Shades of White

I decided early on that I wanted to paint the interior of the house white. I loved the simplicity of it, and having this blank canvas allows me to decorate and accessorize with a variety of decor and pops of color throughout the house.

I had learned from previous experience that color doesn’t always look the same once it is on the wall. Some rooms have natural light, while others have very little. Colors I loved in the dining room, looked way too dark in the living room. It can get quite frustrating, even more so after you’ve painted an entire room and hate the color.

I was determined not to make that mistake with this house. I went to Sherwin Williams three different times and got six or seven samples. Possibly more…I’m not sure, I lost count. Who knew there were so many shades of white!?

I started with Eider White, Alabaster, and Shoji White. My main concern at this point was finding a white that wasn’t a cream, but wouldn’t blend with the trim and provided some contrast. I picked Eider White because it was a Pottery Barn color, and who doesn’t love Pottery Barn? Alabaster because the Sherwin Williams sales rep told me it was the most popular white of 2015, and Shoji White because it was also a popular white and recommended in a design article I had read.

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I painted each sample on three different walls of the house. In the dining room on a wall that gets a lot of natural light and next to the trim, in the living room over the mantel, and the darkest corner of the living room. It was irritating because the colors were different on each wall.

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I liked Alabaster in the living room, but it looked washed out in the dining room. Eider White didn’t look too bad in the dining room, but looked like a purple gray in the living room. Initially, I thought this would be the color I would chose.

Next!

Shoji White was just…blah. It wasn’t white, but it wasn’t a cream. I didn’t like it. Back to Sherwin Williams for more samples.

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It went like this for about a week. On my last visit to the paint store, I was getting desperate. Holding up a half dozen paint color cards, I asked the sales rep what he would chose. He looked at me and said, “I don’t know, I mean it’s all white.” At that moment, I wanted to throw the paint cards in the air and scream, “they’re not all white! How can you not see the difference?! You work at a paint store! AHHHHHH!!!!” Instead, my silent scowl conveyed my annoyance and he quickly picked one and walked away.

As it turns out the sales rep was quite helpful because that was the color I ended up picking. The last sample I purchased, Pearly White, was the winner! I absolutely love this color, and am so happy I didn’t give up and just settle for any old white.

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Once the walls were patched and primed, it was time for the first coat of color. The entire first floor looks completely different, even with just a coat of primer. I’m not posting pictures of the walls painted Pearly White only because the living and dining room are almost finished, and I didn’t want to give anything away. Final reveal post coming soon!

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Primed and ready for color
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Primed and ready for color

 

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Bathroom vs. Kitchen- Round II

Several weeks ago I posted how renovating the kitchen was not an option. At the time I had to make a choice between fixing up the bathroom or the kitchen. My budget was quickly dwindling, so I chose the bathroom since it was the cheapest option. Plus, at the time ripping apart the bathroom was the only way to get to and replace the corroded pipes.

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*sigh*

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I was not looking forward to making this disgusting hodgepodge kitchen “work.” It would have taken considerable time, effort, and compromises. I still wouldn’t love it, and would count the days until I saved enough pennies to gut and start over. However, thanks to the profit from the sale of my former house, my budget has increased enough to gut the kitchen! YYYYYAAAAASSSSSS!!!

So now I have two options:

Option 1: Redo the bathroom and kitchen, but will have to make compromises in my design to afford both

Option 2: Renovate the kitchen, not make any compromises, and make do with the bathroom I have now.

It took all of five seconds for me to decide and pick option 2. My original bathroom design went straight into the garbage. So what if the bathroom has a large crack running across the floor…and wall. No big deal. Nothing a rug and shelf can’t cover up. Right? The corroded pipes problem could be solved by ripping out the kitchen ceiling and replacing them that way. Perfect. Turns out most of the kitchen ceiling had to be ripped out anyway. I think it was meant to be.

A few days later, my Dad and his crew ripped apart and gutted the entire kitchen. Floor, cabinets, wood paneling, and drop ceiling….GONE! I had no idea the demo was going to happen so quickly, and when I walked into the now large and open space I was shocked. I stood there for a good minute clapping my hands and giggling like a crazy person, images of white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and beautiful granite countertops dancing in my head. If I’m this excited by the demo, I can’t wait to see how the kitchen will turn out!

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Sold! Goodbye House

It’s official! My old house, and first fixer upper, has sold! This means three things:

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  1. The profit from the sale increases my renovation budget, and I can afford to gut and redo the kitchen at my new place! Posts on kitchen renovation plans are coming soon. I’m so excited!
  2. I don’t have to worry about maintaining two houses. *sigh of relief from bank account*
  3. I have to pack up my current house and make the new place livable in less then 30 days. Holy sh*t.

It was great not having to live in the construction site that is my new house. It’s dusty, covered in drop cloths, and hot (no air conditioning, remember?). It also maintains that nice antique, closed in, old house moth ball smell. It gets better as each room is painted, but still lingers from the areas that haven’t been worked on yet.

There wasn’t a time crunch on renovating, so I could take my time making decisions. For example, spending two days picking out sand color for my brick patio. I’m not an indecisive person, but when it comes to putting in so much time, effort, and money I want to confirm that, yes this is what I want. Well, that luxury is gone. This past week I spent most of my time choosing paint colors, counter tops, cabinets, tile, appliances, grout color, light fixtures….the list goes on and on. It was a little overwhelming, but so far I’m very happy with my choices.

I read on an old house forum that to maintain your sanity living in a construction site you should pick one room and fix it up. This way at the end of the day you can retire to a clean and livable space, and escape the construction chaos that is now your life. So I’ve been focusing on the master bedroom the past few weeks. My goal is to have this room finished by the time I move in. As you can see I have a long way to go.

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Just for kicks I included some pictures from my first house and renovation project. I totally forgot about the nacho yellow walls and purple carpets. Crossing my fingers the next renovation turns out as good as this one did!

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Garden Oasis

A few weeks ago I posted about pressure washing my front porch and what an amazing difference it made. The backyard brick was finally pressure washed as well. Again, I’m absolutely amazed at the difference.

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Dirt and grime weren’t the only things blown off the brick patio, but a lot of the mortar went as well. In the meantime, the cracks were filled with sand to keep the bricks in place. Did you know there are different colors of sand? I had to decide which color blended the best with the remaining mortar. It took me two days to decide if I wanted more of a yellow or white sand, and I finally decided on yellow.

I inherited a patio set that was left behind. It was quite rusted in several spots, but nothing a little sanding and rustoleum black paint couldn’t fix.

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The garden still needs a ton of work, but it’s coming along. It’s become the perfect spot to take a break after working in the house all day.

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Shake it off, Shake it off

I’m sorry for the terrible Taylor Swift pun, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m posting about shaker shingles, while a news report in the background is reporting on her current break up with Calvin Harris. It’s too bad. They made such a cute couple.

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Anyway…back to my shake roof. Long story short, it was old. It was falling apart. It got tore off and replaced. I didn’t replace it with shake shingles again because I thought they looked odd. The rest of the house has slate roofing, and I feel shakes are more common on Cape Cod style houses.

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There were extra shingles left over, so the mini shed attached to the addition will get shingles as well. Parts of the wooden top are rotting off, so adding shingles will keep it in tact and make it look much nicer.

Mantel Restoration

I made an agreement with the seller that I would take anything left behind in the house, but the truth is I really only wanted one thing. The original mantelpiece. It was in the back of the basement, and leaning against a pile of stuff. I was so excited when the seller agreed to leave it behind he actually gave me a weird look and said, “Really? This old thing?”

Yes, this mantel had seen better days. It was peeling terribly and the right side had a large crack running though it, but it had potential. Plus, I’ve seen mantelpieces in much worse shape selling for $700 or more! I know wood paneling was all the rage back in the 60s and 70s, but to replace this beautiful piece is baffling.

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Since the mantel is going to be the focus point of the living room, a little sanding and coat of paint wouldn’t do. It had to be completely stripped. It took several days, and had to be done outside due to the strong fumes.

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Refinishing wood is not my forte. The majority of my restored pieces are painted, and not stained, for a reason. It is extremely tedious work, that frankly I don’t have the patience for. In the past I’ve been known to ruin pieces by using a power sander or the wrong grit just because I felt it would be faster. So I was banned from working on the mantelpiece, and it became my Dad’s pet project. Works for me!

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After

TADA! It still needs to be painted, but what a difference! Last week the inside of the fireplace was painted black, and I ordered a carrara porcelain for the surround tile.

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Ooooooooo….Ahhhhhhhh

At the moment it’s just leaning up again the wall. Once the living room is painted it will be attached to the wall, and the loose pieces will be glued in place. The last step is to paint, but that will be done when the rest of the trim in the room is painted. To be continued!