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Noodling & Doodling

The last couple weeks have been very busy! We said we were open for business and you guys really jumped on that, I feel like I meet someone new and fabulous almost every week! I've had to brush my hair a lot more. If you are considering hiring us, just shoot me an email. Consultations are free, and I probably have already brushed my hair so you're getting my best self.

However, since the nitty gritty of starting, launching, SEO, technicalitying, etc. is a full time job that I want nothing to do with (shout-out to Danette, my pride and joy), I've made some time for creative problem solving some fun dream projects and I wanted to share those here in case you also like to see my jumping off points.

This first one is for a total gut remodel with the intention of resale. This is a good option for someone looking to buy a house (I can turn this around pretty quickly) who needs some ideas for what's possible before they commit. This is just to get the wheels turning! This is also a potentially great tool for realtors or sellers who want to give potential buyers an idea of what CAN be done to help them visualize a space's potential.

We took this mobile home in California that had good bones but some iffy finishes.

The outside looks great if a little uninspired:

So I made some suggestions on how to refresh her and dress her up:

These 48" sconces come in packs of 2, are exterior rated and are around $175 for a set! Changing out some of the plants for California-native no- or low- water garden plants and trees would make this house look verdant instead of bare bones and changing out the lamp post to a bubble leans into the unexpected. With a fresh coat of paint on the house and trim she could really start to shine!

Our home sits in the middle of the lot with entrances from both the left and the right so we need a little sprucing on both sides to make our covered outdoor spaces welcoming and usable:

Using Thyme as groundcover to go over our non-matching gravel and some planter boxes with some Ocotillo and giving ourselves a "privacy fence" with horse tail would bring some much needed green to an area that can have some pretty bleak conditions for outside areas. I mean... at least it's a dry heat. Here we're just in a swamp.

Our family room has a LOT of WOW factor but there's definitely some issues around layout and dated finishes:

Our family room has a desk area that I don't think really serves anyone and an oddly laid out kitchen that's FUN but not the best use of space. The dining room is not attached to the kitchen and across the entry from the family and all of it has this drab carpet that maybe has never been replaced. But look at those BEAMS! Look at that paneling! We are living in a midcentury dream (albeit one with a weird jut out that I'm guessing was to add central AC).

I couldn't help myself I already started noodling - bringing in some of the creamy grays and beiges and tiling the entry and kitchen with natural stone that's locally available is a great way to make an impact without spending a fortune. The wood suggested here throughout the house is a really convincing linoleum! So it's pretty bulletproof but looks so much better than beige carpet. Evening out the opening and adjusting the kitchen I think would go a long way to making this more functional.

You can see a little of what I want to do with the dining area from here but I added a fun console to the entry with a little storage and some homey touches that realistically I can't implement but it helps to show you that this area CAN be beautiful and functional.

Changing out that desk for cabinets to get a little more storage in here I think is a great way to make this more entertaining-friendly and adding some fun flush mounts celebrates the interesting architecture. An unlacquered brass panel behind bar shelves gives it warmth.

I almost forgot to show you the best part though...


This is the selling point for this house I would spend all day in this room.

So let's make it a little less bleak inside to match our incredible exterior -

Let's fix the beams and make them match (or at least paint the beams white and leave the stained one in the center to talk to our cool wall paneling). I love the wall paneling I will bite anyone who says otherwise. I don't care if she's retro - I love her! I have options here for light fixtures depending on how cozy, retro or buttoned up we want this room to be.

Adding some grand draperies that celebrate the height on this cathedral ceiling I think is a must. Imagine seeing the lights of the city twinkling through gauzy curtains at night. We want a comfy neutral sofa, we want some swiveling chairs that do a lot of work, we want some marble, some jute, some wood tone and natural elements. I love a layered rug, it eliminates the need to find something punchy and fun on a huge scale and can be really cost-effective. Some pink marble informed a lot of the pink in this room and we have so much space in here I think we take out our sliding door closets (because why) and give ourselves 2 more feet and eat breakfast overlooking these mountains!

Our kitchen needs to be tackled next:

This and the master bathrooms are where I would spend the most money. Right now we have cool but dated cabinets and appliances and a really weird layout with a breakfast bar that looks away from the spectacular view. The upper cabinets are also a little bit of a mess so I want to make some changes here.

The first thing I would do is square off the peninsula and add a waterfall. If we feel strongly about having some bar seating, so be it but ultimately I think we add the paneling back under the knee space so we don't lose this cool and cozy detail. Flush mounts in lieu of pendants because I don't know that our ceiling height can really take it and eliminating the upper cabinets here in favor of tubular bar shelves in brass to make a great midcentury statement.

Because our hardware has rosettes on it, when we replace we may have some touch up we have to do and I'm not confident that will be handled well, so I went ahead and suggested new knobs with rosettes to cover up blemishes left by the previous hardware. I'm also thinking a zellige backsplash would go a long way to making this feel less like a mobile home kitchen and more luxurious.

Off the entry there is what would normally be the formal dining room... a room so devoid of charm, sense or flow that I think we ought to wall it off and make it an office/flex bedroom.

First let's add a built-in on this wall to give us some bookshelves and a place for a reading nook. A pull out sofa turns this into kind of a cozy little spot that can convert into a guest bed and I put a little coffee table to make this feel like a library and added some mid century sconces that come with hand painted florals to keep them feeling soft. I also thing with soft geometry on the floor, the walls could really use a fun paper to make this room pop and feel like you're catching sight of a little jewel as you come into the house. LOVE wallpaper as room jewelry.

We also have a super weird angled wall, so I think building in some Ikea shelves with some added trim and having a little bar cart over there as a library cart/wine in the library/place to put guest goodies adds fun possibility. I like the idea of building in Ikea cabinets to keep costs low - adding frames to make it look and feel built in is a great way to make an ikea cabinet feel custom.

This room would naturally be the breakfast area but once again it's so far away from our gorgeous mountain view so why use it for something so practical?

Also this china hutch, while it has some interesting arched glass doors... is not the best use of this space. It's kind of a hulking behemoth in a teeny passthrough.

But what if this were a cute little coffee bar & morning paper area for when we aren't quite ready to see quite so much sun?

A yummy cozy chair and a half with a nice ottoman, a cool ceramic pot to roll up extra guest towels and leave this as a great place to put goodies in case we decide to make this an AirBnb, a really cool but inexpensive mural, some floating shelves and a floating coffee bar with storage for extra pods and some creamer.

There's also a guest bathroom that isn't gorgeous but it's not where we want to spend money either.

I'm not going to pretend it doesn't feel like a mobile home bathroom but I don't totally mind the weird light eyebrow over the vanity and toilet and I think with some tweaking we could make this whole bathroom work much better.

By just replacing the vanity with one off the shelf this will feel more custom - usually if cabinetry feels like furniture, it makes a space feel luxe and customized even if it's a little cheap. This one I like in particular because it has some rattan panels that feel mid century and lend itself to the overall feel of the house. It needs a single handle faucet which is something to look for when you buy off the shelf (most will only come with single hole and their tops are porcelain instead of stone so it's harder to drill extra holes without ruining it).

My thought it just to replace the faucet with this one (Bancroft from Kohler) because this brand is well regarded but the actual fixture isn't super expensive. When looking for plumbing trim a hot tip is to stick with brands you have heard of and if you haven't heard of them, see if they have metal internal parts. The heavier the fixtures are, the more likely their parts are made of metal and not plastic - plastic parts on a brand you don't know increases your risk of having a faulty fixture that will explode and flood your house.

The shower has a plastic cladding which is not custom - the good news about that is it means it's probably a standard size! We can buy new shower glass doors for not super expensive and help make this feel a little more custom. Another great way to customize is to use a vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom. It's a little more than painting but man is the impact so huge! And vinyl is a great way to make sure the wallpaper won't peel and can withstand a little moisture.

I skipped over the secondary bedroom and the utility room since they both could use a little cosmetic zhuzhing but ultimately they're not going to be the selling points of this house. With a coat of paint and some well placed furniture they'll do what they need to do to get the house sold without a lot of input from me.

The master however could use a little help. They have these 80's sliding doors for the closet and the same paneling which has been painted gray. I don't actually totally hate that! It's a little modern farmhouse for me but it neutralizes the a little for the master which can be a place that needs less costume and more comfort so I'm ok with it.

For the ceiling a great alternative to venetian plaster is lime wash paint - it's a very forgiving finish and very very low cost by comparison. Adding a chandelier also makes any room feel more cozy and luxurious than it did before. Everyone on earth likes to bite me for saying so... but I absolutely hate a fan. There are a couple in life that I have been ok with but they never hold a candle to a chandelier.

The master bathroom also needs a lot of work -

At least the wall between the scary tub and the cocoon shower is just a partial wall so it can come down without an issue.

This is where I would spend a little money - I would tile the walls here and the floor - same tile we've been using and some limestone on the walls. Replacing the tub with a freestanding feels more customized and adding shower glass on another side of the shower will help to brighten the room and make it feel intentional.

The vanity is another story and isn't super useful the way it is now. My recommendation is to remove the makeup vanity area on the end near the tub and try to make that feel more purposeful and paint our cabinets and add some light fixtures:

A floating vanity with a hanging mirror and a fun stool make that feel more custom. Pretending we did a lot of custom work is kind of the key to making a renovation feel full and complete but only spending money in strategic areas keep us from overspending on our investment.

That's what I've got for you! It's not what everyone would do, but researching potential buyers for this area, this is exactly what I would do to get maximum return on investment. What would you change? What did you like?

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