Thursday, February 04, 2010

One Fresh Nest: John & Valerie Telford

One Fresh Nest is a feature that we have on the site where we highlight a home that is beautiful and inspiring.

Today's Fresh Nest is John and Valerie Telford's home.  They collaborated together on the renovation and design of their home and John did most of the work himself over 9 months.  John is a Visual Arts Professor at Brigham Young University and you can see his talent in his photographs here.  I have a special place for them in my heart as they are my husband's aunt and uncle.  And the fact that they have style and an eye for design makes me love them that much more!

John was kind enough to let me interview them about the transformation of their home.

What is your favorite room in the your home & why?

To select a favorite room is hard. I love several rooms because of the unique challenges that were solved in each area. The family room is very comfortable and when we installed the metal hearth and wall behind the wood burning stove that covers out dated used bricks,  I was amazed at the transformation and contemporary feel it gave the room. I am also particularly proud of the way we solved the problem of dealing with three pieces of metal – one forming the hearth and two standing behind the wood burning stove. There was no way of doing the wall with one piece because it goes floor to ceiling and had to slide over a vent behind the stove. We simply decided to add a metal mantle, deciding on the desired height, and then had the metal cut to fit that height and hid the seam with the mantle. We also decided to leave the natural patina on the metal rather than grind or alter it in any way. I think its very unique and beautiful.

The kitchen was also an interesting challenge. The old kitchen had a drop ceiling with a big florescent light fixture in it. Classic 70’s style. Everything was old and out of date, plus the sink and dishwasher leaked creating a moldy warped floor. It had a pantry in the wrong place which limited the cabinet and counter space and a large space for a kitchen table which seemed un-needed with a dining room in the next room and a bar type counter. Solution – gut the whole kitchen and start over. We ripped out the drop ceiling, all of the cabinets, the built-in pantry, ripped up the floor and in doing so had to replace most of the sheet rock. The arch-way leading into the family room was moved over two feet to make room for more kitchen cabinets and counter tops. I had to replace the floor including sub-floor, and prepare it for tile. Then rebuild the whole room including moving light switches and installing recessed lighting in the ceiling. We installed the new tile floor, painted everything and then had all the new cabinets and granite counter tops installed. The cabinet style, color, and layout was all selected by Valerie. Finally we were able to have a meal cooked on the stove rather than in the microwave, and do the dishes in the dishwasher rather than in the downstairs bathtub.

Probably the biggest amount of work was done in the two main floor bathrooms and laundry room. Rather than going into all the reasons why, we gutted both bathrooms and modified the laundry room, removed a small tub from one bathroom and replaced it with a large soaking tub in the master bathroom. We adjusted the size of each bathroom, making one smaller and one larger. I had to move three doors in order to accomplish that. That means redoing the stud frames and headers, the sheetrock work, door jams and molding. I rebuilt the shower in the master bath and made a new shower in what we refer to now as the guest bath. I installed  new tile in both bathrooms. The end result is a much more pleasing arrangement for an empty-nester couple.

Finally, the Living/Dining room. The original room had a sunken living room. The dining area was separated by a small oak railing fence, dividing the space and making both seem small. Out dated oak railing  and a parquet floor was also found in the entry way. The main project here was to raise the sunken floor and make it even with the dining room area and entry way and then install hard wood flooring throughout. Thank goodness my son Brett is a framer and could help me with the new floor, floor joists and subfloor. By the way he helped with all of the framing that had to be done throughout the house. I had to raise all of the electrical outlets in the living room area to match the height in the dining area. I also installed recess exhibit type lighting to illuminate the photographs. We had a custom made metal railing/banister installed over the stairs. I also cut large openings in one wall and installed large sheets of patterned glass to give a more open feel. That wall was painted with an accent burgundy color using suede textured paint.

I’ll leave changes in the basement, including redoing the brick fireplace with slate, installing new cabinets, redoing the bathroom and making a playroom for the grandkids with a full wall black-board for another issue. I also won’t go into all of the landscaping that we had to re-do. With all that we did, it may seem like it would have been easier to just start from scratch on a vacant lot. We bought a brand new house before we bought this one. While everything was new and nice and expensive, it just never felt like ours. It was built by someone else from their plan. This now feels like our home, our design and especially our work. I do not regret in any way all the work and fun we had making it so.

When you are designing and decorating your house, where do you get your inspiration from?

Our inspiration has come from a variety of sources. We watch HGTV a lot and enjoy the unique solutions that several of the programs have for re-designing rooms. When I saw a particularly interesting idea, I would try to think of a space where I could use it. We also look at a lot of interior Design and Architecture magazines. We collected brochures from paint and tile stores for ideas, as well as color choices. Last but certainly not least, I would simply sit in a space for a long time or visualize it in my mind and come up with ideas of how to make it be ours. As a fine art photographer, one of the main concerns is exhibiting my work. Hence the lighting is very important to me – not just the lighting in the room but the lighting on the walls. As a result I had to install recessed exhibit type lighting in the major rooms along with installing interesting contemporary track lighting in the entry way and in the halls where photographs are exhibited. We get a lot of comments on our lighting, more so than on the photographs themselves.

Thank you, John and Valerie for sharing your home with us!  It was great to learn about the process behind your huge transformation.  It's beautiful and we declare your home 'One Fresh Nest'!

1 comment:

melanie gao said...

I love this house! I am fighting the urge to crawl through my computer screen and sit down in front of that wood-burning stove.