Friday, August 29, 2008

Inspiration - It Really CAN Come from Anywhere

Meet my grandmother...

Well, my grandmother as she looked 40-something years ago. She would probably kill me if she knew I posted a picture of her in her bathing suit on the Internet. But sadly, she passed away a couple years ago and anyway, she was HOT!

This picture has been sitting on my desk at work since the day after she passed away. I look at it constantly (for many different reasons). One thing I've recently noticed about this pic are the colors...they're beautiful! The black and white bathing suit, together with the coral blanket make for a really nice color combination.

I've been trying to come up with a good spot in my house to try using these colors. So, for inspiration I did some googling...

and then I realized, I really like coral. It brightens EVERYTHING. Now, this room could benefit from a little coral, eh?

Not that it's not beautiful - it is. But it just seems less "happy" than the other pics. I think I'll start with small doses and see how it goes...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Uncovering the Past

A few weeks ago, when my husband was working on the foyer, he had to rip out some pipes (old gas lines?) that had been in the house for a long, long time. These pipes were exposed (not walled in) and were just tucked into a corner of the foyer. Rather than dealing with them, previous owners had simply painted them to match their wall color.

The back sides of the pipes, which had not been visible until they were cut down, showed the vestiges of several different layers of paint. Much to my satisfaction, the order of these colors matched those that I had found in several other places throughout the house.

Soooo, I am now fairly certain that we know the original wall color of the house, as it looked in 1897...
This mauve-ish color looks to be the original paint. This color, together with all the natural woodwork (before it was painted many, many times) must've looked really beautiful.
I am a regular Nancy Drew.

A Preemptive Strike

I hate to even type this, but realistically, winter is right around the corner. Winter in the Northeast can be pretty brutal. The weather tends to be a bit depressing to say the least. But what can be even more depressing are the heating costs. Heating a large, older home can easily run over $500 a month. With things being the way they are, my husband and I made an educated decision to switch from oil to gas heat. We did this shortly after buying the house and have been happy with the decision.

Then, things went from bad to worse, and we decided to supplement our gas heat with a wood-burning stove. Last year, we got a great deal on an Englander wood-burning furnace and started shopping around for installation quotes.
Unfortunately, those quotes ran from $1500 to over $3000, and the whole project was put on hold until this year. After having set aside money for this project, we decided to go ahead with the installation. This is NOT a typical set-up-in-the-living-room kind of fire place. This very heavy duty stove will be hidden down in the basement and the heat will be pumped into the existing ductwork. According to Englander's website, the stove has "approx. 3,000 square feet heating capacity..." which is great, as that is roughly the size of the house. The wonderful people from Boxford Chimney are handling the installation as I type.

Seeing as I am widely known as the World's Coldest Person, this stove is my new best friend. I'll give an update once we've had the opportunity to see my new bff in action...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Making Progress! (and getting back on topic...)

The range hood is UP! No more ugly yellow wire sticking out of the wall! I even like the backsplash, which I wasn't so sure about at first. Annnnnd, I have my pot filler in too! What a productive week. I was worried that this area would look too crowded with the pot filler AND the shelves, but I actually think it looks fine. And more importantly, its functional.

Mike only almost died twice during the whole installation! He's a good carpenter, but this stuff was all new to him. He did a great job, besides the almost dying (once by electrocution, once by chop saw). The only injury sustained was a terrible cut on one of his fingers. It was so wide it couldn't even be stitched, so we're just piling on the bacitracin at this point. Glad that's over with!

Just to remind you, this is what the range looked like sans hood and backsplash:

Such an improvement - now I can't wait to get the island going!


I am a serial procrastinator. I don't know why I am this way. Sure, I tend to work well under pressure, but I also totally freak out while doing it. This has, at times, jeopardized my marriage. My husband has resorted to simply saying "your doing it again..."

I've recently realized that I procrastinate due to the sheer amount of "to-do's" running through my head at any given time. This realization has caused me to attempt to become more organized.

I've also recently realized that one area in which I tend to procrastinate HUGELY is this blog. And so I have decided to take action and become blog-organized. I've begun keeping my design magazines and inspiration pics all in one place and when I get an idea for a new entry, I write it down right away. Which brings me to my new "get organized!" gear:

Where did I find such cute little binders and notebooks? Papyrus? Some high-end paper shop? Nope. Stop & Shop. That's right, Stop & Shop. As in, "I found them while picking up some boneless chicken breast last night." Anything that makes grocery shopping more interesting while making me more organized in the process has got to be a good thing. For info on these notebooks go to They have some really cute, really cheap stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Project of the Moment

Sooooo, I just returned from picking up my latest craigslist find:

This little bureau has SO MUCH potential! LOVE the turned legs. LOVE the casters. It even has dovetailed drawers. I couldn't even believe it was still available. The seller told me she had MANY other inquiries - but I was first!

Shortly after making arrangements to purchase the bureau, I noticed this on Joni's Cote de Texas blog (pic from the movie The Holiday):

Well, now I know EXACTLY what I'm gonna do with this baby. And the best part??? Twenty dollars. I'm already looking for new drop pulls and might end up replacing the casters. I hope to have the "after" pic up in a couple weeks, since I'll have to wait for the pulls/casters to ship.

Now if only I could find one of these for twenty dollars:

Thanks again Joyce!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Own Little Nook

Just a pic of my newly created reading area...

This is at the end of our upstairs hallway, to the side of the back staircase. I'd wanted this chair since the first time I saw it in the Pottery Barn catalog. Has a nice British Colonial feel to it. I can't remember the specifics, but I think the chair and ottoman together were over $800.00. I scored this one on craigslist for $70 because one of the legs was slightly damaged (nothing a little Sculpwood can't fix).

Sadly, my little nook is only temporary and will be dismantled shortly to accommodate an armoire we bought for this area. We NEED the storage. Getting the chair to this location was a LOT of fun. Moving a large, oddly-shaped piece of furniture down the world's most narrow hallway was quite the challenge. Reminded me of the "Pivot!" episode of it on youtube. We've all been there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Second-Guessing Game

Whenever I hear people talk about how hard it is to pick paint colors I only kind of understand. I mean, I guess I've had trouble picking between two or three shades of what is virtually the same color, but as far as getting started, I ALWAYS know what I want and where I want it. I'm pretty sure I knew what color every room in my house was gonna be the day after we bought it (the house, not the paint). And I've been pretty happy with those choices - until now.

First, I have to admit that I am an absolute SUCKER for any kind of white-on-white, white-on-cream, cream-on-cream, combo. This is my absolute favorite look, bar none. So, why then is there not ONE SINGLE ROOM in my house done in these colors? Well, the obvious answer would be my two wonderful, little renovators-in-training. They're good kids but they're also, shall we say, active. Active with crayons. Active with food. Active with dirt. The Magic Eraser has saved my sanity more than once. So, it would seem that I've mentally nixed the idea of using my favorite paint colors before even giving them a chance. Not very fair.

The other day, while cleaning before a party, I found myself scrubbing the hallway walls with - you guessed it - a Magic Eraser, when I thought to myself, "Okay, I'm washing the walls anyway...what would it matter if they were off-white instead of light grey?" I knew I was embarking on a dangerous train of thought and should've stopped right there. But the slope was slippery and before I knew it I was ordering white linen swatches from a furniture company and seriously contemplating asking my poor husband to repaint 3 or 4 rooms in the house. Luckily I came to my senses before said husband got wind of my maniacal daydreaming. Still, though, I cannot shake the feeling that I won't be totally happy until I have my white room. Someone talk me down from this ledge, please... or otherwise tell me why I should NOT want a room that looks like this:

or this:
or this:

and, of course, the requisite Somethings Gotta Give eye candy:

As I was typing this post I received an email from a certain furniture company which explained that my swatches would be arriving soon. I meant to mention that the swatches are for slipcovered furniture. I am going to justify my way to this white room if it kills me.