*Lyrics from These Foolish Things as sung by Sam Cooke. I heard this song on my Pandora station (Ella Fitzgerald, et al) the other week while cooking, and jotted it down for the blog. When I went searching for a song for this post, this one matched what I was writing about regarding color palettes. Things happen, and they remind us of other things, and these (foolish) things can get permanently emotionally attached to colors. Well, anyway, read on, play on.
For many moons I’ve believed that the most beautiful and cohesive homes have a unified paint palette. Now, this is not to say that each room must match, or be party to a theme per say (ok, in fact, no themes at all, please – stick to moods), but that the spaces that open onto one another should have harmony, and should relate to one another in some way, so that when you move through the home you feel at ease. For me it’s easiest to approach this idea by beginning the design process by choosing a palette that is connected, and brings together the emotional feeling of the entire home – the people, the architecture, the furnishings, the mood that we want to evoke, the emotions that we have about colors (and saturation levels of colors) – and sticking to it.
*Lyrics from 6am off Fitz and the Tantrums‘ new album More Than Just a Dream. I wanted to find something upbeat – I’m so tired of being in the doldrums – and was so happy to learn that they’d come out with a new album (plus, any band that can play this well live is worth listening to). I truly enjoyed their first offering, and hope to get to know this one on Spotify before purchasing. Though, based on the few songs I’ve heard so far, I expect this album will be coming to my virtual home soon.
Next only to a thorough cleaning in creating a feeling of home is painting. When we took the pied-à-deux we asked for permission to paint (again – we had permission for the upstairs flat, too). Our landlord graciously allowed us to paint since that mean he didn’t have to. Win-win. So we decided to go a bit further with our selections, pushing ourselves into a slightly more bold direction. And, while the prior tenants had done a nice job choosing paints – a neutral grey with a charcoal accent – we wanted to put our own stamp on it. Plus, we had those hand sewn curtains to contend with, as well as all our other furniture and things skewing toward an established scheme.
At first, I was scared of doing the whole living room in a dark color. The ceilings in the pied-à-deux are much lower than they were in the original Pied, and we get less direct sunlight (due to the position of the surrounding buildings, and the fact that we’re on a lower floor). Both of those things mean that it’s darker to begin with, so choosing a deeply saturated hue was a risk (and, frankly, one that I’m still coming to terms with on some days). But, hanging art, mirrors, curtains, and shelves (I’ll show you all that soon, I hope!) has really helped to make the place feel brighter when it needs to, yet stay cozy and handsome. All in all, the color scheme is working for us, even if it still pushes me on some days.
*Lyrics from You’re The Best (Around!) from THE Karate Kid (1984). I probably should have used ‘INSPIRING GUITAR SOLO‘ as my lyrics, but these words were slightly more accurate. I urge you to watch the video, at work, and loudly, preferably, and then do the crane kick at everyone you see for a whole day. Do it. I dare you.
So, yesterday I saw a dude who walks like Ralph Macchio. Jeff claims to not know what that means, but I ask you this: if you’ve seen The Karate Kid as many times as we (of my generation, you young’ns) have, don’t you instinctively know what I mean? I dare say he could pick Daniel-sun out of a walking line-up. Maybe it was a girl thing to notice. But, I digress. Ralph Macchio was likely on my mind because of the one-day Miyagi-style boot camp I held for myself yesterday.
*Lyrics from Eleanor Friedberger‘s I Won’t Fall Apart On You Tonight from her album Last Summer. I haven’t decided as yet if I’ll purchase this one – it’s one of those albums I enjoy, but not sure if it’s because it’s in the background of the other things I’m doing. Anywho, check her/it out as you see fit. Carry on.
So, just when you thought we were done improving our current house, well, we took a hard look at the calendar, the side porch, and realized (much to our collective chagrin) that it needed a fresh coat of stain before the winter season. Ugh. First, ugh for having to think about winter already! Second, ugh for having to do another labor-intensive project during a time when our house is meant to stay show-ready. Last, ugh for the onslaught of back-breaking projects that we had to undertake in the span of days. Ugh, then blerg.
*Lyrics from Good Intent by Kimbra from her album Vows. I was doing as I was told, by spotify, and checking out the latest pop albums. Must do what told. Spotify rules me. Ok, and it’s a catchy album, good voice, interesting melodies and instrumentation. So, there.
House Tour: Master Suite
How many houses from the 1920s can boast a master suite? Ok, probably quite a few at this point, but we think it’s pretty special to have our own private bathroom off our bedroom. It’s almost like its own apartment.
When we first bought the house, the bathroom adjacent was really the former maid’s bath. The sink was about 28″ off the floor (in other words, back-breakingly low), and the toilet was awkwardly placed next to the smallest shower on earth (I think it was 24″ square). Of course, I never took any before pictures of it (back then it didn’t occur to me to photograph ugly things!). Needless to say, we’ve renovated all of it: the bathroom is 100% new, including heated marble floors, recessed lighting, Starphire glass shower enclosure, and a custom trim package that matches the original 1920s woodwork.
*Lyrics from You Won’t Let Me by Rachael Yamagata from her album Chesapeake. Every time I hear her voice, I ‘like’ her, or I click the little ‘thumbs up’ button on Pandora. The song is a little sad, and perhaps that’s how I feel about this process of letting our house go. But, make no mistake, we’re on the market and ready to entrust this lovely spot to another deserving family. Doesn’t make me love it less, or wish I could pick the whole house up and put it in my pocket. For now, more room tours to make you love it as much as we do…
House Tour: Offices
When we first started out looking for homes, fourscore and 7 years ago (I think that’s actually about accurate!), we thought we’d want at least three bedrooms: one for us, one for guests, and one for an office. Jeff has worked from home for almost the entire time I’ve known him – starting out as a freelancer and working his way to co-owning his own thriving business – so having a space that was dedicated to his work was essential in our home search. We ended up finding this 4 bedroom house, which worked out because at one time my brother lived with us (and at another time my mom lived with us), and we had guests for most major holidays and many a weekend in between, so we had plenty of room to share and spread out. After my brother (and mom) moved on (and out) to other situations, I ended up with the opportunity to get a dedicated office/craft/design studio of my own. And, even though my artistic career is in its infancy, having a whole room (with a fireplace!) to spread out and work on projects (like the desk, or the paintings, or the art), as well as work on design drawings for client projects, has been amazing.
*Lyrics from Cubism Dream by Local Natives. It’s no secret that I love this group, even though Jeff warns me not to look at them if I ever see them live – apparently they’re hipsters with a capital H. Little does he know, I don’t care (bring on the waxed, handle-bar mustaches!). I love that album, and love it still every time I hear it. This song feels like love and sadness and nostalgia and tenderness mixed together, which is pretty much what touching love feels like. Which is pretty much what I feel for my little niece, touching love.
Last year, driving innocently by a yard sale (that I swear I didn’t know was going to be there) I spotted a weird but cute vanity/desk in a gross shade of green. I kept driving, but thought about it for the rest of the afternoon. Later on, I convinced Jeff to drive by with me, just to see if it was still there. If it was, I told him, I’m buying it. He said, what for? I said, not for me, for [my niece]! She needs a desk! He said, okay. So I got it, for $20. Not bad, eh?
*Lyrics from You Must Be Out Of Your Mind by The Magnetic Fields from their 2010 album Realism. I’ve been spotifying again. I like it. Reminds me I’m overdue for a blog song mix post. Hmmm… first things first.
May I just say what a relief it is to NOT have to look at that (above) anymore? As many of you may recall, we completed our major home makeover in the fall of 2010. And, as many of you also know, we ended up slowly redo-ing our family bath beginning in the winter (January) of 2011. And I trust that you know we redid our basement not that long ago. What you may not know is how hard it is to wrangle, corral, and otherwise lasso construction debris after so many major projects.
Here’s how it starts out: At first you think, ‘Hey, I’ll just move this stuff into the basement, you know, just to get it out of the way for now.’ Then, after you realize that you can’t keep whatever junk you have stored in the basement down there forever, you say, ‘Hey, let’s move that junk to the garage so it’ll be easier to get rid of it.’ Eventually, you forget about said stuff (or can ignore it easier), or you need to add new stuff to the ever-growing pile. What starts as a few sheets of plywood, some scraps of salvaged trim and old solid wood doors (saved aside because surely someone can use them) turns into a cast-iron bathtub filled with empty paint cans, unusable scraps of wood, and a heap of carpeting as big as your car. I’m actually not exaggerating – we had a tub, toilet, 800 sqft of carpet AND padding, a rusted old gas grill, so much wood debris I can’t even name it all, in addition to used furniture and leftover trash from construction, from moving (my mom) and from painting and masonry. Our garage was a total mess (for those of you who don’t mind the odd adult-rated curseword, it was a shithole).
*Lyrics from Hungry Eyes from the movie Dirty Dancing. Partly this song is inspired by my previous post about the tree we planted for Bec, where I used another song from Dirty Dancing. Partly it works because I wish both she and Patrick Swayze were still here with us. Partly I couldn’t think of another song that could accompany a post about compost. Can you?
At the risk of boring you all to death with pictures of the yard, I have another update to share with you. And it’s even more boring: it’s the compost area. Ugh, I know, who cares? But, you might care since it looks so nice.
*Lyrics from Two Door Cinema Club‘s song Undercover Martyn from their album Tourist History. I like to run to this album – it’s short (good for brief workouts) and peppy. Ok, I like to have private dance parties to this album, too. Don’t judge me.
Ok, ok, I know I owe you a big post. (Absence makes the heart grow fonder?) Well, feast your eyes on this before and after:
See? What did I tell you? When we first started our ‘let’s quickly do over the basement’ journey we had a wallpapered, stained-carpeted, knotty pine accented, dreary space. Not to mention (ok, I’ll mention it again, in case you missed it the first time) that after Brad rewired the whole house he had to make all these holes in the wallpapered walls (that turned out NOT to be so easy to patch). Anywho, long story short(er), we decided to paint, paint, recarpet, and paint some more. We aren’t 100% finished – there’s still the matter of switching out the outlets (from brown to white tamper-resistant), replacing the ceiling light covers, and moving the mechanical controls for the sprinkler system to the mechanicals room (which we never even thought of before now, that’s how little time we spent down there) – but for the photos, well, you’ll get the gist. Besides, eventually, once we get things a bit more styled up, I’ll update you. (You know I will, whether or not you like it.)