A Thousand Words for the Price of Two (or…Have I Got a Deal for You!)

by Debra Chappell



So….got up this morning feeling ready for a new adventure…

I finished my last project house a mere 3 weeks ago and literally installed renters and the new drapes simultaneosly. It came out pretty cute I think, so decided to hang on to it (I will be in big trouble if I start collecting my project houses the way I do classically cut blazers–don’t use them anymore  but too well made to part with!).  This one was exceptionally fun but physical. I was able to do a lot of the work myself and certainly have the aches, pains, chewed up nails, and one very moody sciatic nerve to prove it, but in the end it was worth it.

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, (and I can spend the latter like a drunken sailor on payday) I will spare you and visually take you through the process…

First a refresher:  Chappellita Casita was purchased last fall-  with a saucy charm I couldn’t resist and hiding behind pigs lipstick (in an unbecoming shade of orange) and some cracking, inefficient single paned windows that must have been designed by current EPA director Scott Pruitt.


OK…I know, looks pretty good here (the day I closed escrow)…but trust me, like the current Commander in Chief who resides in a similarly deceptive altered reality, once you get past the orange facade and down to the bones, it was almost as ugly , if far less dangerous. (Thankfully this one was easier to fix…It at least had a soul, some semblance of structural integrity and easily more charm and potential to begin with….and was not burdened by porn stars, playboy bunnies, or cumbersome NYC thugs to evict either.

As you may (or may not) remember, I started in the bathroom by ripping out the ugly black slate floor and retiling with a basket weave patterned mosaic tile ( losing the battle with the toilet along the way, but we wont go there…)

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Then it was on to the rest of the house, especially the kitchen:


So….to make a long story short-here are the before and after  (and a few ‘during’ thrown in for good measure)

The kitchen got new granite and backsplash of Mexican hand painted tile, new bling and crown molding on cabinets:                             IMG_0189    IMG_0165










THe uppers got a facelift with new  glass fit in the doors, a pantry was added next to frig as well as a character window to adjoining dining room (courtesy of Scott Pruit designs –  one of originals that we removed.)  I tiled the floor (bye bye old pergo) and lit it all with a new little chandelier.


Not much I could do about the water heater in Laundry but we did manage to replace the hideous fiber glass sink with a cute cupboard topped with leftover granite and tiles from the kitchen. Replaced the back door and added some cute handpainted knobs on cabinets and a row of shabby chic hooks given to me by my friend Paige , my personal (antique) shopper and voila! A perky little mud room and stylish back entry.









We got a nice surprise when we tore up the ugly master bedroom carpet – knotty pine!!  Put some fun bling on the builtins and closet doors and she was ready for the big dance!





Some other little improvements that restored the original charm and gave this little Casita some newfound manners:


We moved the little phone niche to the opposite wall (and dressed it up a bit) and installed a sliding barn door to the bathroom entry so guests can now use the commode without fear of the door whacking them upside their backside (complete with little privacy latch!)


Now you know why I couldn’t let this one go!


and oh yeah – that new adventure I mentioned at the top of this blog? Since the house was finished, spring had sprung (sort of) and I felt a little disloyal to my natural country french design roots – I decided I needed a bit of a re-boot sil vous plait.,…


SO…Im finishing this blog not from my own kitchen counter, but from my hotel room in Paris where I arrived just yesterday!  : )


(What can I say….a girl gets desperate when she’s craving  pate instead of guacamole and there’s a women’s antique market tour in Provence in the offing!).

I’m working through the jet lag by walking the city, cafe sitting, Sancerre sipping, croissant dipping (scales be tipping) until I leave tomorrow on a train to Provence.  Stay tuned….more to come..

In the meantime some images from my wanderings to whet your Francophile whistle – ooh la la!……