Category Archives: Before and After

Dumb Bunnies and Ugly Ducks

When I took our Easter decorations out of storage this year I found some old ceramic ducklings and bunnies that had been lovingly hand painted.

5 little ducklings and 3 pearlized bunnies

5 little ducklings and 3 pearlized bunnies

I tried to sell the whole lot on Craigslist but no takers.

Get a load of the dramatic eyes.

Get a load of the dramatic eyes.

Since I really didn’t care for these oddly painted creatures I decided to .  .  .

Everyone is a different color combination.

Everyone is a different color combination.

Wait for it .  .  .

I think the inside of the ears was pinked with nail polish. Hmmm.

I think the inside of the ears was pinked with nail polish. Hmmm.

Paint them. Surprise, huh?

These shells were decorated with a Sharpie. I love them.

These shells were decorated with a Sharpie. I love them.

I don’t want to take a lot of time with this project so I let the photo above be an inspiration.

White Spray Paints

I’ll have to spray everything down with white paint first.

This weekend might have an hour or so that’s warm enough to get the spray painting finished.  Then I can Sharpie whilst I watch television. I hope I can get this finished before Easter which is at the end of March this year.

What are you doing with your wacky stuff?

No More Red Candles

Actually I have a lot of red candles and I’m not really going to let them go to waste HOWEVER .  .  .

I didn't even actually burn red candles this year but some red wax was in the holders which dripped out when the candles burned down.

I didn’t even actually burn red candles this year but some red wax was in the holders which dripped out when the candles burned down.

I’m not going to burn red candles on my good my good tablecloths and,

I used most of these to make tea tin candles.

I used most of these to make tea tin candles.

when I buy new candles they will be some pale color.

Natural color beeswax candles go great with my color scheme.

Natural color beeswax candles go great with my color scheme.

I used my favorite tablecloth for Christmas and New Year’s which comes from Holland and is colorfully cross-stitched.

A splotch of red wax on the tablecloth.

A splotch of red wax on the tablecloth.

A drop of red wax fell on it.

Wax and color transferred to the paper towel.

Wax and color transferred to the paper towel.

Before laundering I layered it between a cotton cloth (on the bottom) and a paper towel (on the top) and ironed the paper town with a hot iron.

After ironing between a cloth and paper towel.

After ironing between a cloth and paper towel.

All of the wax and much of the color was transferred to the cloth and towel.

Just a hint of the stain remains. I can live with it.

Just a hint of the stain remains (center of the photo). I can live with it.

Then I pretreated it for about 20-30 minutes before washing it in cold water in the washing machine.  Most of the stain came out.

What's more flattering that candlelight.

What’s more flattering that candlelight?

I’ll burn the red candles where they can’t become a permanent stain.

What’s you favorite candle color? (Mine is natural beeswax.) What’s your favorite candle scent? (Mine is lavender/lemon.)

Master List: 2016

You can read about the Master List we’ve been working on for the past couple of years and our progress here. Last year I decluttered the list itself.  And now I’ve removed anything that has been accomplished before 2015, retaining things that still need work, and adding projects that require finishing or are just plain FUN. (Our room by room to-do list is here.)

Projects to Do:

  • 1. Paint green vanity

    I'd like a more neutral color on the green dressing table.

    I’d like a more neutral color on the green dressing table.

  • 2.  Pump up curb appeal with landscaping upgrades

    This total lack of landscaping needs to be graded, seeded, and planted.

    This total lack of landscaping needs to be graded, seeded, and planted.

  • 3. Make a cushion for the piano bench.

    Charlie has positioned his childhood pad on the piano bench. Something better is needed.

    Charlie has positioned his childhood pad on the piano bench. Something better is needed.

  • 4. Move former back door to laundry

    Former back door now in storage.

    Former back door now in storage.

  • 5.  Clean closet in Treetops room

    The Treetops Room.

    The Treetops Room.

  • √6. Clean and paint side porch door.

    The side porch is painted with the new house color, new door color, and bright white trim.

    The side porch is painted with the new house color, new door color, and bright white trim.

  • 7. Paint master bedroom door.

    One of the master bedroom doors.

    One of the master bedroom doors.

  • √8. Strip and repaint front door.

    Front porch door

    Front porch door

  • 9. Scrape, sand and paint back bedroom door. Repair jamb.
  • 10. Lighting for walk-in closet
  • 11. Clean floor in cottage
  • 12. Paint trim in pink bedroom

    The trim and this closet door need a fresh coat of white.

    The trim and this closet door need a fresh coat of white.

  • 13. Refinish floor in laundry and cottage
  • 14. Replace trim in laundry
  • 15. Finish closet in laundry

    The laundry closet has been on the back burner since the renovation began.

    The laundry closet has been on the back burner since the renovation began.

  • 16. Lighting for master bath

    Master bathroom vanity pendants.

    Master bathroom vanity pendants.

  • √17. Vanity and sink for master bath (choose style).

    The new vanity.

    The new vanity.

  • 18. Refinish my tall dresser

    My chest of drawers which belonged to my grandmother needs a surface treatment.

    My chest of drawers which belonged to my grandmother needs a surface treatment.

  • 19. Check interior shutters for size
  • 20. Think about bedroom curtains
  • 21. Make living room curtains

    Working on it.

    Working on it.

  • √22. Paint bedroom

    The bedroom walls are blue: Virtuoso.

    The bedroom walls are blue: Virtuoso.

  • √23. Paint new closet

    With the ceilings finished, walls are next.

    With the ceilings finished, walls are next.

  • √24. Think about dining room décor

    The dining room proper is finished. A few sewing projects remain.

    The dining room proper is finished. A few sewing projects remain.

  • 25. Finish cushions in DR

    One cushion remains to be sewn.

    One cushion remains to be sewn.

  • 26. Paint all the trim in the house

    Tons of trim needs to be painted.

    Tons of trim needs to be painted.

  • 27. Paint wood trim on exterior of house

    The old wood trim contrasts poorly next to new Azek.

    The old wood trim contrasts poorly next to new Azek.

  • 28. Paint dining room table and chairs to use in the kitchen or Craigslist current set and buy something more size appropriate (Go to Red Hen’s blog for great inspiration)

    The table

    Dining room table is blond oak.

  • 29. Check out overstock.com, Lumber Liquidator, and wood place for flooring
  • √30. Pick tile for bathroom

    Conservatory bathroom tall is installed.

    Conservatory bathroom tall is installed.

  • √31. Get rid of rubble pile

    The rubble pile is diminishing but I want it gone.

    The rubble pile is diminishing but I want it gone.

  • 32. Decide where every lamp goes

    Limoges lamps - for the bedroom?

    Limoges lamps – for the bedroom?

  • 33. Consider terrace or deck
  • 34. Decide where mirrors go

    This antique mirror would look great over Charlie's sink.

    This antique mirror would look great over Charlie’s sink.

  • 35. Decide where art work goes

    Lots of original art in the living room.

    Lots of original art in the living room.

  • 36. Get rid of art that does not suit
  • √37. Paint hallway

    The upstairs hall is painted "Moonshine".

    The upstairs hall is painted “Moonshine”.

  • √38. Paint stair risers

    A small job that makes a big difference -- painted stair risers.

    A small job that makes a big difference — painted stair risers.

  • 39. Paint design on stair walls
  • 40. Hang photo gallery in upstairs hall
  • 41. Put shelves in pink room and paint stunning color at back of shelves
  • 42. Clean basement and add utility shelves under the steps.
  • 43. Design garden plan for back of yard behind the cottage.
  • 44. Open an Etsy shop.
  • √45. Paint house exterior

    Sandy Hook Gray

    Sandy Hook Gray

  • 46. Paint exterior shutters

    Shutters on the house are Duron's "Thunder Grey"

    Shutters on the house are Duron’s “Thunder Grey”

I’d better print off this list so I can get started.

Do you have a long list for spring?

House To-Do List – Year End, 2015

I used to organize the house to-do list in one long list that I added to as I thought of something new.  Here’s the updated room by room view at the halfway point of 2015.  Lots done; lots to do.

Living room

Living room

Living Room

Living room

Living room

The dining room is coming along with the wallpapering finished and a rug on the floor.

The dining room is coming along with the wallpapering finished and a rug on the floor.

Dining Room

Transition between dining room and living room.

Transition between dining room and living room.

  • Clean paneling
  • Paint paneling

    The paneling on the back and side walls still needs another coat of paint.

    The paneling on the back and side walls still needs another coat of paint.

  • Paper top of walls
  • Clean floors
  • Paint chairs
  • Get a rug
  • Finish cushions

    The cushions are in place on the window seat but still unfinished.

    The cushions are in place on the window seat but still unfinished.

  • Move piano
  • Paint trim
Caffe bar kitchen peninsula

Caffe bar kitchen peninsula

Kitchen

The kitchen

The kitchen

 

Kitchen island and cabinets

Kitchen island and cabinets

Pantry

  • Add shelves
  • Add counter

    Counter in the pantry

    Counter in the pantry

  • Add cabinets
  • Paint wall and ceiling
  • Hang lighting fixture
  • Organize pantry food and tools
Everything is finished in the conservatory except a new floor and painted trim.

Everything is finished in the conservatory except a new floor and painted trim.

Conservatory

The conservatory

The conservatory

  • Paint floor or lay flooring
  • Lay rug
  • Hang drywall
  • Mud walls
  • Paint walls
  • Move furniture
    • Love seats
    • Bistro set
    • Oak dresser
  • Get TV
  • Move file safe into closet
  • Drywall window
  • Mud closet
  • Paint closet
  • Get doors for closet and bathroom
    ConservatoryDoorsTrim

    Conservatory doors


    Conservatory bathroom

Conservatory bathroom is tiled.

Conservatory bathroom is tiled.

  • Choose tile

    ConservatoryBathroomTile

    Conservatory floor tile — white on white basketweave.

  • Choose fixtures
  • Choose sink 

    Ikea sink and faucet in the conservatory bathroom.

    Ikea sink and faucet in the conservatory bathroom.

  • Get shower installed

    The shower is installed.

    The shower is installed.

Our powder room is currently styled the bibliotheque but is in for a continental change.

Our powder room is currently styled the bibliotheque but is in for a continental change.

Powder room

  • Remove wallpaper
  • Add paneling at bottom of wall
  • Paper top of wall

    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.

    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.

  • Paint lighting fixtures
  • Rehang towel bar
  • Fix hole in wall
The stairs and landing to the powder room.

The stairs and landing to the powder room.

Stairs

Upstairs hall

Upstairs hall

Hallway

  • Repair wall where door was removed
  • Paint wall
  • Hang gallery

    If these photos could only hang themselves up.

    If these photos could only hang themselves up.

After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.

After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.

Laundry Room

La buanderie means either laundry room or utility room in a house

  • Finish floor
  • Hang closet door
  • Add hanging pole to closet
  • Add baseboard trim
  • Add chair rail trim
  • Paint and install inside shutters
  • Paint and install old kitchen cabinet above dryer
Master bathroom.

Master bathroom.

Master Bathroom

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

  • Tear out closets
  • Erect bookshelves

    Bookshelves in the master bedroom

    Bookshelves in the master bedroom

  • Patch holes
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint walls

    Blue master bedroom

    Blue master bedroom

  • Paint trim
  • Lay rug
  • Make bed rustic
  • Refinish tall dresser
French doors open from a private second-floor terrace into the master bedroom.

French doors open from a private second-floor terrace into the master bedroom.

The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.

The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.

Master Deck

  • Rug
  • Paint vintage garden furniture

    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.

    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.

  • Have railing built
  • Have deck surface finished
A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room

A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room

Diva Room

  • Paint trim
  • Add shutters or curtains
  • Clear out boxes
  • Refit closet after ductwork
The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.

The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.

Treetops Room

  • Clear out boxes
  • Wash windows
  • Move large painting to living room
  • Reorient bed
  • Paint lamp and refinish shade
  • Paint door
Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.

Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.

Front entrance

  • Choose outdoor lights/sconces
  • Choose blue stone or paving
  • Make planters
  • Add landscaping
  • Paint door
  • Door mat
The westside porch.

The westside porch.

Side entrance

  • Choose outdoor lights/sconces
  • Choose bluestone or paving
  • Make planter for front edge
  • Make wood box
  • Bench or chair
  • Door mat
The back stairs to the conservatory.

The back stairs to the conservatory.

Back entrance

The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.

The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.

Garden

  • Make a plan for foundation plants
  • Plant grass
The shed is both charming and useful.

The shed is both charming and useful.

Wee Little House

  • Organize tools
  • Paint shutters
  • Clear work bench
  • Organize garden items
The Cottage has come in handy for guests and as a temporary home for our son's friends.

The Cottage has come in handy for guests and as a temporary home for our son’s friends. (November)

Glade Cottage

Cottage in summer

Cottage in summer

  • Clear up unfinished projects
  • Move paint to house
  • New water heater
  • Install kitchen sink
  • Move tools to shed
  • Move and repair drafting table
  • Clean up old lumber and flooring
  • Vacuum well
  • Dust and wipe clean
  • Rent

Exterior

  • Paint shingles
  • Paint and install shutters
  • Paint trim
  • Hang gutters and downspouts
    New downspouts accentuate the corners of the house.

    New downspouts accentuate the corners of the house.

    We’ll be adding and crossing off as time progresses.

The longest night is over for another year. Did you survive?

What’s Left in the Master Bathroom

Before I start with the to-do list for our newly-built master bathroom I’ll go through the things that are finished.

The second floor addition from the inside at the end of 2013 when it was just being framed. We've made progress, n'est-ce pas?

The second floor addition from the inside at the end of 2013 when it was just being framed. We’ve made progress, n’est-ce pas?

We started with thin air since the master bathroom and adjoining closet are new additions to the house.

The roughed-in plumbing includes the shower controls in both bathrooms.

The roughed-in plumbing includes the shower controls in both bathrooms.

When the main renovation contractor left over a year ago the bathroom was only roughed-in.

The master bathroom shower with insulation.

The master bathroom shower with insulation.

We have insulated it.

Blueboard and cement board line the walls.

Blueboard and cement board line the walls.

Installed blueboard and cement board on the walls.

Master bathroom shower pan is actually a rigid foam.

Master bathroom shower pan is actually a rigid foam.

A Kerdi shower pan by Schluter was put in the shower.

The floor was raised to the level of the shower pan so we could have a curbless shower.

The floor was raised to the level of the shower pan so we could have a curbless shower.

Then Charlie built the sub-floor up to meet the shower pan with 2 layers of plywood and a layer of Hardiebacker board.

The painting in the bathroom went quickly since half of the room will be tiled.

The master bathroom walls are Coventry Gray.

I painted the ceiling and the walls.

What a change the tile makes covering the Hardiebacker board!

What a change the tile makes covering the Hardiebacker board!

I selected tile which has recently been set on both the floor and shower walls.

Charlie tested the sealer on the area of the floor that will ultimately be under the vanity to make sure it wouldn't stain.

Charlie tested the sealer on the area of the floor that will ultimately be under the vanity to make sure it wouldn’t stain.

Charlie sealed the marble basketweave floor tile.

The master bathroom won't seem quite so large when the furniture moves in.

The master bathroom won’t seem quite so large when the furniture moves in.

Now we have a short an equally long list of final projects:

  1. Order and install shower glass.

    After the tile and plumbing -- shower glass. (This is an inspiration for our shower.)

    After the tile and plumbing — shower glass. (This is an inspiration for our shower.)

  2. Install the toilet.

    Toto toilets CST744SL#01 Cotton White.

    Toto toilet CST744SL#01 Cotton White.

  3. Install the double-sink vanity.

    The new vanity.

    The new vanity.

  4. Purchase and install sink faucets.

    I leaning toward the Moen Banbury times two .

    I leaning toward the Moen Banbury times two .

  5. Hang the mirrors.

    This antique mirror would look great over Charlie's sink.

    This antique mirror would look great over Charlie’s sink.

  6. Hang lighting fixtures.

    Master bathroom vanity pendants.

    Master bathroom vanity pendants.

  7. Purchase and install towel bars.
  8. Move my dressing table into the bathroom.

    My dressing table fits into the specially-sized niche in the master bathroom.

    My dressing table fits into the specially-sized niche in the master bathroom.

  9. Touch up paint and trim.

I had no idea fitting out a bathroom would be so labor intensive. I’m sure we’ll be grateful everytime we use it. And we’ll try not to take it for granted.

Do you have something you’re grateful for everyday?

Creating a Bathroom Vanity

I was determined to create a bathroom vanity in the newly-built conservatory using some of the vintage wood that Charlie had salvaged from the house demolition.

The space in which the sink must fit.

The space in which the sink must fit in the conservatory bathroom.

Yesterday’s post were my notes on what that might look like.

I tried to make all the building material convenience to the job.

I tried to make all the building material convenient to the job.

I left a pile of wood,

The Odensvik sink is a rectangular bowl one-piece sink and counter.

The Odensvik sink is a rectangular bowl one-piece sink and counter.

a porcelain sink,

Ikea LUNDSKÄR faucet -- $100.

Ikea LUNDSKÄR faucet — $100.

and a faucet.

You know when I saw the sink sitting about 39 inches off the ground I had to tell them no, no, no.

You know when I saw the sink sitting about 39 inches off the ground I had to tell them no, no, no.

The carpenters got started even before I left the house and the sink was about three inches too far off the ground.  I would have needed a ladder to use it.

The vanity should look something like this.

The vanity should look something like this including the measurements.

After re-explaining my position I left for work.

A conventional trap was used with the Ikea fixture.

A conventional trap was used with the Ikea fixture.

During the day I received a call about how they wanted to hide the trap under the bottom shelf and not use all the Ikea plumbing parts. That sounded OK to me because I had heard that the Ikea plumbing was a little wonky and I know zero about plumbing.  I basically had bought the faucet at Ikea so it would fit the Ikea sink.

On their next visit the crew will finish the trim on this sink.

On their next visit the crew will finish the trim on this sink.

Fast forward to the end of the day when I arrived home.

We discovered the water for this part of the building has not yet been hooked up. Another snafu.

We discovered the water for this part of the house has not yet been hooked up. Another snafu.

The carpenters/plumbers have made a good start.

Do you have trouble making your wishes clear?

Around the Painted House

For three months I’ve been giving the blow by blow on painting the exterior of the house. The color: Sandy Hook Gray by Benjamin Moore.

Front façade - before painting.

Front façade – before painting.

Finally it’s time for a walk-around.

Soon the olive trees flanking the ramp will go inside and the ramp will be put away.

Soon the olive trees flanking the ramp will go inside and the ramp will be put away.

We’ll be considering foundation planting in spring.  Part of the issue will be to mask the electric meter.

Before -- front and west side

Before painting — front and west side

We've laid plastic and cardboard on the ground until we grade and plant to keep the red clay from splashing up onto the newly painted siding.

We’ve laid plastic and cardboard on the ground until we grade and plant to keep the red clay from splashing up onto the newly painted siding.

Walking left toward the side porch, this is the driveway side of the house and the side that is seen by anyone approaching from the street.

The windows in the new addition are more haphazardly placed that the original windows.

The windows in the new addition are more haphazardly placed that the original windows.

Farther down the driveway the old house (on the right) and new addition (on the left)  blend together.  The door on the porch used to be our kitchen window before the renovation.

We love the extra windows in the kitchen bump -out.

We love the extra windows in the kitchen bump -out.

As we look around the back corner the kitchen bump-out is conspicuous.

On the back of the house the siding is finished but the oil tank will also need a coat of house color.

On the back of the house the siding is finished but the oil tank will also need a coat of house color.

The back of the house has new additions flanking the original dining room (double windows), the two-story kitchen/master bathroom addition on the right and the conservatory on the left.

I like how complex the house looks now with the additions.

I like how complex the house looks now with the additions.

Continuing east the conservatory replaces our old porch and adds a full bath on the ground floor.

We'll be putting the shutters away for winter and start working on them in spring.

We’ll be putting the shutters away for winter and start working on them in spring.

The living room and conservatory have east facing walls.

The American boxwood is the only shrub from before the renovation that wasn't destroyed by excavation.

The American boxwood is the only shrub from before the renovation that wasn’t destroyed by excavation.

And finally the southeast corner takes us back around to the front.

After looking at all the photos of the painted house Charlie and I have discussed a few more painting projects that we’ll mock-up and work on when the weather is nice. You might be surprised.

What favorite or versatile shrub can you recommend?