Remodeling a 1964 Rambler- After We Got Our Hands On It

 The After Photos, with Commentary

After we got our hands, and our contractor’s hands, on the house things look much different. Our contractor, Doyle Llewellyn, is unusual in that he is as much an artist as he is a contractor. We were of one mind that the additions to the house needed to look like they had always been there. Indoors there needed to be natural finishes and warm colors that would maximize light. We also wanted spaces that would flow into one another and open into the garden areas. Air, light, water, warmth. Those were the operative words. We chose a color scheme of pale, warm yellows, creams, and soft black as an accent for the living areas of the house.

Let’s start with the family room, which is where we live most of the time. Plaster walls and ceiling. Mexican saltillo tile. Skylights that open. French doors that open onto the garden. The plaster walls are the best thing we could have done. They will never need painting, and they just glow in the light.

Windows and doors that open onto the garden.

One of the fun things about real saltillo tile is finding little paw prints occasionally. We set these aside for special placement.

Remember the ugly fireplace? Magic.

Remember the ugly white fireplace? I stuccoed over the ugly brick, built a proper hearth and tiled it with slate, built a mantel to cover the concrete one. Voila. If only waving a wand was as much work as I’d had to do.  Looking back, I’m not sure where I found the energy. But it’s satisfying to know that fireplace still looks great several years later. We added a nice wood burning stove, which comes in handy if it gets really cold outside.

Here is our son’s bedroom. When we moved in, we felt pretty bad that the kids were leaving nice large bedrooms with pretty wall paper behind in the old house. He was really into medieval stuff back then, so we did his room with a castle on one wall. I used sheet rock mud and strips of fir to give the other walls the look of mud walls.

The medieval walls.

And opposite the castle, the armory, of course. What boy doesn’t need to sleep with an entire arsenal at his disposal? Pardon the tubs of books in the photo. They went out the door in the first flush of the great purge.

The armory.

And now, the master bathroom! My two favorite rooms in the house are the family room, and the master bathroom. I love the warm colors of this travertine tile as much today as when I chose it. Plus, some of the tiles have quartz crystals inside small geode areas and this fills me with delight. When I was a kid, I swore I would one day live in a house made of rocks and crystals. And now it has come to pass, sort of. The brilliant Doyle was able to enlarge the space in the bathroom by taking advantage of a deep roof overhang. By placing the tub at an angle, I was able to fit a 6 foot soaking tub into the room.

The new shower and sink

We’ve never put a shower door on the shower. We don’t need one. Very little water gets out.

My soaking tub, which gets a lot of use.

This bathroom has two opening window and an opening skylight.

The bathroom floor, which I love today as much as the first day it was finished

And the master bedroom. I finally refinished the floor last summer.

The master bedroom

Here’s the kitchen. I think it’s referred to as a ‘galley’ kitchen, which gives me a chuckle. Those are the original cabinets. The counter top is cement and we really love it. It reminds me of those lab tables from high school chemistry. I believe this is appropriate considering some of the experimenting I do in the kitchen.

The galley kitchen

We never really feel as though the house is ‘finished’. I don’t think houses ever get finished, like boats. There is always a project or two in the works.




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