, furnishing a house can be absurdly expensive). We want a potential buyer to walk in and feel not only at home, but as if their status in the world has been elevated. Considering the listing price will be under $150k, getting that feeling out of a very inexpensive home (at least in this area) is pretty rare. We want to set a tableau so that the first, second, and third buyer that walks through the door is in love with it and all of them are racing to put an offer.

Given that, I’ve probably gone above and beyond. I’m OK with that. A lot of the furniture and accessories and art are ours already, and what isn’t will be either sold with the house or on craigslist/to friends and family (and yes, some of it will be returned), so while the initial investment is annoying, it’s not crippling and we’ll recoup everything (and in some cases we’ll even be keeping some the new pieces for our new house!). Plus this was a personal challenge to me: Can I budget decorate a house to the level where I would want to live there and give off that sense of luxury that I was aiming for?

So far, I think I’ve been successful. I’ll be doing a room by room breakdown, as we finish and clean and I can take photos with something other than my iphone, but for now, a smattering of what we’ve done:

photo 1

The master bedroom — clearly not styled or even with a made bed. And the ceiling isn’t painted. Also, this room is huge. There’s a full dresser that you can’t see and a wall of built in bookshelves. Klaus also only comes with the house with a full priced offer. But I love this room so much more now. Why couldn’t I have made it look like this when we lived there? Sometimes age/perspective is sooooo important to a good design.

photo 5

We painted the doors a semi-gloss black. We kept the wallpaper in the hallway, as everyone we know LOVES that wallpaper, and the black with the historical grey is such a good pair. It was dark, and it’s a camera phone, so that’s why it’s reading a bit gothic, but it’s oh so very classy.

photo 4

Plants. Love plants. Plants are cool.

photo 3

This will be the “kids” room. This whole room deserves a huge post to itself because it was such an utter trainwreck. I hope I have the pictures, but it’s come a long, long way. It even now has clean floors!

photo 2

This is the office/sunroom. It has a lot more plants in it and I’m totally going to steal Dana from House*Tweaking’s idea of putting wicker baskets on that big shelving unit for the bottom two rows. Turns out she has one too. I hope she got it for the super crazy massive discount that we got it for (imagine about 90% off). It’s a World Market shelf and really not all that great, but it’s huge and looks good from a distance, and was super, super cheap, so that’s all that matters.

Almost nothing is 100% done, but I’m loving the feel of it so far. Lots of tufting, velvet, crazy florals and classy looking neutrals. World Market and Target have been our go-tos for cheap furniture and boy oh boy have they been over delivering. I am SO impressed and target’s navy blue velvet collection is absurd. Absurdly amazing. I might have to dedicate a whole post just to that bench in the master.

One week to go to list!


One thought on “Setting the stage

  1. felix says:

    Excellent post, maintain your hard work, youre doing it right!

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