Low Tide High Style; Guest House Tour

I am happy to announce the beginning of my home tours starting with Low Tide High Style.  Kat linked up a few of her projects to my weekly party that I fell in love with, so I asked her to participate.  I hope you all enjoy it.

Thanks Kat!

When Cassity asked me if I wanted to have my home featured on her wonderful blog I was completely thrilled and honored!  As a freelance writer, I’m normally the one writing about other people’s homes, and had never really considered having my own home featured anywhere other than on my blog. So when it came time to put this post together, I was suddenly terrified at the idea of having the spotlight turned around on my house, and for once I completely understood how the people I write about feel when I tell them a photographer will be poking around their homes.  Would everything look ok?  Did I vacuum and dust enough, and what about those darn cobwebs that seem to pop up overnight…would those show up?!! Cassity, being the sweet and kind person that she is sent me a simple email which allayed all my fears.  She said to simply show you what I love about my house.  Well that’s easy, I do love so many things about my house like where it’s located, the wonderful breezes we get, the huge amounts of natural sunlight that comes streaming in, and how after years of living in a neighborhood I now have a little breathing room all around me.  I also love that after a few years of remodeling, our home finally reflects who we are and how we live. If someone asked me what my favorite room in the house was, I would not hesitate for even a moment before saying that the kitchen is truly my favorite room.  We completely gutted the kitchen and started from scratch after living here for a few years.


Above is how the kitchen looked just before we bought the house.  You can see the pickled wood cabinetry which was dated, the mauve countertops, and the ceramic tile floor which was installed by the previous owners and had been laid incorrectly so it was cracked and in poor shape.  Although the kitchen was in good shape, it did not have the storage that we really needed and we just weren’t happy with how the space flowed.

Today, our kitchen is the realization of a dream come true.  I had always dreamt of having a black and white kitchen, the kind that reminds you of your grandmother’s house with pies cooling on the window sill and a big Sunday dinner cooking on the stove. The kitchen remodel took 4 months from tear out to being a functioning kitchen again.  During that time we ate a lot of peanut butter and cottage cheese, and the waiters at a local Mexican Restaurant got to know us very well!  We added another doorway, eliminated the peninsula and opted for a center island with bar sink instead.  The custom cabinetry allowed us to configure the kitchen in a way that provides us with wonderful flow, plenty of storage, and it has truly become the heart of the house.

There is still more work to be done in the kitchen.  The backsplash needs to be installed, which will consist of beadboard along the window wall,  while bronze sea life tiles set into an onyx mosaic (pictured above) will go above the range.  The bronze tiles were my one big splurge, they are handmade and cost $60.00 a piece, but since they will be a focal point I wanted something that would really make a statement.

 I really wanted the cabinets to resemble pieces of furniture so our wonderful cabinetmaker added lots of detailing wherever he could such as on the sink cabinet shown above.

 The pendant lights over the island are made by Troy Lighting and are part of their Owings Mills Collection.

A bargain hunter by nature, I found as many items for the kitchen as I could on sale or at deeply discounted prices.  The soapstone farm sink was half off from Green Mountain Soapstone and cost $400.00, less than many stainless steel undermount sinks these days.  And every single faucet, including the insta-hot, came from Ebay, some of them were 90% off the retail price!  By planning ahead, buying discounted items well in advance, and being willing to compromise on some things, you truly can get a kitchen that looks like a million bucks, but doesn’t cost that much!  We opted not to buy professional grade appliances, and by doing that I was able to get custom inset cabinetry which was only a few thousand dollars more than semi-custom and it had the look and features I really wanted.

Because storage was the primary reason for the remodel, we built not one but two pantries.  One holds all of our food and paper products, while the one pictured above is for glassware and dish storage.  The doors in the middle cleverly conceal our microwave.  By placing it inside the cabinet instead of over the range I was able to get a hood, which is both powerful and pretty to look at.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have to have places to put my quirky finds, so we added a small tiger maple topped hutch with open shelves where I can put all of my tea “stuff”.  It has open shelving above for my other special items and seasonal decor.  We also added a few open shelves to one side of the island for basket storage, it’s perfect for having quick and easy access to some of my bread baskets.
The kitchen was not the only room touched by our recent remodel.  Every room in the house had something done to it, whether it was installing new windows, adding hardwood floors, or tearing down walls.
 The living room and dining room also underwent major changes.  When we first bought the house it was very compartmentalized with lots of individual rooms.  When you walked in the front door you were immediately greeted by a wall.  A second wall separated the living room and dining room.
The two photos above where taken with the previous owner’s furnishings and show just how dark and cramped the living room and dining rooms were.
Because we wanted a more open concept, we decided to remove the walls that separated the living and dining rooms, to create one big open space for entertaining.  It also allowed wonderful flow from the kitchen into both rooms and made the space feel much bigger and brighter after taking out the walls.
Now when you enter the front door you are greeted by a bright, open airy space instead of a wall.  The Duncan Phyfe dining room suite was something I inherited from my maternal grandparents.  The buffet backs up nicely against the couch and helps to define the two rooms.
The living room now serves as our main TV watching area.  Because I like the advantages of having a big screen television, but don’t like staring at one when it’s not in use, we found this great entertainment center to hide all of our electronic equipment.
Now that the walls are gone, you can look out of either of the windows on the east side of the house to take full advantage of the water views.
Pocket doors can be closed to help separate the living and dining areas from the rest of the house.  This was important since our son often has friends over to watch movies in this room, while we are working on our computers in the nearby office.
Although the two rooms have a more formal feel than found throughout the rest of the house, they are still rooms that we use daily.  Aside from the pieces we inherited, I tried to pick comfortable seating so that people would feel comfortable and welcome in both spaces.
I also tried to decorate the living and dining rooms with pieces that gave a nod to the home’s waterfront location, without becoming to theme oriented or over the top.  I find inspiration in magazines, online, and from visiting other people’s homes, but I think where your house is located and the nature that surrounds it should be where you draw your greatest inspiration.  We have lots of blues, greens, and sand colors around us, so that was the palette that I chose to use in the house.
I also tried to keep the rooms fresh by introducing new pieces of furniture to blend with old family heirlooms.  The antique Hepplewhite chest of drawers is another inherited piece, while the black glass sided cabinet was a new purchase.  In addition to looking great, both of these pieces provide much needed storage for linens, serving pieces, or just some of my collections.
I also love having something unexpected in a room, like this giant round metal chandelier.  It brings a bit of surprise to the space and pairs wonderfully with the much more traditional mahogany dining room suite.  It really is one of my favorite things in the room.
We also gutted the guest bathroom during our whole house remodel.  The layout stayed the same, but we updated it and added a new deeper tub, new fixtures, tiled floor and shower surround, and lots of white painted beadboard.
Above is how the bathroom looked when we first bought the house almost 3 years ago.  It was perfectly serviceable, but it needed some serious updating.
We replaced everything in the bathroom except the vanity.  We were able to order a custom double bowl sink from Lowes and I replaced the old hardware with crystal knobs to give it a more cottage feel.
The peg rack hung in our previous home and works well for holding towels in the newly remodeled bath.
The shelf was yet another Lowes purchase and provides me with more flat surfaces to decorate!  The mirror was a bargain at just $60.00 and came from a local antique store.  The beadboard and trim was all installed by my wonderful husband, he only cussed a little during the installation and painting process, but I think it was worth all of the hard work!
Although doing a whole house remodel is a big investment in both time, energy, and money, I think that by planning early and having the time to find the right professionals and to hunt online or in stores for bargains helps a lot.  I also acted as the general contractor and we did all of the “de”construction to help save even more money.  We did lots of research and found wonderful, honest subcontractors, which allowed us to get quality work for a fair price. I also purchased things well before we even needed them, sometimes years in advance, so we were able to get everything we wanted and more without breaking the bank!  I also recommend being flexible, sometimes things just don’t work out and you have to go with the flow when you are trying to redesign an existing structure.  Stick to the things that are most important to you and in the end you’ll be happy with the results. 
People often wonder if we had any major problems throughout the remodel and I have to say that we honestly didn’t.  We did have a few unexpected costs, like having to replace all of the subflooring near the sliding glass door which had suffered some water damage at some point and needed to be replaced.  And when asked if I would do anything differently my answer would be that short of winning the lottery and being able to rip off the roof and add a second story, there really isn’t anything I would change.  Thinking things through while we lived here for two years really helped us know what we liked and what needed to change before the remodeling began.
Thank you Cassity for letting me share a little bit of me and my home with all of your wonderful readers!
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >Hi, I'm sorry I didn't see your comment earlier. There was a gas stove, but not a true fireplace in the living room before, so all we had to do was remove the pipe and seal it on the roof.

    Kat 🙂

  2. >Would you share the source for that wonderful chandelier? It looks perfect in your space, you have done a beautiful job here!