Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tiles for miles

Just a quick update because Brandon and I made it over to the Tile Shop this morning to scout out tiles for the master bathroom. In the guest bathroom, we are going with a really classic look - white ceramic subway tiles for the shower surround, and these white octagons with black accent squares on the floor:

We figure with that combo we can introduce some interesting color on the walls, but if you could see the paint sample army that has overtaken the house, you'd know we're not quite there on that decision.

In any case, we figured we'd make the upstairs bath a little bit more "us," and pick tiles/colors that we love, since no one else will be using that bathroom. As of today, these are our favorites - but I am always interested to hear what you guys think! Anyone have experience with these or similar tiles? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Let us know!

For the floor, we love these little 3/4" hexagons in the "gloss moss" finish:

And for the shower surround, I've always loved the idea of glass subway tiles. Today we perused the colors available, and liked both Water:

And Antique Moss:

I worry that the second one will be a bit too dark - but we are going with a light color on the walls (probably Lacey Pearl by Benjamin Moore, which is pretty neutral and seemed to look good with both options). Here they both are next to the floor tiles:

(The price tags on the glass subway tile makes me cry a little bit... but I think we'll be coming in under budget on most of the other tile selections, so hopefully we can make it work!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

For the paint junkies

After three trips to the paint store(s), we have some samples on the walls! And because I know you guys have been anxiously awaiting an update in the color selection process, I snapped some photos today to share. As always, these may look different on the screen than they do in real life - I know my monitor at work makes everything look psychadelic neon, which is unhelpful when I am trying to procrastinate grading by looking for house inspiration on Pinterest.

Steven and I met yesterday to talk colors, and came up with a paint chip palette that we were decently happy with - or at least happy enough that we were going to try to find some samples in this general viscinity.

From left to right, we were looking for a greeny-yellow for the main living area, blue for the guest bedroom, green for the guest bathroom, and an orangy-red-tan (yes that is the technical term) for the dining room. That would cover the whole first floor, but leaves the upstairs rooms TBD.

So today I added to the collection of paint samples on the wall. Here is the living room by the windows on the south (river) side:

From left to right these are Cypress Grove (388), Sweet Pear (389) and Fresh Cut Grass (2026-50), all from Benjamin Moore (as are the rest of the colors in this post). I loved Fresh Cut Grass most purely as a color - it is so cheerful! - but once it was up on the wall I realized how bright it was. I told Brandon that it almost verged on a shade you'd find in a highlighter marker. The other two are less saturated, but I think Sweet Pear may be a little too dark, and Cypress Grove a little too yellow. Sigh. Not in love with any of them yet, although I took this with the Cypress Grove still wet, so I am holding out hope for that one... Anyway, here they are by the dining room (the corner furthest from the windows), with Cypress Grove on the left, Fresh Cut Grass on the top right, and Sweet Pear on the bottom right:

As you can see we also pulled some samples for the dining room. Here they are closer up:

From top to bottom these are: Copper Mountain (AC-12), Davenport Tan (HC-76), Peanut Shell (2162-40) and Pecos Spice (AC-14).

Copper Mountain and Davenport Tan:

Peanut Shell and Pecos Spice:

I like both of the top two far better than the bottom two, which I thought to myself as I painted looked "fleshy" and "porcine," respectively. Not ideal words to pop into your head in the dining room... and maybe a bit of a terrifying window into how my brain works.

Moving on to the guest bedroom:

From left to right, these are Fiji (AF-525), Hemlock (719) and Seaport Blue (2060-30). I bought Seaport Blue first and had another "oh wow!" moment when I opened the paint can and realized how darn bright it is. Still a beautiful color, but I love that Fiji still has a bit of turquoise in it while being less "in your face."

Now for the downstairs bathroom:

These are Dill Pickle (2147-40) and Dill Weed (481), which I thought was hilarious. I kinda like both of these, but I think if we go with a more yellow color for the great room (e.g., Cypress Grove), that Dill Weed would work a bit better with it. We'll see...

And finally, you can laugh at yet another OMG-bright selection by yours truly for the upstairs bathroom:

These are Passion Plum (2073-30) on the bottom (Take 1), and Bonne Nuit (AF-635) on the top (Take 2).

So that's what's on the walls at the moment... I think I'll take the dogs over to run around and then I can see how these look in the evening. I am trying not to stress out, but the GC would like both bathrooms painted this weekend (!) so that the tile guys can come in next week, so we have to make decisions pretty quickly!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Primed and ready!

I know the people working on our house are professionals who do this for a living - the carpenters, electricians, drywallers, plumbers, and painters do this stuff every day and so they are really freaking good at it. Even so, there are days when I just think they must be some kind of evil geniuses because they do things SO MUCH FASTER than I can even conceive of doing them. It totally blows my mind all the time... like, for example, today. We got to the house to find THE ENTIRE INTERIOR primed and ready to paint. The. Entire. Thing. Every wall, every ceiling... I know, I know, you get the picture and I should stop rambling, but seriously: mind = blown. Especially since we didn't even know that the painters were going to do this! We thought, since we were in charge of painting bedrooms and bathrooms, that we'd also be priming those areas. What an amazing surprise! Time to return the primer I bought yesterday!

Anyway, we came straight from work, so I only have these few cell phone pics to share (but really, how exciting are photos of bare white walls?). PAAAAAAAINT TIME!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Just kidding, not really! But it was a good excuse to reference a very funny SNL skit.

Actually, this morning did start out fairly lazy - I slept in, and did a bit of work before lunch. I planned to go out to the house in the early afternoon to put another coat of stain on the dresser that I bought to convert into our master vanity. I started thinking about this project over a month ago, but had some trouble finding a good candidate dresser - it had to be the right size, sturdy, and relatively simple in design (both because I prefer that aesthetic, and because I didn't want to lose my sanity trying to sand and stain something super ornate).

Of course I turned to my good buddy Craig and his most excellent list. After much repeated checking (i.e., stalking) the for-sale furniture section, I found a dresser that looked perfect. My ever-tolerant husband accompanied me on the nearly hour drive to the north side of Detroit to snag the $80 dresser. I was apparently so excited to start sanding that I yanked all of the drawers out before remembering to snap some "before" photos. So here it is drawer-less:

And here is what the original drawers looked like, complete with retro liner paper:

The plan was to sand it down and stain the whole thing a rich, dark chocolate brown a la this gorgeous vanity I found on Pinterest. Here are the drawers all lined up, knobs removed, and ready to be sanded:

The two little drawers at left in the pic above live behind the cabinet door in the middle section of the dresser. If you are observant you will notice there is one drawer missing - it was the recalcitrant one that I couldn't get the knob off of. Brandon eventually got it off by getting all aggro on it and busting it into many pieces - luckily I was planning on getting new knobs anyway.

I used 80-grit sandpaper to start, and then finished everything with 220 so it is all nice and smooth. (Luckily the dresser top and drawer fronts are all solid wood. The sides of the dresser are veneer, but the veneer itself is really thick so I wasn't too worried about sanding, and it all went fine.) Because we are low on storage space at the moment, I stuck the sanded drawers back in the unsanded dresser after I ran out of time on the first day.

(mmm, Jimmy Johns)

The one feature of the dresser that we (OK, Steven) didn't like was the trim piece at the bottom. He thought it would look much better if it sat against the ground (like baseboard) rather than having the decorative cut-out section. After much grumbling I had to admit he was right (as usual), so Brandon did some minor surgery:

...which had the intended consequence (see ya, offending trim piece)... well as some unintended casualties. Ouch.

Fortunately that section will be covered by the new trim piece, once we get the new trim piece.

The staining process has taken me several visits, since I put two coats of stain on everything. It is nearly impossible to get a good picture of the stain color (MinWax ebony), because when the drawers are inside the boat house I have to use a flash:

And when they are outside there is too much glare:

Alas! The color is exactly what I wanted after two coats, but I am a bit concerned that I put too much stain on the drawers. I wiped the excess off with a rag but I may have left it on too long, because there are still shiny patches on the drawers, a week after they have been stained. It isn't wet or tacky anymore, and I can't wipe anything off with a rag, so maybe it isn't a problem. I plan to polyurethane the whole thing anyway since it will live in a bathroom and be subject to moisture - does anyone with more staining experience than me want to weigh in? Think I can poly it, or should I try to wipe off some of the excess stain with paint thinner/mineral spirits/etc.? Let me know what you think, oh helpful interwebs!

Anyway, this all brings us up to today (ha! faked you out with a super long preamble). I was going to head to the house after lunch to finish staining the dresser. When I got there, though, the extremely hardworking drywall crew was back at it, finishing up sanding the drywall, and told me they would be cleaning up shortly. This caused the synapses of my brain to rewire into a giant pulsating paint can. After a quick call to Brandon, I realized that I had barely an hour to drive back to our rental, pick up my wallet and the shop vac, drive back to Turtle House, drop the shop vac to the drywall crew (who said it would be a big help with clean-up), and drive to Ann Arbor before the paint store closed at 2pm. I got it all done though, through sheer determination and willful disregard of posted speed limits. I returned to the house with a bunch of primer for the bathrooms, pans and rollers, and four sample colors (one each that I picked as starting points for the living room, guest room, and both bathrooms). Whew!

Unfortunately, the drywall crew was still hard at work cleaning up. Our GC had sent us an email indicating that they would be done at "e pm" which made us laugh super hard. Given that e=2.718, we thought that meant they should be done somewhat before 2:45, but apparently this was not the case. Indeed, they were still going strong after I put another coat of stain on the vanity and left the house (around 4:30 pm). So, perhaps no priming today... but now we're ready to go!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scene of the crime

Painter Al was at the house today for more work on the exterior, and it is looking terrific! It looks like he finished the rarely seen west side of the house, and the second story of the north side (where the horizontal Hardie board siding is).

It was a good thing I knew what was going on before I went in the house, or I might have taken a look out the dining room window and called in CSI-Ypsilanti.


But seriously, I am loving the exterior color - we wanted to play up the "barn charm" of the house, and this color is just a great traditional barn red. We (by which I mean designer Mandi) even found these terrific lights for over the garage and main entry, perfectly in line with the whole barn vibe:

Adorable, right? I lurves them.

In other news, the garage door installer was back today to hook everything up on the inside. There is no power yet, but I can gaze at this and daydream about all the snow I will NOT be shoveling off my car this winter...

I think the drywall guys were back again today too, since some areas inside looked re-mudded. I figured you guys have seen enough photos of drywall mud, so instead, here are the boys looking perplexed about why I will not let them further into the house. Dogs + drywall mud = disaster!

P.S. Thank you all sooo much for the comments on my recent posts on interior paint and garage door color selections. There were a ton of great ideas and tips that we wouldn't have thought of on our own - we really appreciate it! And now that I've got the blog bug you know I'll keep you updated on how it all turns out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

True colors, garage edition

Brandon is teaching a late class tonight, so the four-legged boys and I traipsed out to the house on our own to see what was going on. And hey, we have garage doors!

And yes, they are glaringly white at the moment - more on that shortly. Also today, siding got put on the main entry porch area, and the door that had been the main construction access (through the garage) got moved to the front door location:

(apologies for the bad photo, I was getting rained on)

Of course all of this will be red eventually (as will the faux-dormer at the top right of the pic below), and there will be a concrete foundation poured for the little entry porch - I think that is supposed to happen later this week. For now, it is fun to see this whole side of the house coming together!

Let's take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?

Ugh, on second thought, let's try to forget that ever existed.

So about those glaringly white garage doors - obviously they are going to be painted, since right now they stick out like two big ol' chemically whitened buckteeth. Since my post yesterday generated generated the most comments ever (y'all like to talk about paint!), I thought I would share my current conundrum.This whole side of the house (in fact, the whole house period) will eventually be red with brown trim. Steven and I had discussed that it might be nice to do something different color-wise with the front door, to make it stand out and look warm and welcoming. One idea we considered was a warm golden color. With that in mind, today we discussed colors for the garage doors, and the first thought was to make them match the main door. Of course, I went to my trusty "doodle in PowerPoint" approach (I know, I really need Photoshop, right?!).

Of course, there is the same caveat as yesterday that this color will look different on every individual monitor - but it is supposed to be a dark goldenrod. After seeing this, I am thinking that maybe the doors will "stick out" too much? We really don't want the garage doors to be the focal point of the house... The other idea Steven mentioned would be to paint them the same color as the brown trim on the rest of the house:

I can't get the brown to match quite right, but you get the idea. After doing these doodles, I am leaning away from the yellow I think... Anther idea might be to match the red, but that might be a little too red-tastic. But it would certainly make the doors "go away." What do you guys think? Other ideas?

Update - red doors for your consideration!

Update #2 - this one is for Scott K:

And this one just popped into my head and I'm sort of enamored with it:

I may be having a bit too much fun with this...

Update #3 - red doors/brown trim & vice versa! OK, I really need to stop now.