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March 1, 2010

Sycamore Street Cottage: Before and After



Renovation, for us, is an addiction. We love the process of taking a space that is unwanted and neglected and turning it into a place of beauty, a place to call home. Sure, renovating an entire house can be exhausting, frustrating, and at times maddening. It takes patience, endurance, and commitment. But it can also be so rewarding.  We thrive on that feeling we get when we stand back after a lengthy project that we poured our blood, sweat and tears into and just enjoy what we have created. That sense of accomplishment is really what keeps us going. 

We fell in love with the renovation process when we bought our first home almost ten years ago. After we gutted it and then slowly pieced it back together the way we wanted it, we realized that we still had a ton of ideas that we wanted to incorporate into our home. For a split second we considered tearing it all out and starting over just for the challenge, but we realized that would make us look crazy (or should I say crazier?). That is when Sycamore Street Cottage came into our lives.  We had been looking for our next project for a while when we stumbled upon this beautiful pocket neighborhood filled with tree lined streets (we are suckers for a tree lined street!) and row after row of adorable little cottages and one lonely little lemon. We love to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood so naturally we bought the lemon and began renovation number two: Sycamore Street Cottage.  




Before: Overgrown with ivy for the last twenty years, the neighbors had no idea there was a window hiding under there. 



After: Look a window! We replaced the roof, windows, shutters, doors and trim. We painted the brick and put up new shaker shingle siding on the eaves. We had planned on replacing the chain-link fence, but didn't make it to that project before we sold the house. 



Before: An old cedar tree blocked all the light into the living room. Astro turf (which is coincidentally manufactured by the devil himself) graces the porch. A rotting wood railing and a crooked porch swing contribute to the 'lemon' factor. 



After: The porch railing, massive cedar tree, and astro-turf were all removed to make way for a cleaner, fresher, younger look.  New recessed lighting brightens up the porch at night and makes it more welcoming for visitors. 



We wrapped the old porch posts to give them more visual weight. The porch now looks more substantial, and is the focal point of the home. Lucy Diamond, resident guard kitty, is protecting her newly refurbished territory. 



I built this trellis myself to provide a bit of privacy and to grow a newly planted climbing hydrangea.  In a few years, this will fill in nicely and add a bit of needed greenery to the front of the house. By containing the vine on this trellis, we avoided the "rabid ivy monster" of before that was devouring the front of the house. 




A japanese maple planted in the corner is a stunning foil for the green climbing hydrangea. 




After: New crisp white dental molding, and a bead-board ceiling give character to an otherwise bland exterior.



Before: Now I'm all for ivy if it is well taken care of and kept in check with frequent clippings. But the 'Rabid Ivy Monster' had devoured this side of the house and effectively destroyed the siding in its wake. We even found ivy happily residing in the attic, along with a family of birds. 









After: New crisp white trim, black shutters, and wood shaker shingle siding.




After: The kitchen addition also got the new shaker shingle siding. A new white painted wood pergola offers shade and more character. 



After: New black shutters designed by me and built by Mr. These were one of my favorite new features of the house! In fact, I had several random passers-by who knocked on my door to ask where they could buy them. I even had one lady offer to buy mine right off my house! She was so adamant that I wondered if when I woke up the next morning they would be gone, ripped right off the house by the crazy shutter stalker! She must have found someone else who complied with her wishes because she never came back. 

And yes, that is the reflection of a moving truck in that last picture. I shot these photos as the moving van was being loaded! 

Want to see the inside? Check back tomorrow for the before and after photos of the interior renovations!
 
p.s. I am also posting this over at: 


Before and After Party @ Thrifty Decor Chick
Met Monday @ Between Naps on The Porch

6 comments:

Destination Seaborn said...

What a great transformation! Your hard work definately paid off! Lisa

Marilyn said...

Your transformation is great. I'm glad to see a smaller home as so many are just huge. And what do people need with all the space? Course, I know how to fill it up, so I shouldn't ask! Can't wait to visit tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

Blondie's Journal said...

Wow...you really did a wonderful job with this home. Renovating is your true calling. And I want some of those shutters. Now!!

xoxo
Jane

Pine Tree Home said...

That house has such style. I especially like the cedar and the painted brick.

Cate @ A Tree Lined Street said...

Thanks everyone! Marilyn - I know what you mean. The mcmansion craze has gotten out of hand. Give me a smaller home with more character any day! Jane - you'll have to fight the new owners for them! And you might be in line behind the crazy shutter stalker!

Petite Little Bee said...

Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Lia

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