Tour of the Fourth House
We lived in this Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan house, pictured above, for thirteen years. As I mentioned in my last post, this is longer than any other house or place I have ever lived in. When we moved here, our oldest was eight years old and while living here we welcomed two more children. Our oldest graduated high school and started college (and almost finished) while we were living here and our youngest made it through second grade. If you ask our children, this IS home, this is OUR house and it ALWAYS WILL BE.
When we were moving to Michigan there were a ton of houses for sale. We saw at least twenty five houses during our quick house hunting trip and this house was not even on our realtor's list. On our last day of looking at houses we, serendipitously, happened to drive by this house and saw a For Sale sign in the yard. We asked our realtor, "why isn't that house on our list, it looks nice?" Our realtor made a phone call and set an appointment to see the house that afternoon. We put an offer in within days of seeing it, it was by far the best house for us that we had seen.
The majority of the house had just been renovated/updated by a young family who purchased the house two years before us. Prior to that, the original owner still lived in the house, which was built in the 1920s. In the renovation/updating, the previous owners had, for the most part, used "mass appeal" finishes and other than changing some paint colors, it was move in ready for us.
We changed the paint color of the exterior shutters from a French blue to Kennebunkport Green by Benjamin Moore about a year after we moved in, had a wood storm/screen door made for the front and side doors, and added some to the front yard landscaping over time. Other than regular and/or necessary maintenance, the front facade remained the same as when we bought the house while we lived there.
Now, I will take you on a tour of the inside of the house. These pictures are the listing photos from when we sold the house. I'll give more detail on the reason for that move in a later post!
The Entry Hall
Above is the view from the front door.
This is the view looking toward the front door.
We painted the walls and trim and put up the star light - which has been with us since our Chevy Chase house. The mail in Grosse Pointe is delivered through the slot in the front door so we hung a basket to catch it beneath the slot. The small wicker table in the hallway was on the stair landing heading to the third floor office/playroom in Chevy Chase and in the front hall of our Baltimore house. The rug was purchased at a consignment store in Salt Lake City. The long black trunk was also in the third floor office/playroom in the Chevy Chase house and in our family room in Baltimore. The antique sideboard with peeling green paint far down the hall on the righthand side was also in our family room in Baltimore.
The Living Room
The living room was a large room that was painted green to match the surround on the fireplace when we moved in. The tile around the fireplace was from a local Detroit ceramic studio, called Pewabic tile, and was original to the house. The sconces were also original to the house. The radiators in this house were built into the walls so there are grates in all of the walls. I think they looked really cool, sometimes a bit of a puzzle when hanging artwork though. We painted the walls and trim in this room, added shades to the sconces, and had drapes made. We furnished the room with the living room furniture that we had received as a hand me down from my parents when we lived in Salt Lake City, as well as pieces we had purchased along the way since then. We purchased the rug on ebay after moving in to bring the tones of the fireplace into the room. It was hard for me to get behind all of the green touches in this house at first because I am committed to blue and white being the base of everything! We moved the furniture around many times while living there and this is where we ended up.
The Dining Room
We painted the walls and trim in here. The sconces were original to the house in here too and had these beautiful intaglio feature in the centers. We hung the same chandelier that we used in our Chevy Chase house and added shades to the sconces. The table and chairs are the same that we started using in our Salt Lake City kitchen and the sideboard, chest, and hutch are all from our Baltimore dining room.
The kitchen was painted Restoration Hardware Silver Sage, which was all the rage back when this kitchen was renovated, when we moved in. The paint matched the backsplash tile, and one night John decided he didn't want to look at that color anymore and painted the kitchen a dark brown. This was all before we added in the banquette. We changed the light over the sink when we moved in and replaced it with a bell jar light. John was never a fan of that light there so we purchased the light you see in these pictures a few years after we moved in. We ended up with a terra cotta color on the walls by the time we moved. We purchased the desk and the round table while we lived here. The stools in the kitchen were purchased for this house too and have been recovered several times in all sorts of different patterns over the years. I purposely chose these stools for that reason-great for young children and spills-and easy to recover yourself with a staple gun! The cabinets and appliances were all there when we moved in - not necessarily my first choice - easy to work with though.
This was such a cozy room. I would have painted the paneling, however, John loved it as it was more than I wanted to paint so it stayed as is. We purchased the sofa and coffee table for this room soon after we moved in, we had a sisal rug cut to fit the corner fireplace and layered the cow hide rug on top, we added window treatments and that was about it. Almost every winter weekend we had a fire going in this room. It was a lovely, favorite place to be.
I posted about this room in the previous post. The sunroom was one of the few "major projects" we tackled in this house. We reupholstered the sofa and red chair over time and the rest of the room remained basically the same as it was when it was first constructed. This was a hardworking family room for us that felt almost like a screened in porch in the summer with all of the windows and the sliding doors open. I loved this room.
This is at the top of the stairs. This is where the bell jar light ended up after it was rudely removed from the kitchen. The linen cabinet is original to the house and so was the grate in the ceiling for the attic fan. You see a peek in to our middle daughter's room and our son's room, connected with a Jack and Jill bath, from this vantage point.
This is the view from our son's room. It gives a peek into the master on the left and through the door at the top of the stairs is the laundry room. It was in a hallway, which took some getting used to, it did spoil me with the advantages of having the laundry upstairs though. Beyond the laundry room/hall is our oldest daughter's bedroom.
It always seems that "decorating" the master bedroom falls to the bottom of the list for me. I wanted to get a larger carpet to layer my nana's antique rug on top of, reupholster the chaise that was also my nana's and update the bed linens. Alas, the room looked like this almost the entire time we lived here. For updates, we did paint the walls and trim and we added screens so that the French doors could be open to the Juliette balcony without anything flying inside (or out, I guess). The plantation shutters were there when we moved in.
The owners converted what would have been a fifth bedroom and an existing bathroom into a large master bath and closet. Again, not necessarily what I would have chosen for finishes, it was all completely useable though. We talked a lot about redoing the bathroom and never ended up doing it. When we first moved into the house the bathroom took some getting used to because there was no door to the bedroom or closet, just cased openings. We were used to showering in our postage stamp sized bathroom in Baltimore and stepping out into a warm, steamy little room, in the beginning the lack of steam was shocking. Over time, it didn't seem like such a big deal and renovating the bathroom always moved to the bottom of the list.
I apparently forgot to declutter the closet before photos - yikes.
Our Older Daughter's Bedroom
This was our oldest daughter's bedroom by the time we moved. I posted a bit about the bathroom renovation in the previous post. Before it was our oldest's bedroom and before the bathroom was renovated, it was a guest room and then our youngest's nursery.
Our Younger Daughter's Bedroom
These are the same twin beds that I purchased for our oldest's first big girl bedroom in Salt Lake City. The chest was in the master bedroom in Baltimore and the desk is the kitchen table we had made for our Chevy Chase kitchen.
Our Son's Bedroom
This room started out as an office when we first moved in and then became the nursery for our younger daughter. All of our children actually had this room as their bedroom at one point while living here. The twin bed is one of a set that was left at the Little House when my parents purchased it. When my younger brother was ready to get out of a crib, these beds were brought to our house and became mine and were in my bedroom in every one of the houses we lived in growing up. The bureau is the same one that was painted white in the little guy's nursery from the photo above. I bought this while house hunting with John. I spied it in someone's attic and loved the lines of it (sorry, we love that abandoned piece in the attic, not your house, may we please buy it? - our realtor was not thrilled with making that request for us!). It turned out to be mahogany when we stripped it and we still love it.
Here is an old shot of when this room was a nursery, its second iteration.
The Jack and Jill Bathroom
Here is the bathroom shared by the two bedrooms. We did replace the vanity in this bathroom, add paneling and paint. When we moved in it was painted with stripes like a circus tent with a mural of a monkey behind the toilet. It would have been okay for a kid's bathroom except I really did not like the colors that were used. We also added a picture ledge to the top of the paneling and displayed black and white photos in various frame sizes of the two sharing the bathroom.
I posted about the basement here.
Here is a "walking tour" around the outside.
There was a gorgeous rose bush off of the side door to the kitchen that was there when we moved in and bloomed like this every year.
We added the shed for extra storage.
We redid the landscaping and added a patio in the backyard.
Behind the circle of boxwoods on the left side of the above photo was a beautiful copper fleur de lis fire pit surrounded by chairs, sadly we do not have a picture of it. Another magical spot at this house.
That's a wrap. This home was gradually layered upon over our years of living here and it felt like a true extension of us. It welcomed visitors with a hug and an invitation to make yourself at home - which is so important to me. Thank you for touring it with me,