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So I Bought a House...

So I bought a house...or should I say I bought a project. This house was built in 1967...or at least that is what the MLS descriptions read. (Once we moved, the windows said 1975) so... whether 1967 is wrong or it took them 8 years to build. Not really sure. We purchased the house because of the 75 acres that it sits on. We have horses. Finding a place where they can not only graze, but we can ride was our priority. It is our dream property. (

Anyway....back to the house. It is just over 5000 sq. ft. It is a 5 level split. Fir Post and Beam Construction with a lot of exposed concrete. The house suffered neglect. Terrible neglect. Most of our money initially went into potable drinking water and new toilets. There is an advantage to this type of situation. At least you have not inherited someone else's idea of a renovation. Being left in almost original form, you can see what the original owner had in mind. I would say the house has good bones. Although as I designer I have come to realize that people say that sort of thing to justify their purchase.

So the renovation starts.....

So how would I describe the house?.....Rustic Modern pretty much captures it. Although rustic modern is a bit of an oxymoron sometimes such contrasting ideas merry together so well. (Like these fabulous cowgirl meets city girl shoes!) There are wood walls everywhere. I have almost no drywall. So...that means no wall fun paint colors. I am not against painting wood and I would suggest that I have painted wood in the past many times; however this is not a house where you paint the wood.

First we started with cleaning. We cleaned and we cleaned and we cleaned. Once that was done, we could start to decide where we wanted to start. How will we make this house our own? What were we willing to keep and what had to go. I am a lover of Mid Century Modern and although 1975 is hardly mid-century, I felt this was a style that I was going to inject into the home. However, my heroes have always been cowboys, so I wanted a bit of 'cowboy/cowgirl' reflected as well.

Follow me through this renovation as we pick away at it.

We started with lighting. We needed to change out fixtures that were energy hogs as well as broken ones and really awful ones. My splurge was the living room lighting. I chose a Modern Classic. George Nelson Bubble lights. I love them. They provide a soft glow in the living room.

We also changed the quality of the lighting in the kitchen. You will notice our fir beams now look like fir instead of pressure treated lumber. (See photo midway through change)

The quality and the quantity of the ensuite lighting were awful. It was hard to get ready for work in the morning. The lighting was overhead fluorescent which made me look like I was older, tired and sick. We lowered the lighting so that it lit up the face. We changed the color of the light so that it was warmer and more flattering to the skin. We added more light or lumen output. It was a huge change.

We added accent lighting. My husband Sheldon and I are amateur art collectors. We have some incredible work by very talented local artists. Showing the art at its best was important. We added some spot lighting instead of the diffuse lighting that existed. What it did was create these dramatically lit pieces surrounded by shadow. You notice the texture of the paint used...the expression of the pieces is alive and vibrant.

The changes we made to the lighting have made such a huge impact to the comfort and usability of the home. Lighting is an element of design that must never be underappreciated or overlooked.

Stay tuned....Our daughter's bedrooms/bathroom is next.

- Tammy MacKay

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