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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy "early" Birthday to me!!!!!!

Yesterday, I left a message for the short sale negotiator who works with my attorney and asked him to get me an approval as an early birthday gift.  My birthday is next week.  He just left me a voicemail that said, "Happy Birthday!"
WE HAVE AN APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!  Almost 11 months later, the lender agreed to sell the house for the price we offered.
It's not a done deal yet.  We still have to have the inspection and appraisal.  Hopefully all will go well!!!
I'm so happy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Daughter's Room

I have been ashamed of my daughter's furniture and room for a while.  Last year for her birthday we fixed it a little, changed the bedding and curtains and she wanted hot pink lamps so we got them.  Actually, she chose all the new accessories in her room.

Since it was not possible to start decorating the room in the new house yet, I decided to work on her current room as a birthday gift for her.  I tossed around the idea of buying new furniture for her right away, but decided against it.

These are the pieces she had or has in her room:

Her dresser, which never matched the rest of the white pieces in the room. 
It was more of an antique white.

Her dollhouse bookcase.  I'm not sure that we will definitely keep this, but for now it's there.

Her chifforobe.  We bought this when she was born for her first bedroom.
I love this piece.  We had taken it out of her room for about 3 years.

My nightstand when we first got married.

The armoire in our first bedroom as a married couple, 17 years ago.
I love this piece, but didn't like the finish for her room.  Although I didn't like how it looked I
kept it in her room for 3 years, while debating what to do.
I finally decided to paint it white.

I did not like the fact that all the white pieces were noticeably different
shades of white.

We purchased a paint with primer at Home Depot that worked fabulously.  I am extremely pleased
with the ease of applying the paint and the end result.

I will not keep all of these pieces in her room at the new casa.  I have them together
here because I don't have any other place to keep them in the mean time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Laundry Closet

The new casa currently has a laundry room next to the kitchen which leads to the garage.  Since we plan to convert the garage into a family room, we would have to walk from the kitchen to the new family room through the laundry room.  This would not be very attractive.  Eventually we plan to add a new garage to the house and that addition would include a laundry room.  In the meantime, we have to have a pleasing and inexpensive solution.

The laundry room currently has a washer, dryer, sink and an a/c closet.  It has three doorways and a window.  
We plan to knock down the a/c closet (which is on the wall that backs up to the kitchen), that wall and the pantry that is attached in the kitchen.  We want to expand the  opening to the garage (new family room) so that it is easily accessible and spacious.  We'd like to have that area as open as possible so it feels connected to the kitchen somehow.  

The wall that backs up to the front of the house (perpendicular to the wall with the a/c closet) has a sink and also has a pantry in the kitchen.  Once we knock down the wall between the kitchen and the laundry room we will have to either add a second closet from the pantry wall to the washer and dryer closet or just expand the pantry closet to include the sink also.  The pantry currently has the water heater.  I would prefer to move the water heater closer to the sink.   This would be ideal because we would have an L-shaped laundry closet in the area where the current laundry room exists and then we'd just keep the pantry in the kitchen and use that for kitchen storage.

I've included diagrams to explain my rambling thoughts and writing.

I apologize for my child-like floor plans.  I haven't mastered
the use of computer-assisted drawings for floor plans.
I will learn...

This is the view from the kitchen towards the laundry room. 
We plan to eliminate the yellow wall next to the ovens.  The doorway
will also be removed.  The wall just next to the glass table on the left side of the photo
is the pantry.  I may join that with the second closet I will build in the laundry area.

This is another view of the laundry room.  The kitchen will be more comfortable
and will seem enormous once the wall is gone and the opening to the
family room is open and visible.

There's the pantry on the right.

We will add the closet doors just in front of the washer
and dryer in order to save as much space as possible.

This door will be removed and the opening will be enlarged as
much as structurally allowed.  The wall and closet to the right will also be removed.

This is my problem area.  I'm not sure what will be feasible in
this area.  I would love to remove that window and put an
L-shaped closet for all our cleaning supplies, etc.
Of course, the doors must be flexible enough to swing wide open
to allow plenty of space for a satisfactory work space.

We will definitely not go crazy putting a lot of money into the renovation of the laundry area.
This will be temporary until we are able to move forward with the garage addition.
At that time, we will make a "state of the art" laundry room.

Here are some photos of laundry rooms closets that caught my eye for the temporary solution:

By stacking the washer and dryer in this
photo by http://www.quickspecialsale.info/
the laundry area is more comfortable and provides additional

We are considering these doors for the closet
rather than traditional bi-fold doors.
*photo from www.femaleways.com

This photograph provides another alternative to the traditional closet doors.
* Photo from www.bsu.edu

Which will we choose?  Which would you choose?
Post your comments and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ideas for the New Entrance

In the photo above, the area where the branches of the plants almost touch each other is where I'd like to build the new entrance to the house.  The current entrance is tucked away around the side of the house. 
The only way you can find it is by following the walkway.  The door is not visible from the driveway at all.

The site plan for the property is pictures above.

This view of the site plan offers a close-up of the front of the house.

The beautiful interpretation of the design, rendered by moi, is what I'd like
the entrance to look like. 


This area pictured above is where I'd like the new entry built. 

This would be the view from just inside the new front door, looking out through the new windows.  Obviously, the view would be much more beautiful once the landscaping has been cleaned and groomed.

This is the current entrance.  It's not very impressive.

If we build a hallway with windows that extends 10-12 ft. out,
and has windows on both sides with a gorgeous view of the tropical
landscape as soon as you walk in, I think it would be striking!!!

A contractor friend said we could probably knock out the entire box
that surrounds the current entrance.  Apparently none of the
walls are load-bearing.  This means the window in the picture above would be
removed which would give us more space for the "grand" staircase.

I was not able to find an image of exactly what I'd like for the new entrance, however,
I did find some photographs with elements I am considering.

This photo shows the long foyer like ours would have.

Although this is not technically an enclosed foyer, it has a similar look to what I'd like.
Many windows all along one side, leading to the living areas.

This is a photo of a porch, but again, has the wall of windows
which I look forward to having in the new foyer.

I love the idea of having so many windows overlooking the tropical landscaping.

A hallway leading to the living areas is shown in the photograph.

I wish I could have found a larger version of this photograph. 
This is exactly what the sides of the
foyer would look like with the wall to wall windows on both sides. 

This photo has the door in this same position ours would be.
Just beyond they have a large floor-to-ceiling window in the
same position we would have the side window.  This window would be in the exact
opposite position as the current door.

What do you think?  What would you do?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Short Sale Update

It seems the bank is in the last stages of approval of the short sale. 
We should have our approval by the end of the week.
I can't wait!!!!
It's almost here...which means in less than 2 months will be in there doing what needs to be done...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sneak Peak at Preliminary Floorplans

Ever since I went to the house, I've been fiddling with the floor plan. I spent all day Saturday looking at inspirational photographs and drawing and re-drawing the plans.

My drawings aren't very clear and they are messy because I wrote notes all over the place.  Hopefully you'll be able to understand what I'd like to do.
The first image shows the plan of the entire property.  The red and/or brown lines represent new construction or additions to the existing building.

The image below is my interpretation of ideas I have for transforming the outdoor living area.  The area closest to the bottom of the page is where the existing garage is today.  I hope to remodel that area and make that a family room with doors that open completely to the outdoors on two walls (one that faces the pool and the other that faces the new outdoor area).

The entire area would be covered with a permanent roof structure.  They will have partial walls to the west side of the property.
The first area when you step out of the family room would be the outdoor lounging room.  This area would have a fireplace, a large television set and plenty of comfy couches.  I would like to add benches throughout the two areas for storage and seating.  In the area between the living area and the dining area I would like to create a double bench 4ft wide by 7 ft long.  I would like an opening in the center and an exact duplicate bench right across.  The double bench would be big enough to accommodate a twin mattress and plenty of cushions for hanging out. 

The dining area which extends at an angle towards the northwest corner of the property would have the outdoor kitchen and a large dining table.  In addition, I would add a long storage bench along the perimeter of the space that extends out on a diagonal.  We'll move some of the existing palms into the angle just between the bench and the daybed.

The pool deck will be extended on the northeast side. The pool will be enlarged to eliminate the large amount of corners.  By enlarging both, we would ensure plenty of space in the pool and on the deck.  Just beyond the pool deck I plan to add two daybeds (with queen-size mattresses) and a water feature with a basin in between.  Sleek and contemporary-looking grasses and or papyrus plants will be incorporated in the design.

I would love to have different levels and to be able to incorporate steps and dimensions throughout the site.  However, I am leaning towards not doing it.  I want everyone to be able to get around the area comfortable and without fear of falling.  I haven't made a final decision regarding the "levels" yet, and I don't even know if it would be a possibility until I speak to the architect.  We'll see what happens...

These are some of the ideas I'm thinking about:

I like this look for the water feature and basin between the daybeds. 
The grasses would have to be behind the wall and the wall should be
attached to the basin so the water flows into it.
This was the original idea I liked from an episode of Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie.
 I have since changed my mind. 
I would like a smaller wall and basin (probable half the size of this one.  I probably won't put furniture in it,
but would like the option in case, one day we decide to do it for fun.

Not as small as this one:

I like the size of the water feature below, but I like the fountain of the one above.

These are the daybeds I'd like to add to each side of the water feature. 
I like the daybed below but instead of two small cushions I will
have one large mattress on each.


These are example of what we would like for the fireplace in the outdoor living area.  We like the TV directly over the fireplace.  I don't necessarily want this style of fireplace, however I like the structure.  I like that is is centered in the area and has open areas on either side, to promote a breezy, comfortable sitting area.

I like the fireplace below because it sits in the center of the "wall" like the previous fireplace. 
My favorite thing about it is the ledge that extends below it.  It can be used to place things or for sitting.  I like the look and it serves a dual purpose. I think a combination of both of these designs would be perfect for our space.  The height and width of the structure pictured in the first photograph and the ledge and contemporary finish (without brick detail) of the second fireplace.

I can't wait to sit in our outdoor living room during our very cold Florida winter (ha! ha!).  We might not have horrible winters, but the evenings do get a little chilly during those months and it would be the only time to enjoy a fire in Miami.  We could also use it to roast marshmallows, so it won't go to waste.   Its all good!

Below are examples of the benches I like.  They also serve dual purposes for sitting and storage.

 Below is the double-wide bench I would like to install between the living area and the dining area.

I even take photos of the TV screen when it is paused so I don't forget ideas I like.

I included this last image because it is similar to what I imagine the property will be like when everything is finished.  The building is close to the pool as in my casa.  I think our outdoor living area will be as large as the one in the picture. 

What are your thoughts on this project?  Would you change anything?  Would you add anything?  It's not too late...I'd love to hear any suggestions and ideas!  Let me know...

*Images from Google Images, HGTV shows, HGTV.com, traditionalhome.com