And so it begins, after all the gut-wrenching, agonizing, and debating, the final plan goes into action. Note: the plan below is version 21B—meaning my friend, travel “husband,” and fabulously talented architect, John Gilmer, and I have gone through 21 different iterations of the house until we started knocking down walls! Version 1 was about three times over the amount I wanted to spend. What can I say? John and I both have champagne tastes but I’m on a Poland Spring water budget! So, we got realistic. We whittled. We got smarter and months later we had hammered out a wonderful plan that met my needs and my budget. . . so far – fingers crossed.
Above, John and I at Castle Coole during our Palladian Ireland tour. We met because of Mum. She invited me to accompany her on an architectural tour of Sweden (launching my passion for such adventures). John and I were seated next to one another at our welcome dinner and we’ve been fast friends and traveling companions ever since! I am forever grateful for that trip to Sweden! Thanks, Mum.
Above, John and Stephen Drucker with Nicky Haslam when we toured John Folwer’s hunting lodge, lovingly and fabulously restored by Haslam.
Below, the astounding Drottningholm in Sweden…..
I think visiting places and palaces like this may have contributed to my champagne tastes?
Below, you see Mum’s house’s original layout, followed by the new floor plan. The house was built in 1950, and it seems back then there was an entirely different way of designating and dividing up space. My mother had done some renovations ten years ago (she preferred to spend on the garden rather than on the house), adding the sunroom by enclosing what had been a screened porch, updating the downstairs bathroom – which I feel bad about ripping out, and updating the kitchen which I am leaving mostly in tact.
New floor plan below…
What I learned from living in my midcentury ranch house is that I like open space that can morph into whatever you need it to be—intimate dining or full-on entertaining, reading quietly by the fire or watching movies on the small screen with my Berkshire International Film Festival friends.
The big change is taking the original living room and turning it into a downstairs master bedroom. I was thinking of aging Clumber Spaniels who hate stairs and resale value. Taking the living room for the master created the need to open up the original sitting room by the kitchen and making it into the living room.
In the end, John and I really liked the configuration, where conversation can flow from the kitchen into the great room and through the dining room. That open space will give me lots of flexibility for entertaining, whether it’s for two or twenty, and, of course, for decorating. . . .
On that note, I’ll mention today’s giveaway—and it’s a doozy. To win a $500 Pine Cone Hill gift card, all you have to do is write a comment below telling us which part of your house you’d most like to renovate. The contest begins on Tuesday, May 15, and runs through Thursday, May 17, at 11:59 p.m. EST! (Read the full contest rules here.)
Congratulations to our winner, Jennifer from Massachusetts!