Alllllllright, it’s time to talk about Casa de Cocoa & Cotton. House stuff has been dominating my life for the last few months so I’m excited to share some more details and photos of what we’ve been doing—I’ve held off because my plan was to reveal each room one at a time as they were really finished, but as everyone knows a new house doesn’t really get to “finished” in the way you want it to very quickly. So we’re just going to jump right in—more pictures will be shared as we get closer and closer to the true “after” stage.
Before we bought and moved into our new house, we lived in a duplex not far from where we live now—our move was less than a mile altogether. We loved our old house, but didn’t love the block that it was on (mostly apartment buildings, some not very well cared for) and the immediate area was just sort of high shenanigans. We moved from the outskirts of uptown into more of the heart of uptown, and now we’re in a neighborhood we love, very close to Lake Calhoun, and our favorite restaurants, and parks, and general Minneapolis loveliness. Our house is also a duplex, so we rent out the upper apartment and live on the main floor. Eventually, our plan is to convert the house into a single-family home, so this is the house we’re planning to stay in for the foreseeable future. I LOVE living in a home that we don’t plan to move out of, and making it our own has been exhausting and wonderful.
What we immediately loved about our house when we saw it was the 1920s classic Minneapolis feel—it has gorgeous wood built ins and details everywhere, giant original cabinetry in the kitchens, tall ceilings (important, when your husband is 6’9”) and wood floors throughout. Most of the wood is in remarkably good shape, considering it has been a rental for so many years, but some of it does need some love (luckily, that’s a passion of mine—inherited from antique-loving parents—so we’re happy to tackle some TLC for the windowsills and door frames that need it). So, we saw this beautiful, well-preserved 100-year-old house…but we also saw that it was pretty filthy and needed some shining up. We decided to do some immediate renovations, starting with refinishing the wood floors throughout and then basically gutting the bathroom and renovating the kitchen (re-doing basically everything except the cabinets, which we love—new floor, new appliances, new countertops, new backsplash). We hired a contractor to do everything except painting—we re-painted every room in the house before we moved in, except the bathroom and kitchen, which I just painted last weekend after the renovations in those rooms were finished. Dan and I are going to tackle the backsplash ourselves, so that still isn’t done, and we’re replacing light fixtures and outlets/switch plates ourselves. Alright, that’s enough words—ready for some before pictures?
As I mentioned in a previous post, we were without a shower for a couple of weeks while our bathroom was torn apart (luckily there’s a weird bathroom in the basement with a toilet and no sink. Super cool.) And we had a lot of takeout nights between missing kitchen counters and not having new appliances installed—and, of course, when our new appliances were installed they kept tripping the kitchen fuse just by being plugged in. So some electrical work needed to be done to remedy that. Here are some “work in progress” photos (you can also see that our house was just a mess during this time--hard to keep things organized when you keep losing cabinets and counters):
We did have the contractors raise the cabinets over the refrigerator and the stove by a few inches so that we could fit a full-size refrigerator in that space. I’m really glad we ended up doing that—it makes our kitchen much more functional, and makes it much more likely that we won’t need to touch the kitchen again in the future. We ran into typical problems while the renovation was happening—turns out the sub floor in the bathroom was completely rotten, so we had to pull out the entire subfloor and ended up replacing a bathtub that we were going to leave (which is for the best, because now our tub is nice and deep and great for soaking…but the subfloor was an added expense). Aforementioned electrical issues were what you would expect for a 1920s house, and also needed some (expensive) love. Things took much longer than expected. Our house was a disaster area for quite a while. By the end, I was really sick of the contractors showing up at our house at 7am (thanks for being so prompt and eager to get started…give me a sec to put a bra on…) but I really love the choices we made in the bathroom and kitchen (and for the color of the wood floor) and I’m so happy with how everything is coming together. The never-ending “to do” list is down to basically the backsplash, hanging some shutters in Kelly’s room, hanging a mirror in our bedroom, and finding a cool chandelier to replace our bedroom light fixture (at some point). Oh, and we need to figure out what we’re doing with our bedroom closet…it needs rods, and organization systems, and….stuff. It needs some stuff. But that’s basically nothing, compared to what we’ve done!! Here are the “almost after” pictures.
I love how our furniture and décor from our last house have transitioned to the new space—our dining room table is a refurbished farmhouse table that I bought at the Junk Bonanza last year (and added those tall wheels so Dan’s long legs can fit underneath) and I swore I would never move to a house where that table wouldn’t fit, because I LOVE it. I also love the radiator covers with the punched-metal grates, and how they fit in with our artwork and lamps. Overall, I’m so happy to be in the house and to for things to be settling down so we can relax and enjoy it. Stay tuned for more detailed room reveals as we finish things up!