Living Room: Before & After

The living room was the first area we wanted to tackle when we moved in. It really only needed cosmetic changes and having a comfortable living room was something that would help us feel somewhat normal in the chaos of unpacking. So within the first two days, I set up the room with some of our furniture. This helped us breathe a sigh of relief every time we walked into the room as we endured the ever growing stack of moving boxes.
First we removed the heavy draperies that had been attached to a faux trim piece on our largest window. Just getting off those stained, dirty curtains made the world of difference with the room. Our first road block came to taking down the wood attachment. Instead of being nailed into the wall, they had been screwed into the original wood trim. As Mikael tried to take down the piece, it became clear that the screws were nearly stripped and it was impossible to use the drill. Eventually, I suggested using a smaller hand screwdriver, which with some effort finished the job. 
We then went on one of many trips to Ikea to pick up new curtains and a new couch. We chose white curtains that were sheer enough to allow in the morning light and brighten the room. We also picked up the Landskrona sofa. It features the midcentury modern style and comes in a variety of leather colors. We chose the black leather as it draws in a more modern feel to the room and will wear well. So much better!
The next step with the room was to paint. Initially when I thought about this task, it seemed like it would just be a simple coat of paint. But as we started preparing, we realized some of the plaster was cracking pretty badly. So as I started taping off the room, Mikael fixed the plaster by tapping out the bad plaster, filling it in with a plaster repair, and sanding that plaster down to be flush with the wall. 
As I dreamed about wall colors, I knew I didn't want to simply paint it white, but the green avocado and mint had to go. As you look at our trim, it has a rich chestnut brown color to it and I knew I had to contrast against that hue. For if we had gone with a warm color, it would bring out the orange-notes in the wood. (No thanks.) So it had to have cool undertones. We ended up choosing Benjamin Moore's Winter Solstice. It is a cool grey with a slight touch of blue - perfect to neutralize any orange-iness in the trim.
We are so happy with how it turned out! The color is beautiful against the trim and adds a level of sophistication to the whole room. However, in the future, perhaps we would have chosen a grey that seems a little less blue as in certain light it looks like a pale blue!

Eventually, we plan on adding crown molding that matches the baseboards. Also, did you notice the box in the middle of the wall that juts out about two inches? That's where the old fireplace used to be. We have no idea why the old homeowners took out the original fireplace, but it is definitely gone. So in the future we want to find a historic wood mantel and put in a gas fireplace. That will make the room so cozy and return it to its original glory! Hopefully that will happen before next Christmas!

First Home Tour

Alright guys, we are super excited and a bit nervous to show you our first house tour. This is the state of our home before we moved in - so what you are seeing is what we saw when we toured during the buying process. It's pretty much from this state, minus the furniture, that we have begun work. We wanted to show you just where we started from so you can get a sense of the progress we are making with each and every room! Some definitely need more work than others to achieve our style, so it's going to be a work in progress for quite a while.

This is a close up of our front door. Eventually we would love to have it re-finished by a carpenter to update the stain and fix the cracks that have come from its exposure to the elements. We adore the detailed woodwork of the door and the antique door handle! We plan to add a historic plaque (we live in a home on the National Register for historic homes) and a copper mailbox. (The curtain has come down already.)

This is the front foyer, just as you walk in the front door. The walls are mint and an avocado , if you can't tell. One thing that made us fall in the house is the detailed staircase in this room. It makes it feel like such a grand and historic entrance. We plan on painting the walls a white, taking down that wallpaper (there's another layer underneath!), and putting in a more stately chandelier.

landing between the first and second floors

This is the living room and it also has a mix of mint and avocado wall colors. We adore the leaded glass windows and chandelier. The wall in the middle, juts out a bit and is where the fireplace used to be. We plan on eventually opening up the wall and putting in a gas fireplace. We also will be painting the walls a light grey color. 

a view of the largest leaded glass window from the dining room

The dining room is one of my favorite rooms because of its bay windows and built-in hutch. It too has the mix of green wall colors. We've already taken down the curtains and plan on painting the room in a darker grey soon! The chandelier from the front foyer (it's a twin to that in the living room) will be moved in here. Our biggest challenge will be finding an art piece to fill our big wall (on the right)!

Here's a panorama of our kitchen. This is going to be one of our biggest renovation projects to tackle this year. Essentially we are going to gut everything. The cabinets are from the 40s or so and unfortunately are unsalvageable. We have so much inspiration for this room and I can't wait to show you just what we have in mind!

This is the mudroom located behind the kitchen. We ultimately hope to redo the room to make it an efficient laundry room and mudroom. 

Here is the landing and hallway on the second floor. On this floor we have four bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a linen closet. We'll be taking down the wallpaper and eventually refinish our floors to their original darker color.

Here's our first guest bedroom. We'll eventually be repainting this room (color TBD).

Here's the second guest bedroom. Right now it is pretty much sitting empty as we don't have a third bed for it just yet! It's a funky room as it also has an external door that leads to a sitting porch (door pictured here). That's going to be a big project and really not to high on our priority list.

This is bedroom number 3, but it is going to serve as my craft room for the time being. It has two nice big windows that face the south and the east. It also has this odd sink in the closet, but it will be perfect for cleaning paints! (Those curtains have already been taken down too!)

The fourth bedroom is being used as an office and, unfortunately, I don't really have any decent pictures of the room in its entirety, but this is a corner with the closet. Eventually this room will house our books and tech items.

This is the master bedroom. Essentially, we are making the entire third floor a massive master suite with a large bathroom and walk-in closet. Here in this nook is where our bed sits. 

master bathroom and additional toilet room to the left
walk-in closet looking into the master bedroom

The next few photos feature the basement. Although it is functional as a living space with 8' ceilings, it is unfinished and will need quite a bit of work. It's one of our longer term goals to drywall it in and make it another living room. For now, it is a storage space, the cats apartment, our workout room, the laundry room, and a stand-by kitchen for when we eventually remodel.

the kitchen/laundry room

Finally, here's a view of the back of the house from the backyard. I can't wait to tackle this area in the spring to grow a beautiful garden. We're thinking about extending out the porch further for an outdoor dining and living area - perfect for those summer night grill-outs!

Our Old Place

December was a busy month for us as we bought our new house and sold our condo. We absolutely adored our condo - situated in the heart of downtown Kansas City, we were literally steps away from our favorite pizza place, the grocery store, and the Crossroads arts district. Not only was it convenient, but our loft was a gorgeous space with tall 11' ceilings, cement floors, and a view that looked out over the city. The architecture encouraged a modern design with furniture. Mikael was drawn to midcentury modern style nearly 7 years ago because of its clean lines and unique styling. Once I moved in, I fell in love with the style as well. It's something we want to continue in our new home, but it's going to require a bit of blending with some of my antique pieces and the 114 year old architecture. 

So here's a look at our old place with all of our furniture and eclectic modern style. Next weekend we'll be unveiling our first house tour! We can't wait to show you our starting state before big things start happening!

Our Adventure

It's time for a fresh start with a new home, new neighborhood, and new blog. I have left my old blog, History & High Heels for this new adventure with my husband, Mikael, detailing our life in our new (old) home in Midtown, Kansas City! While it is bittersweet to give up the fashion blog I had written for almost 5 years, it is nice to begin again - just like what's happening to this house. 

We bought a 114 year old American Foursquare in the heart of Kansas City. When we first saw the house, we were drawn immediately to the ornate original woodwork that adorned the entire place. The built-in hutch in the dining room, beautifully detailed stairway in the front foyer, the wood trim and floors throughout, and the bold glass and wood door all spoke of the character of this historic house. However, with an old house comes all of the renovations and surprises that always arise. So we are going to keep busy.

Thankfully, Mikael is incredibly handy and what he can't do he researches so that he can. While I may not be so technically helpful, I bring a love for all things design. Here on this blog, we'll be detailing our life here in Kansas City - the ups and down of renovating a century-old Foursquare and decorating it with our modern eclectic style. So stick with us here as we bring together old and new and sharing a bit about our lives and inspiration along the way!