As I mentioned in my previous post, over the last week or so I’ve been getting some panoramic shots of our naked, pre-sheetrock rooms. We’re still on track for sheetrock to start on Monday. And, despite a bit of a fear of jinxing myself, I have decided present to you our last set of “before” pics…because once we have walls, everything else goes in the “after” category. Right?

So here’s a little tour through the house as it is this week, with a little preview of our design vision for each room. I should mention that choosing colors and finishes had me completely paralyzed, so I want to give a huge shout out to our designer, Erin McKenna. Four short meetings with her (3 at the house, 1 at the tile showroom) got me completely un-paralyzed and focused. She did an incredible job of helping us select design elements that matched our style and our budget. 

Remember – panoramic view totally screws up proportions…so rooms may be larger or smaller than they appear…

The important one(s): the master bedroom and bathroom

Standing on the west wall, looking toward the east bay window. This big, old mantle is just sitting in the middle of the room right now. It isn’t original to the house and I’m not sure where it came from. But it will have to go…

Standing in the east bay window, looking toward the (new) west wall. The door on the right leads to the master bathroom, which is about 6 x 12. The door on the left leads to our walk-in closet, which is about 6×8. There is a south-facing window to the left, which we would love to eventually replace with a door and a small balcony. To the right is the doorway leading to the upstairs landing.

Exposed brick on the east wall of the master bedroom. The bottom color will be on the adjacent sheetrock walls.

The master bedroom walls will be a combination of exposed brick and sheetrock painted Whale Gray (the bottom, darkest color on this paint chip in the pic above). We’ve already purchased our bedding – it is the stonewashed belgian linen duvet from RH in dune (in the center of the design board below). The head of the bed will be in the bay window, with a small brushed brass swing-arm sconce mounted on either side of the bed.

Design elements for master bedroom & bathroom

In the master bath (which I couldn’t really get a good picture of – it’s about 6 x 12, so long and skinny), the walls will also be gray. But we are planning to go with a light gray, probably a shade or two lighter on the chip than the Whale Gray. We’ll have a 72-inch double vanity, painted white dove with two mirrored medicine cabinets (one above each sink) and 3 tube sconces (one on either side of the mirrors and one in between them). I prefer brushed bronze fixtures in here, but Joe wins this one with his preference for chrome. The floor will be 12 x 24 marble tiles in “candid heather” (the left-most rectangular tile above). The shower floor will be a mix of the 3 marble hex tiles in the pic above – they are all the same color but have different finishes (polished, scraped, and sandblasted).  The shower walls will be a large 4 x 10 white beveled subway tile.

The work zone: the upstairs landing

Standing in the doorway of the master bedroom, looking north. This will primarily serve as an office/work space for me and Joe and the boys (in that order). 

Light fixture and paint color for the upstairs landing.

The plaster walls will be painted Revere Pewter and the brick wall will remain exposed. We have a really fun, funky light fixture picked out here. I think we’ll probably use an industrial-style table or two to serve as desks, with probably at least one adjustable or counter-height table as a standing desk. I might even get crazy and do a treadmill desk. We’ll also have our bookshelf and probably some comfy chairs, chaises, or beanbags. This space is really kind of huge and has great natural light. It’s honestly one of my favorite spaces in the house, but also one that may sort of come together after we live there a bit.

The one that can’t show dirt: the boys’ bathroom

Standing in the boys’ bathroom doorway, looking in.

Immediately to the right will be a wall-mount vanity with a double-trough sink (we went with this IKEA model), with the toilet on the other side (next to the brick wall). The large closet-like space is going to be the laundry closet with bifold doors. On the left edge of this pic is the stand-up shower.

Design elements for the boys’ room. Note the black on gray on gray on gray color scheme… Our designer had one directive on this room – it needs to hide dirt at ALL costs.

The boys’ bathroom floor will be these white and black patterned hex tiles with dark gray grout. The brick wall will be painted White Dove (to give it a subway-tile look) and the rest will be Galveston Gray. The tube sconce will be mounted horizontally over the mirror.

The least of our concerns: the boys’ bedrooms

Standing in the doorway of Max’s room, looking in.

We’ll leave the brick wall exposed in Max’s room and paint the others “Clay Beige.” Max will have a simple ceiling fan light and wants to do his room in a sports/baseball/Royals theme (shocking!). We’ll need to get new bedroom furniture for him, and we’ll probably do a bit loft bed from IKEA, with a desk underneath. The doorway on the left edge of the picture leads to a large shared closet, which connects to his brothers’ room. This will either be a really cool secret passage or an annoying way for his little brothers to spy on him…or both!

The little boys’ room, standing in the doorway facing south.

Some of the brick is really rough here, so it will likely be mostly painted (Clay Beige, like in Max’s room). They only have two sheetrock walls – one pretty big and one pretty small. The small one will probably be painted with chalkboard paint. They want a Star Wars room and are obsessed with a fathead they saw of Han Solo in carbonite and this Wampa Rug. So we’ll probably buy those and call it a day.  Whatever.

Downstairs bedroom/playroom, facing the northwest corner. 

Downstairs bedroom/playroom, facing the southwest corner. 

The downstairs bedroom will be a playroom for now…but we are imagining this as a little more grown-up space than our boys’ current playroom. We will mount a TV to the wall and have their movies and gaming system in there, and will also store board games and legos in this space. The “little boy” toys will probably be stored in the little boys’ room. We hope this becomes a space where everyone can kind of hang out and have fun. This room will probably be Revere Pewter or Clay Beige…

The boys’ bedroom & playroom design elements basically consist of a paint color for the wall (Clay Beige), and one for the trim (White Dove).

The big one: the living/dining/entry

Standing in the living room bay window, looking west through the living room and dining room, into the kitchen.

Living room, facing south.

Design elements for the living/dining/entry

The brick wall will stay exposed, and the rest will be painted Revere Pewter. The original mustard-brown tiles will stay on the mantle, and there are also some original large marble tiles that lay in front of it. We’ll put a large mirror over the fireplace and the TV to the right. We haven’t purchased living room furniture yet, but I’m eyeing a light brown leather sectional, emerald green chair, and brown & white cowhide rug. We’re also planning to have an industrial-style table on the north wall to serve as a little desk/work area, with the big 1950s map we found in the house hanging over it.
Living room, facing the northeast corner of the living room. We’ll put some sort of little seating in the bay window…but not sure what yet.

Dining room. 

All the dining room walls with be sheetrock or plaster, and all will be painted Revere Pewter. Our dining table will be fully extended (to seat 8-10) and situated toward the bay window half of the room, leaving the doorway into the kitchen mostly open. We have two large crystal chandeliers to hang over the dining table. We’ll get some kind of big sideboard to go along the west wall…I’d love to find something vintage or restored. I plan to display the old wallpaper remnants from the house in brass frames over the sideboard. On the curved walls (on the right), we want to find a cool piece of art (we have a directional can light there) and maybe a fun chair…

Front entry.

The entry will also be Revere Pewter. We have a large French-style chandelier to hang and there will be a built-in bar under the stairs (cabinetry to match the stairs with a quartz countertop in Frosted Wind, that looks like marble).

The really, really tricky one: the kitchen

Standing in the dining room door, facing west.

The kitchen is the room that keeps me up at night. This one has been a challenge.  It’s not very big (about 12 x 12) and has so many weird windows and doors that it is hard to configure. Plus, the back door will be a primary entrance for the family and this will be a main thoroughfare through the house. We’ve settled on an L-shape design (counters along the west and south walls) with upper cabinets on the south wall and no uppers on the west wall.  There will be a wall of pantry cabinets on the north wall, between the mudroom and bathroom doors. We are planning on a small island, but it’s going to be tight so not sure if we’ll have an overhang for bar stools or if it will be more of a prep & perch area (rather than a seating area).

Kitchen design elements

We are going with large charcoal gray tiles on the kitchen floor – they aren’t slate, but have a very slate-like look.  The cabinets will be painted Coventry Gray and the walls will be painted White Dove. We’ll have a white apron-front farmhouse sink and brushed bronze fixtures (our faucet is from Delta). Our countertops will be quartz with a marble look. I really love our island light, the Bistro Globe chandelier – it’s probably my second-favorite light…after the explosion chandelier upstairs.

The small but fierce one: the downstairs bath

Downstairs bath. Standing in the doorway looking in.

The downstairs bath is 5 x 8, so just *barely* big enough to be a full bath. The tub/shower is to the far left in this picture. The room had a large window that started at the floor, so we had to frame that in and glass block it for the shower. There will be a pedestal sink on the right with an oval mirror hanging over it, and the toilet in the middle.

Design elements for the downstairs bath. This room is tiny, but it is probably the one for which I have the clearest vision for the final design.

The downstairs bathroom floor will be the same slate-like floor as is in the kitchen. We’re also going with brushed bronze fixtures in this room with a single sconce hanging next to the mirror, marble-look tile on the shower wall, and Delta Cassidy shower fixtures.

So there you have it…one last “before” tour of the house and the design vision for each room.

We’ll regroup in a few months and see what came true.

Fifty shades of greige

Last week was our last “big” meeting with the designer. We will likely consult with her on a few design elements (furniture, window treatments, etc) around move-in time. But her work is (mostly) done as we made our final finish selections last week.

It’s really kind of exciting…

Here’s a little peek at our overall palette (paint color, tile, and countertops):

Almost all of our paint colors (with the exception of the kitchen cabinets, which will be light gray – “Coventry Gray” to be exact), laid on top of a faux-marble wall tile.

Paint colors with some floor tile (top) and wall tile (bottom).

Are you noticing the gray on greige on gray theme here?

Tile boards with all of our tile selections and paint chips.

So while the final paint and tile selection process is super-exciting, I’ve also been feeling super-frustrated. We still don’t have walls.  At least not the drywall ones. I swear to god, we’ve been thinking we were “a few weeks from walls” since December. But every time we think we’re this close…we find out there’s just one more thing we have to do before sheetrock.

And then the sheetrock guy we had lined up to start this week bailed on us just today (a renovation like the Off Center Revival isn’t for everyone…including this guy as it turns out). After some momentary panic, we were able to lock in our back-up sheetrock guy (who was actually our first-choice sheetrock guy, but we were trying to save a few thousand bucks…should’ve known better). Back-up first-choice sheetrock guy says he can get his crew up here and started on Monday (a week from tomorrow). Original sheetrock guy was supposed to start Thursday. So we won’t lose much time.

History would tell me that “walls next Monday” actually means “walls in June.” But I decided to be an optimist and assume that we really *will* have walls next Monday. So I’ve been working on some panoramic shots of the naked rooms for some last major “before” pics.

Because, you guys…I feel like the pics that come after that will finally start to fall into the “after” category.

I’ll have a post with those shots, as well as our overall vision for each room, in the next few days.

Stay tuned!


I know, I know…it’s been a few weeks since I posted. But I’ve spent the better part of February traveling (some work, some play), so I just haven’t had time to post an update.

This is us…just one week ago…somewhere in Mexico. *Sigh*

But fear not, while I was showing off my spray tan on a Mexican beach, things were moving along at the Off Center Revival. I’m happy to report…

[drumroll please]

…that we are INSPECTION READY!

What that means is that all the “systems” (HVAC, electric, plumbing) are installed and ready for the city to come in to give us approval (or not) to keep moving forward.

I never thought I’d be so happy to see an electrical panel!

Wires, pipes, conduit, and ductwork…all running happily through the basement!

The electrician is all finished. And, because of the age of the house and the mix of plaster, brick, and sheet rock; some of the electrical will actually become cool, industrial design elements.

Downstairs bathroom. It’s a little tough to photograph because it is somewhat small (approximately 5 x 8). But you can see the edge of the tub at the bottom left, with the glass block window (recently done) over it. This will be tiled in as a tub/shower. The toilet will be in the center of the pic. Just out of frame, to the right, will be a pedestal sink. The electrical box you see here will be a wall sconce next to the bathroom mirror (over the pedestal sink). The brick will remain exposed here.

FullSizeRender.jpgSoutheast corner of the master bedroom. The head of our bed will be situated in the bay window, so this will be an outlet (bottom box), switch (middle box), and wall sconce (top box) for task lighting. There is one on the other side of the bay as well, so these will function as bedside lamps.  The brick here will stay exposed.

Kitchen door. These boxes will be outlets/light switches for the kitchen, and also service the exterior light and outlet (next to the back door). This brick will be painted, so the conduit/boxes will likely be painted to match.. 

Box for exterior light, next to side door (leading into the dining room).

In addition to inspection, we are hoping to get the insulation blown in the next week or two. We are still finishing up the work cleaning and prepping the brick walls and have our sheet rock crew ready to go.

Since we’re in our last few weeks of NOT having walls, I’m taking the opportunity to snap some last shots of our wall-less house. I kind of can’t wait until it doesn’t look like this anymore…but it is cool to get to see your house totally “naked.”

Electrical work in the downstairs entry.

Standing in the upstairs landing, looking through the master bathroom (foreground) and master closet (background).

Dining room ceiling. That green rod runs all the way across the house, north to south, and was probably put in about 1900-ish in an attempt to sort of hold the house together. It will stay, and will be exterior to the sheetrock…so will probably be painted to match the ceiling.

Standing on the staircase, looking down and into the living room. Our mason’s completed the brick work, including re-assembling the living room fireplace with original mantle and so-old-and-ugly-it’s-cool tile. Swoon.

And all the while, there’s been a lot of other not-so-small projects wrapping up…including finishing window and door installation and the roof over the downstairs bath/kitchen.

Kitchen windows. Alan did a beautiful job finishing them. He is already brainstorming how to trim out the space underneath them (currently just board) to match the rest of the house.

Downstairs bathroom window with Alan in action. These windows weren’t easy to finish, especially given the curved exterior. I’m telling you…this guy’s an artist. I told him I was going to name this window after him.

Kitchen windows, interior view.

Roofs over the kitchen and south bay window…complete!

Dining room door. Still needs trim & hardware…but fits like a glove.

Gratuitous pic of Bobby and Charlie in their bedroom. Just because they’re cute. And I don’t really know how to end this post. Other than to say…


Roof, brick, electric

This week, it’s been all about the roof, brick, & electric – nothing too sexy, but all pretty important.

First up is the roof. The roof over the kitchen/bathroom bump-out and the south bay window needed to be replaced, so we went with metal with a copper look. In about 5-10 years, the roof on the main part of the house will need to be replaced and we will use the same material.

Looking out onto the kitchen roof, from the middle upstairs bedroom.

Working on the roof over the south bay window.

At the same time, we’ve had another crew working on prepping the interior brick. All of the exterior walls are 14-inch thick solid brick, and we’ve decided to keep most of it exposed. Some of it will be painted, but other walls will simply be sealed. So they are working on cleaning up the brick to get it ready to paint/seal.

South wall of the living room. The fireplace brick will be exposed and sealed, and the remainder will be painted a gray/greige.  We’re thinking about going with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.

Just a little pile of mortar dust (is that what you call it?) on the upstairs landing.

Upstairs landing, east wall. This will remained exposed, sealed brick and will carry into the master bedroom.

The big project coming up is electrical, which they’ve been chipping away at for a few weeks, but are going to hit pretty hard this week. They’ve buried the service line in the back yard, and placed the panel in the basement. All of the electrical boxes are set…so this week will be wire-pulling time!

Kitchen ceiling. There will be a chandelier over the island (we’re thinking it will be the Bistro Globe light from RH, but we haven’t purchased yet) and some can lights around the room.

Dining room. There will be two Mia Faceted-Crystal Chandeliers over the dining tables (these have been purchased), and a couple of can lights over the doorways.

Electrical boxes on the wall between the entry & living room. 

After electrical is done (hopefully by middle-end of this week…fingers crossed), we’ll get inspections done, then our sheet rock and hardwood floor repair teams are in the queue. We also met with our cabinet guy on Friday, and basically finalized our design there. He’ll be doing the kitchen cabinets, bar cabinet under the stairs, and our master bathroom vanity.

Slow. And. Steady.

 To the window, to the wall (the remix)

You guys.




I mean, it’s only a couple of walls. We still have to finish up electrical, then need to get inspections done before we can start sheet rock. But the plaster walls have all been completed and repaired.

Just in case you need a reminder, this is what they looked like before.

We also got the windows installed in the little boys’ room upstairs, as well as the kitchen.

We’re making decisions about cabinets, paint colors, tile, and floors…

I feel like I’ve been saying this awhile, but it really feels like we’re getting ready to turn a big corner.


It’s not about what it IS, it’s about what it can BECOME. – Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)


In that spirit, we’ve put together a little slideshow with highlights of what the Off Center Revival has become since June.


From our family to yours, here’s hoping 2017 becomes your best year yet!

Door day

Remember those doors I told you about?

We found someone to refinish them: Keith, a retired wood shop teacher from the neighboring small town. Great guy, awesome to work with, and…

They are beautiful!

In case you’ve forgotten, here are a couple of “before & after” side-by-sides to jog your memory. 

It’s a very merry Christmas Eve Eve, thanks to Keith!

One less hole in the house

It’s been a couple of weeks since we posted…long enough that folks are literally stopping us on the street to ask why we haven’t posted any recent updates. But let me assure you that the lack of posts is more a reflection of general life busy-ness and less a reflection of what’s going on at the house. As a matter of fact, things have been clipping along over the last couple of weeks as we work toward “sealing up” the house to get ready for electrical work and sheet rock (you guys…we are almost ready for WALLS!).

So here’s a quick rundown of what’s been going on in the Off Center Revival…


reported about a month ago that framing was nearly done. But it’s basically done done now.

We made a modification to the boys’ closets. The original plan was for each bedroom to have one smallish walk-in closet. But, since the boys’ bedrooms (and closets) are adjacent to each other, we decided it might be more functional (and a lot more FUN!) to open up the space between the closets and have one bigger (6 x 10-ish) walk-in closet instead of two smaller ones. This also has the super-cool added benefit of serving as a not-so-secret passageway between the Max’s room and the little boys’ room.

Boys’ closets BEFORE. This photo is taken from Max’s room, looking through his closet into the little boys’ room. Bobby standing in the closet BEFORE the new design. The studs just to his right were for the wall to separate the closets.

Boys’ closet AFTER. This picture was taken from the little boys’ room looking through the closet into Max’s bedroom.  Look closely – no more studs between the closets!


They’ve also finished framing the space for the bar that will be custom-built under the stairs, in the downstairs entry. I super-excited about this!

Small space under the stairs framed in for a bar.

Processed with Snapseed.

A closer look at the under-stair bar space.


There’s also a lot of general framing on the walls and around windows to get ready for sheet rock.

Some of the brick will remain exposed and/or painted, but some – like the walls in the dining room – will be covered in drywall.



All 3 interior pocket doors are installed. And the wheels are in motion for us to have three actual, functioning exterior doors very soon. The back and side doors have been ordered. We found someone to refinish the front doors and just heard today that they are almost done! All the door hardware is in and we are researching some different smart-lock systems…but that’s a post for another day.

The back door, entering into the kitchen, has been installed!

Pocket door from the kitchen into the downstairs bath.

Pocket door #2, between the master bedroom and the master closet.

Third and final pocket door, between the master bedroom and the master bath.



Almost all the windows in the house start at or near the floor, which is really cool in most spaces. But don’t work very well in a kitchen or next to a tub.  In the kitchen, they’ve framed in the windows to begin about 4 feet off the ground, to make room for countertops and backsplash. This will require some creativity on the exterior. Since there was no way we could find brick to match, bricking in the “old” window space wasn’t an option. But we think we’ll just have some decorative trim designed, installed, and painted to match the other exterior trim. In the bathroom, the space will mostly be filled with glass block.

New window framing in the kitchen. You can see the large rectangle where the new window will go (windows are on order!), and the smaller space at the bottom that will need to be filled in.


Other stuff

There was some space around the upstairs bay window (in the master bedroom) that was framed in with no exterior sheathing. They’ve fixed that, so that’s one less hole in the house, and the trim is ready to go back on. They’ve also pulled off the roof over the back “bump-out” (kitchen and bathroom) and are ready to re-roof it as soon as the materials come in.

New sheathing around the master bedroom bay window.

Old roof

Ready for a new roof!

So what’s next?

  1. Install the front doors, side door, and windows.
  2. Putting the new roof on the back of the house.
  3. Electrician
  4. Drywall
  5. Repair floors
  6. Paint
  7. Cabinets
  8. Tile
  9. Fixtures
  10. Trim


I still think we’re about 5 or 6 months out, but Joe thinks we’re 3 or 4.  No matter which way you slice it, there’s a small – but very real – light at the end of the tunnel.