Archive for the ‘paint’ Category


Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

The painters are here again! The painters are here again!

paint in progress




















Rejoice! For the problem is being corrected.

the highs, the lows

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Want to see something that turned out perfect? The floor and ceiling, finished. TA-DAAAA!

the highs: floor and ceiling look fantastic!




















the highs: still looks great from this angle




















It’s so great when a project turns out the way you hope it would.

And now that that’s out of the way, want to see something that turned out craptastical?

Sure you do…

the lows: paint peeled off




















Yup, when the plastic held on by the paint-friendly blue tape was pulled down, it took the brand-new paint job with it. All. the. way. around. the. room.


Why did the paint fail? Who knows. But one thing is for sure: it’s not a simple fix. It probably means sanding and another full coat. Kill me now.

this just in!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Not only are David and Joe outside putting up siding, but there are two other crews working inside. That makes this the biggest remodel population our house has seen yet!

The plumber is here working in the dark…





















His partner in crime is on the right, happily breathing the dust being made by the guy on the left…

partner in crime




















Yep, the paint crew is here to prep the walls for painting…

wall prep




















more wall prep




















I can’t believe they’re not stumbling over each other down there. Go, team, fight!

color, redux

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

So I showed you colors for downstairs yesterday. What I didn’t mention is that I’ve been obsessing over this Mustard Olive shade for a few years. Something about it resonates with me right now….

benjamin moore mustard olive




















Most of the time it looks olive, as above. In the sun, it tends more toward mustard…

mustard olive by benjamin moore against my couch fabric




















Either way. I dig it. The downstairs won’t get much, if any, direct light, so the paint should read as olive.

I’ve been stockpiling images I as color inspiration for a few years and I noticed I’ve bookmarked this color A LOT — like this image that’s been sitting on my desktop since last summer. There’s the color, fourth color chip down…

hue patina |

hue patina |


And this:

seville cushion by michelle mason |

seville cushion by michelle mason |


And this:

hand-tufted lovebirds rug by thomas paul |

hand-tufted lovebirds rug by thomas paul |


See how great it looks with bluish grey and white and dark brown on the far right there

midbec striped wallpaper |

midbec striped wallpaper |


Love these linen pillows — these are from a few years ago, so don’t bother to hunt for them…

dwell studio paloma pillow in saffron |

dwell studio paloma pillow in saffron |


This color has been popping up more recently in House Beautiful’s Green Issue, March ’12. How about this bedroom?

chicago townhouse bedroom by alessandra-branca |

chicago townhouse bedroom by alessandra-branca |


Not my style, but I lurve the color!

color for downstairs

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

It’s taken a few days to switch over, but I have now made the full switch from Mountain Time…

back from colorado












… to Remodel Time:

walls finally plastered




















Yep, we got plastered. Completely plastered. And now it’s time for the cherry on top: paint!

First, the bathroom. We carried the tiles over to Benjamin Moore and matched up a white to coordinate…

paint to match the tile




















As you can see, the white tile isn’t a crisp white, it has a lot of grey in it. So we opted for a white with soft grey undertones: Classic Grey in Natura Zero VOC, Eggshell Finish. On top is Ann Sacks Texere in Dove, 12″ x 24″ plank tiles — for the floor. On bottom is Ann Sacks Savoy Stacked Brick Mosaic in Chalk, 5/8″ x 1-7/8″ — for the walls.

Had to choose grout for the tile too…

choosing grout for the tile




















The only other real “color” in the bathroom will be the walnut built-ins. Spa-like but modern and spare.

Unlike the upstairs which is really all about the view, the downstairs is darker, with fewer windows. Because this will be the cushy, flop-on-the-couch entertainment area, I want it to accentuate the coziness, so white didn’t make sense.

I also want to bring some of the outside in so that it’s not so starkly different from the upstairs. Therefore, natural, neutral colors. This is what will go on the walls…

benjamin moore mustard olive




















I know, I know, Mustard Olive looks like an “off” color, doesn’t it? But because it’s a shade of green with a lot of gold in it, it’s warm without being too dark. There’s not a whole lot of natural light down there, so it won’t read as bright most of the day.

It will look good next to our dark walnut built-ins and the cork that will be on the floors and ceiling (we kept that pale to bounce more light around)…

paint and cork and walnut




















You’re still not convinced? I could tell. Here it is against more stuff. I like how it looks with grey…

paint against more stuff




















That’s Cavern Blackbird wallpaper in Kraft (yes, same paper I put up before), the charcoal wool of our Libre sectional, and one of the pillows we like to plump up while watching AdventureTime.

Don’t worry, when it’s all said and done it will look great. Or else.


transformation under way

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

No wasting time here. Now that a color decision is made, the deck-end of the house where the siding was removed can finally get closed up and the tarp can come down…

deck end of the house awaits siding




















As mentioned, the redwood that was on this inset was removed so the new windows and slider could get installed. Eventually, that painted redwood will be planed clean and added to the outer envelope of the house — later in the year.

The new cedar for the deck-end inset…

cedar siding before




















… got a healthy coat of stain yesterday, front and back, by David and Joe.

staining the siding




















It’s winter — too cold outside for the stain to dry. So the stain had to be applied indoors. The vapors were wicked awful, even with respirators on and all the windows and doors open…

siding on the drying rack




















After a night of airing out on the drying rack David whipped up, the siding should be dry now. The stench isn’t so bad today.

Next up: the new siding goes on the house. Then we get to live with a temporarily odd sage-green and grayish black color combo until the rest of the siding gets tackled. Yay!

is there a hi-fi way?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

… as opposed to my remedial colored-pencil approach to trying different colors on the exterior of our house? Of course there are other ways. There are a number of software choices out there, but not all of them are good and they’re not all designed for the basic homeowner.

The one that seemed to have the best reviews was Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer (PCV3), available for Mac or PC….



At $10, it seemed like something worth trying, so I did. It’s Adobe-based software so it’s not particularly stupid-proof if you’re new to Adobe. Out of curiosity, I tried it out a couple of different ways.

First, I uploaded an architectural rendering and played with that…

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer: using an architectural rendering










Hard to tell what’s going on by looking at a rendering, it turns out.

So then I uploaded a photo and played with that, too. Here’s one somewhat sloppy example…

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer: using a photo












The software comes loaded with BM’s color palettes, but it’s laborious to experiment with colors — I tried to find the right gold-green but it literally takes FOREVER to change what you’ve done. The navigation is horrendous. I say this as someone who’s in the business of helping to make things online more user friendly.

I do like being able to see what colors on the exterior look like in the context of the houses around ours. But overall, I think my results were hardly worth the time I had to spend trying to compare different shades on the areas I masked out.

Bottom line on the Personal Color Viewer: If you have hours and hours to waste, go for it.

If you’re in a hurry, whip out the colored pencils.

drumroll plz… the color choices

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Well, the day is here — the day we commit to colors. Here’s how it went down.

David decided that once he finishes adding insulation to the outside of the house there won’t be enough of our existing redwood to go around the enlarged envelope, so he ordered cedar. How will we deal with the natural color differences in two kinds of wood on a single house? Easy. The existing redwood will get pulled from all the inset areas and get used on the main envelope. The new cedar will go on the insets.

And how will that look? Well, I went back to my initial color exploration and got out the colored pencils.

How lo-fi.

And approximate.

Some of you liked the bold color approach, so I tried this… Grey on the outside and a plant-inspired gold-green on the inside. Would take some courage but I kinda dig it…

grey and color












Not a neon green but a green with a Dijon-y tone to it. Along these lines…

goldy green paint swatches




















Grey on the outside and brown (natural wood color) on the inside. Safer but not loving it…

grey and brown












I always pictured the house as grey, but another option was brown (natural wood color) on the outside and dark, dark grey on the inside. I liked this better…

brown and grey












Bix, of course, lobbied for his choice…

yellow and red candy-striped












At this point we thought we might want to see the grain of the redwood through whatever shade we chose for the main body. So David planed the paint off a few of the boards that were removed from the deck-end of the house to see what shape the wood is in…

paint removal




















Then off we went to Adler’s paint department with 40-year-old redwood and new cedar in hand to try out stains. Here’s what the first color tests looked like…

color tests on redwood and cedar




















New cedar on the left. Original redwood on the right. The dark grey at the bottom is too dark for the exterior. We don’t want to live in a black box. The lighter grey is okay. But how about the way that clear stain really brings out the richness and character of the redwood? Why hide that?

Sidetrack… Just for yucks I tried the gold-green against the wood color to see if that might still work for the insets…

wood and gold green


Okay, my sweater’s way too bright in the sun but you get the idea. David, however, was not convinced. So gold-green was eliminated. (I’ll be resurrecting some version of it as an interior paint color.)

There’s a modern house on my running route that’s a decent example of a real wood-look exterior…

another modern in providence












Don’t love the off-white as a contrast choice for us but what about dark, steely grey or even black? It’s a little more dramatic without being show-offy…

Walden Residence by House + House Architects |

Walden Residence by House + House Architects |


Once you add grey/black, white works nicely (perhaps for our foundation if we can’t figure out how to take it back to its original concrete-grey)…

Casa Ro by Elias Rizo Arquitectos |

Casa Ro by Elias Rizo Arquitectos |


So I guess that’s it then.

On the main body, glorious redwood — stained clear to show its awesomeness.

A dark, almost black stain on the insets.

And white at the base assuming (and it’s a pretty good assumption) that we can’t bring it back to a bare concrete state.


exterior color inspiration

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

We won’t get to the full exterior of the house this year, obviously. But because the deck-end siding had to come off to add the new windows, we should think about color before we re-side. I’ve always imagined that once the paint is planed off of the redwood that we’d go dark grey, setting off the insets with a natural (brown) wood shade — stain, not paint, so we can still see the wood grain.

But what if we took a quick look at a few color possibilities?


When I say “insets,” I’m referring to the cutouts in the outer envelope — around the front door + the full height of the deck-end…

minty 1972, corner view











And around the back door…
minty 1972, back view












house 2011












Now let’s try to picture a few possibilities…



Probably too dramatic for our house but it sure does look cool…

pull house, taylor and miller architecture and design |

pull house, taylor and miller architecture and design |

los feliz residence, warren techentin architecture |

los feliz residence, warren techentin architecture |

I know, the color is only on the window frames (our new frames are all silver aluminum), but you get the idea.

park residence, MACK architecs |

park residence, MACK architecs |



scape house, andrew simpson architects |

scape house, andrew simpson architects |

humbug, kebbel daish architects ltd. |

humbug, kebbel daish architects ltd. |

zen garden house, david jay wiener architect | architectural record

zen garden house, david jay wiener architect | architectural record



private house, weinstein vaadia architects |

private house, weinstein vaadia architects |



minimum house, scheidt kasprusch architekten |

minimum house, scheidt kasprusch architekten |

richmond house, rachcoff vella architecture |

richmond house, rachcoff vella architecture |



kerr ritchie house, kerr ritchie architects |

kerr ritchie house, kerr ritchie architects |

(I am also including this shot from the interior, because the shape of the inset is almost exactly like ours…)

kerr ritchie house, kerr ritchie architects |

kerr ritchie house, kerr ritchie architects |

rubber house, cityforster |

rubber house, cityforster |



texas hill road residence, incorporated architecture and design |

texas hill road residence, incorporated architecture and design |

genolier house, lrs architects |

genolier house, lrs architects |



dorsey residence, coates design architects |

dorsey residence, coates design architects |


Off to look at stains later today!

conflicted in kid-dom

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Our friends are always asking if we’ve made progress in the kid’s room. No wonder. The move was two years ago, which means Bix has spent nearly half his life in a mess. So we tackled his room first, hoping to create a calm, fun place away from the remodeling storm. I like the result. But I’m also conflicted about it. Argh.

Starting with what we already had

Luckily, we moved in with most of the stuff we used, including mandatory KidKraft train table, some chairs, and the drawers and bookcases David built when Bix was a baby…


I see the drawers need a little readjusting but you get the idea. We used Sunflower Seed Board from Van Beek’s in Michigan. Here’s a closer look…

closeup of sunflower seed MDF

It’s an eco-friendly MDF made from pressed sunflower seed hulls. LEED-certified, no formaldehyde, no outgassing. Finished in a simple water-based poly. Makes us feel good.

David had made the drawer fronts using a laminate we thought was fun enough for a kid but easy to like as an adult…

Formica in matte finish Beluga (#3697)

We debated about the environmental friendliness of laminate and decided that because drawers see a lot of grimy little fingers and can take a beating that the sunflower board can’t (without getting chipped, that is), it made sense.

Attack of the madwoman with a paintbrush

Before we could hang the furniture on the wall above the heaters, I had to scrape off the babyish wallpaper border that went all around the room, prep the walls and paint.

early room view 3

To encourage drawing, I decided on kid-height chalkboard walls around the perimeter. I taped off the space…

chalk board prep 1

Used a dab of caulk along the bottom of the painter’s tape for a nice, clean edge. Then filled in my lines with four or five layers of chalkboard paint to make it extra durable.

chalk board prep 3

I was hoping to tie the chalkboard to artwork we commissioned our friend Ryan Lesser to make a few years ago (click to biggify if you care to)…

wide shot, finished chalkboard


chalkboard finished

more artwork from Ryan Lesser

Those are a few more characters by Ryan.

I brought the tentacles around the corner and over onto the adjoining wall behind the door…


I maybe went a little overboard carrying the “bubbles” look from the laminate onto the wall…

glossy bubbles on matte paint

I used high gloss paint in various tints of white (some bluish, some greyish, some super white, etc.) on top of a matte oatmealy white. The anal part: I used round container lids in three sizes, dipped them into the paint and then pressed them onto the wall. Looks good when the light hits it. David thinks it’s too busy. Just wait, it gets much busier.

Bunk bed in a closet

The dressers are more than adequate storage for the wardrobe of a 5-year-old — with plenty of room for toys, too. His closet was wasted space, so we decided it was a smart spot to fit a bunkbed with storage underneath. Great for sleepovers someday, or the occasional guest.

In order to be twin-bed length and last Bix well into his teens, we needed to make the space a little longer…

closet build-out

David extended the closet space by about 6″ and added some serious mass loaded vinyl sound-proofing to the walls. The occasional mid-construction reading break was called for…

demolition break

Then he put in new drywall and spots for lights for both bunks.

finishing the drywall

He drilled crazy long wood screws into the studs for extra support.

building bunk bed supports

Hang on a sec and I’ll show you the finished bed. Keep your pants on.

Paint overload

Building out the closet ruined  the edge of my paintjob. No biggie. Easily camouflaged with a little sanding and some paint in a contrasting pattern to trick the eye. I did a color study using various shades from around the room — Benjamin Moore zero-VOC Natura paint so I could feel reasonably okay about sticking to our eco-friendly principles…

paint swatches

First, I taped off a floor-to-ceiling strip for magnetic paint (not so eco-friendly, I’m sure). The Ben Mo’ semi-gloss can go right over the top to dress it up, so I taped off cubes to echo the Ikea paper lamp hanging in the opposite corner…

taping off the magnetic board

So the result?

bunk beds and magnetic board

I matched bunk bed walls to the aqua in the bookcases. The magnetic strip brings in all the colors of the room. Recovered the shade of the West Elm lamp I picked up for half price. I’m liking how circles vs. squares turned out.

closeup on lower bunk

Aqua pillowcases from Area we already had. Added the illustratey one and cushy flannel sheets from Garnet Hill. Organic blanket and a quilt picked up at West Elm. Roll pillow half price from Unison. Sales rawk.

full shot bunk bed

The underbed drawers we stole from one of the dismantled dressers David made for Bix’s baby room. As Bix gets older, we could decide to pull out the bottom bunk and put in a desk. Or add a clothing rod under the top bunk. It’s a very flexible space. And the whole thing could easily become a closet again if need be.

etsy pillows

Pillows from two great etsy sellers: Spruce Home who works in some great vintage fabrics and Alexandra Ferguson who uses 100% post-consumer recycled felt. A nice comfy back for a little storytime action.

Shins “monster” art from Tad Carpenter...

Shins monster

painted border around art

Such a paint addict — I thought it needed a border. As a side note, that’s not glass inside the frame. It’s plexi. Globe lights are also plastic and not glass. Just in case, ya know.

monsters in a barrel

Barrel found at PB Teen at a get-it-outta-here discount of 75% (years ago, sorry). So many uses but for now, all things stuffed.

On the way over to the book nook…

bookshelves viewed from bed

Trish Grantham painting

New painting by Trish Grantham and Frank Kozik figures from Kid Robot over the dresser.

nice grassy pillow for sitting and reading

A grassy knoll pillow for reading, repurposed from the living area.

looking up at bookshelves

We bridged the space between bookshelves with cheap Ikea corner shelves, which added even more storage.

vintage Fisher Price “little people” toy collection

Vintage Fisher Price “little people” toys collection. Thanks, eBay. I always wanted an A-frame.

mechagodzilla and godzilla

Mechagodzilla and Godzilla — gifts from Bix’s friends “the Godzilla girls.”

dinos on a shelf

Bix’s true love: his dino shelf.

vintage Fisher Price record player

Vintage Fisher Price record player came with six “records.” Priming him to be a DJ from a very young age. eBay.

vintage Fisher Price “radio”

Ancient Fisher Price “radio” still works. eBay. I’m getting repetitive, sorry.

the Seuss section

The Seuss section.

’zilla feet, licensed by Toho

Godzilla feet from Toho for stomping through the house.

Charles S. Anderson poster circa 1990

On the other dresser, a leaning Charles S. Anderson poster hides a hideous air conditioner. Dated ’89, although I picked it up at a paper show in Houston years after that. It’s a French Paper sample Bix insists he must have in his room because up above King Kong…

Godzilla on King Kong/C.S. Anderson poster

there’s a tiny Godzilla. I cannot deny him.

gremlins on the turntable

Gremlins on the crappy eBay turntable that came with about a zillion records to add to those we already had.

bix listening to records

And now we’re back to the corner where we started! Only now somebody’s appreciating the joys of vinyl. Good boy.

What’s left undone

Still to come: the ladder and top railing for the bunk bed, replacement baseboard and trim here and there…

need new trim around the window

a wood ceiling (to cover the popcorn ceiling) and wood floor. Can’t wait to get rid of that hideous toxic carpet, too.

Why I’m conflicted

Had really hoped this room would be super “green,” seeing as it’s our child’s room. Sustainable materials, great.  Completely thrilled with the organic mattresses — beautifully made and comfy. Eco-conscious paints, very good, but so much paint, right? And it amazes me the shizzload of plastic in this room! On the one hand, much of it’s vintage — we’re keeping plastic out of the landfill, yay. On the other hand, it’s still plastic. Oy.

So I give myself an 85% on achieving my goals for Bix’s room. Granted, I’m a harsh grader.

Valentine’s Day card from Orrin

Orrin made Bix a Valentine. So cute. Thanks, Orrin!