rahrighouse projects | open concept + dream kitchen

When I look at original photos of our house, I can’t help but wonder a few things: Why all the piiiinkkkk? Wallpaper on the ceiling??? And, what the HECK were we thinking?!?

Built in 1870, and loved by the same family for the 55 years before we moved in, this house took vision. We crossed the threshold with a one year old in-arms, 10 hours away from everything and everyone we knew. It took literal blood, sweat, tears,  and planning and working until all hours of the night, at times. But, we had fallen in love! In love with the history of this house, and this town, and I have to say that adoring my space every day has made it worth it. SO worth it.


So, it’s been long enough coming – here’s what we were working’ with:

The Kitchen

Wallpaper on the ceiling, laminate flooring, dark and small…

The Dining Room

Pink and closed-off and…pink

The Living Room

Pink. Just, pink.

Besides the kitchen, dining room and living room, we also remodeled a laundry room, mudroom, pantry and half bath. It wasn’t a small project – it took nine weeks of washing dishes in the bathtub upstairs and cooking paninis and easy mac in the master bedroom. But, bit by bit, magic happened…

HUGE shout-out to my amazing, hard-working mom, who probably worked harder on our home that we did… We couldn’t have done it without her!

We worked with an amazing contractor, who understood our goals and our budget, and who  – most importantly – creatively tackled the project with an understanding of what it takes to work with the quirks of an antique home. 

They completed the bulk of the work, but we took on painting, and rehabbing the cabinetry (thanks, mom!

We were very fortunate that we didn’t come across anything  unexpected – whew! It was slow, tedious work at times, but I think the results surprised everyone…

**Angels. Literally. Singing.**


The Kitchen & Dining Room

I knew I was picking elements that I liked – my pinterest boards had been out. of. control. for weeks throughout the project, of course – but, I was floored when things actually came together! And, the LIGHT! What a change!

Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room allowed us to have the open concept that we wanted, and add a “peninsula” with extra cabinetry and bar seating!

The outdated decorative woodwork above the sink was replaced with more modern trim, and the bottom bank of cabinets were replaced. We were able to paint the cabinets above to match the new cabinetry, and reuse the vintage hardware. The pantry/laundry room was enclosed, and washer/dryer were stacked. A new counter-depth refrigerator now stands where the stove used to sit.

Our new stove, hood, open shelving and cabinetry replaced the small breakfast nook, and allows much more counter space for food preparation and storage. The addition of canned lighting replaced the single hanging light in the original kitchen, and did wonders!

Our “waterfall”-style butcher-block countertops came from Ikea – I ADORE THEM. We read lots of reviews before purchasing, and made sure we understood the care and upkeep required (it’s not much!), and after a year of use, I can say they look just a lovely as the day they were installed! I would recommend them to anyone, and you simply cannot beat the price.

Our farmhouse sink and fixtures, as well as our cabinet pulls, are from Ikea as well. At a fraction of the price of other options, again, I cannot say enough how much we love their look AND function!

We chose simple white subway tile with a light grout for our backsplash- stylish and cost-effective! And, we chose a dark grey 12″ x 24″ tile laid in a herringbone pattern for our new floor. It used a bit more tile, and took a bit more time to achieve the look I had fallen in love with, but I think it truly made the room look unique and customized.

Our appliances are Maytag  – the industrial look of the handles sold me! And, though we went back-and-forth a TON, we would’t trade our counter-depth refrigerator for anything! The low profile made such a difference in the design.

I also had fun with the little details. The vintage scale we found in the old pantry when we moved into the house (!), and the chandelier was a fun on-sale find at West Elm. The little hidden bar cabinet is original to the kitchen, and one of The Husband’s favorite parts of the house ;) Painted robin’s egg blue on the inside, it’s certainly a bright spot! Other favs: Bar stools from home goods, the seafoam green pitcher from my great-grandmother, our Nespresso machine, and those Kate Spade arrow salt and pepper shakers :)


The Pantry, Mud Room & Bathroom

This  back stairwell was blocked off at the ceiling long before we bought the house, and the previous homeowners used it as a makeshift pantry. But, with the addition of cabinetry and a GORGEOUS marble countertop (thanks, Amazing Space!), we now have a butler-style pantry that is perfect for entertaining, and a really fun feature!

In the same area, we have a half-bath. Originally, it was very small – a built-in in the dining room and a storage closet made it too tiny even for a standard-sized vanity! But, knocking out, a getting rid of the cray green tile let us open it up to match the flow of the rest of the house. I love the penny tile, and curtain I made from fabric from Ikea.


The Living Room

We were fortunate that the living room was already open to the dining room, and featured five BIG windows. In here, a little paint and curtains went a longgg way.

Ripping up the carpet and painting the stairs made a big difference to the entry as well. And, thanks to Amazing Space, the removal of the wall and addition of the glass railing and loft change the whole character of the house!

A big difference, huh? A little imagination and a lot of hard work made this house into our home, and we are so proud that we were able to add our own chapter to its long history…


Well, we’re glad it’s done, and we have thoroughly enjoyed living in this space, in this house, in this neighborhood, and in this state for the last two years. But, believe it or not, the Rahrigs are actually getting ready to embark on another adventure!

In the next few months, we are trading in our snow shovels for palm trees, and will be moving to Tampa, Florida! Yes, this move is coming a little quicker than anticipated, and I have already cried over leaving my pretty little kitchen more than I would like to admit. But, we feel that this is an amazing opportunity for our family, and we pray that the Connecticut “rahrighouse” will bless and bring joy to another little family just as it did to us!

We would LOVE your prayers as we embark on the search for another rahrighouse… Florida sunshine edition!


Style Notes & Sources:

Paint colors

  • Living room, Kitchen and Dining Room: Sherwin Williams, Repose Gray
  • Mudroom: SW, Dorian Gray
  • Bathroom: SW, Eider White
  • Inside of bar cabinet, laundry room, pantry: SW, Sea Salt
  • Cabinetry: SW, Eider White
  • Stairs: SW, Gauntlet Gray
  • Trim: SW, Extra White

Kitchen/Dining Room

Bathroom

  • Vanity: Home Depot
  • Mirror: Ikea
  • Towel bar and flower pot: Ikea
  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Tile: Lowes

Mudroom

  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Cabinetry: Lowes, unfinished

Living Room

See my other rahrighouse posts here!

Questions? Let me know! I am happy to answer them!

goodbye, sweet little kitchen!

 

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rahrighouse projects | sun porch “glow-up”

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our snowy wonderland a few weeks ago

Ahhhh – sunshine. This time of year I LONG for it. Winter has hit that it-feels-like-it-will-never-end point, the snow has been on the ground for weeks, and we are ready to thaw!

Fortunately, there is one particular spot in the house that provides a little respite from the cold, and, it’s one of the Husband’s favorite spots in the house – our little sun porch!


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last winter, looking out on the frosty yard

 

The moment we walked through the house, we knew this room had promise – what a unique space! But, we were still so pleasantly surprised at how lovely it turned out. With interchangeable screen and glass panels, it’s cozy on sunny winter days, and breezy on summer nights.

 

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family reading time

The previous owners had a “thing” for pastels, and made the floor into a unique and slightly unconventional canvas… In short, it was very nice for them, I am sure. However, we weren’t feeling’ it. Yes, it looks like a pleasant spot for a nice iced tea, but it was a little colorful, a little kitschy, a little cluttered…

 

But, not for long!

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great for painting!

With some leftover paint, a trip or two to Ikea (of course!) and some digging through the decor we already happened to have on hand – or even found in the old garage at the house – things came together quickly… especially after that floor was toned down a notch or two!

 

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Now, this cozy spot provides an entertainment space, book reading haven, and an extra toddler play area (that requires no shoes, and less hosing down afterwards than an hour digging in the garden ;) And, you could still comfortably sip some tea, or a nice malbec, with your friends!

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Another view: This door opens from our kitchen, and the porch leads to our back yard and gardens. I love to leave it open  – so breezy!

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Details: 

  • Wall decor: Crate & Barrel candle holder, painted.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Vintage tennis racket, found in the neighbors trash, buoys, purchased at a marine salvage in Mystic, CT
  • Trim paint: Sherwin Williams “Sea Salt”, the perfect subtle blue/green
  • Curtains and hardware: LENDA, Ikea
  • Furniture: Estate sale, repainted black. Cushions, Ikea. Antique hutch holds items found at the house.
  • Rug: Ikea, the same style as the one in our master bedroom

image2There is barely a corner of the house that we haven’t changed or fussed with or painted or spruced, and I have a few more projects to show you before you’ve got the whole picture ;) It’s been fun, and challenging and rewarding – and we’ve learned a LOT along the way! Always feel free to ask any questions you might have (and stop visit if you’re ever out this way!)

Cheers to spring around the corner!

rahrighouse projects | lights, camera, action!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI’ve been quiet for a while, I know. But, I’ve had a realllllly good reason. A totally unexpected, never could have predicted, one-in-a-million reason:

Basically, we’ve lived THE dream. You know – the dream you have when you’re the type of person who binge-watches Property Brothers, have designed your “tiny house” in your head, and whisper “shiplap” as you drift off to sleep most nights…

That’s right, folks. The Rahrigs, and our sweet little Connecticut home, are going to be ON TV!


It alllll started when we received a knock on our door on a rainy day in February. The Husband was out of the house, I was upstairs with the little guy who was grouchily waking up from a nap, and the last thing I wanted to do was run down to see who was there (like, we had two friends so far in CT… maybe it was the mail lady?). I finished getting T settled, looked through the window on the off-chance someone was still there, and noticed a truck in the driveway. I cautiously walked down the stairs, and saw a man in a baseball cap jogging up to our doorway. With a big grin, and a ton of energy, this stranger started excitedly talking…

“My name is Eric, I’m with HGTV and we think YOUR HOUSE IS PERFECT...”


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|I mean, it IS pretty cute…|


askdjfhalskdjfh. What? I thought, as I stood there with no makeup, in my socks, with the door cracked.  Was I hard-of-hearing?… He started again:

“We are doing this great new show, I’m the host, and we’re looking for a historic New England home, and a young family! Your realtor sent me over! The concept is that we are maximizing and getting creative with space that might be usually ignored…”

askldjfhajskdfh. Huuuuuuh? I was visibly scoffing at this point. Like, this sounded too good to be true, right? Or, I just finished a nine-week renovation and barely escaped with my sanity, so NO I do NOT want any more construction within 100 MILES OF MYSELF ever, ever, ever agin, right?

But, he seemed genuine enough. So, I let him finish talking. And I kindly took his name and number, thanked him, closed the door, and called the husband to tell him this hilarious story… Little did I know where this random happening would take us!

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Fast-forward a few months, and our home is now more lovely than I could have imagined. And, the husband has fulfilled his lifelong dream to be a tv star. And maybe Titus has a future on Law & Order. And, we had the adventure of a lifetime.

SO, tune in to the *DIY Network on Wednesday, August 3 at 8:00p.m. to watch Amazing Space and see the new and improved RahrigHouse in all of its glory! UPDATE: Watch on the HGTV Network on Saturday, August 27 at Noon!

Also, a VERY special shout-out to my mom, sister Bekah and sister-in-law Jessica for lots of couch sleeping, box and furniture moving and babysitting during the process!

You can see more of our home renovation adventures here, and expect updates here at FreshlyMinted soon!

AMAZING SPACE LOGO

*DIY is the HGTV sister network. The show will likely air on HGTV at a later date – we’ll keep you posted!

 

rahrighouse projects | master bedroom makeover

Master doorwayOften, as we’ve finished bits and pieces of this home, I look back on the pictures we took the very first time we set foot inside…

…and I wonder what the heck we were thinking.

But, though it took an abnormally large dash of vision and plenty of elbow grease, we’re pretty much loving how everything turned out. Recently, we (finally!) got several of our pictures and bits of artwork hung on our walls, and things are feeling very homey. One of my favorite spaces in the house is now our peaceful master bedroom! What it lacks in size, I hope it makes up for in charm ;)

Master entry

Now: It’s a bright, eclectic, secret garden-grandma’s attic-farmhouse-chic space (yes, I just made that a thing) that makes me just want to ZZzzzz…. But, that was not always the case. Enter, the before:

Master before

As with most rooms in the house, this one was painted pink. And the carpet was pink. And the light fixture was pink. And though though you couldn’t keep those airy windows down, the space needed a bit of sprucing up…

…juuuust a bit.

So, carpet was pulled up, a million tacks were yanked out, walls were painted Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray, and after we found this inexpensive solution to the roughly-worn hardwood flooring, and added a few personalized touches, a real, live master bedroom was born!

Masterbefore-after

Shelving was found at (one of my favorite places on earth) Homegoods… or three different, Homegoods, actually. I was determined. And even then, I still had to paint the metalwork so they all matched. But, it was worth it, right?!

Master touches

Our bedding, curtains and curtain rods, like our rug, are from Ikea (you’ll see this blessed, inexpensive, trendy, retailer pop up a LOT in future posts!).

IMG_9322Our dresser was salvaged from a curbside when I was in college, and my mama refinished it. I just added a touch of earthy-gold & glass with knobs from Hobby Lobby – these pay homage to our front door’s antique doorknob – a detail I immediately fell in love with.  

Our bed, my round mirror, favorite perfume, a “treasure box” and jewelry tray (featuring one of the first x-rays ever produced – demonstrated to the public at the turn of the century, this image is of a woman’s foot in a victorian high-laced boot… so quirky. I adore it) are all items we’ve had and loved for years.

|Quick Curtain tip – hang higher and wider than you think you should, and usually it’s just right – it maximizes the light and size of your window, and ads drama! Check out the difference in the photo below, and the snowy New England view at the end of the post! |

Masterbeforeandafter

A few photos from our wedding and our whirlwind trip to europe, along with a couple of antique books from my personal collection, round out the space…

Master view

Finally, I must note that while it has long been the stuff of my daydreams, one distinct drawback of living in an historic home is that the (most likely, as based on my extensive Little House on the Prairie/American Girl research ) three dresses and two pairs of shoes that the original owner possessed fit much more neatly into these tiny closets than my wardrobe…

Master closet

But, with a some creativity, along with kicking your husband’s clothes out into the office closet and taking over one of your son’s two random closets, it all works out. And that giant mirror is awesome for selfies. 

NeighborsSo, small changes can go a long way. Unlike our kitchen space, walls didn’t come down and there were ZERO professionals involved (like, we’ll see how long those shelves stay in place, but we tried our best), but the before/after speaks volumes! So, get out there and tackle a project of your own – tell me how it goes!

 

 

 

rahrighouse projects | diy chalk paint furniture refresh

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|a cozy, box-free living room… bliss|

Happy New Year!

We, I am happy to report that we are now construction-free! |read more about our new home adventures here| A few more touches are needed here and there (in this round of projects, of course), but we are LOVING having a WHOLE house to live in, and a beautiful one, at that! Though… we are partial :)

While I am continuing to get things squared away just-so,  I wanted to share another fun piece of our renovation |I previously shared our diy staircase refresh| – our practically free dining room set and accent chairs!


DIY Chalk Paint Furniture Refresh

Estate SaleSo, some of you know, my husband has a nose for deals. Particularly those that are really, really cheap. And, usually, not exactly the kind of stuff you want hanging around your home… (sweaty used equipment for sports we don’t play, anyone?). But, lately, he’s struck MAJOR gold. First, with this incredible lot of furniture just before the move from an estate sale  – All for $59.00. I REPEAT, $59.00.

Best day of his life, so far, I’m pretty sure.

And then, with a table and six chairs that one of the neighbors along our new street were taking to the curb! FREE. His favorite word. Now, this stuff needed love. And paint. And fabric. But, we made it happen (again, with more than little help from my mama). And, I LOVE how they turned out:

CT adventures - Nov-Dec6

|This is the picture the Husband sent me from the basement of the estate sale – looks promising, right? But, the results proved he was right!

CT adventures - Nov-Dec5

|And, here is the picture he texted me of his free treasure… that fabric! Yuck! But again, it turns out this was a great find, and I can’t say anything the next time he brings home two used tennis rackets or sweaty goalie gloves for middle schoolers…. you know, for someday.

CT adventures - Nov-DecI knew I didn’t want to invest a ton of time into these projects, and certainly not a lot of money. So, I started looking into chalk paint. A total craze that has taken the diy world by storm the last few years, I walked into a local shop and asked a few questions and looked at samples. After 5 mins, I was sure it was right for my projects: Lots of colors to choose from. No prep. Two coats of paint. Two coats of wax. Done.

The products stretch very far, and with two cans of Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen, two cans of Clear Wax, and a wax brush in-hand, I left the shop with all I needed to transform eight chairs and a table for just over $100 (and I have enough for another small project left over!)

CT adventures - Nov-Dec1

We quickly wiped down the pieces, and dove right in! The first coat didn’t seem to cover amazingly well, but the second coat was like magic! The ultra-matte paint looked beautiful, and was so easy to use. It dries in 15 min, and covers a multitude of sins. After drying, we used the clear wax – there is also a dark wax available to give a more antiqued look – and brushed it on with the round wax brush. A quick coat, applied in small sections, and wiped off immediately, is all it takes to give the piece a clean, durable finish. After drying for 24hrs, we repeated. And then, let it cure (while the construction in the kitchen was completed ;) 

Note: We did the MOST BASIC level of chalk painting, but the techniques are endless! Layering, gilding, distressing, you name it! Also, we did learn that is it possible to put on too much wax, especially on large surfaces like the table top. But, using more wax to “activate” the old, you can wipe off excess so you don’t get finger prints or shiny areas. 

CT adventures - Nov-Dec3


Between coats, we reupholstered the seats for the chairs. We chose two fabrics – a grey and white spotted for the dining room (which we reversed, because we liked the back side better!), and a white linen with silver metallic accents for the living room chairs.(This added about $100 to our project costs, bringing our total to $200 from start to finish – we used coupons at JoAnne’s and Hobby Lobby!).

The foam on the dining room chairs was in decent shape, so after removing the old fabric, we only needed to measure, cut and staple the new fabric over the seats (there are some great tutorials with hints and tips on youtube!). The accent chairs needed a little foam added to the underside to give some extra support, so with some tucking and stuffing, they ended up much more firm. After that, it was just the same procedure as the dining room – staple, pull tight, and carefully tuck those corners.

And so, with a little elbow grease, and no major tools or special talent needed, we went from yuck, to this!:

CT adventures - Nov-Dec4

|Serene and monochromatic is what we were going for…

CT adventures - Nov-Dec7…makes me relax just to look at it|

This was a fun, easy and rewarding project – I highly recommend trying it on a “junktique” piece of your own! Also, in case you were wondering, here is what our dining room looked like “before”…

Dining room

…”peachy”, right? We’re just getting started.

Throwback | diy holidays

Christmas sled

We found this vintage sled in the garage when we moved in – I knew it would be a perfect to add a little holiday spirit to our porch!

This holiday season has varied a little from our norm…

Usually, we’d be knee-deep in greenery and cookie baking by this time in December. But, this year, we have no place to put a Christmas tree yet because apparently it’s not super simple to renovate a 145-year-old kitchen, or something. And, obviously, cooking is hard when your new oven is still shrink-wrapped in the garage. So, my living room still looks like the pic below, but, with some help from my awesome mom who has been visiting (who, side-note, will paint your kitchen cabinets until 6am for you, and do your laundry…) at least the outside of the house is looking festive!

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The filter makes this pic look way more serene than it feels irl… But, the end of our sea of boxes is near!

Things are different, BUT, I’ve found comfort in some old and new traditions – some of which I’ve shared on FreshlyMinted in the past! And, a white-and-grey-and-butcher block-and-harringbone – and subway tile- rustic farmhouse kitchen is now totally within sight… so I can be patient a little longer ;)

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite throwback holiday posts and projects:

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Handmade Holiday | Rustic Boxwood Garland & Mini Wreaths, Newsprint Tree, Perfect Christmas Bow and Popcorn garland (I used holly for my garland this year – much more prickly, but just as lovely!)

Salt Dough | Gift Tags & Ornaments 

Secret Holiday Treats | Aunt J’s Top Secret Chocolate Mint Cookie Recipe

A Cookie-Swappers Daydream | Salted Mudslide Cookie Recipe

Enjoy!

“rahrighouse” projects|diy staircase refresh

Things around here are taking shape. Like this one single corner of our bedroom:

Master viewSlowly, but surely. Sometimes more slowly than surely. But we’re getting there!

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are in the midst of renovating a little 145-year-old house in coastal Connecticut. Much of the work we are having completed by (a really awesome, patient) contractor, but there are a few projects that, with the help of my amazing mom, the Husband and I are tackling ourselves. One of those with the biggest impact has been our staircase update!

Stairway before and after

When we moved in, the entire house had hardwood flooring, except a the carpeted  master bedroom, a small landing, and the staircase. It was horrid. So, project #1 was to pull it up. The stairs weren’t horrible, but they weren’t in great shape, either. We knew we didn’t want to completely overhaul them, but they needed something… so, painting it was!

After browsing for ideas, and chatting with our local Sherwin Williams, we chose our paint, grabbed wood filler and a sander, and started:

,m;wgr ef gkpojias]HTBEF ]

1| You can see the original state of the stairway. The wood was finished on the edges only, and wasn’t of high quality. And, that carpet…. woof.

2| After pulling up the carpet and nails, we washed the steps down with a vinegar solution. There were a lot of holes from this, and previous rounds of carpet, and the trim didn’t match along the bottom lip of the steps. We contemplated replacing the trim, but ultimately decided that after filling the gaps, we wouldn’t need to completely replace it.  This saved a lot of work, and we avoided having to find tools we didn’t have on hand. Like, anything but a hammer, screwdriver, and sander, tbh…

3| We sanded with a handheld sander, fine grit. Then, we went ahead and went crazy with the wood filler. Then, we sanded again. Finally, we wiped everything down with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of dust, and prep for paint.

4| We chose SW trim paint in Extra White, and SW Porch and Floor Enamel in Gauntlet Gray for the tops of the stairs – the same color we painted our master bedroom, and part of a very neutral gray palette used house-wide. After sanding and cleaning, we painted the white trim, and every-other step. We only have one staircase, and needed to be able to make it up and down throughout the day while each coat dried! We used a 2″ flat brush, and a 1.5″ angle brush, and a bit of painter’s tape came in handy…

5| We painted each step with two coats of paint, and let it dry thoroughly in-between. I am in LOVE with the finished product. What a difference! After more than a month of heavy use and lots of drywall dust and dirt, they’re holding up wonderfully :)

The stairs were one of the big reasons I fell in love with this house in the first place. You might have noticed a little something embedded in the rail:

stairs penny

It’s an “Indian Head” penny, dated 1899! When I saw it, my history-loving, American-girl-obsessed, authentic-costume-wearing-period-interpreter-in-high-school-self almost exploded. It’s just SO COOL! And now, it graces stairs fitting its historic cool-factor. And that makes me happy.

IMG_8863There are roughly 1,543 other projects in various stages of completion throughout the house, so there will be more updates to come. But, I cannot wait for the big kitchen/dining room/laundry room/bathroom reveal – fingers crossed it’ll be coming soon!