Monday, May 24, 2010

Extreme Controversy

Warning! Warning!

This is the Most Controversial Topic To EVER Appear on It's a Good House...

It is an extremely sensitive matter, that requires extreme care and consideration. And I would like your opinions. Please! I invite you to leave your comments regarding this matter. I can't promise I will listen to anyone, but this is a speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace situation.

Ok, so it's like this... When we bought our house, we had a lot of dark woodwork downstairs. This wasn't historical quality, Vanderbilts' summer home woodwork. This was 85 year old dust-encrusted dingy wood. I made the decision about painting most of it pretty early on. You can read more about my decision making here, if you feel so inclined.

One of the last areas that needs painting in the house is also the first area you see when you walk in. After 6 months of staring it down, I think I'm ready to take the plunge. This area needs help.

I want to paint the staircase white:

This is one side of our living room, the front vestibule is right through the arched doorway on the right (and will get the same white woodwork treatment). The rest of our living room is painted a soft greige with white trim. The wall behind the stairway is waiting for paint and it is half-stripped of wallpaper. The floors have been refinished dark brown.
This is another photo looking straight on at the stairway. We have already had white quarter rounds installed along the floor, although it wouldn't be a problem to have the pieces taken out and replaced with a stained wood.

The wall opposite the stairwell has built-in bookshelves. I also want to paint them white:
They just don't make sense right now!


Here is my question. Do I go through with my painting? Do I??? It's kind of like no-turning-back territory. The wood isn't in the best-looking condition as is. It needs patching. The color of the existing wood doesn't match the floor. It's worn. It would need major repairs. And while I think I could appreciate a dark wood accent wall in my house, every ounce of me is SCREAMING against it.

I leave you with this image (from Sarah Richardson, via Bryn Alexandra):

So, what should I do?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bathroom - Part 9 - Almost, but no cigar

Last week I set myself on finishing the paint in the bathroom...

The funny thing is - while a small room technically should be faster painting, once you fit in all the supplies needed:
Plus the step ladder - there's hardly any room to work:
I seesawed with the idea of taping...
...and taping won. It took me a while to put the tape up but I am glad I did - the painting went pretty quick once I started - and no touch-ups needed.

Now the picture below doesn't show as dramatic of a transformation as possible, because we basically went from off-white primed plaster to extremely pale grey paint (Horizon by Benjamin Moore Aura which we did in eggshell finish). But in person it was a relief to not see all of our lazy primer lines:
Whoa - what's that I see??

Over there on the left side of the photo?

A shower curtain, you might say??

After what might be the most Herculean feat yet performed by yours truly, (I haven't stepped foot in a Target, Marshall's or TJMaxx since we bought the house 6 months ago - umm just to repeat that again in case you didn't understand the full weight of the matter - I haven't stepped foot in a Target, Marshall's or TJMaxx SINCE WE BOUGHT THE HOUSE 6 MONTHS AGO - and by the way - they are all within a 5 minute drive of the house) I finally convinced the hub that my time had come. We went to Target after our Friday night dinner, and picked up this lovely:
Ah - it made such a difference in the room! And it's such a nice quality curtain - especially for the price!

I even got around to finally screwing in this little guy:
wall protector doodad

Now this is what I have left, and it is also my dirty little secret...
Umm, missing something important?

Hopefully. Soon. For some reason I have been procrastinating the sink situation since before we moved in. But now I have little excuse to not tackle this full force like, now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I want, I NEED...

I usually have piles of old magazines on my bookshelves, with folded pages and a bazillion ideas that never come to fruition. But this time, I NEEDED the a pair of Layla pillows from Crate and Barrel that were featured on the May cover of House Beautiful. They arrived and they are awesome.

This page really SPOKE to me, now I'm on the lookout for a second set of pillows to pair with these. I love that there is a bolder pattern on the front pillows and the Layla pillows kind of anchor the whole thing in the back:
Love the fact that there are things other than a remote control and yesterday's beer bottles on the table. Love the bright blue painting behind the couch, the little shell bowl, I'd even take the peaches.

I love the glass coffee table too, but since our couch and coffee table will face the television, I'm nervous about an upside-down reflection appearing in a shiny table top. I also want something that's not wood, since we have so much dark wood going on in the room as it is. (And yes, I am completely obsessive when it comes down to the most mundane details that nobody else would ever ever think about).

But have no fear, I'm totally cyber-stalking this little number:
It's the Conservatory table. It's also from C&B* and it has a worn metal top with a greenish blue patina. The flat top turns over to form a tray-top. It's also the right shape and size. Why do we not own this already? Wouldn't it look cute with a little plant in a white container and a short stack of books or magazines?

*I kind of hate the thought of getting a bunch of stuff from the same big box store, (I already have my heart set on the Colette bed as mentioned in yesterday's post) but I can't help it if they have several major pieces of furniture that I can hardly survive without, right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bedroom Inspiration

Been thinking about our bedroom for a while now. I have put together the inspiration board above, slowly, over the past month or so. This time I numbered each item to make it easier to talk about.

1) Surfaces: The floor has been stained dark espresso brown Minwax Jacobean. The trim and ceiling have been painted with Ben Decorator's White. The walls have been painted Aura Crystalline. Done, done and done.
2) Grandmother's furniture. I always loved Nanny's "French Provincial" bedroom set and she always said it would be mine someday. It's from the 1930s and the set includes 2 large dressers, vanity, nightstand, bench, chair and bed. It's an awful lot of the same look, so I've limited our room to hold the two dressers and nightstand. The rest is in the attic for now.
3) The second dresser (not pictured) is longer and lower, and is begging to be paired with a large rectangular mirror. I'm thinking the Fairmont Mirror from Z Gallerie will do the trick.
4) A pair of Crate and Barrel's Haley lamp on either side of the bed will introduce a modern note into the room.
5) This pretty pair of birdy pillows from Anthropologie would look awesome on our bed.
6) The Moon Beam alarm clock, is from a surprising place - L.L.Bean! It comes in a few vintage-inspired colors. How cute is that?
7) The Bed! Yes, finally a new bed! I've been eying this baby for YEARS. It's the Colette bed from Crate and Barrel. It has every feature we want in a bed - a) it's a platform, and b) it's upholstered, so it adds a soft element into the room after all that wood furniture we've put it, and c) it's awesome.
8) This Medallion bedding in soft celadon, from Brocade Home, is the perfect place to add in a little bit of pattern.
9) The Fretwork rug by Martha Stewart is handmade 100% wool and the price cannot be beat - it's available at Home Decorator's Collection.
10) I love white ceramic and the Palmer stool from Z Gallerie could be the perfect bedside rest for my latest read.
11) I tend to avoid decorating with extraneous stuff, but I could definitely find a place for these Blue Cloud vases, also from Z Gallerie.

So we might splurge on a few items, but I'm also planning on doing a Target/HomeGoods/Marshalls run real soon (woohoo!) and will be on the look out for similar items.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


As you might imagine I've been so bad at updating the blog due to long, long, long hours in the office these past couple of weeks.

But it hasnt been all that bad! My coworker bought these cute little plants at Kmart , of all places. She put them on the windowsill of our large picture window. (And to think this used to be a storage room!)

Aren't they the cutest?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Front Yardigans

I took this photo back in March, and since then the ground was seemingly more uneven, the grass was wild with dandelions, the two shrubs at the front had grown into the shrubbiest shrubs possible, the tall hedges at the right had grown about 10 feet high, and well, it looked like even more of a mess than this sorry sight:
kind of "before"

We were thinking about laying sod ourselves, but in the end decided to hire someone to even out the ground, dig out the bushes, and plant grass seed.

I think they did a much better job than whatever we would have done. Even ground, new topsoil, no bushes, trimmed hedges. They even put a sweet layer of hay over the top to protect the budding seed. It was worth every penny!

after ...and waiting

Can't wait for the actual grass to come in and crossing our fingers it looks good!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bathroom - Part 8 - Told you so

I know you were all losing sleep waiting to hear if I ever got around to painting the woodwork in the bathroom. Last time I left off I promised I would persevere and get the bathroom trim painted by Friday night.

Well, told you so...


It only took until 1am Friday night. I was asleep by 2am. ppphhhhffhh.

Then over the weekend I whipped out the pint of Horizon by Benjamin Moore I was saving for such an occasion. (To think - some people wait for an occasion to whip out a pint of Ben and Jerry's!)

Anyway, I think we have a winner...

I wanted something to pick up the cool greys in the tile. I think this color does the trick.

Its the color on the wall and the color in the upper left hand swatch...
But I am too wimpy to set a deadline for painting the walls. Honestly, I'm waiting for a rainy weekend, but could be sooner if I get super motivated. Will keep you posted.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Back yard - now stuff is growing!

Major developments in the back yard since I last posted about it here.

We removed all the little fences and other junk that was lying around, all the twigs and branches that came down from that insane rainstorm/monsoon we had in March, then waited. And before we knew it...
We actually had a little garden! Now I know this is nothing fancy. Just a rugged little area of greens and flowers but it is a minor miracle, as I haven't planted a thing.
Lots and lots of perennials the previous owners planted:




We also have noticed that our Japanese red maple is growing full-force about 2 feet away from our house: