Finding Fixtures: Balancing Vintage Style with Modern Needs


via Simply Grove

In our own extensive real estate browsing, we’ve noted how light fixtures can have a huge impact on the feel of the space, so we knew we had to get them right. Cheap, outdated fixtures can really bring down the look of a place, while attractive fixtures, carefully chosen to fit each room, can be a major focal point. We worked hard to find light fixtures that fit the home’s historic vibe while giving an occasional dash of modern style—and fitting within our budget. Because as much as we’d love to outfit the whole house in Schoolhouse Electric lights, that’s just not in the cards.

Here are a few of our finalists that fit the bill for being attractive, functional and affordable. Obviously, we didn’t use them all in the reno—you’ll have to wait for the “after” pictures to see which ones we chose!


Demo Days


After receiving a few quotes from contractors, we realized we could shave thousands of dollars off of our renovation costs by doing most of the demolition work ourselves. The last few weeks have been spent pulling up tile, toilets, walls, wallpaper, and more. I’ve got to give credit to Todd, who has done the vast majority of the work himself. (Apparently, he enjoys it.)

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The kitchen was the biggest demo project. We tore out the giant wooden cabinets, appliances, the sink (saved for later), and part of the walls to make it easier for the electrician to install new wiring. We also pulled up the tile floor when we realized there are wood floors underneath. We’re hoping to restore these, seal them, and keep them for a cohesive look throughout the house.

DSC_0956-2_thumbDSC_1087-2_thumb.jpgNext up, Todd and Erica’s step-brother Matthew tore up the ceramic tile in the upstairs bathroom and found… more tile! This second layer will be nearly impossible to get up, so our contractor suggested that we just tile over it. (We’re thinking of going with something vintage-looking, like this.) And yes, we’re refinishing and keeping the clawfoot tub. We’ll also be installing wainscoting to cover up a thick tile-like wallpaper.


This room may not look like much (in fact, a friend affectionately dubbed it “the murder room”), but this will be the site of one of our biggest projects in the house. Because it’s not really usable as a bedroom (there’s no closet), we’ll be transforming this into a master bathroom, upstairs laundry, and storage space.


We were beyond thrilled to find wood floors under the brown tile. We’re thinking of leaving the wood floors in the master bath rather than tile over them. Thoughts on wood floors in a bathroom? (Here’s an example of a local reno that I loved.)


Also, under the weird orange fabric wallpaper, we found even weirder greenish paint and several layers of wallpaper. Look closely and you can see the tape where we’ve mapped out the double vanity and laundry closet.

With that, most of the demo is done and we’re just waiting to start working with our contractor in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be shopping for fun things like light fixtures, faucets, and paint colors. Stay tuned!


Found Treasures


The previous owner of the Griffin house did a pretty good job of clearing out her stuff, but we keep finding little leftovers—and the discoveries are more exciting than annoying. Our nephews were thrilled to find an old badminton set and a little lantern tucked in the basement’s ceiling. There’s much more down there, and under the house, that we haven’t had time to sort through.


But my favorite find so far has been in the shed. I was stacking up some old carpet in the corner when I stepped on a small pile of papers. I picked one up and immediately recognized it as a love letter written from a man to the woman he wanted to marry. He expressed how much he missed her, and how it killed him to imagine her with someone else, and how he couldn’t wait until they were reunited. I quickly picked up another piece of paper and found an address and date stamp. It was written in 1942 and sent from a military base. Our romeo was a soldier writing to his sweetheart back home.

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I hope that we can track down the owner of these letters, or their children. But if not, we may see if a local museum is interested in them. I was also thinking it would be neat to take one of the letters, frame it, and hang it in the house as a reminder of its past.

I’m sure we’ll be finding many more treasures as we continue cleaning up the house. Follow Erica on Instagram for the latest and greatest.