Good Better Best Home Renovation-Introduction: One Milk, One Gin and One Beer

The Good, Better, Best household is smack dab in the middle of a house renovation.  It's not a huge renovation where we have to move out, but it is not a small one either.  I decided that one way to keep me from loosing my mind about all of this is to blog about it. So I am beginning a multi-part series on our home renovation.  

Our renovation includes: opening up the wall in between the kitchen and dining room and adding a breakfast bar, gutting the master bathroom down to the studs, adding a heating and cooling unit in our Florida room off the kitchen, re-configuring the basement to make more usable space, and covering the back patio. At times it doesn't feel like much and at times it feels semi-overwhelming.  But there's a lot of fun to this and I have learned a lot about our house in the process.  

My theme for this renovation that I recently shared with Running Daddy is that I want to be deliberate, meaning I want to take the time to choose the right things for this our house.  That doesn't mean that I need to look at every quartz counter top in the mid-Atlantic region, but it does mean that I want to bring a sample home and take a day or two to think about things before we make our final decisions. Running Daddy and I tend to make these types of decisions and then not change our minds, with a few exceptions along the way.

I do want to say,  I love this house.  It's not a huge house but it has the Best bones and an amazing amount of character.  The need to be deliberate comes from the fact that we moved into this house when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with the Sweet Boy.  There wasn't time to be deliberate about anything, especially when his room was hunter green and navy blue when we moved in.  Sidebar: it took two coats of Kilz  and then two coats of paint while I was still in the hospital to get this back to a soft yellow.  Kilz is the Best primer for these types of projects.

In the last 11 years we have done little projects, we have painted inside and out, adding some beautiful detailing like stone and glass back splash to the kitchen and put in new appliances, but we really reached the point where we wanted to do something bigger.  
Because these guys seem to be too busy with their something like five TV shows to help me with my house since we had this photo taken (actually they are super nice, very funny and crazy tall), we hired our friend and neighbor J.H. to help us with the design and build.  J.H. grew up in this neighborhood and still lives here today. There's nothing he hasn't seen in these houses and his finished products are true works of art.

Our house and this entire neighborhood was built in about 1955 most are brick ramblers of a few different styles.  Our house looks out onto a large wooded area that is home to many great horned owls, foxes and deer.  During this renovation process I learned that the bricks for the houses in the neighborhood came from reclaimed brick when buildings in Washington and mostly Baltimore were taken down to build skyscrapers.  There was a team of men and their job was to pull out all of the brick that was in good condition, clean them off and then get them ready to send to build these houses in Northern Virginia.  

When the houses were built there were basically three types of houses: milk bottle houses, Natty Beau houses and gin bottle houses.  Depending on the lunch beverage of choice of the building team that was pretty much the quality of build your house has to this day.  We luckily have a milk bottle house which we know because during our home inspection they found old milk bottles behind the walls when they went into the attic.  Milk bottle houses have the straightest lines and the Best build quality.  Natty Beau houses were they guys that brought a beer in their lunch boxes which was common during this time and well the gin bottle houses...well you can imagine that those need a little help to this day.  It was very common for the teams to leave behind their beverage bottles as a calling card and many of the houses in the neighborhood have bottles behind their walls.  We are leaving the milk bottles right where they are. 

I am looking forward to sharing each step in our home renovation with you and don't worry there will be plenty of before and after photos.  

Stay tuned for posts on the breakfast bar!

Do you have a home renovation story to share?  Please add it in the comments below.

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