Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A gale force

About a week ago, I started the process of painting the bathroom.  I started with the ceiling, like a good little homeowner.  Even when you think the ceiling is in good shape, you realize it's not when fresh paint goes on.  In our case, the color I put on the ceiling was a little more cream than what was recently painted, but cream works better in here.  Let's just not talk about the awful popcorn I will not be removing any time soon!  
Oh, and this thing.  
I'm pretty sure this fan and cover have NEVER been cleaned,even though the house was just repainted for the sale. 
A little wash and spray paint took care of the almond cover, and yours truly picked all the gunk out of the fan with my fingers and a paper towel.  As it rained down on my head and face.  Gross.  It looks good now, though.  Please ignore the shadows on the ceiling from the light. 
You know when you start painting a room, and you say 'OH CRAP' (or something less PG) when you step back to look at what you've done so far?  That happened to me when I was painting the walls with Sherwin Williams Gale Force.  This is the finished color:
It was dark, which I was expecting...but knowing it beforehand and actually seeing it are two different things.  I also used eggshell because I thought a little sheen would be nice to reflect light in a dark room.  I always use flat, always.  And even though I knew darker paints look even shinier, I was still shocked by the gloss.  The worst part is seeing all the roller and brush strokes.  But after two coats, I was pleased.  And I set about installing the new sconces I got for the room.     
I rarely ever turn off the power to a room when I'm changing a light, usually I turn off the switch and call it good, and YES I sometimes get shocked.  In fact, I did while installing the left sconce because I forgot I had the switch on while messing around with it.  I'm an electrical superhero.  Or super idiot, depending on how you look at it.  
I have to say, having a newer home is like heaven when you are replacing light fixtures.  New wiring!  No cloth!  Standard size junction box!  The only thing I wish is that I hadn't painted around the old sconces, that created a bunch of sanding and scraping to remove the paint ovals from around the new square fixture base.  Dumb.
I know this bathroom was added to the house sometime in the 80s, so I was interested to see this light was from 2008.  I wonder if whoever put up these boring sconces took out some awesome polished brass beauties and threw them out.  Would not surprise me.  
When I'm putting up new lights alone (ahem, which is every time) I have a little trick if you are installing a light light.  I mean, a light that isn't heavy.  I usually wrap the ground wire around the screw to hold it up while I do all the connecting of the wires.  Works great on wall sconces!  Less great on ceiling fixtures.  I usually sweat much more profusely while installing ceiling lights.  FYI - my electrical advice is probably not good.  Don't listen to me.  
You guys, I was so happy when I got these both up...then I stepped back and noticed the right sconce was a full half inch lower than the left one!  The junction boxes were not level with each other.  I was so pissed and spent the next 20 minutes mucking around with the adjustable portions of the mounting strap trying to cheat the fixture up on that side.  The right side box is also not flush with the wall but I can't seem to get it flush no matter what I do - so the fixture sticks out at the top.  Ugh, new electrical was supposed to be easy!  But, they are up and level.  And we both LOVE them!
Here is the fixture I got, a George Kovacs 2 Light wall sconce from Lighting Direct in Honey Gold.  
I knew it would class up the joint, and I liked that I could put two 60 watt bulbs in each light.  I also like that the light will be thrown mostly UP, which is more flattering than down lights.  It reflects off the white ceiling and just feels so much nicer. 
Love, love, love!  This is a photo at night, the wall color looks more teal and the lights are so gorgeous. 
 So, you can see the eyesore in the photo above, the 80s country cabinet that I haven't decided what to do with yet.  
I know it has to go, no amount of paint or hardware could bring it into the present day...but we do love the extra storage.  Open shelves would modernize the space, but I don't know if I want to throw all my toiletries and things in baskets.  I'm extremely lazy about putting away toiletries, as you can see from my little table.  What do you think so far?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A war on almond

People, I know I have left you hanging on the bathroom.  I actually have selected a completely different color from the ones I presented to you earlier.  Do you remember when I was trying to pick a perfect navy for my 'art room' at the old house?  You probably don't, because that was way back when I was young and well rested and childless.  Anyway, here is that post.  It references Smurfs.  If you take a peek, the color on the left was Sherwin Williams Gale Force.  Here is that color in action in the bathroom:
It's also on the left in here.  You can see the original Hale Navy on the left most edge.  I love that Gale Force sort of marries the Navy with the 90s teal.  On the right is a color that I originally had high hopes for, a SW blue gray, but it looks too periwinkle in person.  No good.
The color under the outlet is from Ashford's old bedroom, Behr Pier.  It's ok, but it just doesn't do much for me.
Above the toilet you see Hale Navy, Gale Force, Newburg Green, and this periwinkle color I am too lazy to figure out the name for because it's 11pm and I've had a few (4) beers.  Oh, and Pier on the left bottom.  I'm choosing the middle color because it looks navy but isn't quite as intense as the Hale Navy.  Less dark.  Less brooding.  A bit more teal.  I like.  Anyhow, this post really isn't about the bathroom, although I welcome your comments on the bathroom with open arms and eyeballs!  I haven't actually purchased the paint yet.  I'm really here to tell you about another almond hell I am dealing with....
You can't really see from this far away, but those silly enormous upper windows are a hideous greeny/yellowy beige vinyl.  Better known as, THE ALMOND CURSE ON MY LIFE. 
Yes, the vinyl is huge and cannot be changed.  Therefore, I have to match up the trim of my house to these stupid windows.  This is not my first choice, or my 5th choice, or any choice.  I don't like the color, but I found a paint color I can live with that matches pretty well.  Not perfectly, but close enough.  You can see it on the bottom left of the ridiculously wide trim.   It is Clarksville Gray by Benjamin Moore.  And the darkest color on that same color card, is Gloucester Sage....which you can see on the body of the house.  Yes, that wide trim will be painted the body color because it is just too big. 
Our house sort of looks like a Christmas Carnival with the green storm door, I hate it!  So I set up the back of the house as a testing ground for a bunch of paint samples.  Here, we have on the left going down: SW Cocoon, BM Hampshire Gray, a custom color match of a gutter sample, and SW Muddled Basil.  Then on the top is the color of my mom's house, on the right is BM Gloucester Sage and the bottom is Cocoon again.  The trim around the garage door and the  right side of the patio door is painted with the Clarksville Gray. 
I had intended on painting our front door with SW Copper Pot, and here is the garage door painted with two coats of that color.  Side note - if you buy a sample container of paint from Sherwin, it is totally enough to paint a door.  And it's satin finish, too!   
Ok, so the orange is a no.  Too bright and too yellowy.  And with any of these paint colors, it seems a bit too much like camo and blaze orange.  But I think the Gloucester Sage is a good color (on the right) and it seems less green when I put up the white printer paper to separate it from the burgundy.  I do like depth and color of the dark Muddled Basil, but I don't really want that much contrast between the trim and the body color.   What say you?  Any warm greenish grays I should try?  Please help me because we are getting this house painted in a couple weeks!       

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A dramatic bathroom

So, we've done a lot of little things around the house.  Some landscaping, some painting, lots of donating to Goodwill and trying to organize.  But one thing that has been on my mind constantly is our completely tragic, 1980s almond and brass master bathroom.
This bathroom is just not okay.  It makes me feel very beige, which is not me.  But since we are spending WAY too much money already on several big projects that must be done, we don't have much extra to modernize our bathrooms right now.  Here are the things we cannot change in this room:
  • The tile floor.
  • The shower surround or door.

  • The toilet - because it works just fine, we don't know how far the floor goes underneath, and it would look weird to have a white toilet in the sea of beige.
  • The horrifying shell counter.  A counter is just too expensive right now, and I hate that the sink must be off center on this cabinet...so I want to wait until I can replace the vanity and the counter with a centered sink. 

  • The super fancy brushed gold faucet, because I don't want to buy a NEW gold faucet and any other finish would look weird.  

So, you might be asking, "Ok,what the hell do you plan to change?"  Glad you asked.  I'm changing these things:
  • The horrible beige wall color.
  • The sconces.  Oh, they are so boring and too dim.  
  • The grungy toilet seat (got a matching colored seat from Bemis, thank goodness!)
  • The vanity hardware - but I'm not painting the cabinet.
  • The TP holder and probably the towel bars.
  • Most likely the storage cabinet above the toilet, although I secretly love the gold metal screening in the doors.  
My goal is to spend no more than $500 total in here and do very 'easy' work. So, this is my way of thinking, please tell me if you agree....

With an almond bathroom, you have to go dark on the walls.  You need to make the almond seem less 'dirty' and so there is no light color I could think of that would look good.  At first, I tried the color from our kitchen in the last house, because I had a sample container laying around.  It is Behr Lotus Leaf.  
No like.  It doesn't look too bad in the photo, but it looked very 'old lady pastel' in person with no natural light.  Then I got inspired and put up my favorite deep color swatch, Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.  I just love this color, and I knew it would look great with the almond.  This is the same exact white balance in both photos, but the navy makes the counter look so much less yellow.  
But it's so dark, and I worried about the room looking black.  So I pulled out my other swatches, and saw another deep color I liked.  Benjamin Moore Newburg Green, which is a green teal - the middle one in this swatch.
Armed with my sample cards, I went to Ace and got two overpriced sample containers of both colors.  And here they are:
I love the way the navy neutralizes the yellowy counter, but I also think the green looks nice, and that color wouldn't read 'black' on the walls of this windowless room.  
On the toilet wall, I liked the navy better and was a little worried that the green might look HUNTER green when it was put everywhere.  Before I could paint around the shower, I had to remove all the old paint people had slopped on the surround.  My nail worked great.  This is why I don't get manicures, people.  
What do you think of that screaming bright yellow they had in here before?!  Yikes.  I had an impressive pile of paint shavings when I was done scraping.  PS - I did this a week ago and the shavings are still on the floor.  I have priorities, you know?
I LOVE the green next to the brass shower door.  
Ashford didn't have any opinion on the colors, but he likes to roll his cars on the ugly counter!
Here is a tie back from the curtains I'm currently using in our master bedroom.  It's a great match, which was a total accident.  I also have a lot of teal towels and accessories already, but nothing that would look good with the navy.   
And as a side note, here is what our bedroom is looking like these days.  Still a hot mess!  I have no idea what color to paint this room.  
My goal in the bathroom is to make it dramatic and a little over the top.  I want to embrace the shiny brass and almond and make it as fabulous and intentional as possible.  I've always thought that a dark room works better with deeper wall colors, rather than trying to use light paint to brighten it up.  And since I have this ugly yellowy counter, I can't brighten anything with white trim, cabinetry, etc.  I'm going to get brighter, sleeker gold sconces, some pretty linens.  Some nice wall art.  I will clean up the vanity and make the wood look great again.  And I will figure out what to do with the wall cabinet, whether to replace it or somehow make it less dated.  
There is a recessed light on the shower fan, so there is a little more light than just the sconces.  But it will still be dark in here.  I'm considering (someday) replacing the hollow door with an opaque glass door to let some of that wonderful window light into the bathroom.  We could also do a solar tube, but that is $600 or so we don't have right now. 
Do you like one color over the other?  Do you think I'm crazy to go so dark in the bathroom?  I did consider more neutral colors like warm grays, and I was just not impressed.  This is Sherwin Williams Foothills, and it is just so blah with the counter.     
 Opinions, please!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

So much work!

I just don't even know what to post about.  The house is still a disaster and we are spending a buttload of money on things that are NOT fun, like replacing our old leaky skylights (to the tune of 3k) and paying hundreds of dollars to have plumbing and electrical issues fixed. Well, let me just start with the beginning.  We started with a nice open space before the moving company came.  Here are some fun 'before and after the movers came' shots.  
This is the best one!  All the empty boxes from the move are still clogging our garage.  We still aren't sure when they are coming to pick them up, but I hope it is this week! 
In other news, we bought a refrigerator and the wee frig opening in our cabinets was not working for 98% of available bottom freezer or side by side models.  We ended up getting a Samsung unit that was too tall for the opening, which meant we had to remove the cabinet on top.  
We took a look at what was happening up there to see if we could detach is safely.  It was good to go!
A few screws were removed, along with the silly decorative rail on top, and the cabinet was off. 
Bye bye decorative rail!  I kept a couple of the little doodads as a reminder.
And here is the new frig in place.  Those with eagle eyes will notice we also got a new stainless dishwasher...that would be the source of the plumbing and electrical issues that will cost us unfortunate amounts of money.  We found some 'fun' surprises when we tried to install the new dishwasher ourselves...thankfully I found a great plumber (he was on Bath Crashers!) and he is taking care of us.    
Now we just have to reattach the cabinet above the frig a few inches higher because we desperately need the storage.  We would also love to add some crown to the top of the cabinets at some point....we will see.  In closing, here is the back patio area when we put our offer in this April....
and here is the crazy weed mess that we have inherited, now that the snow is gone.  Oh my gosh, I don't even know where to start.  I walk out here and then walk back into the house shaking my head.  
I will need about 65 Ashford naps to fix this garden.  Yikes!