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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Please, transform our house

This is the story of a home transformation. It starts in 2007, when an East Bay couple emailed me for help. Could I work with them to change their small "cottage" type home into the place of their dreams? Could it be done on a budget and could they do most of the labor themselves? Fortunately, the answer was YES to almost all their requests. And this is how we worked together to do it.

First, I went to the house, met them and photographed all the rooms. We talked briefly about what was on their wish lists. Then I went home and prepared the photos, gathered some ideas and met with them again for an extensive interview. We talked outside in their lovely backyard and when I showed them the photos of their house, they were shocked. Even though they lived in that house every minute - seeing it in a photo gave them a whole new perspective on what their home actually looked like.

I talked to them for quite some time because we needed to come to an agreement on the most basic issues of style, color, room uses, fabrics, flooring - everything about how they wanted their home to look and feel. The breakthrough came when I discovered that they both loved the homes they saw on their trips to England and Ireland. They both loved "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Ring" movies. They wanted a "hobbit house". Cozy, earthy, soft and comfortable. They both love to read, listen to music and watch movies together at home. This gave me the direction I needed.

After the interview we went back into the house and walked it room by room. By the end of the session we agreed: the TV had to have its own space, so the spare room/office would move out and the TV would move in there. The office would move to a new space built in the back of the garage just for that purpose. With the TV out of the main part of the house, the livingroom/diningroom could expand into the whole space.

Fortunately, they had a contractor who could do the work in the garage to create the new office space. Of course, that meant that the garage had to be cleaned out. A whole story unto itself! But that happened and several months later, they had a beautiful private office and exercise area. Which meant they could now concentrate on the new TV/movie room.

We decided to turn the room into a real home theatre. The walls are painted a lovely dark burgundy, the trim and ceiling are dark blue and the curtains are dark velvet. Comfortable theatre seating was created and I am still lobbying for the popcorn machine! They love going into this room to close out the world and snuggle up to a movie.

In my next post I'll continue this project and you'll get to see the above rooms as they are now... trust me, it's worth the wait!

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