Thursday, September 19, 2013

in search of the perfect white (easy) and the perfect gray (not-so-easy)

The month of August started like this:

...and ended like this:

...and this:
...and this:
(This bedroom has all different strengths of Dunn Edwards "Foggy Day," my favorite gray for Max and Elle's rooms HERE and HERE).

By the end of the month it was looking like a gray spotted dalmatian over there with all those different great grays to choose from.

And actually, a picture of Dave and I sweating our hearts out would be a perfect compliment to those for August.

Oh man it was hot.  I want to remember that!

And I was dehydrated most of the time (which makes my ears get all plugged up), standing over there with appointment after appointment for plumbing and drywall and trim, etc.

But the paint was the big deal at that point.

I was all set on the white I wanted:

We used it in the house we live in now and I love it.  Just the right amount of warmth to not make things too cool-toned.

But the other colors?  Well, that was a different story.  My "desk" which was actually the dining room table at the time looked like this:

We looked through every color of gray you can possibly imagine.

You have to be so careful to match the cabinets and the floor and the countertops, etc...

My great friend (and cousin in-law) Sam and her husband came to town and we enlisted their help to sweat it out over there in the heat to figure out some colors.

She had the grand idea to paint foam core boards with the colors we were narrowing from so we could move them around the house to different lighting.
Oh man, let's see if I remember which was which...I think the middle one is "Edgecomb Gray" by Benjamin Moore, and the one on the right is "Revere Pewter" by Benjamin Moore.  Everyone was all the rage on Revere Pewter but for whatever reason I didn't like it in our house.

These are her favorites she texted me before she came:

All really great grays.

Below is a "Whisper" white cabinet door (not the style we chose, but I used it for color).  Next to it is "Galveston Gray" which is an awesome gray for cabinets (we did a couple bathrooms with that), and the last one is what we used on our kitchen island ("Silhouette" by Sherwin Williams).

Here's the "Silhouette" one...I love how those cabinets turned out...I'll post a picture soon.

These were really the main color choices when I finally got things narrowed down:

In the end after all that deliberation, the grand winner of the gray paint for the walls was the one I figured I'd go with in the first place: "Shady" by Dunn Edwards:

It went best with everything all around.

...and the biggest factor is that I have seen it in my friend's house that I love:
And that's worth gold I tell you.

When they primed the walls it was amazing to see the difference of the actual Dunn Edwards gray (the little square on the bottom right) and color matches from other brands (whole wall and small square on the left):

I am happy all these trial colors are now gathering dust in the corner of my garage.
Now if we can just get it all painted.

Man a lot of painting goes into a house...all the trim and doors and all that jazz on top of the walls...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Ok so a few posts back I said the family room is the heart of the home, but maybe I'm going to change my mind that the heart is actually in the kitchen.

That's where you hang.

That's where I work with my kids.

That's where I want to teach each of them to bake the most to-die-for chocolate chip cookies and some really healthy things too.

First of all, here are some kitchens I love:
 (love the contrasting glass cabinets there)

 (love the stools, sleek cabinets, waterfall countertop)

 (LOVE how those windows are functional AND bring in so much light, and how they mixed in that wood with the white...drooling over that)

 (Something just inviting about that one, not even sure what it is...maybe it makes me feel like I"m at the beach?)

So you can oogle and sigh over all the kitchens on over and over again, but then you come back to what is real and what you're gonna do with it.

Because of the parameters of the remodel, we had quite a bit of space to work with, which has it's pros and cons.  Both walls were moved back because of one thing or another so we had too much space for one island.  I'm not a big huge fan of big humongous islands that you can't reach the middle of.  
So we opted for two long islands.  

If we had started from scratch this would not be my first pick, but it's going to be pretty cool.
We worked for hours and hours on end to figure out how much space we wanted between each island, where we wanted the pipes for sinks, which side we would want the refrigerator on, etc.
We toyed with which way the islands should face and at one point thought about putting the islands perpendicular to the family room (over to the left above).

But in the end we decided to do something more like this:
But with a totally different style so I'm not sure why I'm putting that in here...

Here are our make-shift islands as we measured.

Here's a top view from the plans:
After much more deliberation and council from the Pretty Committee we moved the stove-top from that left side over to the middle, and put the fridge over on the left.  

The outer island is meant to end up kind of like this:
But with completely different coloring and finishes...just so you get the idea.

Because of the two-island scenario and the fact that you have to decide which cabinets you want where WAY before anything else, my ultra organized friend spent hours with me determining where I could put everything so I could lay out the cabinets in the right way.
Is that sweet of her or what?

We based a lot of what we want to put where on my cousin Heather's kitchen and organization:

She did such an amazing job in there, even down to this baking center which I love:
We copied it pretty much exactly.

I HOPE this will all work out.  I do not want to be walking around one island or the other over and over just to make a batch of pancakes in the morning.  And I don't want to be wishing there were a sink some place it's not, or kick myself for dishwasher placement.

But this is the best we could come up with, and so far I think we're gonna like it:)

Friday, September 13, 2013

house perfection isn't possible -- door fiasco

When we first started the building process my very wise cousin (part of the "pretty committee") gave me some serious words of wisdom.

She told me no matter how much you study and measure and work you will never get the perfect house.  There will be stuff that goes wrong.  Styles change.  Tastes change.  Contractors don't understand what you're going for.

My other wise "pretty committee" friend Stacy told me that some things will turn out worse than you thought they would.  But other things will turn out oh so much better.  You just have to learn to be happy with the balance.

I have clung on to these words of wisdom through this whole process.

Our doors were one case where I needed to remember that good advice!

After some deliberation, we ordered three-panel doors.  I thought about one-panel ones to stick with the rectangle theme with our windows, but opted for these ones.  I was so excited to get some solid panel doors because I love thick, heavy doors.

So when the doors arrived earlier than we anticipated we were so excited.

...until they hung them and they looked like this:
Something just seemed a little off to me because they were so tall (8 feet) and so skinny!

It was then that we realized solid-panel doors can actually come that way.

I was under the impression that when you said "solid panel" doors they were thick and bulky.

Not so much the case.
I know this seems like such a little deal, even to me looking back, but at that point it was heavy as could be on our minds.

We are trying SOOOO hard to hurry this thing along.  Dave has worked his little heart out on it.  We were frustrated that when we ordered the doors no one said, "well, do you want the skinny ones or the normal ones?"  Shouldn't you let your never-done-this-before clients know what the options are before they spend thousands of dollars on doors??
But the fact is that they didn't.

And we were stuck with lots of skinny doors.

We thought very seriously about switching them out.  They meant that much to us.  We are putting so much into this house, and doors are a big deal.  You touch them and use them every. single. day.  We tried to weigh the pros and cons of re-ordering and just being content.

If the timing would have worked we would have re-ordered in a wink.  No question.

But it would have taken eight more weeks of waiting on trim if we waited which would have held up the entire project for two months.

Plus, the people we bought the doors from couldn't take them back.  So we would have to try to re-sell them.  I told Dave in tears on the phone that I didn't think my sanity was worth it.

He agreed and figured his couldn't either.

So we have skinny doors.

Which in retrospect is not, contrary to what we thought at the time, the end of the world.

Sure, some of them have already warped, which is really too bad and will be a hassle to get fixed, but it'll all work out and we may end up being glad when a kid gets their finger slammed in there :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


We have had some serious trouble with straight trusses in our ceiling...or lack thereof.

I'm assuming it is always difficult to get completely straight walls and ceilings with all that is involved in building a house, but boy howdy these things have sure thrown us for a loop!

The two main areas with problems have been here:
 (see how the ceiling goes up higher on the left of that fireplace wall?)

...and here:
They could NOT seem to get that darn coffered ceiling straight to save their souls.

Which wrecked havoc on getting the transoms straight and trimmed>

They had to cut into the fresh drywall and hoist this thing up twice.

I sure hope it holds like that!

Here's the fireplace wall finished with drywall:

When our trim guy tried to put the trim we want on there he just simply couldn't do it without it looking very fun-house-at-an-amusement-park-ish.

So they came in and cut all that out as well.

But this one was more labor intensive:


Dave and our builder actually did a bunch of this themselves, because after the framers "fixed" it, the drywall guy wouldn't touch it because pulling it back into place meant a lot of broken nails and cracked drywall so they cut out a huge chunk:
 Kind of tough to see when you're REALLY ready to get on to the next phase!

Here it is finally patched up:

...and drywalled with the trim that will some day be white: