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Our Asheville Home | Renovations: Stage One

SO much has happened in such a short amount of time, it's hard to believe! The ink had barely dried on our closing documents before our contractor and his team swung the first sledgehammer and got to work. In less than three weeks, they've already painted and trimmed the exterior of the house, gutted the bathrooms, torn down all the wall paneling, smoothed out our ceilings, trimmed out the portico....I could keep going, but I'll let the photos do most of the talking.


Y'ALL. Is that some kind of transformation or what?! Ignore the pitiful shrubbery for a minute and take in just how much better this house looks! Needless to say, Mike and I are verrrry happy with the results. (For the detail-oriented, the chimney was painted white after I snapped this photo).

One of my closest friends is Lindsey Cheney, a realtor and interior designer in Atlanta who grew up in the Asheville area. She just renovated a historic home in the Inman Park neighborhood, and if you're wondering how it turned out, it was the first stop on this year's Tour of Homes during the Inman Park Festival. Girl knows her stuff. Believe me when I say she has the closet of my dreams. There's a fireplace in it. Yep, a fireplace.

She also works with clients on renovating their homes, advising them on everything from structural changes and redesign to paint colors and finishes. Lindsey's very good at identifying style preferences, marrying masculine and feminine design elements within the general decor to bring harmony to the home...and to a husband and wife who may like different things.

Before we bought this house, Lindsey toured the house with us and said it was the perfect home to renovate. Good bones, well built, amenable to cosmetic updates. I know I needed to hear that from someone whose opinion I hold in high regard, and who I know would be totally honest with me if we were buying a dud. If it gets the LC seal of approval, I'm good to go.

We told her we wanted to paint it white but which white, we weren't sure. Without a moment's hesitation, she recommended Sherwin Williams Alabaster white for the brick, and Pavestone for the trim. And that, folks, is what you see here. We LOVE it!


The portico is framed but not trimmed yet (obviously). Before they can finish it, they need to have a framing inspection...which can't be done until all other areas are framed out...which can't be done until we get shower and tub hardware installed...which we're waiting on. The lead time for our hardware choices is one to two weeks, and I'm praying those estimates are spot-on. This is definitely a lesson on how home renovations can get delayed -- all because of a dang gold tub spigot!

VERY excited to see the front door centered and the frosted glass sidelight gone! We're putting (normal?) glass into those four elongated rectangles on each side and replacing the front door and door knob.


No more paneling -- no more wall! Opening up that side of the room really improved the flow of the house. Plus, it makes the fireplace even more of a focal point, and I do love that fireplace. (Too bad it's not in my dream walk-in closet!). Once we convert it to a double-sided fireplace...I mean...I can't even contain the major goosebumps I'm getting!

A major decision Mike and I are making soon is whether or not to convert the laminate flooring to real hardwoods to match the floors everywhere else on the first floor. It's not inexpensive, but now is the time, right? Who wants to move everything out of their kitchen, much less not be able to use it, for a month or more to put in hardwoods at a later date? Now that the room is so open into the living room/hallway, the transitions from real to faux are pretty stark. Of all the decisions we are making or could make, I feel like this is a place to spend money to get it back down the road.

Converting our '70s stippled ceilings to a knock-down style. Our contractor recommended we go this route to improve the look and save money to use elsewhere. It's much better!


All the cabinets are off, getting roughed up and ready to be painted white! Under Lindsey's recommendation, we're painting them Sherwin Williams Alabaster as well. I love white kitchen cabinets; when we built our house in Charleston, I put a LOT of effort into getting my cabinets done just the way I wanted them. That turned out to mean a lot of decisions I didn't know I had to make (glazes, patinas, um what?) but I was soooo happy with the results. Here's a picture of it while it was undergoing final touches:

It's a tad emotional for me to look at that picture. As happy as we were to be moving to Asheville to be closer to family and friends right as we were about to have a baby, it was incredibly hard to leave the home we built together as a newly married couple. On the day we moved, after everything was loaded on the trucks, we just stood in the middle of our empty house and cried. I don't like to look at pictures of it much because it still tugs at my heart.

Man, I miss my double ovens.

But! None of this bittersweet remembrance has any bearing on how excited I am about our Asheville house. All of this is to say, I'm happy we're painting the cabinets. And this time, we're installing our kitchen backsplash in a herringbone pattern and hanging some gorgeous pendant lights.


Wall paneling down in the guest bedroom. Sorry for the poor quality; I had to lighten this photo within an inch of its life to see what was going on in it.

One closet from Harlow's room being converted into an auxiliary closet for the master. I can't wait to see it once the dry wall is up and the closet doors are replaced.

The converted closet from the master side.

We knocked out the wall separating the two existing closets in the master to create a larger space. It's only going to give me about a foot of extra space, but hey, that's prime real estate! I'll take every inch I can get when it comes to closet space!


Harlow's bathroom aka the guest bath is nothing but a tub and a few bits of dry wall! Like I said in my 'before' post, we are tearing the bathrooms out from top to bottom. This is the larger of the two bathrooms and the one most people will see, so if I'm going to do a statement piece (like, say, a sapphire blue vanity) this is where we're going to put it.

I got Mike on board to put gold/polished brass fixtures in here and I'm SO excited!!! I love that options beyond brushed nickel and ORB are more embraced now from a design standpoint. We picked out our shower and tub hardware from Hajoca down in Hendersonville - fingers crossed it arrives on time! We've picked out a beautiful carrara marble tile to tie everything together and ooh ooh ooh I can't wait to see it once it's done!

The master bathroom with nothing to speak of but a knee wall. We've really got to maximize the space we have by using a few tricks, like building this knee wall to separate the shower from the toilet, then installing glass all the way up to the ceiling. We decided not to put in a door because quarters are so tight. I know, I'm a little wary, too, but I'm optimistic! We chose our shower hardware from Bella Hardware here in town, going with a large rain shower head so that the water falls straight down instead of at an angle that may spray outside of the shower opening.

We're keeping things very crisp and white in here, choosing a different type of carrara marble than the guest bathroom, polished chrome fixtures, and a white vanity. I wanted hexagonal tiles on the shower floor, and of course, to get the individual tiles the size I want meant spending more money. Oh well, at least it's the smallest area of square footage in either of the bathrooms!


That's it for now! At the rate things are moving, I may have more to post very soon! I also want to thank all of you who've emailed or messaged me suggestions on decorating -- keep 'em coming! I love the ideas!


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