The “Greenhouse” At Capacity

The “greenhouse” is out of space! Every year we set up a makeshift greenhouse in the dining room. As things begin to grow and weather warms, we gradually move things to an outside greenhouse – the cold house – to begin hardening off the seedlings. Ordinarily we’d have already started moving things into the cold house to make room for new seedlings in the greenhouse, but an unusually cold and wet spring has caused a backlog.

Snapdragons, black-eyed Susan's, white sage and tomatoes Begonias, heliotrope, cosmos, flowering tobacco, verbena and more snaps
Zinnias, lettuce and cutting ageratum

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The New Laundry and Powder Room

Seven months ago we began a journey through uncharted waters in an attempt to add a laundry room and powder to The Old House. At long last the interior is finished! Once the snow melts and weather warms, the work outside will finish.

At only 80 square feet, a lot had to be squeezed into a tiny footprint. We needed a fully functioning laundry room, a mudroom entry, places for tools and gardening supplies and powder room. Our contractor was constantly challenged, not only by the unique problems our house presented, but by our desire to build new to look old.  In talking with several different contractors, he was the only one who grasped the concept and embraced it head on with flinching or complaining about the impossibility of it all. He said, “Anything is possible. We just have to find a way to make it possible.” It was tough, but we manged to do it.

The Laundry Alcove

Shelves over the laundry area serve to store not only laundry items, but garden equipment and supplies. To prevent things from falling behind the washer and dryer, we built a ledge shelf that simply lifts out for servicing the equipment.

The new back door has 12 lites which let the sun stream right into the room giving it a bright and welcoming glow. That was another requirement! We did not want a dark and gloomy space. With wood left over from building the shelves, we made a small shoe bench for under the coat hooks.

The New Back Door The Coat Corner

We were in desperate need of a first floor powder room, and the resulting space is even better than the main bathroom! We used a bird theme and ended with a half “bird” bath. The bird prints are reproductions of Audubon originals. There was some extra room in the powder that enabled us to tuck an ironing and sewing cart in give even more storage.

The Powder Room The Vanity The "Bird" Half Bath Ironing & Sewing Cart

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Yet More Plumbing!

Plumbing in the CisternBuilding the addition to The Old House has been a test of patience and endurance. Nowhere more than with the plumbing, which was a nightmare from the conception of the project until the the installation of the fixtures.

One last battle with the pipes and the cistern beneath the dining room was needed to connect all of the new plumbing with the old. It went unusually smoothly and at long last, the toilet, sink and washer and dryer were installed!

American Standard Toilet and Pedestal American Standard Portsmouth Toilet American Standard Portsmouth Pedestal Sink Vintage Style Moen Faucet New LG Washer and Dryer

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Lighting the Laundry

In keeping with the bronze metal fixture theme in the kitchen, we used a smaller version of the kitchen’s main schoolhouse ceiling light in the laundry room.

Schoolhouse Light Fixture

In the powder room, the center vent with light was required but we wanted a more vintage feel and chose a fixture to go above the mirror with amazing etched glass globes.

Broan Vent with Light Vintage Bronze Fixture With Etched Glass Globes

We were fortunate to find a smaller version of the same light we used on the front porch 15 years ago. However, what made the electrician think the mounting bracket was appropriately sized for the fixture is perplexing. They will be replacing it with an oblong one.

Hanging Door Lantern



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Painting and Papering in Winter

Because of chemically sensitive family members, we never considered painting or wallpapering during winter before because of not being able to ventilate. Building the addition during winter and being able to separate it from the house allowed us to experiment for the first time. With so many great “green” products on the market now, it was something we had wanted to try for several years. And I must say that there are no more reasons to wait until summer to paint!

We love Mythic Paint and have used it for a few years. It is extremely high quality paint that is non toxic and covers beautifully. The odor is very low while applying and gone when dry. We chose to use Whispering Wind for the top part of the walls and decided to to do a faux wainscot below, using Martha Stewart’s beadboard wallpaper. The look is amazing and people have been shocked to learn that it’s wallpaper. The only drawback is that it does ding very easily. But the time and money savings were worth it.

Whispering Wind Paint Color Martha Stewart Beadboard Wallpaper

Since we are appropriately hydrangead all around the outside of The Old House, we felt it only fitting that the mudroom/entry should be the same. So we choose a lovely hydrangea wallpaper border to bring the outside in.

Hydrangea Wallpaper Boarder Beadboard Wainscot

It took some time and debating about what to do with the doors. Do we want to paint them white or do we want to stain them? And it was left until the very last thing to do, even after we started decorating, when it became clear staining was a must.  It provided the perfect contrast and helped to tie the addition in to the older part of the house.

Not wasting anytime, the old laundry equipment was quickly brought in as soon as the plumbing was hooked up! We built shelves above the laundry area and painted them Irish Countryside to match the kitchen cabinets. We were very lucky to find a surplus supply of the same vintage iron brackets we used in the kitchen 20 years ago!

Stained Four-Panel Doors Shelves With Vintage Iron Brackets

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