My House

Painting My House

So when we first bought our little cottage I knew a lot of paint would completely restore the curb appeal. 

Don't get me wrong- some brick is beautiful and I would never paint it. But for me, this brick made the entire yard look dark and bleek. And the contrast of the white trim was taking away from what I loved most about this Tudor style house: the steeply pitched roof, the arched enclosed entry, etc.  I wanted to give it a fresh look while still staying true to this 100 year old cottage.

So we did just that.



I'm not gonna lie- I had a hard time figuring out the perfect paint color. Exterior paint is really tricky. Before committing you really have to guess and check, apply samples on all sides of the house, see it in different lights/ different times of day, after a few drinks, etc. 

It will make you go a little crazy. (as you can see below:)

 I say this because I learned the hard way. I felt confident in my decision of Benjamin Moore's Tapestry Beige until I pulled into the driveway after work one day and half of my house was painted yellow.

I panicked.  And told everyone to stop while I ran to the paint store to get more samples. 


Hoyt was up on the ladder kindly painting swatches trying to convince me that it "wasn't yellow" while meanwhile one of the painters is yelling from the street "I LIKE the yellow!"

"See Hoyt- He's saying it's YEL-LOW."-me

"Probably because you are calling it yellow."-H

"Because IT IS!!"

This goes on until a random neighbor walks by and confirms that it's "a bit yellow."

(see. it was totally yellow.)

After hacking away at the formula- taking out black, red, who knows what- we ended up with...Benjamin Moore OC-30 "Gray Mist".

My initial plan was to paint the window trim a contrast darker color to match the front door. 

But after everything else was painted light I felt like the windows disappeared. So I had them paint one side with gray mist windows, and all of a sudden they came to life. (see difference between left and right window) 

I was also planning on putting shutters back up but once the paint was done I felt it looked nice as is. We can always add them later. (Changing my mind-Strike 3.) 

It's amazing how changing the paint color made our house finally feel like home...

Other notes:

-We had long window boxes built to span the width of the windows. 

-We replaced the roof with Landmark"weathered wood" architectural shingles. A favorite.

-kept the original clay roof caps and put them on the new roof to give it back it's old feel. 

-painted the entire house, trim and all- Benjamin Moore's Gray Mist. 

-replaced the gutters with 1/4 round/ "musket brown" finish. 

-painted the door Sherwin Williams "Black Fox".

-replaced the light fixtures with these copper ones by Visual Comfort 

-And we did a little landscaping, but that's for another post. 

*see if you can spot Finley in one of these pictures. 1,2,3.go.

My Bathroom

When we bought this little cottage we knew bathrooms would be an issue. We chose neighborhood over square footage and other amenities. So basically everything is tiny. I know it won't be long before we outgrow this but I love living small. It's the ultimate challenge- trying to make the most of every square inch. 

So we started with the bathroom...

The main floor bathroom was... not pretty. It was definitely liveable but the textured yellow wall tiles made me cringe every time I went in there.

I was planning on having someone come reglaze the tile (more cost effective) when all of a sudden- OOPS- sledge hammer to the wall. 

And then OOPS, it fell on the floor! Only to find yet another layer of textured tile underneath. 

So I picked out some pretty marble basketweave tile for the floors, white subway tile for the tub surround and put the tile guys to work. 

The old tub wasn't in great condition but there's something about old cast iron tubs... to me they are so much more comfortable and solid than new ones. I didn't want to get rid of it. Even when the workers told me I was crazy and could get a new one for the same price. (Helpful construction tip: DONT listen to everyone's opinion. That's for another blog post.)

but DO reglaze old tubs...

As you can see one of the very first things I did was change the lighting- because it's always the most crucial! I had the overhead light moved and installed double sconces instead.

TIP: When the space allows always put sconces on the sides of your vanity- 66" off of the floor. It provides much more flattering light.

I then drew up something for my cabinet guy to build, found a calcutta gold remnant (I couldn't resist), and ordered polished nickel fixtures. 

I wanted to dress up the vanity with some funky mismatched jewelry so I found some oversized brass pulls from Liz's Antique Hardware

The mirror is from Ballard Designs. I love it. 

See shower behind me: I hung a shower curtain liner at regular height on a tension rod. I then installed a drapery rod up really high and got (3) white linen curtain panels from West Elm that ended up matching the wall color. Since this is the bathroom guests will most likely use when we are entertaining I wanted to be able to cover up the bathtub completely. We don't always close it but when we do it instantly makes the room feel cleaner and more elegant. 

Oh and just recently I put up some cafe curtains for privacy. 

Paint Color: Walls and Trim are Benjamin Moore's White Dove, custom vanity is Benjamin Moore's Fieldstone

Floor Tile: white marble basketweave with Delorean Gray grout 

Wall Tile: 3x6 gloss white subway with bright white grout

*all available through my friend Mary Elizabeth at Mission Stone and Tile

Countertop: Honed Calcutta Gold remnant from Werthan Granite

Faucets: California Faucets Salina Series polished nickel; through Kenny and Company

Cafe Curtain Fabric: Amy Karyn; curtain hardware- custom- both available through us

Bath accessories/towel bars: Restoration Hardware, Vintage Collection, polished nickel

Sconces: Visual Comfort, double sconces, polished nickel- available through us

Vanity Hardware: Large Ring Pulls in Satin Brass; available through Liz's Antique Hardware

Mirror: Ballard Designs- This mirror is not on website anymore? but this one is similar

Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 12.14.30 AM

-Never skimp on tile installer- go with a great one even if they are more expensive

- Always put all lights on dimmers- yes, even in bathrooms.

- When it comes to subs don't settle for the answer: "It's just an old house". That is sometimes just an excuse. 

- Install can fans- recessed cans with exhaust fans built into them. You won't even be able to hear the fan it's so silent. This is sadly one of Hoyt's favorite things about the house. We'll have people over and I'll find him harrassing someone in the bathroom flipping on and off the switch going "Hear it? Hear it now?? wait, hold on.. NOW??!.. ITS AMAZING!!!'

-bathroom renovations take a lot longer than you expect- if they say 3-4 weeks that's a lie. 

- Don't use tension rods. Go ahead and get one permanently installed to the tile. 

- Don't have your husband or brother install your toilet paper holder on a newly painted wall- because they'll probably install it crooked and leave pencil marks that you stare at every day. 

-Think through where you want your shower cubby/nook for shampoos, etc. well before construction- and if you want a built in medicine cabinet

- Check to make sure your faucet spout doesn't come too far out into the sink- or you'll hit your head when washing your face. 

- Main Thing: Try to get it as close to perfect as possible- everything from the paint touch ups to the grout to that one discolored tile that always bugs you... Your bathroom is the one place you spend the most time sitting and noticing these little details. (it's true.)

- Oh and that air register cover in picture below? That little detail makes me happy.These random vents in old houses will make you crazy- until you realize that instead of trying to cover it up with plastic you should just Own it and do something decorative. Restoration Hardware's register cover in satin nickel. 

- Despite what anyone says... If your dog insists on resting under your feet everytime you're in the bathroom it's NOT because of the cold tile- it's because he loves you!

What valuable lessons have you learned through renovating bathrooms? small spaces? Would love to hear. 

Curtain thoughts

So before I go into my recent adventures to Chicago, Atlanta, and in bed with the flu- let's talk about what's really important: indecent exposure.

Apparently the entire neighborhood has been watching me for months now because I have YET to pick out drapery fabric for practically my entire house. And I have refused to put up the old dusty plastic blinds that lived there before we repainted everything. 

Throughout the house (aside from a few rooms) I painted the walls and trim Benjamin Moore "China White" and the french doors Sherwin Williams "Black Fox".

Hoyt keeps making fun of me when I'm looking at fabrics in my house (which is NEVER in case you were wondering- unless it's at 10pm crouching around a lamp). He says "Oh- Oh!! Let me guess... WHITE?!"

But it's true- so far I've painted everything a shade of white and only brings things in with little to no color. I can't tell if it's just that I see samples all day long and I want a blank slate to come home to, or if I am a wimp and won't commit to anything other than white. Maybe it's a little of both but we're not here to analyze that. We are here to make a decision. I need to figure out what to do with our window treatments before the neighbors see me in my underwear.(again) 

The problem is- I like a lot of different things. I make decisions all day long for my clients but when it comes to my house I freeze. Then quickly put it on the backburner. 

What I DO know is that I keep coming back to some of my favorite rooms with simple, light curtains that closely resemble the wall.  --- I apologize for any repeats--













These curtains don't call for drama.

They are sophisticated, soothing,  and simple. 

Are they safe???......YES.    -But I'm okay with that. :)

I was coming to look for some approval from you guys but ended up with Leo's blessing. I guess he trumps all. ??

Either way- I'm ordering some fabric!

1. design by Amy Morris, photograph by Emily Followill 2. Tommy Clements via Elle Decor3. Country Home via greige 4. Thomas Obrien via his website 5. Susan Ferrier via House Beautiful 6. via domino magazine 7. source unknown 8. source unknown and 9. Scaglioni, via House Beautiful 10. via Little Green Notebook 11. Source unknown 12. via Amber Interior Design

*last print by Natural Curiosities