Inquiring minds have been asking..."What's new at Arching Oaks? When are we going to see more pictures???"
Where to begin? It's been five months since I posted a long entry titled, "Journey to Arching Oaks," chronicling our first round of renovation adventures in our new home on 20 acres in Eustis, Florida. Since then, we took a much needed breather for a few months during the holidays, but got right back into action when the new year rolled around. Here's what we've been up to...
First we had to finish up a few things inside the house. If you recall, our kitchen looked like this when we bought the house:
Not even enough room for our little "princess" to perform a proper twirl. So we knocked down walls and made it into this:
Lovely, right? Not to worry, the ugly duckling became...
a beautiful swan with new quartz counters and, the best part...(in my humble opinion)...
...the copper sink. It's gorgeous. A little more maintenance than the usual stainless steel, but I love the way it looks in the room. I'm smitten with it. I thought about sleeping in it the first night just so we wouldn't have to be apart...that's how much I adore it.
There were a few other interior loose-ends to tie up, such as...
our master bath just recently became fully functional when we added these glass enclosures to our shower.
We had this antique buffet converted into a double vanity. The piece originally came with an amazing onyx top, but it cracked in multiple spots during delivery so we opted for a white "marble" quartz top instead. If you think back to almost a year ago (we started renovations last June) this is how the room looked when we bought the house:
And this is the finished room:
In the 15 years that my husband and I have been together we have never had a master bath in any of our houses. Our three previous homes were built between 1914 and 1932...which means miniscule closets and no master baths.
Speaking of bathrooms...one of the only rooms in the entire house that needed very little work was the upstairs bathroom. It looked like this:
Nothing special, but completely usable and, quite frankly, with all the other projects going on in the house, it was a relief to have one space that didn't require any work. We knew that we would get around to updating it in the near future. And then the "near future" came and we went hunting for a replacement for the dated counters and sink. We scored a beautiful double-basin vanity, mirror, and light fixture from a guy who had bought surplus furniture and decorating supplies from one of the Disney resorts in Orlando. The vanity stands up off of the floor on legs, meaning that you can see the tile floor beneath it. Not a problem...except that when we removed the old sink/vanity there was no tile underneath, just plywood subflooring. The previous owners had tiled around the vanity. Good grief. Cue the unintended total bathroom overhaul---new tile flooring, toilet repairs, plumbing "tweaks" to allow for the extra sink, drywall patching, mudding, and repainting, the whole, messy enchilada.
By the way, seeing a toilet in the middle of your hallway is never a good thing and toilet ring wax sticks to everything. Thankfully, this bathroom tale has a happy ending and it looks like this:
Other improvements inside the house include:
A new hall tree just inside the back entryway. I'm happy to report that we use it to hang sunhats, baskets for collecting oranges and grapefruits, and umbrellas more than coats and scarves.
Upstairs in our larger guest bedroom we did a little decorating...
Major improvement. Here's a flashback to its previous life...
Dingy walls, tragic single-pane windows that never stayed open by themselves, and carpeting the color of...um...despair.
Once the toilet was out of the hallway and back in its proper place we prettied up the second floor landing...
And that's the inside of the house all done.
Onto the exterior! Mind you, we are still in the middle of almost all of the outside projects so you aren't going to get too many before and after shots yet...just lots showing "work in progress."
Here we go.
All of our decking was in bad shape. I know it doesn't look bad in these pics but, trust me, the ends of the boards were rotten, fully of rusting nails, and pulling away from their support joists below. We also wanted to get rid of the built-in bar which was taking up a lot of future rocking chair real estate.
Old boards gone.
New boards in. Lovely and safe. The roof and pillars will get a new paint job in the future.
Why stop there? The rotted deck boards wrap around to the pond-side of the house, too, so...we had to replace them as well.
Finished and ready for a pond-view picnic! Perhaps you noticed the multi-colored stripes happening on the house? We were able to get some good deals on concrete-board shingles, but they were all different colors. We aren't worried about it...the whole house is going to be painted eventually. In the meantime...we live in a brown candy-cane. Work-in-progress, remember? :)
Winding our way around to the front of the house now, we come to the sad little porch. Because we are trying to achieve more of a farmhouse look, we decided to expand the porch across the full length of the façade and connect it to the side deck...a true wrap-around porch. See the two pillars holding up the roof here? They weren't even attached to anything!!! Amazing that it survived hurricanes and tropical storms at all. It did not survive the sledgehammers.
New deck boards in place and roofing joists attached.
Almost finished with metal roofing! We also got the shingles onto the first floor...in no particular pattern. Second floor shingling to be completed at a later date.
As of now, the front of the house looks like this as you approach from the driveway:
|It's hard to overlook the multitude of colors happening here. I just have to remind myself that it will all get a paint job one day.|
Remember our indoor racket ball court...AKA the great, white whale of an outbuilding that came with the property?
|You can see the lines on the floor from its previous life.|
I am overjoyed to announce that we have begun its transformation into my husband's den (1st floor) and my art studio (loft/2nd floor). But in order to have a 2nd floor art studio we had to create a 2nd floor.
|Happy artist awaiting her studio-to-be.|
We coffered the ceiling in my husband's den for added support for floor above and to make it a bit more...well...den-ish.
The space on the left here is just outside of the den and will become a small bathroom. The space under the stairs will be a small kitchenette just big enough for a mini-fridge, microwave and coffee-maker. We anticipate many visitors in the future, either for dojo events (multi-day Seminars, Tai-kai, VIPs) or art workshops, and want our guests to be comfortable.
Looking into the studio. It's big! About 500 square feet of glorious space. Of course, lots of railings still need to be installed to make this a safe spot. In the future we will be installing windows up here, but for now I have to deal with the overhead lighting. I'm just grateful to have a space to create in again! We just picked out the flooring that will go down in the next few weeks. Check it out:
I love that it looks like reclaimed barn wood and, because it's a laminate, it should clean up easily...a must for any art studio.
The den is coming together nicely. The pillars and coffer joists have all been stained and the boxes inside the joists will be painted to match the walls.
Once the racket ball court is fully transformed we'll move on to our final BIG project...converting our barn into my husband's private dojo. In the future this will be a space for the practice of three traditional Japanese martial arts; Kyudo (Japanese archery), Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship of Toyama Ryu and Batto Do), and Karate (Shotokan). The space will feature 1200 square feet of practice area not including dressing rooms, visitor area and student accommodation space. Right now, it looks like this:
Previous owners had enclosed the spaces around the barn to allow for storage of their ultralight airplane and the 92 animals that they raised! This has given us plenty of space to work with. On the very left side of this picture you can see the edge of the huge sliding doors that open up to one of our pastures which we have partially cleared to create the Kyudo and Gun range pictured below. (Sabastian wants to let his Kyudo friends know that the Gun range will be relocated ;-))
More dojo pics to follow in the coming months!
We will have a Dojo opening ceremony and dedication in several months. We are honored to have scheduled a Shinto Priest from Osaka Japan to "bless" the space.
Whew...that brings us up to date with all the goings-on around here. Life has been crazy-busy, but amazingly rewarding as well. We are remembering to enjoy the beauty of all that surrounds us here. Some of our favorite moments are the quiet ones spent on the back porch watching and listening to the natural world around us and each day reminds us that we share these acres with the flora and fauna. We've even installed a wildlife camera to see who comes around when we're not looking. Mostly, it's the usual Florida suspects...
|Our loyal companion and "ferocious" guard dog, Chico. (He's a total softy. A lover not a fighter.)|
|Sand Hill Cranes stand about four feet tall when fully grown and are a common site around these parts.|
|South end of a northbound fox.|
|Opossum...a regular visitor.|
Wild turkey. There are flocks of them a little further down the road from us. I think this guy was lost.
And then there's this guy. We knew they were in the area, we just didn't think they were in OUR area. He's just a juvenile, but I'm sure his mama is somewhere nearby.
To close, here are a few random (non-renovation) pics from around Arching Oaks. Thanks so much for checking in with us! I'll be posting another round of pics and updates as soon as we finish up all of the projects-in-progress.
|Our sweet girl...or as she recently dubbed herself, "Ava Carmen Awesome Girl." Boot-wearing, fence-climbing, mud-pie maker extraordinaire. :)|
|Gifts from our grapefruit trees!|
|My little herb garden.|
|Lovely "painted photo" taken and artistically altered by our dear friend (and uber-talented photographer) Tom Pawlesh.|
|Ava fishing on our pier with her Gamma and Papa. We call it the "Papas Pier" because both grandpas love to fish.|
|Tomatoes in February! I love Florida. Just planted four blueberry bushes, too. :)|
|Sigh...our trees. Our lovely, lovely trees.|
|Blue skies over green pastures. |