It’s a "Before" Blog

Hi Friends!!!
Oh it’s been too long, but I’m hoping this next project will have been worth the wait! If you are a Storybook Homes follower you know that over the last year I have been working on custom projects for real clients, myself included:
First, there was the demolished and rebuilt Nantucket traditional house on Oliver:
Then there was my mid mod house on Carl Stuart:
I know I still owe you a complete “after package” on Carl Stuart but we moved in prematurely before the punch list was completed so there are a few more things I’d like to take care of before I post pics- you understand, right??
And currently, I am in the final days of the New Orleans Greek Revival house on Davis…
(come back soon for the after pics on this one)
While it has been a fun experience working with real-life people to help cultivate and create the homes of their imagination; I have desperately missed the creative process of letting a story dictate the design and renovation of a home. I mean, I did try to keep a vague story running through my head throughout these client projects, simply to help maintain a cohesive style, but the final design choices were made by the client, not the story- lucky for me my clients had great taste. I just find that when I focus on telling a story rather than pleasing a client I am more inclined to think outside the box and take greater design risks. Now granted most of these “risks” are not for everyone but it’s often these story led ideas in a storybook flip that captures the attention and the heart of the perfect future homeowner- it’s just cool how it happens. 
So when the mother/son realtor team, Chris and Cindy Bell, contacted me about a potential flip I jumped at the chance to go look. At the time, I was in the final days of the Oliver project, Carl Stuart was barely in the dry, and Davis was patiently waiting in the wings to get started, so I knew there was no way I could start another project. But I figured, if the price was right, I might be able to afford to let it sit for a while or even allow a renter to move in until we were ready to renovate.  Unfortunately, the renter idea was squelched before we even made it inside the house. The front door was broken and permanently ajar and the side door looked like it had been kicked in.  Inside we were greeted by the sweetest elderly couple. It was obvious their declining health had not allowed them to keep up the day to day maintenance of their home for quite some time. It was truly heartbreaking, the floors were sinking in multiple places and 1 side of the house seemed to be tilting away from the rest of the structure. They had held on as long as they could but needed to move to a safer and healthier environment.  With the help of the Bells and the couple’s bank, we were able to purchase the house at a price that allowed the couple to move on and gave us a workable budget to do the necessary renovation.  So without further ado let me introduce you to 143 Oliver:
 
She’s pretty big for a Storybook home at just under 2100 sq feet.  You wanna go inside??
I’ll take you in through the front door (the sweet couple had a new door installed before we closed):
The front door leads directly into the living room.
A fireplace!!! It doesn’t work, but I still love that it’s there.  
 
To the left of the fireplace you enter into the dining room:
Sorry, I neglected to get a picture of the dining room before the demo started. That lath and plaster debris is evidence that our dumpster costs and dust counts were high throughout the demolition. 
 
Through that small door is the kitchen:
That reminds me… I asked the demo team to save that hutch for me. Hmmm, I don’t recall seeing it for awhile…
On the other side of the house was a hall with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms:
Then past the kitchen, there was a pantry area and a cool enclosed porch looking area:
And then there was another small bedroom in that area:
Outside there is an attached storage area that I heard used to be part of a dairy farm. 
Believe me, I almost let myself get lost in a dairy farm story but I did not trust myself with all the cowhide possibilities. So rather, I waited for the space to be completely cleared out and gutted before I started looking and listening for the story this home wanted to tell. 
Over the last 6 months, we have ever so slowly been putting this house back together. In fact, it has been my lack of attention at this house that motivated and wrote her story. And oh I LOVE the sweet story she tells- I hope to get to share it with you before the end of the summer. In the meantime, thanks for spending a little time with me today. I hope it’s not too long before we can do it again.  
♡-Niki
PS- If you’re curious…. The new floor plan hosts 4 bedrooms (5 if you count the office) and 2 baths. Projected price: Somewhere around $250k for the house with a fully furnished and decorated package yet to be determined by Waterhouse Market. Open House Party projected to be Late July or August! Can’t wait to see you!

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