Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bath Fun

I'm calling this post "Bath Fun" only because compared to picking exterior paint colors, ANYTHING is fun! I've already shared our tile and bath inspiration photos, but here are some other things we've recently picked out for the baths:
Stainless vessel by Decolav for the guest bath – over a wood vanity with exposed plumbing
More practical undermounts + faucets for the master bath, but with a cool cone shape –
over a Carrera marble vanity top

Cool spacey vanity for the powder room – planned against a chocolate wall
and gloss white tile floor. (Vanity is by Decolav as well)

Serenity air tub for the master

Who even knew this much thought went into toilets?
(Toilets are by Toto – for the reputability factor)

And the lighting — the tall tubes for the master, and the small silver sconces for the powder room (TBD on guest bath lighting)
 Both found here at

Of course as you read this, you may be remembering our baths currently look like the below:

Master bath
Powder room
Guest bath

So yes, we have a ways to go...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stuck in a Swirl

We are stuck in a planning rut in the world of color. Being a graphic designer, color is a focus for me on a day-to-day-basis. You'd think this would make it easier to choose color for a house, but I think it is harder because I see every flaw in my choices. My friend and interior designer Margaret Fisher and I had an initial discussion on color. We agreed on cool tones of grays on the exterior (seconded by Josh the architect), and a decorator's white on the interior (to Margaret's point, the clean white will let our art shine and not be overtaken by heavy colored walls). But somehow the world of grays and whites is proving to be hard to navigate through. We have nothing to show but some bad tests on the side of the house — so back to color square 1 we go...

Sunday consisted of deciding on a roof color. See aforementioned note on struggling with the house color, of course of which is in direct relation to the roof. I would have just taken my time with this except we have the new exposed hip roof construction in the front, it's scheduled to rain tomorrow, and my Dad is starting to yell at us to get moving. So Mike asked our roofers to send us the addresses of roofs in the area that were in the colors we were considering.

Skip to us driving around for 2 hours stalking people's roofs with our paint chips in hand...

We were horrified to see this second house's people in their yard, but they were very friendly. Considering we'd driven 20 miles to get there, we just had to come clean instead of pretending we were just circling around the block.

The story ends with us going with roof #2 - "Pewter".... hard to see from my crappy drive-by photos but it's basically a charcoal gray. Let me say this is a far second visually from the cool metal roof we were hoping for, but just didn't fit in the budget - um, at all :)

What did, however, were the speakers Mike ordered through his job at a deep discount. It will be fun to have them throughout the house and outside. Since our house is still a wrecking site, the speaker boxes are currently being used by our cat Engine as a playground (i.e. bed) in the temporary apartment we are "waiting" in.

Oh and we did figure out what front door we'd like to do, see below. Unfortunately this one is custom made in Europe. Currently working on a local manufacturer to give us the same idea — not only for less, but less of a pain to get!

Really quick and bad Photoshop job on what the door would look like on the house.
Currently considering more of a walnut finish, but very open to change...
If anyone knows of someone we should talk that makes doors, let me know!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kitchen Cont'd

It's hard to believe that we have owned this house for less than 2 weeks and we have made so much progress...

Today my Dad, Mike, and Larry spent about 3 hours fast yet furiously attacking what was left of the kitchen floor and trim.

Here are the photos of the original kitchen:

And here's where we are now – at "clean slate" level:

More to come soon as we start to build back!

....................................... +

In positive exterior news, the house is looking a lot cleaner overall after the Bobcat guy was done clearing out bushes.

Before the clear-out:

And now:

Up this week — choosing exterior paint colors, gutter, and roof colors. And then — my sister's wedding, which has nothing to do with the house except that we will finally be taking a bit of a break!

Naked Yard + More

Friday, we hired a guy off Craig's List (Brian) to bring over his Bobcat and basically take everything out of our front and side yard. It's too early for landscaping time (which is why our back yard remains a total and complete mess of old bushes and trees) however the bushes around the house were a priority because they were impeding the progress of Chris the painter. So out they went!

He was almost done in a matter of 3 hours

With just these wooly mammoth bushes left to go!

And Saturday we had more progress: While I couldn't be at the house, Dad and Larry got the old wrought iron columns off the front porch and got all the beds out of the front yard (including the lines of bricks framing each bed - totalling...hundreds) ... and Mike got the entire screen porch ripped out on his own.
Wrought iron columns coming down...

And a more open front porch afterwards — (new accessories still under consideration)...
Screen porch: before...
(and another big bush before the Bobcat got it)

And screen porch (and bush) — gone! Will be replaced with a new screen porch design soon.
(If anyone has any suggestions for the new wood pattern, please let us know)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's all Wood...

We are preparing for a meeting with a second cabinet vendor tomorrow — for cabinets to go in the kitchen, bar, and potentially bath vanities.

(Sidenote: I realize a bar could perhaps sound extravagant unless you drink as much wine as Mike and I do, in which case we put it in the "everyday needs" category :

Our first meeting was with a big in-stock cabinet company called Armstrong. They came recommended but the issue with stock cabinets is they are limited to working with pieces and parts of their existing stock. If you want something very common it works really well, if you don't, you come up short on options of pieces to work with to "build" what you want.

We are seeing a custom guy tomorrow, who also comes highly recommended as being a good bang for the custom buck...The commonly reported drawback to custom is sometimes their wood stains are not as smooth and even as a stock place, but we're keeping an open mind to both, and will know more tomorrow after weighing both options.

Here are some kitchens we are into, both for cabinets and in general:

We like the clean look of the cooktop with inset appliances
And baths...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Up in the Air

Shawn (the framer) and his crew did such a good job on the exterior that we decided to keep him around to fix some past termite damage (ick) in the guest bath and install a tray ceiling in the living room. Our ceilings are 8', and while they don't really bother us given the large size of the rooms, higher ceilings seem to always be preferred.

We weren't initially into the idea of the tray because it's usually capped off by more moldings (not a fan of those) and really has little to do with modern, but my Dad had the idea to add a twist on it by installing the tray with a simple flat piece of molding, and hide bands of lighting behind it to illuminate upwards. That got a big yes.

Ceiling already entirely gone by lunchtime...

And fully framed in by end of day!
Not to discount our painter Chris with Color Coat who was also hard at work today. He specializes in prep work, which we really need as we are keeping the existing windows (budget!)

They are in desperate need of a very careful and patient sander... and with the amount we have to sand, Chris will probably still be sanding into October :) We're very happy to have him on board.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Exterior Begins

We've been working with an architect we know, Josh Allison, to bring the mid-century modern feel we wanted to the exterior of our house. What initially drew us to the house was the atomic ranch style so indicative of this period — it was a bit of a nod to Eichler houses and some of the things we loved about architecture often seen in California. But we felt the existing traditional gable looked out of place on the house (see first post for "before" pics). Josh's vision to extend the hip roof in its place is below:

Our framer Shawn and his crew started the work today:

Mike's drive-by shot at lunchtime
A good bit of progress by the end of the day

Shawn will finish the framing work tomorrow. Now my Dad is hot on our heels to get the roofer chosen...this wouldn't be such a hard task if a series of strange hail storms hadn't hit the southeast recently — and all the roofers seem busy filling insurance claims. We have probably called 12-15 roofers and have 3-4 that actually have had the time to complete the quoting process for us.

We'll try to make a decision this week despite the small pool from which to choose.

We did pick up shingle and gutter color samples today, so we can make sure they work with the paint scheme we have chosen for the exterior. More on that later in the week...