A Remodel With a Greek Theme

I am extremely pleased to offer you a view of how four people, an interior designer, the owner, an artist and I collaborated to birth an extraordinary project. The details are too many to recall, and the work progressed slowly, over a period of 6 months. I trust the result speaks for itself.

Trim and ceiling details

Trim and ceiling details

Ceiling beam detail

Ceiling beam detail

Clerestory detail

Clerestory detail

Dining room

Dining room

Tiled corner details

Tiled corner details

Cork floor and baseboard details

Cork floor and baseboard details

It is difficult to describe what these rooms looked like prior to the remodel. Floors were sagging, walls were out of plumb. There was little insulation in the attic and the walls. Coordinating subcontractors and keeping everyone happy took lots of patience. I had my ideas. She had hers. He had his. The urge to pull other’s hair hand to be contained!

Three layers of dusty ceiling materials and layers of flooring had to be torn out in humid conditions before walls, ceilings and floors could be plumbed and leveled. Thin T&G pine boards were stained and glued to plywood substrate. Beams were fashioned on the floor and raised into position using a jack. They were screwed to ceiling joists. Ceiling boards were sprayed with a clear latex finish. The beams (MDF) were primed, faux finished and sealed. I don’t like to use caulk; hence I installed thin oak moldings to hide the inevitable expansion and contraction that occurs through the seasons.

Take a look at baseboard and trim details. MDF baseboard and hardwood base shoe were primed, painted and sprayed with latex sealant. On top of the baseboard rests a 5/16” x 1” strip of stained fir. The cork floor is made of interlocking, “floating” panels. Windows with triple glass and integral shades are made by Pella Inc.

The dining room is gorgeous! The walls are textured to resemble stone, and murals recall Greek scenery. The table top is glass and its legs are stone. Notice the arched opening leading to the kitchen. Using plywood for side supports, thin strips of masonite, and lots of wood “ribs”, I fashioned two arches like the existing one seen here, capped them in metal corners, and finished them with drywall compound.

The ceiling projection in the dining room is known as a clerestory. Installed 3” below the ceiling, it is made from a blend of whitewashed interlocking pine boards and stained fir trim. It houses a recessed rope of lights that can be dimmed, creating the perfect mood for dining by candlelight. The ceiling is painted sky blue with soft clouds, whose hues change as lights are dimmed. The effect is magical!

The existing kitchen was stripped down to the bones. Walls, floor and the ceiling were plumbed and leveled “just so.” Maple cabinets have self-closing drawers. The coutertop is granite. Natural light floods into the kitchen though a fixed Pella skylite.

Notice the interlocking stones on the corner of the kitchen wall. It took many hours and some delicate cutting to fit and lay those stones one-at-a-time! Stone tiles came on 12” x 12” mats, but I found that laying mat-next-to-mat produced unsightly, very obvious joints, so I took out random stones at the ends of each mat and filled in the voids with field-cut stones! Whew, that took a long time…and a few sips from the bottle! ☺
Those decorative tiles above the stove are custom-made and evoke traditional Greek themes of grapes and goats and fig trees. I had to place a row of horizontal stone tiles beneath each décor tile in order to maintain the integrity of the layout.

A keystone tile decorates the gas-fired fireplace. The artist applied a faux stone finish on the wall above it. Above the fireplace and the cabinets is a top which I fashioned from clear fir boards.

Beautiful works of art and fine furniture lend the perfect touch to the living room. The layout was carefully planned in advance. I took great care to make sure every piece of art is securely anchored to the wall. A sword and rapier remind of the many fencing meets my client attended over the years, and the awards he has won.

(Jan 2010)

Kitchen cabinets with self-closing drawers

Kitchen cabinets with self-closing drawers

Decorative tile above stove

Decorative tile above stove

Decorative tile above fireplace

Decorative tile above fireplace

Living room

Living room

Sword and rapier

Sword and rapier

Artwork

Artwork

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