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Adding Charm To A Cookie-Cutter House

We just LOVE TOH! But the fact remains that the home we bought in Colorado is not old at all...it's rather new, in fact. Built in 1998. Reality is it's a total cookie cutter that lacks any sort of charm. Nice neighborhood, great area, but total suburbia all the way. Any thoughts on how we might charm-up a cookie cutter with old house character? We'd love to make our home really special with custom touches (both interior and exterior). We have the usual modern touches like built in niches (complete dust collector), halfway-up-from-the-floor-walls, vaulted ceilings (with POPCORN!). Any suggestions? How can we make our new house look old?

Re: Adding Charm To A Cookie-Cutter House

I live in a house built in 1976, but know one thinks that who sees it – although I do still have mostly popcorn ceilings. (I need to use one of those testing kits for asbestos before I try taking them down.) I think first you should always surround yourself with whatever you like and stay away from trends – unless you love it. You want a house that looks like a home, not a magazine layout.

As we had the money or desperate need to fix or replace something, we did so with features that we considered had passed the test of time - less prone to looking dated and often found in "old" houses. We put in hardwood floors (2 “red oak) throughout the main level. I painted the dark stained pine millwork white. I did not want all white, so my kitchen is natural oak. I put in tile floors in the bathrooms with an updated old-fashioned white mosaic look, and for two bathrooms tiled up the walls 4 ft with white subway tiles. Some cabinets were replaced and others I stripped and stained a lighter shade. The powder room I just finished yesterday – old-fashion white mosaic tile floor (never use white grout on floor – use grey) and I tried out the beadboard wallpaper I’ve seen on the decorating blogs. I love it! We used real beadboard in the laundry / mud room. We replaced the disintegrating hollow core doors with six panel type oak doors. A friend of mine in a similar house has some lovely antiques. I have a few Amish made pieces and some simple pine pieces too. Lots of mixing warm wood (anything natural), neutrals and whatever colors you love. If I were rich I would replace the millwork with a more old fashioned / substantial style – but also seems like a waste of resources to switch out perfectly good millwork.

One of my next projects is to remove the (hideous) carpet from the stairs and stain the stair treads and paint the rest. Hang simple curtains. I read one blogger who was able to construct a second floor playroom by enclosing the vaulted ceiling and making it part of the second level. If you do take the popcorn down, crown molding can be a nice touch.

Look through pictures on Pinterest, especially search under “cottage style” or whatever style you like and get ideas.

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