Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Picking Paint

Folks, we're finally getting to the point where we can see a light at the end of this long construction tunnel.  You can really see the design starting to come together, and a large part of that, for me at least, is the paint color.  So, on a cool fall morning we met up with our designer Karen, our furniture refinisher Shea (more on Shea and her lovely work in a later post) and our contractor Brett to pick some paint colors.  The theme of our house (and our paint colors) is autumn, so keep that in mind when you view them.  Oh, and all of our paint is from Sherwin Williams.

 As you enter the house, you will be met with a long, wide hallway painted in Crispy Gold.

THIS is why you want to work with a professional when choosing paint colors.  I would never in a million years have thought to use a light blue.  I would've used a ho-hum off white and called it a day.  This is Balmy, and we'll be using it on most of the interior trim and doors.

I finally get my purple bedroom!  This will be in the master bedroom and it's called Mythical.  The trim, of course, is Balmy.  We might also paint one accent wall in the hallway this color, we're not entirely sure yet.

This is the wall color for the master bath.  It's called Open Seas.  Keep in mind that there will be a lot of white subway tile and white hexagonal floor tile in this room, so I think this blue will be a welcome pop of color.

The office is one of the few rooms where we haven't made our final color choice.  If we go with stained ceilings in the office, we will most likely choose this greyer blue called Dutch Tile Blue.  If we decide to paint the ceiling, we may go with a richer, darker blue.  This will also be the color on the walls of the hall bath.  It'll have beadboard wainscotting painted in Snowbound (not pictured, but it's an off white).

The addition (kitchen, living room, dining room) walls will be painted in this gorgeous autumnal orange called Red Cent.  The cabinets in the kitchen and the built-ins in the living room will be painted an off white color called Antique White (not pictured).  The island in the kitchen will be a specialized distressed finish done by Shea.   Only she knows for sure what it will look like, but I know it will be stunning.  Also, there will be a wall along the living room made up of old boards (meant to mimic an outside wall of our house).  Shea will be painting it and distressing it too, and it's my understanding that it'll be a duo-tone purple/blue.

Various cabinets, shelves, and built-ins in our hall, office, living room and kitchen will have beadboard backing in them.  This is a test of the colors we plan to use on the beadboard backing.  From top to bottom, Red Cent, Mythical, and Cosmos.

Most of the beadboard ceilings in our house will be painted rather than stained.  Here are two choices that we're considering, Copen Blue and Jetstream.  We're not sure yet if we'll be painting all the painted ceilings one color, or if we'll choose between the two for each individual room.

Remember this picture?  I posted this picture last week as a teaser of things to come.  Here we are testing out various different purples for the exterior paint color of the house.  After much deliberation, we decided to go for the one on the bottom called Soulful Blue (it's called blue, but I assure you it's purple).

And here you see it painted on the outside of the house!

Well that's it folks.  Our contractor is on vacation this week, so he has his crews working on painting the house while he's gone.  With any luck, I may be able to show you guys some completely painted rooms next time!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Floors, Ceilings, And Mistakes

It's all about wood right now at the house.  We've got our floors, ceilings, and, to some extent, mouldings going in (the mouldings can't be completed until we install our cabinetry).  We decided to try and salvage as much of the hardwood floors that we already have for practical reasons.  I'd love to say that it's beautiful old heart pine boards or some such, but, in actuality, it's just some sturdy oak floors put in sometime in the late 90's.  They're perfectly good and serviceable floors though, and we're not ones to waste, so they're staying.  The trouble is that we want the entire house to have hardwoods, and some areas (the bedrooms and office) were carpeted. Others are, of course, brand new, so this can be a bit of a problem.  Fortunately, since the old floor is relatively recent, it's not that hard to match.  They actually have a neat way of transitioning the new and old floors called feathering:

Can you guess which is the old and which is the new?

By staggering (or feathering) the old and the new together, sanding, and then refinishing them all at once, it makes the composite floor look as if it had all been installed at one time.  Pretty ingenious, no?

The hubby and I were amazed at how quickly the floors came together.  In one week the work crew had the hardwoods down all over the house:

The dining room/kitchen area.

The master bedroom floor almost finished.

 Another shot of the master bedroom with the closet area.

The office floor being completed.
We were puzzled by how quickly they were able to get the floors installed, and then our contractor Brett took this video and sent it to us:

warning, the sound is really loud on this video

One guy goes along and lays boards down on the ground, and another comes behind him nailing them in.  Once they get a rhythm going, they get a room done in a matter of hours.  Amazing!

This week also marked the death of our ugly spatter ceilings.

 I hate this stuff.

Don't get me wrong, a spatter ceiling could be very appropriate in a 60's ranch or an 80's splitlevel, but in our charming 1911 folk Victorian it was just wrong, wrong, wrong.  For 11 long years I have lain in bed staring up at that ugly ceiling thinking, "Some day, some day I will DESTROY you!"   Okay, so maybe I have issues.  Anyway, we decided to kill the spatter and add beadboard to the ceilings throughout the house.  I get a lot of strange looks when I say we're putting beadboard on the ceiling (instead of just drywall), but historically speaking, it's completely accurate.  Fancy houses from this time period would have lovely smooth plaster ceilings, but our house was built for the middle class.  They couldn't afford the time consuming plaster, so they would have slapped some beadboard up there and called it done.

Dry wall goes up on the ceiling before the beadboard, but they have to leave the beams exposed so that they can nail the beadboard to them.

 There is nothing sexier than men putting beadboard on my kitchen ceiling.  Don't tell them that though, I don't want them to get weirded out the next time I'm at the house.

 Almost finished in the front hall.

 Completed ceiling in the master bedroom.

 Completed ceiling in the master bath.

 Close up of the ceiling in the office.

Doesn't that look much better?  Completed ceilings and floors are nice, but I know what you people are really here for- you want to hear about the mistakes.  Well the first one actually involves the ceiling in the new addition.  You see, the plan was to have the beadboard in the hall and addition stained (as opposed to painted).  Our designer Karen picked out this great medium brown tone stain that would go really well with everything, and our contractor Brett went to the store and matched the stain perfectly.  He even tested the stain on a piece of pine (our beadboard is pine) before giving the go ahead on staining the ceiling.  So we were all a bit shocked when we checked out the ceiling in the kitchen on Thursday and saw this:
It's lovely, but way, way, way too dark.  It seriously makes my spacious addition with 10 foot ceilings seem like an enclosed cave.  Unfortunately, there's not much we can do at this point.  We're going to experiment with sanding down the ceiling, but the truth is that probably won't help much.  Our only other options are to tear the ceiling down and start fresh (too expensive) or to give up the idea of stain and just paint it.  I'm a bit bummed because I was really looking forward to the look of the stain, but I think the paint will be okay.

The other mistake was this one:

That's one of our old fireplaces in the house.  The first part of the mistake is that the mantle did not need to be primed.  This is a modern mantle that is going to be removed and replaced by one of the old ones we've found in antiques stores and on craigslist.  The second part of the mistake is that they GOT PRIMER ON MY OLD VICTORIAN TILE!!!!!  Folks, this was my first real put-your-head-between-your-legs-and-panic moment of the renovation.  Those are actual antique Victorian tiles that are original to the house.  They have a hundred years of lovely patina on them, and I can't exactly go to Home Depot and replace them.  Fortunately, the painters had some solvent that removed the paint without harming the tiles, so everyone concerned gets to keep their testicles.

That's it for this update.  Here's a little sneak peek of what's happening next:

Can you guess what we're doing?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vintage Lighting

Hold on to your hats folks, it's time for another design post.  As y'all know, we are devoted to keeping our home historically accurate (within reason, we're not living in a museum here).  So when it came time to choose lighting, I wanted to go for actual antiques whenever possible.  We searched in a lot of different places both online and here in Atlanta for just the right fixtures, and finally we stumbled on to this great online shop, Retropolitan.  They have this collection of awesome vintage lighting, and as you are about to see, we went a bit nuts there.

On the front porch, we will be hanging this lovely light:

ca. 1905 Arts and Crafts hanging light with beveled glass and jewels

I always wanted something unique on our front porch, but I never thought we'd be lucky enough to score such a beauty.  And yes, I know 1905 is a bit early for our house (it was built in 1911) but the Arts and Crafts style is spot on for the time period and very popular in our neighborhood.

What you don't see much of any more these days is Art Deco.  I've always liked the smooth, sleek, futuristic lines of Art Deco, but it's not something I ever really envisioned using much in our house.  As a matter of fact, the hubby and I spent many an hour pouring over tons of Victorian chandeliers trying to find the right one to give us the perfect wow factor in the front hall (you want a little wow when people first walk in).  Then we saw this Art Deco wonder on Retropolitan, and we just knew we had to have it:

Art Deco chandelier with green and caramel slag glass slip shades, ca 1920s

I think it's going to look simply stunning in our hall, and the green slag glass sort of reflects the green glass that we have framing the owl in the front door.
The stained glass looks much more vibrant and colorful in real life.  It is really, really, really fricken' hard to photograph stained glass and have it look right.

Because we have such a long central hallway, I thought we really needed some Gothish sconces illuminating it's dark depths...beckoning you onwards towards your doom (muahahahaha).  Maybe I rode the Haunted Mansion one too many times when I was little.  Sadly I got outvoted for the actual Haunted Mansion sconce.

What?  Every day is Halloween in my head...

Instead we decided to opt for a pair of these Art Deco sconces, scored from, you know, you love it, Retropolitan!

ca 1920's

We're still looking for one other sconce in the hallway so maybe I can work in that Haunted Mansion skele arm after all...

Moving on into the master bath we really wanted to keep the historical vibe going, so when I spotted a pair of these sconces at Rejuvenation (an online antique and reproduction lighting shop) I knew they'd look great:

Yes they are Art Deco too, ca 1920's.  Apparently we really, really love Art Deco and just never knew it.

To go with the sconces, our designer Karen suggested we put a chandelier over the tub.  I was resistant at first because I feel the whole chandelier-over-the-tub thing has been done to death.

Elegant, but a bit much...and just not my style.

Karen persisted, and I'm so glad she did, because otherwise we never would have gone for this French beauty at (can you guess it?) Retropolitan!

 Try not to be shocked, but this is also Art Deco ca 1920's

So our new tub chandelier is called an ice berg chandelier (I guess cause the main part does look a bit like it could sink the Titanic) and it's made by this famous French Art Deco glass designer called Degue.  He even signed each individual glass piece.  Kinda cool eh?  At any rate, it should look quite spiffy hanging over the tub, and not like your usual dripping-crystal-tears-meant-to-be-in-the-dining-room chandelier.

For the hall bathroom and the laundry/pantry room, we decided to go ahead and go for a reproduction of the American classic schoolhouse light.

We found this one on etsy.

Also in the hall bath we decided to go for these sconces from Pottery Barn:

Yeah, it's not vintage...nor is it even a reproduction, but it's got a cool vintage vibe to it.  Which is the same reason why we went for this track lighting in the hall, also from Pottery Barn:

I'm not a huge fan of track lighting (I actually fought against it), but we are treating the hallway as a gallery of sorts where we will hang all of our funky artwork.  It's going to need the kind of movable, directional spot lighting that only track lighting can provide.  Besides, this version looks kinda cool, like it was maybe used in a studio in 1930's Hollywood or something.

The kitchen is going to have all sorts of under cabinet lights and ceiling cans to make sure that we have plenty of working light....but we wanted a bit of a neat vintage feel to it, so we decided to use these cool mason jar lights we found on etsy:

 We'll be hanging 15 of these suckers over the kitchen island!

Of course they didn't really use mason jars as light fixtures in the good old days, but it looks really retro so we're rolling with it.  What's neat about these lights is that, not only do they hang down and look all vintagey, they also cast a pretty pattern on the ceiling:

Some day I will look up and see this in my kitchen.

And last, but certainly not least we have the back porch.  I found this cool Beaux Arts reproduction sconce at Rejuvenation:

They call this one the Bridgeport, not to be confused with the Cascadia...which is the exact same one flipped upside down.

I had never even heard of Beaux Arts before this, but apparently it was an artistic style that become popular here in America in the 1890's.  I just thought this light was pretty.  Also, I have always loved the look of Chinese lanterns, and thought we might put some in our bedroom for soft light.  But Karen thought that they might look better on the porch, and when I saw these autumn leaf lights at Pottery Barn, I knew I had to have them.

Yes, I like to shop at Pottery Barn.  What of it?

So that's it folks.  This is our lighting plan to date.  We still have a few details to work out (bedrooms, living room) but those will mostly be lamps that don't involve construction and can be bought further on down the line.  Tune in next time for some more construction photos- we've finally gotten rid of the ugly 1980's splatter ceilings!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Walls, Walls, Everywhere Walls

Things have been moving along at a pretty good pace at the No-Longer-Slanty-Shanty.  We passed our big plumbing and electrical inspection, so we're finally able to put all of that sheetrock to good use.  Now when you walk into our house, you can actually see finished walls everywhere.  It's magical!  Behold:

Our hall is starting to look like a real, er hall.

 The master bath is starting to take shape.  Beyond that neat arch will be the shower and toilet area.

This photo was taken from the master bath door looking into our master bedroom.  On the far wall you can see our walk-in closet with the two entrances.  The little nook in between the doorways will have a built in dresser.

This is our living room.  You can see the new fireplace taking shape now.  On either side of it will be built-ins for our electronic equipment and other stuff.  We still don't have the crossbars for the transoms, but I'm told they're coming.

 This is a shot a little further back so that you can see the size and scope of the living room.  We'll have LOTS more space to entertain now!

 This is the kitchen, all drywalled up.  Check out my HUGE stove hood!

 The dining room is looking great!

And finally, I leave you with the funny pic of the week.  Apparently our drywall crew (did you know they are sometimes referred to as Mudders?) has a sense of humor.  We got this bonus picture on the drywall in our closet:

Who was that masked man?

You gotta love artwork preserved for the ages!  That's it for this week folks.  Next week they'll be working on installing our woodwork and trim.  Fortunately we were able to find a replacement for our mouldings that were burned in the factory fire, so we'll be staying right on schedule.