Posts tagged ‘design’


A Shout Out

We still have a lot of the renovation left to complete, but I wanted to go ahead and give a small shout out to my contractor and his crew, and everyone involved. They have all been great. Nice, professional, and most importantly, they do beautiful work. They even think of things that made the house more beautiful that I didn’t ask them to do, or bring me ideas that just make the whole thing so much better. Ultimately, they get me, they get the house, and what I’m trying to do with it. Even better, they have the technical skill and knowledge to get the house there! I don’t know if they are ok with me posting their names online, but thanks to M., A., J., & D. for working so hard on the house and really making it beautiful. I can’t thank you guys enough, and I have to thank my uncle, M. as well, for hooking the whole thing up!

I don’t really have pictures, but my uncle and M, the contractor make beautiful kitchen cabinets and do great tile work, too. Here is their youtube video with some of their previous work:


Ongoing Projects Update

Well, The massive exterior renovation is winding down, so I thought it was time to post an updated list of things that need to be completed. Unfortunately, there was more structural repair to the house than originally planned, so the new front porch had to be scrapped to be revisited at a later time.

remove the old siding from the house

sheath the entire house

re-frame all windows and doors

close up two doorways

replace all windows and doors

wrap the house

repair all the structural damage

build the closet addition

build the sunporch

put in french doors

put windows in the additions


put up new trim

wrap trim boards and soffit with aluminum

put up fishscales in eaves

replace the vents


replace the basement windows

put up horizontal lap siding


Finally, Some Color

Example of a colorful Victorian facade, from Historic Color Consulting

If you’ve been reading along, you know I’ve been making some aesthetic decisions about the house recently. Trim size, what to do with the bay, etc. One of these tasks was finally deciding on a color scheme for the house. Truthfully, I enjoy these aesthetic things more. Buying a bunch or raw wood is boring to me; getting the house sprayed for termites is not so glamorous. Picking out siding? At least colorwise, is kind of fun.

We ended up going with vinyl. I would still not rule out fiber cement in the future, but this is a pretty extensive renovation, and let’s face it, I need things like heat and plumbing, too. Lady Gaga may be able to live half in reality and fantasy, but that is just not practical for me.  I need to stay firmly planted in reality in order to stay on budget. There is still a long way to go.

Back to color. I would pick out something bright and colorful…but my sister vetoed that. And rightfully so, as much as I love bright colors, something neutral would sell better (if we did ever plan on selling the house), and it would be easier to change-up if we got sick of the color combination that we are currently planning. The house has two different types of shingles, horizontal wood planks, and fish scale shingles. To fit in with the Victorian styling, I think each of these types of shingles needs to be a different, but coordinating color. Victorian houses traditionally had about 5 different colors on them, so it would make sense for these to be painted in different colors. Of course, then you have the trim, which I’m going to have done in classic white, and the front door. The front door has to be welcoming, stand out, and coordinate with the main body of the house. Then you have the porch ceiling, the porch floor, and accessories.

The first color is the main color of the house; the color of all the horizontal lap siding. The second will be the color of the fish scale shingles. The third is the color of the front door, and some of the accessories. The 4th will be the color of the foundation. the 5th & 6th will be some of the accessories around the porch. The seventh is meant to mimic a haint blue, or the traditional blue porch ceilings in the South. The final color is a mix of the first and second colors, and the porch floor will probably end up being something like this. White will also be used, of course, but you get a good idea of what that will look like with the white background.  I’m excited about the palette. I think it will be both traditional, and bright enough to keep me interested in the outside of the home. The inside color palette will probably be very similar. When I like something, I tend to stick with it!


Room Inspiration… Foyer

My new front door

My new front door  has inspired me to start looking at photos of foyers and entrance halls for design ideas. The door is beautiful, and I really like it for the house. I didn’t pick it out, my sister did. And I’m glad she did. The leaded glass looks really lovely, and the door screams, “I am a front entrance!” Before there was simply confusion as to which door was the front door.

Back to entrance halls. The house I grew up in has a small foyer. I always like this small area, devoted to welcoming other and yourself to the home. A foyer should have places for shoes and coats, keys and mail. It should also have a mirror, for last-minute appearance checks, and a chair to take shoes off, or put them on in preparation of leaving. The foyer should have many things, but ultimately it is the area to put down your things, take a breath and say,”I am HOME.”

Not only is the entrance hall/foyer dedicated to leaving or coming home, it is also the first impression of the interior. If the foyer was a course, it would be an amouse-bouche. It sets the tone for the rest of the home. I am pretty excited about the entrance hall in my house. It is larger than the foyer in my childhood home, and therefore makes even more of a statement.

Stripey-gallery inspiration.

There are a few things I want in my hall. First of all, I want a chandelier. A big beautiful one; in fact, I have already purchased this chandelier. I just have to paint it. I also want a buffet piece, with legs and some storage. Luckily, I already have this, too. My mom gave me the perfect piece. I just have to strip it down and paint it black. Then I want a small table, and a couple of chairs. What I really want in there? Stripes. I think it will emphasize my 14ft ceilings and make the whole room seem more grand. I see them in a light gray and white vertical stripe.

I envision walking in, and having a coat tree and the buffet. Over the buffet, a mirror, with a bowl for keys, and a few other things. A boot tray under the buffet. Then, a little further down, two chairs with a small table in between. A lamp on the small table, and a gallery above the chairs, with lots of prints, photographs, and paintings, all in black frames. Of course, this vision is years away, but it really looks beautiful in my head!

More Inspiration Photos…


*Inspiration photos from Elle Decor, Domino, or various google image searches


Decorating…Wizard Style

I didn’t update this week, mostly because I’ve been geeking out over Harry Potter. I could go on and on about why I love those books and movies, but since this blog is supposed to be primarily about my home, I decided to celebrate (mourn) the end of the series by posting some of my Potteresque home decor and discussing how I plan to decorate with it. After I have walls. Just so you know, I did try using Reparo and Accio, Drywall…but it didn’t really work. Anyway,  I know it may not be considered sophisticated to have Harry Potter stuff throughout the home, but I wholeheartedly believe that your house should reflect who you are and the  things that you love. 

Print made by Pink Caffeination

The first thing that will be incorporated is Godric Gryffindor’s sword. My sister likes weaponry, and I got her this replica for Christmas a few years ago. I see it hanging in the library/dining room, shining in the candlelight, looking pretty awesome. When we bought the home, one of the first things I purchased for it was this print from Pink Caffeination on I had the seller remake it for me in greens, blues, teals, grays, and black, our house colors. If you are a Harry Potter geek like me, you will also recognize this is a mixture of Ravenclaw and Slytherin house colors. This is kind of perfect, as I am a self-proclaimed Ravenclaw, while my sister is a Slytherin.

Over Christmas break, my sister and I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where besides having a fabulous time, we purchased a bunch of stuff. In case you didn’t know, Besides having character wands, the theme park has wands specific to certain months, so that you can pick one to represent a particular date. We both purchased wands representing our birth dates. When we go back, I want to get one to for February 10th, the day we purchased the house. I want to frame the wands in a shadow box to hang on the wall or display in the bookshelf. We also purchased some of the candy sold at Honeydukes in glass apothecary jars. I kept the jars to use around the house, for cotton balls in the bathroom, as a candy dish in the kitchen, etc. That way there will be little reminders of these things everywhere. I want to get more of them, so if any of you guys are planning a trip, let me know!

It might seem strange to incorporate this sort of merchandise into your decor, but it makes me smile, and brings a dose of whimsy and nostalgia to everyday life. It makes my house a home. If you agree, come on by for some cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice…just wait until I get appliances first.


Vintage Kitchen Decor

Vintage glass cake plate with a light blue edge

I haven’t been working on the house as much, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been shopping for it! I always intended to post some of the things I purchased for the house, so I guess I’ll get to it. Everyone likes looking at pretty things rather than crumbling walls! I do have a confession to make…I love vintage kitchen stuff. Colorful glassware, interesting plates, weird baking stuff; if it’s old and shiny, I’m there.  I love the novelty of these old items, like the vintage eggbeater, as well as the usefulness of them. These things aren’t purely knickknacks. I find that old sifters are my favorite to use, and the kettle, while not old, will be used and add a nice pop of color to the kitchen. So on my recent journeys, I’ve been shopping.

As I said in this post, I want the kitchen to be primarily white and black. These items are the jewels, the interesting pieces that add color and personality. Not all of them were purchased. My Aunt gave me the Fiesta pitcher, which is awesome. She gave me quite a few other nice pieces as well. A few days ago when I was taking all the stuff to where I store it, I stopped by the house with the stuff and my camera to take some pictures of my recent purchases in the house.

 Anyway, here is a look at some of the things that I have collected for the kitchen over the past few months.



Can’t Find the Perfect Fabric?

If you remember from this post, I was having trouble finding prints in the planned color palatte for the house. Then after some searching through my bookmarks, I came across Spoonflower. This is a site where you can design your own fabric. Literally, you upload an image, pick your colors, and have it printed on as many yards as you want, and have it printed on whatever type of fabric you want! It might be perfect for me. If you aren’t feeling that creative, you can also browse through fabrics created by others on the site.  Here are a few of my favorites:






Lost Batteries and Window Choices

Grille Pattern Choices

 The last few posts have been about the history, design inspiration, etc. What about the house, right? The truth is I lost my camera battery charger last week. After scouring and searching through the house I finally found it…in the camera bag. Yes, when things like this happen, I underestimate my own abilities to make sense. Not a lot has gone on with the last few weeks, anyway. We are still working on the small tasks that I mentioned before, puling nails, getting rid of the lathe, and cleaning.

As part of the almost completed addition, I had to pick out new windows. I was pretty stressed about this for awhile. Not so much on the brand or features, but on the detailing! I am a pretty detail-oriented person, so trying to pick out custom window grilles was exasperating. I knew I didn’t want to go with the traditional, 6-divided grilles. It would break up the view in my huge windows too much. Also, none of the other Victorian style houses that still have original windows had ones like this. Most have been replaced with these because they are pretty standard, but I’m certain it was not what was there. I thought about doing a more decorative upper sash, with a distinctive grille pattern. I considered the prairie lights and the top row of divided glass. Then I thought about designing something for them myself.

Window in the addition. This one looks a bit squatty, cause it is a 3x3, but the rectangle ones will look better. It is only a square because the tub is going under it.

Ultimately I think I did the best thing possible when confronted with so many options. I went back to the originals. I didn’t really examine the wooden windows that were there from the inside. I had assessed the condition of the windows, as in, “this wood is completely rotten”, and “look how this glass has fallen down from the wood holding it because the grilles are so rotten”. I hadn’t really looked at the design. Then I noticed the wavy glass and how they were made. I believe they are the original windows. As I have said before, keeping these windows would require far too much work. Almost the entire frame is gone, I would have to completely rebuild the entire wood frame; Epoxy is not even an option for these windows. Anyway, The original windows are standard for their time, with a wood grille line running down the center of each sash. That is what I ended up going with for the grilles. I figured I couldn’t beat what was in the house originally, and I think I will be pretty happy with the outcome.


Room Inspiration…Kitchen

Black & White with quirky touches

Today, we have more room ideas. Mostly because my grad school classes are keeping me pretty busy, so I can’t work on the house right now. I will post an update of sorts this weekend, though. My contractors have almost completed the addition. For now, kitchen ideas! Okay, so I like white kitchens, or mostly white. They are clean, and lend themselves to any color choice. It isn’t as if my kitchen will lack color, I collect Fiesta dishes and own a pistachio Kitchenaid. I just want the color to come more from the accessories than the cabinets and counters. I guess I want them to be neutral and simple because they are so expensive to change, while if I want to choose a new color  palette in the future, anything will go. Other things I want in the kitchen? black countertops, to contrast with the white cabinetry; silver knobs; a subway tile blacksplash; and some glass-front cabinets, to show off my colorful fiesta plates and pitchers. I just want the kitchen to be simple, clean, and timeless.

Double the Storage!

I also want to double-stack the upper cabinets. What does that mean? Basically put a smaller cabinet on top of a larger upper cabinet, so there are two upper cabinets, I would like some of these to be lighted with glass for display, and maybe some plain wood, for even more storage. Besides, with ceilings as tall as the ones in my house, it wold look weird if they just ended at the top of the 42 inch cabinet. I would love an island, but I don’t think the kitchen is wide enough for one. I also have not decided on flooring yet. I keep waffling between tile and hardwood. For the appliances? We are thinking stainless steel. I know they are trendy right now, and normally I hate trends, but I think white would be too much white, plus I worry about the appliance white and the cabinet white matching each other. I f they don’t the darker will look dirty. I don’t want black appliances, so that leaves us with the stainless. I would actually love some of those retro ones in an awesome color, but they are just too expensive. I know it is a bit simple, but I think it will be bright and classic.



Siding Woes

When planning work on the house, I try to stay one or two steps ahead. So while wrapping up the addition, I planned new windows. Now that I’ve decided on a window brand/grid pattern, I’ve started weighing my options for the next project…new siding.

One of the many reasons why keeping this siding will not work

Truthfully, I would like to keep everything original. I wish I could keep the wood windows, but they are so rotten, I could push my finger through the sills in some of them and the grids in all of them. I would have to sculpt new ones out of epoxy to make that work, and I am not Rodin. I’m really surprised the glass hasn’t fallen out yet.

I would love to keep the wood siding, too. I’ve been thinking about it, figuring out if it can be repaired enough to function and look okay. After extensive examination, I just don’t think it can be salvaged. Every window sill has been leaking for probably several years, so the siding around the windows is pretty rotten. Then there is quite a bit that is cracked, has  holes, termite damage, and other issues. When I started really looking at it, I realized that entire walls of siding were in very poor condition. Initially, the idea was to patch the rotten places with fiber cement and siding from the places we are enclosing. Today, I realized that siding is a different style than the rest of the siding on the house, so that is no longer an option. I think we are going to have to reside the entire house.

This is the problem, because we have two options. Well, three, but wood is far too expensive. So we have vinyl and we have fiber cement. There are pros and cons to each.

Vinyl – I’ve been looking at the Mastic brand, due to their wide variety of color options, and because this brand looks  less glossy than some of the others. It has a limited lifetime warranty. Additionally, they have many vinyl decorative pieces that can be used to recreate the look of the original wood. Vinyl is durable, and low maintenance, so bonus. For the cons? It will look a little plastic-y. We will be stuck with these color choices forever, and the color will fade in the sun, even with a good quality product. It may fade unevenly. It will essentially look similar to most of the houses in town.  Vinyl  can crack, and if it does it may be hard to find a replacement, and the color may not match due to color fading. The biggest con? It will never look the same as wood. You will see seams. The vinyl pieces are bulkier than wood.  I’m not sure if I can mimic some of the pieces in vinyl. If I pull off the aluminum and find wood, I’m afraid it will look terrible with the vinyl.

Fiber-Cement – I’m basing this off of the James Hardie brand. It has a 30 year warranty. The pre-painted kind comes with a 15 year warranty for the paint and labor. It lowers insurance when compared to vinyl siding. They can be as much as 14% lower because the home is rated the same as a brick home. It also is good for resale. It is not prone to warping like vinyl. It is more  resistant to wind and hail damage, and it can be used in areas prone to hurricanes. Vinyl is often damaged or pulled off the house by wind damage. Also, it can be painted with normal house paint. This is both a pro and a con, as you can change the color, but it will have to be painted sometime in the future. The biggest pro is that it looks a lot like wood. So much so that many historical areas and districts will allow it to be put on their homes. It also has many trim pieces that can be used to match the wood, and in many cases, the original or new wood can be used with the siding for a more authentic look.  Cons — It is a lot more expensive then vinyl siding. As much as double the cost, even.  Labor is more expensive, too, because it is more difficult to work with. You have to maintain the paint finish and monitor the caulk. If the finish  is not maintained, water may get in and that piece of siding has to be replaced. You may have to recaulk to prevent water from getting in behind the boards, but this is more of a problem with the non-pre painted kind.

So these are my options. I would really like to do the fiber-cement. I think it will be more aesthetically pleasing, and more true to the house…but, the cost is an issue. At this point, I have no idea which way it is going to go, and I keep vacillating from one thing to the next!