First, let me be clear, I do love this house. But after we bought this “gem” many things started to surface. 120 Queen St. was a rental property for years and years, with people coming and going. It seemed as though they used this house and it never had the chance to become a home. One of our neighbors told us, that during the 70’s, the house was a brothel…oh my, if the walls could talk, right? Some of the rooms seemed a bit scary and some were just fine. This particular room was one of the worst, it was dark, cramped and filthy, I affectionately called it the “Hell Room.”
There were huge cracks in the walls and ceiling, the floor was beaten up, and even nasty words were scribbled here and there. I washed away the dirt and scrubbed away the words of hate, a name and a record of assumed punishment . The walls were repaired and painted, the evidence was removed. But the feeling of unrest and unhappiness lingered. I still felt a presence of the previous inhabitants and imagined the events that lead up to the written documentation on the walls. It was depressing, for sure.
But... I always feel that when there is despair there is potential for something better. Everything deserves diginity. The room and this house has great potential and can be a good home...and is becoming a good home.
The room received a total makeover, floor to ceiling. And now we are able focus on the large light filled window that drenches the room with a new vibe. It seems as though the walls can breathe and have expanded with new life. It has become such a sweet retreat. It makes you want to curl up with a good book and eventually take a long nap. Sweet Dreams.
Room Renovation List-
Walls-Sherwin Williams - Snowbound 7004
Bedding- Ikea - Skogsalm
BedSkirt – Target Threshold
Bedside Table – Home Goods
Lamp - Home Goods
Mirror – Home Goods
Console Table – Target - Project 62
Roller Shade - Blinds To Go - Naturally Inspired/Oasis
Carpet - Dixie Home - Natural Feilds/Natural Beach (the color is very different from the website always take a look at it in the store and in your home)
The ability to be transported to a place where the distractions of the overwhelming pulls and tugs of everyday is vital for a balanced mind and body. And our home and environment is an essential part of that transformation. This room renovation, which came together in about 4-weeks, used readily available furniture, bedding, and accessories to create a comforting retreat.
I incorporated a personal gallery of recent travels and adhered to a color scheme reminiscent of the natural world. Water, wood, and the sun’s rays are the primary influences. The room promotes relaxation utilizing these elements.
Just like the world today, design can get a little crazy and complicated – I prefer to keep it simple, fresh, comfy, and budget friendly.
My design process
I have been “pinning” all my ideas and sharing them with my client for our collective approval. Here’s the link to the board – it will give you a glimpse into the intention, focus and selections made. https://www.pinterest.com/aliceflint/ssbedroom/
Using Pinterest is one of my favorite ways to collect and share ideas with a client. We both get to post to the board and add our comments. And by editing and organizing the thoughts (pins), the vision of the room starts to reveal itself. Collaboration is an important part of my design process and results in a room that everyone feels great about.
***To be fair the BEFORE picture was taken when the room was filled with the contents of a dorm room. But you get the point.
We had been on a roll…most weekends making lists and gathering up supplies, tackling the projects one by one…then this room happened! We couldn’t wait to have a comfy place to put our feet up at the end of the day, reward ourselves, with some snacks and a sip or two, and watch some movies or sporting events (March Madness has been amazing!) We wanted a place to really unwind, and it happened…we are so chill and happy that we only carve out 4-5 hours of work per weekend, thus not getting anywhere too quickly. And with the anticipation of sharing the “Chestertown Experience” with family and friends we need to cross more off the list. This room isn’t helping us at all, it is now a huge distraction (in a good way.) But, I do think it might have made some things clear to us, what our priorities are, our needs, and the reasons why we purchased this home in the first place. We wanted to escape and recharge. We anticipated putting in a little work bringing this house to a comfortable state. We didn’t know HOW MUCH this home would require. Lesson learned, whatever time and effort you think a renovation will take, double that thought, better yet-triple it! And as we dig deeper and decide what will be done room by room, we feel this old home needs more love to make up for all the years that it suffered. That being said, we decided to hire some more local contractors to help us knock out some more rooms and get the job done a little quicker. Hoping that soon we can get some people down here and introduce them to the beautiful Eastern Shore and all that it can offer the soul. We are pretty psyched with what we have accomplished so far, and look forward to revealing the true potential of this old house. Hopefully a bit quicker than the past couple months.
My favorite upgrades of this room
-Shiplap on the Walls
-Floors were redone (on the first floor) and look amazing
Things still to do
-Mount the TV//hide wires
The slow + steady progression of the Living Room
“Patience,” I repeat this word quietly to myself and occasionally blurt it out. The reno on Queen Street has reaffirmed my belief that patience is very much a virtue, and at times I struggle with being virtuous. We all are travelling in a speedy world that spins so rapidly you feel stuck to its’ perimeter. You never know how to free yourself from its’ grip. So for me, a “slow down” and taking a more relaxed approach to life and projects has been quite refreshing, don’t get me wrong, it took me awhile to feel this way. I am also finding that it gives me time to really research, curate, and evaluate my design decisions and choices. The simmering of ideas and the gradual evolution of a project helps me sleep better at night, too. I am totally relieved with this methodical process. And, I now love the anticipation of completion and enjoy watching the slow reveal.
During the Holidays, while life was whirling around and we were stuck in its’ force, Queen Street got a major update. We had a brand new HVAC system installed in the home. Thus creating a temperature controlled atmosphere both in winter and summer – it was a huge upgrade for the old house! Unfortunately, this is not entirely visible through pictures. It may seem less satisfying, but it freed up a lot of floor space where the radiators and pipes once were. I am super psyched about the update, and look forward to the central air condition during the sticky and muggy Maryland summer days/nights.
For the past two months, the Living room has been our latest project and we have chipped away at it bit by bit. We have “Shiplapped” the walls covering up those 90+ years of wallpaper and paint (no picking for me this time). I love the look and feel and it has created a much cozier room. We primed and painted the walls with Modern Gray paint color SW 7632 by Sherwin-Williams. It is a nice neutral color that gives the shiplap a modern and updated appearance. It will be an easy backdrop to all the furniture and decor that will be installed, as soon as the floors get refinished.
Even though Queen Street has taken its’ sweet old time - it is still rewarding and worth it. At the end of a long day, we get to sit back (with our Beer and Bourbon in hand, respectively) and take pride in accomplishing a little here and there. Satisfied that we keep moving forward…we are getting there.
A quick tour of the new kitchen
Scrambled eggs, omlettes, pancakes, oatmeal, with a piping hot cup of coffee, now being served at 120 Queen St. Yup, the kitchen is done! This is the 3rd kitchen that we have tackled, and I think this will be the last. But I never say, "Never." This kitchen was a little over 100 square ft. so we had to maximize this space the best that we could. I will admit when the cabinets arrived in large boxes and sat waiting in the living room for 2 months, I lost some sleep. Not believing my measurements and carefully planned layout, I worried a bit. As we placed each cabinet in the kitchen it soon revealed that my instinct was pretty good. I wanted a place where we could gather, simple meals could be made and we could focus on the conversations and time spent together. I emphasized SIMPLE as my mantra for this room...I think we achieved that. I love the simple lines, uncomplicated layout, limited color palette, and basic materials used. Nothing fancy just utilizing the basics! It is simply a great kitchen re-do, if I do say so myself!
(just a couple more accents for the walls and it is a wrap!)
a look back at the old kitchen
Ed Fenstemacher- construction basics and beyond
John Duffy-help with the kitchen island countertop
Krauss-sink and faucet
GE-apartment frig and Slide in stove
Ikea-Hammarp Walnut Countertops
Walls Need Love–Wall paper
OXO-best toaster ever!!
Some serious headway was made this past weekend. Confession, we have a helper (Ed) who has come down to guide and focus Bruce and check off the long list of things to do. Ed has flipped some houses in his time and has a wealth of knowledge. I am happy to report he fixed the placement of the kitchen plumbing. YAHOO!
He and Bruce installed the cabinets and did some trim work in the kitchen - all in a Saturday! Ed is good!
In anticipation of the sink and appliances arriving mid-September I put up the wallpaper/backsplash. I was going to go for the white subway tile - but felt it has been used plenty. The more I poked around Pinterest for easier solutions to this wall I started finding some cool products. I decided on wallpaper. Not just any wallpaper - one that was washable, easy to install, and had some choices that I thought were fun! I found Walls Need Love! And I fell in love. The choices were so numerous and cool I had some difficulty narrowing it down. I ordered up a bunch of samples, you have to pay for them but this prevents you from grabbing too many and never being able to make a decision. The best part is, this wallpaper is a big sticker and the "paper" is heavy duty, it doesn't tear, you can peel it off and reinstall when you make a mistake. Peel+Stick, perfect for a novice like me.
I really appreciate the fact that the paper isn't a precion graphic but a warm, cozy, quirky, graphic. None of our walls are straight and this paper just goes with the flow and doesn't accentuate the imperfections. I have been going for a modern farmhouse vibe in the kitchen, and the "Hand Knit" design helps to create that.
Now-bring on the Appliances!!!
alice n. flint
exploring and discovering - always
Not everyday or every weekend will yield a finished project for us. It might just present us with another obstacle. We were excited to put in the kitchen cabinets and install countertops this weekend, BUT, the plumber placed the water lines and drain in the wrong place. After looking at where they should've been place for a very long time we eventually stopped staring and moved in the cabinets that we could. I will admit, I was pissed, disappointed, and dejected, but I moved on.
We already had planned to take the day off on Sunday and take a boatride. I didn't even realize that it was National Dog Day??? But we seemed to celebrate our pup by letting her steal my seat and enjoy the bay breezes. It was a beautiful day and the down time was so needed for morale. When we got home I decided to hang a couple pictures to continue putting the finishing touches on the two bedrooms that we have completed. I want to keep making things look pretty in the midst of the chaos. It worked, I left the house hopeful for the next time.
It's the little things that can make you happy, and ready for more!
We put in the kitchen floor this past weekend...Natty was a bit slow to warm up to it. When we placed the first couple rows down she tip-toed around the perimeter. We thought she might be used to sleeping in saw dust and other construction debris, but after a couple invites, she approved and snoozed out the rest of the installation.
We have used a new clickable vinyl floor with a wood appearance, in the kitchen, breakfast and mud room. The Smartcore Flooring in Brazillian Ipe was easy to install - minus the time I wacked my thumb with the rubber mallet (#@*&%!!!) That was second time blood was shed in this kitchen, I almost ripped my nail off last week while sanding. This had me thinking back to my thoughts that there would be some blood, sweat, and tears involved with the reno of 120 Queen St. The tally so far, LOTS of sweat (HVAC will be installed end of Sept./Oct), a little blood (two of my fingers), no tears...maybe a couple when trying to get grit out of my contacts.
All in all, not too bad...and worth it when at the end of the day a project is complete, and looks darn good!
Plus, Bruce painted the walls City Loft SW 7631 - a nice soft grey/beige, this color is going to be used in many common areas throughout the house!
Cabinets + Appliances up next.
Still some art, furniture, carpet, and accessories are needed ... but the bed, window seat, and shades are perfect!
Remember the "Can o' Worms"? I am happy to say that my instinct to pick, scrape and get down to the nitty gritty with this room paid off. It became a bright, beautiful, and serene place to curl up and relax.
For the walls and ceiling I decided on an easy creamy white, Snowbound from Sherwin Williams. When I rolled out the walls with this paint it kept reminding me of whipped cream! And after it dried it remained a warmer white, not too stark but a clean crisp cozy white.
I plan to use it in the next guestroom too.
I have been making regular trips to Ikea to outfit this house, and this room is no exception. I was super excited when I discovered these tray tables -
Tray table, gray
They have the look, color, and size that I need for this space...and Ikea never dissapoints on price. And did I mention these were sooooo easy to put together.
Also, we have been amazed at the Haugsvar mattresses from Ikea - they come rolled up like big burrito and make it fairly easy to transport and install. When released from the wrapping they pouf into a nice thick mattress. I confess that I did get the wrong size foundation-Espevar (Full instead of Queen) and had to exchange it -- that was a set-back! To my defense the label was so small on the packaging that you needed a magnifying glass to see the size. (or is it my older eyes????)
But Ikea made that easy too!
I am thrilled with the results and a restful night was already spent here.
Now, I am looking forward to putting the finishing touches on this room,
some art and accessories...gotta go shopping!
Oh, also Natty (my dog and construction companion) approves of this room too!
alice n. flint
exploring and discovering - always
WELCOME TO QUEEN ST.
I started in interior design right after I graduated college. I was drafts person for a well know designer on the Main Line (suburb of Philadelphia) ...got married, had a couple kids, always kept myself involved within the design community. Flash forward - I am back to designing interiors. It's Good to be home again!