Saturday, March 19, 2016

Renovation Update 5: Living Area

Our living area has been sort of in flux since we moved in almost two years ago.  Even though it was probably the room that needed the least amount of renovation, several pieces of furniture needed to be reupholstered and we didn't get around to having the last two finished till this past December.  At this point, I'm considering the living area "done"...which in home renovation terms probably just means "for now."

Here is the space today, viewed from the adjacent dining area (blogged about here):

The MLS photos of the living area were probably what drew me to want to check out the house most.  I fell in love with the angled brick accent wall and the huge picture windows before I even saw them in person.

We weren't crazy about the green wall, the black ceiling, nor the funky light fixtures.  This is a picture I snapped shortly after we took ownership, and moved a couple of pieces into the space:

CT's mom painted several coats of clean, bright white over the green and black surfaces, and CT and his dad replaced the two awkward lights with a pair of ceiling fans - a must in this space in the summer when the sun is shining in through the large windows.

We also sprayed a flat black over the brass fireplace surround for a more modern look, and CT built a new white mantle to replace the clunky one that was falling loose.

Here's the fireplace right before painting (clearly we had a professional set-up going on):

And after painting and mantle installation:

I picked up five of these turquoise candle holders at a West Bottoms thrift store one weekend and they found their place anchoring family pictures on either side of the mantle:

The woodcut print centered on the mantle was made by Montana artist Gennie DeWeese, for whom CT was a studio assistant when he lived in Bozeman, MT during his grad school years.  She also painted the beautiful abstraction in our dining area.  The "t" was purchased at a River Market antique store.

The one new piece of furniture in the room is our couch, which we bought at a local furniture mart.  While the legs are decidedly not MCM, we felt the curved armrests had a vintage vibe and with the addition of the matching ottoman, the couch has plenty of space for both CT and I to lounge comfortably.  We decided to use the couch as a separation between the dining/living areas and shortly after I bought a funky Mid-Century sewing table which I found on our local Craigslist to use as a console table behind it.

Our round coffee table was thrifted in the West Bottoms for $45 and our geometric rug was purchased at West Elm.  My favorite piece in the room, hands-down, is our gorgeous walnut credenza with tambour doors that I found on Craigslist.  Not only is it my favorite piece of furniture in our home, it's also the one I travelled the farthest to pick up.  I drove a total of six hours one Saturday with my parents to Wichita, Kansas to buy it.  Truth be told, I didn't actually know how far away Wichita was from KC when I called to inquire about it, but regardless, I gladly made the road trip and can't imagine anything looking better.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, while I don't claim to have the greenest of thumbs, I do enjoy having plants in the house, so to the left of the credenza is a snake plant in a woven basket I purchased at Urban Mining here in KC.  To the right is a dracaena that is planted in a ceramic bowl made by our undergraduate ceramics professor.  It sits on a refurbished hairpin leg stand I bought in sad condition at a junk store near my hometown.  The lidded ceramic vessel was made by the one and only CT.

We found the armchair in the West Bottoms one weekend and had it reupholstered with West Elm fabric.  The throw pillow is also from West Elm.  The magazine holder was found in the River Market.

Here is a before of the armchair, and a swatch of the fabric in which it was previously upholstered.  CT stripped the legs (which we believe to be rosewood) of their dark stain before reupholstery:

Finally, against the previously green wall (which would have worked well with the armchair pictured above in it's original state, no?), sit our matching pair of Mid-Century lounge chairs (found on Craigslist), which are the most recently reupholstered in a gray tweed fabric from West Elm.  The chair cushions were originally a groovy 70s plaid that also would have matched the green wall, had we chosen to leave them as is:

The chairs in their current state are pictured below.  The lumbar pillows are from, where else, West Elm.  In between is a large side table purchased in the West Bottoms.  The simple lamp (and it's taller sister, that sits by the couch) were two of the only things we moved over from our previous apartment. 

We love how cozy our living area has become.  It is definitely the space in the house where we spend the most time.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Monday, February 29, 2016

New Addition(s) 2: Baby Taylor Arriving June 2016! (Nursery Design Plan)

It has been months of not updating the blog, all for good reason though...

1) CT and I found out at the end of September 2015 that we are expecting our first child!  We are thrilled and thankful that Baby T is growing healthy and strong.  Here is one of our ultrasound pictures from back in January:

2) I finished my master's degree in December after working toward it for two and a half years.  I'm so happy to have it completed with time to spare before Baby T makes his or her arrival!

Needless to say, between teaching, grad work, and a combination of first trimester exhaustion and nausea, blog updates just haven't happened.

Now that I've hit the "nesting" phase of my pregnancy, and since returning from a fabulous babymoon to Palm Springs, CA for Modernism Week (which I hope to blog about soon!), I am inspired to return to TMM and post some updates.

We are currently in the process of putting together a nursery for our little one, but a number of the items I have contemplated are awaiting purchase on our registries.  To get a better idea of how all the pieces will work together, I decided to create a design board:

1 Baby Mod Marley 3-in-1 Convertible Crib  We found this crib at Wal-Mart of all places and are so happy with how easy it was to put together and how well it works with our mid-century design aesthetic.

2 DwellStudio Ombre Citrine Triangle Blanket  Because we won't be finding out if we are having a boy or girl until delivery day, we have been looking for pieces that are gender-neutral, and the color scheme of this blanket fits the bill, and works well with the rug we have purchased.

3 Artwork by Misha Kligman CT traded one of his pieces for this painting by his friend and colleague Misha a while back, but we hadn't found the right spot for it until now.  CT is still on the fence about what he wants to hang in the room, but I personally think the simplicity of the colors and calming subject matter will be perfect for Baby T's room.

4 Vintage Real McCoy 6-drawer dresser  Scouring Kansas City Craigslist came through for us in a big way when we happened upon a Real McCoy dresser exactly like the one pictured above and a matching highboy for only $200!  The trick to finding it was the misspelling of the word crAdenza in the search bar.  We loaded up one weekend this past summer and traveled to a small town about two hours outside of Kansas City for the purchase, which we will use for a changing table.  The highboy now resides in our guest bedroom.

5 Artwork by Corey Antis  These two paintings (also acquired in a trade) are currently hanging in our master bedroom, but as with Misha's painting, I think the color scheme and imagery will work well in the nursery.

6 Electric Sun Creatives Geometric Brass Wall Hanging  I saw work by this Etsy artist in an Instagram post recently and loved the shapes and natural beauty of this piece in particular.  I think it will be a good alternative to a mobile.

7 West Elm Boho Textured Wool Rug  Admittedly, I've got a bit of an obsession with West Elm.   The design of the furniture and accessories blends so seamlessly with vintage mid-century pieces; WE is my go-to when I am searching for textiles.  Because I wanted a rug that would bring some color and just a bit of whimsy to the nursery, I was drawn to this rug when I was searching online.  In person, the colors are a bit darker and the varied textures are interesting and fun.  This is another piece that CT isn't entirely convinced he is crazy about, but hopefully when we put everything together, he'll come around to it's charm.

8 Vintage Litecraft Light Fixture  CT found two of these on Etsy for $150 when we were looking to replace the horrible, mismatched, 80's-era ceiling fans in the two downstairs bedrooms.  He fixed them up and wired them in place in the fall of 2014.

9 CB2 Knitted Graphite Pouf  Another way to bring some soft texture into the nursery would be through this knitted pouf that I can use to prop up my feet during late night feedings.

10 Nursery Works Sleepytime Rocker  Finding a modern-looking rocker that works with our mid-century furniture has been a challenge.  We've found a few great vintage rockers available in our area via Craigslist recently, but unfortunately have inquired too late for all of them.  Some friends of ours bought a similar Nursery Works rocker and they've had good things to say about the comfort and the relatively simple profile it creates in their son's room, so I added it to our registry.

11 West Elm Embroidered Maze Pillow  (This pillow is no longer available, but I found a similar one here) Adding pillows to add little pops of color and texture to tie the room together and make it feel more warm and comfortable is important, especially since the floors in the room are polished concrete, and we are leaving the walls white.

12 Slow Down Productions Macrame Plant Hanger  While my thumb isn't entirely green, I enjoy keeping a few easy to care for live plants around the house, not only because I like the look of them, but also for their health benefits.  An interesting way to display one in the nursery would be by hanging it in this macrame plant hanger I found on Etsy.  Macrame is such a compliment to the mid-century roots of the home, while the vibrant colors make this piece a fun, modern accent that I would love to see in Baby T's room.

I'm sure as we get closer to our due date, more ideas will pop into my head, but for now, I like the direction the nursery design is headed in.  Stay tuned!

Monday, September 28, 2015

KC MCM For Sale - 123 NW Greentree Lane

One of the things that really sealed the deal when we were considering buying our home is the surrounding neighborhood.  Our neighbors are great, it's a quick drive to downtown Kansas City, a quick walk to beautiful parks and trails, and there are a handful of Mid-Century Modern gems scattered throughout.  On a walk this past Sunday, CT and I noticed that one such house - really more of a diamond-in-the-rough than a "gem", per se - is going up for auction soon.

It's two houses down from the first house we toured in this area (blogged about here).  That house ended up selling at auction as well, then unfortunately was flipped to entice a generic buyer.  We are hoping for a different fate for 123, and we're trying to get the word out to fellow MCM enthusiasts in the area that could restore the home to it's former glory.

123 was designed and custom-built by it's only owner since 1958. It's very large (around 3,000 sq.ft.) with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 3 living spaces. The basement walks out to a large patio surrounded by green space.  Admittedly, it needs A LOT of work...but with an opening bid price of only 15k, there would be room in a budget for a thoughtful and significant restoration.

The MLS photos aren't great, but they give an idea of this house's potential: 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Renovation Update 4: Dining Area

The first room we finished during renovation was the dining area in the upper level of the home.  While it is a small space, it was probably the most work to complete.

Amongst the grainy MLS photos, there were two that gave us an idea of how the space connected to the rest of the home before we went to tour it in person:

A few days after closing, we took a couple of pictures showing the space without the previous owner's furniture.  With hopes of finding wood flooring under the dirty carpet, CT had cut away a section, unfortunately revealing sub-flooring.  These photos give a clearer view of the Mondrian-esque wall feature (why?), the black railing behind the door to the deck (Why?), and the oddly configured closet and shelving (WHY?).

After taking out the rest of the carpet, CT began the rest of the demolition, tearing out the above mentioned eyesores.

Next, CT's mom painted over the slanted black ceilings with bright white, and CT insulated, framed, drywalled, and painted the angled wall.

CT then moved down to the flooring in the dining space, which turned into a bigger hassle than we originally imagined it would be, as matching something new to the existing engineered hardwood in the living space was next to impossible.  We selected a size that was comparable, but were unable to match the color perfectly, as we were buying through a discount flooring website called Really Cheap Floors.  We don't mind the transition now, but it is perhaps something we will consider changing in the future so that the dining and living areas have a more seamless transition.

The last and biggest project CT took on in the dining area was the built-in shelving.  We wanted a bold feature that would carry the accent blue we used on the exterior to the interior, as well as display our collections of books and handmade ceramic pieces.  CT built and painted the shelving in our garage, then installed the three pieces into the available openings.  He then had to add drywall in between the two shelves on the left where there had previously been a closet in order to even up the space between each unit.

Then came more painting, adding trim around everything, and the installation of a modern light fixture from West Elm.  They no longer carry the fixture, but while it was still available, I was able to get a screen shot of it.  At the bottom is an Instagram photo of our space that West Elm shared on their website:

Here's the space pre-furniture and a closer look at the odd light we replaced:

And finally, our completed dining area, with a new West Elm rug and light fixture, and furnished with a vintage Garrison table and chairs found on Craigslist for under $200, two of our Brody bentwood chairs (blogged about in this post), a Lane bench (really a coffee table, but it's substantial enough to sit on and looks great under the large picture window) that CT picked up in a West Bottoms thrift store, and the cutest Mid-Century bar cart I bought at River Market Antiques.  As not to make this already long post longer, I'll detail the origins of the art and collectibles in another post.