Swan's End looks fantastic. I've done my small share of renovations/updates on 50+ year old homes, and it's always preserving the details that make it worth it to me - the vent grates, the doorknob, and the moulding around the light. I'd love to see the banister/handrail as natural wood but that would be a hell of job to do, in-place or otherwise.
Like you, I'm always dumbfounded at the whole shag carpet thing in midcentury homes. We have a 1955 single story ranch and when my husband bought it, it was wall-to-wall in the most hideous 1980s pink polyester carpet. He ripped it out and discovered virtually pristine 1950s 2" strip oak hardwood flooring underneath, in great shape, that had been virtually untouched by time.
The only downside to hardwood, as we're finding out, is that unless it's an extremely well done installation (which most tract homes are not) they do tend to shift/settle and warp over time, which leads to very squeaky floors. Ours was refinished and filled and looked really good for about 12 months after the renovation, but now, 2 very cold winters and summers later, most of the fill has popped out and many of the old squeaky boards have reasserted themselves. Also the finish does tend to oxidize and darken over time, but it can always be refinished.
My family has been working on a similar set of projects, although not as vintage. Like lonefrontranger, we found gorgeous red oak floors under horrible, stinky carpet and weird layers of linoleum in our single story ranch. Yes, both carpet and linoleum.
I managed to save some of the hall cabinet fixtures with strong isopropyl and a toothbrush to take off the paint instead of paint stripper. They were the textured copper hinges and handles common at the time. My mom-in-law hated them and wanted to replace them, but I made them pretty and usable again, including the odd square-shaped screws used to attach them.
I'd pick different floor and wall colors for my kitchen if I had it to do over (my daughter and mom-in-law did a reasonable job and I'm not complaining), but I'll have it to do over again eventually. I've never gotten to make over a house, so it's always an adventure.
We also still have to eventually basically gut and redo both bathrooms, so luckily we have two of them. We only had one at the apartment where we lived for almost a decade previously.
Our place was a rental for a long time before we got it, so it was mistreated and neglected. It has solid bones, though, and a great yard. I'm kind of spoiled by apartment living in terms of living with the renovations going on around us and needing to maintain a yard. On the other hand, we're getting to make our home the way we want it and play/work in a yard. So, it's a good trade.
Best wishes to you and Trilby and your lovely home.
PS. Any advice you have about stenciling on walls would be greatly appreciated. I have some ideas, but am scared.
Thank you all for the kind words! It is so nice when others appreciate what I've done (or are too polite to say anything negative). It always feels like such a great way to celebrate finishing a project when I can put it online and get all this feedback.
lilywing13, there's no need to be nervous about stenciling. Even if you should mess it up, you can always just sand it down and paint over it again.
If you want to try some stenciling, there are YouTube videos and how-to articles online that you can find with an easy Google search. Watch/read a few. The main points seem to be that you use a light spray adhesive to hold the stencil in place, that you don't want a lot of paint on your stencil brush, that you use a stippling rather than a brushing motion, and I also found it was a good idea to stop and wash my stencil and stencil brushes occasionally because they get just too clogged up with paint.