Our Little House

Home Renovation, Personal

Sprial-Staircase---Amy-Sia
We’ve now owned our house for just over three years and it’s still far from looking like the home we want it to. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to this, e.g. the fact that it’s divided into two completely separate 600sf apartments (upstair/downstairs) with only outdoor stairs; it’s also a 1919 little craftsman cottage, and though the electrical has been redone, that’s really about it. Shortly after moving in we redid the upstairs bathroom because it was just awful, and we love it (it’s now white and black subway tile, black walls and hexagon floors); we loved it so much we stopped all remodeling after that!

The biggest challenge in deciding what to do with our house has really laid on the fact that it’s divided. We had thought of remodeling both apartments, renting them out, and hopefully moving somewhere with a little more space, but when the City informed us that we weren’t actually supposed to have two apartments, and that whoever did that did it without a permit *insert frustrated sigh here*, it kinda of really threw us off balance.
After about three months of trying to figure out what to do and sitting down with our favourite architect, we realised that there was only one option: making it one 1200sf house. Though it was frustrating that all of a sudden we were forced into one option, it did provide some clarity. After all, we do live in a great neighborhood: we’re pretty much smack down the middle of town, down the street from the river and one of the best parks in the city (which will be handy for when kiddies come along), and from what I hear, a great school district (again, for when kiddies come along).

We’re still trying to figure it out, but the gist of it *insert super excited face here* is putting in a spiral staircase, making a master bedroom downstairs with a walk-in closet (can I get an Amen?!), converting the old living room into a small bedroom, the old bedroom would become a landing and hang out area. The upstairs would remain pretty much the same, the bedroom will be an office/guest crashing quarters, and eventually we’ll redo the kitchen because God knows it needs it!

Of course, this is all going to take a while, we like to do things mostly debt free which means that sometimes things take twice as long and we also want to make sure we LOVE everything we do, but now we have direction! And below you can see my inspiration (it’s mostly decor, but you see where I’m going with it)….

Heylen-Thienes---Home-Renovation-Inspiration

I would love to know what your favourite home decor and remodeling blogs are, or send me your pinterest board links, I’m ready for ideas and inspiration!

XO
H

PS: If you’d like to follow the remodeling journey or just keep in touch, hit me up on Instagram!
Pictures credits starting from the top: Amy Sia, Garance Dore, New York Times.

Jefferson Millhouse pt4

Collaboration, Jefferson Millhouse

HeylenThienes-_-152-Bath-&-BedR: Original sink, Tile from Dal-Tile in Bend.  L: Light fixtures from Home Depot, duvet covers from Ikea

Continuing this series of how this forgotten little house became a cute vacation home, today I wanted to share the after pictures.  In previous posts I mentioned the state it was in, planning and scheming our vision for the house, and getting down + dirty and taking the house back to the studs.

One of my favourite things about working on this project, was seeing how proud everybody who worked on it was, from the floor guys to the landscaper, from the cabinet maker to the painters.  All the planning and research paid off.

Doing your research and planning is half the job, as without it you’re going to get lost and overwhelmed.  But make sure you leave room for spontaneity and take advantage of opportunities.  As we started to execute our plan, Seth’s uncle found out that his friend had just acquired two trees that had naturally fallen on the McKenzie Hwy: a Doug Fir and a Chinkapin, and they would both be enough for all the woodwork needed in both units; so the kitchen, counters, trim and benches in both units are all made from one single tree respectively.

Being open to opportunities like this enables you to make your home (or project) unique, give it character and a story.  Our guests have LOVED hearing about this.

HeylenThienes-_-156-Kitchen HeylenThienes-_-152-KitchenTop Left: Custom Kitchen, Restored Light fixture, Farmhouse sink from Home Depot. Top Right: Wing Chair from family piece, Southwest Cushion Covers Iron Horse, Sofa bed Urban Outfitters. Bottom Left:  Hardware from Vintage Hardware, Restored Sink. Bottom Right: Custom Chinkapin Kitchen, light above sink is antique

As the project started to wrap, it was my job to go furniture shopping.  We had discussed that we wanted one side to pay homage to the era the house was built in, and the other side to be more modern and rugged giving each side its own personality.  We foraged countless of thrift and antique shops from Jacksonville, Or to Portland, Or in search of unique and functional pieces to mix in with others from big box stores; patience is key to this, as is having a plan and keeping your eyes opened.  Once you’ve envisioned what you want, tell/describe it to all your friends, so they can also keep an eye out for you – this is how we found a lot of things (like WW2 trunks that became a side table).

The most important thing to know, is that whether it’s your vacation house, a paid project or the place you call home, it’ll take time to get it to look the way you want it (see this interview/home tour), and you’re not going to find all the perfect pieces at once – and that’s what makes the whole experience so beautiful!

HeylenThienes-_-JM-PicturesBottom Left: Side table from Redoux, Lamp from Ikea, Duvet covers Pottery Barn. Top Left: All Hardware from  from Vintage tubs, Original claw foot tub. Bottom: Sofa bed from Urban Outfitters, Lights from Target and Customized, Side table and beige chair from Wold Market, WW2 trunks second hand, Antique 1900’s phone.

If you would like to see all the pictures and have more info on how you can stay at Jefferson Millhouse, please visit the Facebook page! And if you live in Bend, Oregon and would like a list of our subcontractors (who we highly recommend), leave a comment below and I can email it to you!

Next time: How the branding and launch came along!

 

Jefferson Millhouse: Part 3 – From the Ground Up

Jefferson Millhouse, Remodel

HeylenThienes | Kitchen + Bathroom

Last time I shared about Jefferson Millhouse, I posted the mood board we used to spring from and get direction for this little house.  It was probably one of the most useful things we did right at the beginning so we (my husband, his uncle and I) could all be on the same page.  Having an idea of what we wanted to do helped us in planning every detail, from room sizes, tile, and paint, to finding out how and who could restore the original tub.  Blogger and graphic designer Shauna Haider just also shared how important knowing what you want at the beginning of a remodel is, you can  read her post here.

If you want to be even more prepared you should also make a lighting plan, that way when your electrician (one of the more expensive parts of the project) comes, he knows exactly what to do and it’ll end up costing you less!

HeylenThienes | Jefferson Teardown

The above picture pretty sums it all up – we took both sides of the house down to the studs, and started fresh.  So much needed to be done that this was the best way to restore it to the extent we wanted to.

These are some of the thing we improved, replaced and or brought up to code:

1. Plumbing

2. Electrical

3. Insulation & spanking new drywall

4. Restored the hardwood floor where we could and installed new floor where we couldn’t

5. Tiled the bathrooms

6. Brand new, custom made kitchens

7. Added a reading nook to with a window to make the bedroom legal!

If you can’t wait to see it all finished, head over to our Facebook  or Airbnb pages and check it out, and read the previous posts here.

Photos by Stefanie Holland and myself.

Jefferson Millhouse: Part 2

Jefferson Millhouse, Personal, Remodel

Last week I started sharing the journey that took us from buying a little mill house close to downtown Bend, to turning it into a vacation home. Soon after we got over the joy and, believe it or not, the adrenaline rush of having a winning bid at the Sheriff’s office, we started scheming and planning what we wanted to do with the house.

One thing that has always been important to us is being true to the character and history of a house, so needless to say that was the primary plan for this one.  As we started doing more research (with the help of the really nice lady at the Deschutes Historical Society), we found out that the purpose of the houses built in this neighborhood was to house the workers from the mills owned by Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company and Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company, who had competing mills across from each other (with the Deschutes River going between them).  This explained why it was built as a small duplex. The mills were the primary industry in Bend at the time and having workers living close by proved handy.

This small bit of history created the backdrop for our vision. It was really easy to get behind this too, especially since Seth’s family has a logging background, so it just made it that much more unique.  His grandpa was a logger, as were his dad and his uncle at various times in their lives, sometimes even all working together.

Once that part of the research was over it was time to translate it into something we could work with. We wanted to honor its milling background, but it needed to serve modern day needs, and it needed to have a twist otherwise it just wouldn’t be us, somewhere a mill house and modern cabin, with a mixture of comfort, character and practicality.

HeylenThienes | Jefferson Moodboard

We gathered images that represented our vision for inspiration and went from there, we specially looked at Roman and Wiliams’ work, (they designed the interiors for the NY Ace hotel and Facebook’s new Cafeteria) as their style really aligned with the look we wanted to achieve.  We decided to keep the colors within the era (Sherwin Williams has great information on period paint colors), but add some pops whether it was through paint or decoration.  If you’re remodeling, or planning to make some changes to your home, I would strongly recommend starting with a mood board, as it really helps to see how things look and work together.

If you don’t want to wait for all the posts and want to see what the house looks like after all the remodeling you can see it here and here. Or you can visit the Facebook page!

Jefferson Millhouse: Part 1

Collaboration, Jefferson Millhouse, Personal, Remodel

Last year I got to be part of a very unique remodeling project alongside my husband. He and his uncle remodel homes here in Bend, Oregon, often transforming them from something you wouldn’t want to set foot in, to wanting to make it your forever home. Well this project was like nothing I‘d ever done before, sure, I’d watched them draw up plans, tear down walls and build beautiful bathrooms, but had never been part of the process as closely as with this one.

In December 2012 they bought a little craftsman 1920’s mill house at an auction, and while the house, which was split in to two separate living units, had a ton of character – with original claw foot tubs and hardwood floors – it was in desperate need of love (it also had original wiring).  There were so many unique things about this house, from its history and how it rang a bell with my husband’s family history, to the way it was so conveniently located – close to downtown, the river, the Old Mill District… It was easy to see from the start that this project was going to be different.

As a result, after a lot of discussing and planning the goal became to keep the house as a vacation home and not put it back up for sale (for now, anyway). My job was to give them some art direction in how to make this home a place where people would want to come and dwell in on weekends, holidays etc; from researching colors, light fixtures, bathroom designs to staging the home and designing the visual identity, bringing everything together. I had never done this before, so not only was it a huge challenge and learning experience, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Since this project was (and still is) so special to us, so many people were involved and so many people always ask us about it, I wanted to share a bit about the process and show you how it all came together.

Going from this:

Jefferson Millhouse | BeforePhoto: Google Maps

To this:

Jefferson Millhouse | AfterPhoto: Stefanie Holland

If you can’t wait until I post all the after pictures, you can see current pictures here and here