Monthly Archives: May 2012

Color My World… Or Maybe Just My House

Once we chose Marine Blue for our bedroom walls, the rest of the interior paint selections were easy-peasy. I’d already committed to Silver Fox for the living room/dining room/hallway, which this Aprtment Therapy article claims is the perfect gray. I love gray, but didn’t know how to choose one that would work with the predominantly brown furnishings throughout those rooms. Enter greige.


And for the reading room/family room, I wanted to take things darker, with the white bookcase and all that nice white trim. Also, when I was painting our navy-and-white dresser in this room, I noted how well that deep blue went with our new rug from IKEA. So I chose a dark blue gray navy color called Gentleman’s Gray (even though it seems kinda far from gray). I think it’ll make things all nice and moody in here and contrast well with some of the white-framed art I’m planning for the room.


Next, we have the master bath. This one was a toughie. I tried taupes, greiges, beiges, tans, browns, blues, greens, corals… I was stymied by a few things: 1. I love our shower curtain and really don’t want to ditch it, so I needed something that would help it pop and 2. The dark and light wood tones in the bathroom were making it tough to match to most of what I was picking out. I originally committed to Weimeraner after seeing a sample on the BM Personal Color Viewer, but a few days of a swatch on the wall illustrated how purple-y it is. Which is not the effect I’m going to at all.

So, I tested and tested and tried a million more colors, and I think we have a winner: Gibraltar Cliffs. It’s nice and muted so it lets the curtain pop and doesn’t compete with the wood and other browns, but it’s got more personality than the existing contractors beige.


Finally, for our office, I was thinking of pulling the master bedroom runner-up, Newburg Green, in there. But then I ran some Photoshop experiments and found that in most light, it was going to look weird with the navy dresser we made over specifically for that room. The colors just read too similarly and the dresser would sorta disappear into the walls, I feared. So I ran a few of Benjamin Moore’s favorite grays onto the wall, and came up with another winner: Eclipse.


Now, here’s why the bathroom and office were especially tough: I’m trying to stick to a consistent color palette for the house, and with greige and blues already chosen for three major rooms, I needed to stay in that family. Also, I’m leaving the kitchen/one dining room wall as is. I’m not sure of the color, but it seems like the closest match to Benjamin Moore’s Agave. With it being such a bright color (comparatively speaking), I wanted to help it shine. So we ended up with this moody, beachy, subtle thing that I’m really kinda digging. I call it “Stormy Beach.”

To make sure I liked all the colors together, I made this handy-dandy palette. I even grouped together the rooms that I knew would flow into one another, so I could see that the reading room, kitchen, and living room colors would look good stacked together, etc. Because I’m a total nerd like that.


I also like that the colors are subdued enough that we can add a lot of color in accessories without having too much compete. I feel like all of these colors will go well with oranges, greens, reds, yellows, dark browns, metals, and more, which really leaves the accessorizing wide open. To walk myself through how the palette would work with some of our existing components that I wasn’t willing to paint/trade out/get rid of, I added them to the palette.

So there you see the bedding and the color of one of the bedroom dressers (the one I’m not willing to paint over because I love the color I chose for it a couple of years ago so damn much); our living room sofa color and a swatch of that rug; the redone dresser going in the office; the shower curtain; and the new rug for the reading room. Our house gets a lot of natural light, and there’s lots of white trim and white accessories (bookcase, eventual dining room chairs, eventual bed, blinds and bedroom shades) that will keep things from looking too heavy.

So what do you think? Does this work together as well as I think it does? Too oppressive? Just right?

Friday Five: The No-Bummer Edition

I’ve been in the crappiest mood for two solid weeks. I had nothing really to point to as its cause, which made the mood even worse because I hated myself for being hateful. I would just lay around the house staring at crooked walls and paint marks on the ceiling and crabbing at Mister Mister.

Then, I talked to some friends yesterday and let it all out. They gently remarked that I seem to have a lot of things going on right now: We just bought a house and moved into it, and have been dealing with a lot of repairs; my dad got remarried last weekend; and I’m meeting my birth mother — for the first time ever — this weekend. So they suggested that perhaps the mood had a reason. And just knowing that has made things so much better.

Of course, I do still feel fat and stupid with dumb hair and a weird face. So I spent $200 on a new outfit, and spent some time looking through my pins for my five favorite finds this week. This is a kick off to my new series: Friday Five. Yes, I thought of that all by myself. Aren’t I clever?

Note: These are not necessarily five new things. Often, I’ll find old-ass images that are part of a post on a topic that has something to do with something in the photo. And I’ll pin it. I’m too lazy to comb through and see what’s truly new to the Web this week, so instead, this will just be my favorite finds from the week. Get it? Got it? Good.

1. This Lonny magazine shoot of Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech.

An American human-rights specialist settles in Morocco and builds a home called Peacock Pavilions on an eight-and-a-half-acre olive grove. This is the voice behind the blog My Marrakesh, so you pretty much know it’s got to be good. I love the colors, the distinct conversation areas, the casual vibe and the mix of styles.

(via Lonny Magazine, photos by Patrick Cline, art direction by Michelle Adams)

2. The styling prowess of James Leland Day.

Here’s how this happened: I was reading an article on Houzz about creating a gallery wall, and a commenter posted this image above. I immediately fell in love with it because it has all my favorite stuff: eclectic style, dark moody wall, interestingly arranged art, unique accessories. I used TinEye to do a reverse image search and landed upon the earliest found instance of this photo’s online presence: a 2010 post on Desire to Inspire about James Leland Day’s work. Hop over to his site for more awesomeness — I’m an especial fan of the New England series.

(via Desire to Inspire, styling by James Leland Day)

3. This entryway from the home of Emma of The Marion House Book.

I’ve never lived somewhere with a proper entryway. OK, lie: not since I left my childhood home. Our current house also has no real entryway. So we make do. And then I see stuff like this, and it makes me pee my pants. I love The Marion House Book anyway, but look at this kilim rug, and that mirror, and those branches, and that stained glass transom, and that little basket perched so casually on the right… what is that, a radiator? And it makes me instantly jealous that we don’t have an entryway. Or stairs.

(photo by The Marion House Book)

4. The bedroom in this house on Ibiza, Spain.

You know how it goes: You wake up at 10-ish, hair perfectly messed up, in a crisp white menswear button-down, fresh makeup from yesterday still gracing your face. You stretch, roll out of bed, and open the huge, shuttered French doors that lead from your spotlessly rumpled bedroom onto your waterfront porch. You also mysteriously have a warm cup of cappucino in your hand. Isn’t that how everybody’s morning goes? Well… it should, anyway.

(via The Style Files, photo by Jordi Canosa, styling by Daniela Cavestany)

5. The photography of leeming+paterson.

The Galloway Hills, Scotland  husband-and-wife photography team of Ted Leeming and Morag Paterson have this whole series of abstract landscape photography named Impressions. Yeah: photography. This print above (Trees in the Mist) is bananas. BUH-NANAS.  They have some more traditional work, too. I’ve got to get them into my life.

(photo by leeming+paterson)

Whew. I already feel better — you?

The Bedroom Paint Color Verdict

After narrowing down our paint color options for the bedroom, I got a bunch of samples from the hardware store and set about painting random swatches all over the place. Mister Mister complained (since there are now also swatches in the living room, family room, and bathroom), but he had to hush up. I told him it was the only way to go. I’m glad we did, because even though Benjamin Moore has a great Color Viewer online, I’ve found that its hues and saturation are less-than-precise. It is, after all, something you’re viewing on a computer screen.

Swatches, top from left to right: Galapagos Turqouise, Marine Blue, Newburg Green. Bottom: Pacific Sea Teal. Paint chips, from left to right: Dragon’s Breath, Teal. 

I was almost positive we were going to go with the Newburg Green. Imagine my surprise when we ended up falling for a completely different color.

Marine Blue was the winner  by and far. At first, it went on awfully bright, but then it dried to this nice deep … well, marine blue color. Even John loved it. Most of the time we spend in that room, is in incandescent lighting, and it’s even deeper in that environment. These pictures were taken in the early morning sunlight filtered through white roman shades.

The Newburg Green was just a bit too gray, what with the other gray in the room.

Though I do think it has a future in our office. You’ll see with our color choices that I’m trying to keep the house’s palette to a blue-green-gray kinda thing.

What do you think — is Marine Blue the right choice? Or will we really regret it when it’s slathered all over our walls? Will we feel like fish in an aquarium — and not in a good way?

Kind of Blue Bedrooms

Everybody — meaning Mister Mister and my pops — thinks I’m crazy for wanting to paint the interior of our house. But my reasoning goes like so:

1. Every room is this weird decorators beige that drives me nuts

2. The remodelers did a supremely crappy job at painting and I can’t stand looking at their one-coat wonder and awful edging jobs any longer

I promised Mister Mister I would start out slow, but, pssh. Kind of impossible. But for kicks, I’ll try to at least post one room at a time.

For the bedroom, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect, exotic, deep blue green cocoon color available. It’s tough — so many are too purply, too green, too navy, too dusty, too gray, too bright. But I think I’ve landed on a handful of options. I’m partial to Benjamin Moore’s quality and color selection, but first thing’s first: Taping up the paint chips, living with them for a few days until it’s narrowed down, and painting some small swatches with sample paint. Oh — and asking Mister Mister for his opinion.

First, we have the existing parameters to work with: Gray bedding, gray area rug, white roman shades and trim, dark wood floors, a green dresser that no way am I repainting because I love her, a maple dresser that I could paint or stain, and a turquoise night stand that, while I love, I could totally repaint.

So first, in the Benjamin Moore camp, we have:

Benjamin Moore North Sea Green 2053-30 (from Adore magazine via decorpad)

I love the way this reads as the perfect combo of blue/gray/green

Benjamin Moore Marine Blue 2059-10 (via Restyling Home by Kelly)

It reads kinda navy-ish on the BM site, but here it just looks rich and supple. Only the slightest hint of green and would help the existing furniture pop.

Benjamin Moore Newburg Green HC-158 (from West Elm via Apartment Therapy)

I really think this might be The One, even without slapping it up on the wall. Almost every room I’ve saved over the past year, that I’ve really, really been drawn to, has apparently had Newburg Green on the walls. Sometimes blue, sometimes green, sometimes gray. Perfect mixes of each and it looks so good with pretty much everything.

Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor CSP-720 (Design Crisis)

This is lovely, as well — less greenish than the other options, but very rich.

There are a few Ralph Lauren colors that have also drawn me in, but I don’t know much about their paint.

Ralph Lauren Reflecting Pool RLVM271 (Russet Street Reno)

Ralph Lauren Canyon Blue RLVM281 (Fashion Personal Notes)

This is slightly duskier and more blue-gray than the other options.

Ralph Lauren Harbour RLTH229 (via Ralph Lauren)

I”ll admit that I’m not sure that Harbour is the color in the above photo, but I’m fairly certain it is. Anybody more certain than me?

And finally, a Sherwin Williams paint — just because.

Sherwin Williams Bosporus SW6503 (Design with Chon)

Growing up, I thought the single best representation of how boring adults are, was my parents repainting their bedroom. They were painting it white, and had a million samples that looked identical. The finish was important to them, too — matte? Eggshell? 

Now, I’m that adult. Every blue looks the same — BUT IT’S NOT.

My, how things change.

Before and After: A Table (Finally) For Our Coffee

Over a year ago, I took a trip out to Mount Dora to visit the renowned Renninger’s Flea Market. It was pretty typical of these types of overblown things — lots of grimy tables full of rows and rows of salvaged and trash-picked junk that’s priced way too high for sensible matters, a bunch of booth featuring dollar-store-items, a few reasonably priced gold mines, and a really insane and ridiculous antique mall. It was a fun trip, and we did score some awesome items — including a good start to my wedding centerpiece collection.

I was also on the hunt for a proper coffee table. We had been using 3 IKEA Lack side tables, previously purchased secondhand off Craigslist, which were ultra convenient because you could pull one close to you but not the others, move them around easily for working out in the living room, scoot one over to the side of the sofa to hold a laptop, etc. But they weren’t exactly lookers.

Well, as luck would have it, I finally found us a kicker of a coffee table on my final pass through the flea market. It was only 20 bucks and had some sweet mid-C lines with a kind of weird and heavy-as-hell composite top. At first I figured the top would be kitschy. The wood frame definitely needed a little refinishing, but nothing too bad. I was so excited about my $20 find.

And then it sat in our garage until I finally did something with it two weeks before we were scheduled to move into our new house.

I abandoned the heavy, weird top and opted for a nice piece of glass, instead. So here she is: Carla, before.

And Carla, in all of her “after” glory.

I went for my typical, super-simple mid-C refinishing technique, same as our TV stand/credenza: Sand off the old finish and treat with 3 coats of Danish Oil in dark walnut. I used finishing wax on the credenza, but haven’t been super happy with how it’s worn, so I used water-based poly as a sealer instead — 2 coats instead of the recommended 3, just because I got lazy, and we had to move and all.

Oh, and bee-tee-double-u, my $10 estate sale chair.

I’m super happy with Carla, and I think she really likes it here, too. Have you tackled any long-overdue projects lately?

Sabado Gigante: Salvage, Shakespeare, and Sushi

Saturdays are my favorite day. While Sunday is often a favorite due to its slowed-down nature and family-friendly features, I find that between grocery days and weekly cleaning and laundry — not to mention mentally preparing for Monday — Saturday is really the clear winner in both relaxation and fun-finding. Plus, more stuff’s open. Case closed.

This Saturday was a doozy — some firsts, some repeats, and the first time in months that I’ve spent with MOH Ginger. Miss Smarty-Pants just finished up finals and doesn’t have another class until the end of June, so it was time for her to come down, see the new digs, and accompany me on some shopping jaunts.

But first, Mister Mister and I both got up at the butt crack of day to walk not only Rosie, but Zoe, my dad’s dog, who’s staying with us for the weekend. Mister Mister kindly offered to pick us up some breakfast at our favorite, St. Pete Bagel Company. I couldn’t resist requesting a maple bacon doughnut from their new line of doughnut offers — and while it may not look like much here, oh my, was it glorious.

After some cuddling and what could be called a nap, I had to take a trip to the dentist to have two cavities filled (ugh, but at least I’m done for a while). And then, MOH Ginger and I skipped down to Sarasota to visit the amazing Sarasota Architectural Salvage. With a front yard, a side yard, and plentiful indoor storage, this place wowed the socks off of me. I had pretty high expectations, and it surpassed them. I was so busy ooh’ing and aah’ing over everything that I only managed to shoot a few outside photos before being overtaken with bliss inside.

Bird baths, wrought iron gates, yard art, fountains, ceiling tiles, metal light letters, hooks, hardware, salvaged furniture pieces, salvaged ship parts, antique art, doors, windows, floor planks from old high schools — I mean, this place totally had it all. We scored some random items (I and one of the excellent staff guys had to talk MOH Ginger into buying an art guitar made of old car parts — fantastic) after two solid hours in the shop. Then we headed to Shakespeare’s Pub, where Ginger had experienced an apparently orgasmic brie-and-caramelized-onion sandwich a few years back. And while they couldn’t manage to get her order right — twice — the food was pretty solid, and we were sated.

Then, it was a stop to one hardware store for some grout removal tools (update to come) and another for some painting supplies (update to come), before going home, washing my feet (seriously, did I tramp through mud for three weeks? I looked like a homeless coal miner’s kid), ordering sushi, and drifting off to sleep at 11. Which is the only part about Saturday that truly pisses me off: I simply cannot stay awake long enough to truly maximize its basically responsibility-free gloriousness.

But first, some photographic evidence of the day’s loot.

These great tiles were $4 each and, to me, were vaguely ’80s, maybe indie-record-cover-ish. Mister Mister didn’t get it, but I can totally see lining three of these up against a wall, perched atop a dresser. Styling.

I just… love birds. We need a nice landing strip by our entry, so I’m imagining screwing this up on the wall next to the front door and sitting our keys and whatnot in it. Secret #1: It didn’t have a price, and while the staff guy thought it was supposed to be $19, he gave it to me for $6. Secret #2: I would have paid $19.

I love this little guy. I have no idea why. He looks so peaceful, and possibly napping. Also, our floor is apparently really dirty, so, sorry. Also, we really need to touch up our trim. Damn sloppy remodelers.

And yeah, just a cast iron hook. They had so many amazing ones. I opted for simplicity, for hanging keys and probably the dog’s leash by the back door.

As for the paint supplies, they involve a new furniture project based off a $45 Craigslist find picked up on Friday night.

Before you cry “wood painting foul,” hear this: It’s veneer — wood veneer, but still — and not in the most awesome shape, and nowhere near thick enough to adequately sand down to properly refinish. Also, it’s going in the office, where it will accompany two existing wood pieces. Just… too much wood for a room with just three pieces of furniture.

What are we doing with this? Hint:

Man… what a Saturday.

Now, to mentally prepare for a four-day worktrip to Vegas next week.

Duck, Duck, Ibis

This morning, as I fumbled through my daily morning coffee routine, I glanced out the window, and what did I see, but a family of geese ibises eating… something off our back lawn.

I unceremoniously woke up Mister Mister by yanking open our bedroom shade and declaring, “Look! Look!” A little more than startled, he was. “Do we need to worry?!” he asked. Fair question, since nearly everything else I’ve pointed out this week has been a matter of national terror in my eyes.

But no, I just found it to be pretty quaint and picturesque.

I spent a few minutes snapping some photos, careful not to get too close because I’ve heard some scary stories about geese (when I thought they were geese, before Mister Mister schooled me with Wikipedia). I only let the dog out for a peek once they started clearing over to the next yard.

Mister Mister said this guy in the middle looks like the camp counselor, rounding up all the kids.

I’m sure that this is something totally unwanted, and that people spend lots of money and effort trying to keep such birds out of their back yard. But just for today… I really liked it.

Let me have my fantasy.

Also, I think we need to buy a bird bath.

Off the Wall: Hanging Out with Art

“We’ve got to get some stuff up on these walls,” Mister Mister mused the other day. Indeed — but now that the house is ours, all ours, I’m a little terrified of the blank canvas that’s presenting itself to us. I don’t want to just start sticking stuff up willy-nilly, especially because “repainting the newly painted interior,” by necessity, is falling near the bottom of my “to-do” list. And somehow, my old standard practice of printing stuff off the Internet and sticking it in a thrift store frame, while still sound, is losing its luster in the adult world of homeownership.

So I’ve become a little more than obsessed with saving random art happenings for purchase. It might be worth instituting a “piece per month” kind of rule until we have things where we want them. Working with what we already have, also, of course.

For one, I’ve become pretty fond of geographically significant pieces. It’s no longer fun for me to just stick pretty things up for admiration. Lately, I feel like they need to mean something. Like photographer Kim Baker’s shots of Oklahoma. Good gosh, I used to want to get out of that state so badly I could feel my skin crawl. Now, when I drive through a sparse stretch at night with Bon Iver or some such playing, I start to miss the ice storms and the prairies.

Redbud – “at Red Rock Canyon State Park, in an area formed from an Ice Age stream that once flowed through the canyon”

By Kim Baker

Or Tim Bailey’s Route 66 shot

“Daylight Donuts” by Tim Bailey

Seeing how I did have a stint in Chitown — not to mention claiming it as my “heart hometown” during all those teenaged years of hating Tulsa — we couldn’t do without some Windy City art.

“Chicago” by Todd Stewart

City of Chicago Vintage Style Map Poster by Vassi Slavova

 And, of course, we couldn’t go without repping Mister Mister’s old stomping grounds.

NYC Boroughs Vintage Style Map Poster by Vassi Slavova

I’m a fan of the initial art, too, which is probably best intended to teach the alphabet to children, but which suits my fancy to personalize everything in our wake.

Letterpress “J is for jellyfish“/”C is for coral” by Nik Bresnick

 Naturally, Rosie totally needs her own piece.

“Fetch” by Roll & Tumble Press

And I don’t know… I just really like this dapper guy.

 “Mr. Fox” by Melissa Nucera

Music plays a huge part in our lives, so we need some adornments along those lines.

The Beatles art print concert poster by Patrick Concepcion

Pearl Jam at Compact Disc World, 1991″ by Swissted

The Smiths “Take Me Out Tonight” by Lover’s Rock Shop

“Sound III” by Chloe & Coda

And then there’s just a random assortment that suits my fancy.

“Night House” by Amy of Cake With Giants

“La Lune” by Double Merrick with Keep Calm Press

“PFA 007 San Antonio, TX” aerial photography by Brent Yaggi and Sarah Hicks

“The Forest Scene Five” by Tina Crespo

So, what do you think our first art purchase for the house should be? I’m leaning toward something from Kim Baker, but that’s just how selfish I am.

Run across anything else we might like? What art tickles your fancy?