Who Needs The Gym When You Can Paint

I admit I haven’t been to the gym since November, and I just finished eating girl scout cookies. Judge away. So while I’ve been eating cookies and not exercising, I have been painting and I entirely forgot just how much exercise painting is. Or maybe it’s not and I’m that out of shape, but I felt it in my arms, shoulders, and abs. That said, I really should get back to the gym…juuuusstt after I finish this next cookie.

So while I wipe the crumbs off my keyboard let me tell you about this whole painting thing. Despite my sarcastic very serious blog post here on choosing a paint color, I have to say that once we chose the living room color the rest of the paint pallet for the house came together easily. I know the big thing in design are either these bright funky colors and patterns or very cottage like. I had to put aside all these design ideas all over blogs, tv, etc. and decide what I liked. What we liked. It came down to this: We both like color, but we both like muted color. The colors that we can easily change the decor and not have to repaint. The colors that will enhance the beautiful wood work and custom features in the house instead of compete with it. We also wanted to really stick to as few colors as possible. So our paint pallet for the house ended up being this:

DSC_2291All of the colors we chose were Sherwin-Williams. It’s our preference paint first because it’s good, but as mentioned a long time ago in a full disclosure we have access to it at an affordable price because of the industry my husband is in. Honestly though, I would likely buy it anyway even if we didn’t. I think everyone just has the paint they are comfortable with and for us it’s Sherwin-Williams.  I also really love that the Promar-200 (contractor paint) is VOC free. It makes painting in the winter tolerable and dare I say, pleasurable?

The first area of painting was our living room, which is Dover White (SW 6385). It’s a white that is warm with slightly yellow undertones but barely so. We chose it because we decided to have a nice range of cool and warm colors throughout the house to keep it balanced. This color will also go throughout the entire open kitchen area once we renovate the original house, and is also in our staircase area primarily. It’s the “overall” color of the house I guess you could say.

DSC_2306As with most paint colors, it changes dependent on light and the area it’s in. The staircase showcases this well. On the underside it looks like a warm white, but on the flat wall without the direct light it looks more yellow. DSC_2036-01In the room just to the left of this staircase we decided to go with Realist Beige (SW 6078). It’s a beautiful warm light brown. I had always been against any color that said “beige” in it, but I’m really happy with this. Truth be told, if I hadn’t been trying to match the leftover Edgecomb Gray we had from a previous paint project (Benjamin Moore color, color matched to Behr paint) I wouldn’t have chosen it simply because I wouldn’t have been able to picture it on a wall and I would have had trouble with the name beige. Consider me a convert I guess because this color is truly beautiful on the wall.

DSC_2305The photo below shows the slight contrast between the Edgecomb Gray in the closet, and the Realist Beige on the walls. In natural light it’s almost a light brown with a grayish undertone but still warm, but when the artificial light hits it (like the photo of the swatch above) it becomes a beautifully warm brown. Either way it’s a really pretty satisfying color and most definitely the dark horse.

DSC_2103-01In the upstairs bedrooms we decided to go with cool tones, using a light gray for the master bedroom called Eider White (SW 7014). It’s similar to the Reflection color we used last year in the original part of the house right before our appraisal, but it’s a warmer gray. I always think of gray as being slightly cool no matter what but I guess it’s the warmer of the non-beige gray tones {I feel like I’m making no sense, but hopefully you get what I mean}.  We originally were going to stick with Reflection but I decided I wanted a gray that was a little less blue so Eider White it was. I have yet to paint the master bedroom, but on the swatch and in the can it looks like the perfect gray. Cross your fingers!

DSC_2303For the last two areas of the addition we decided to use the same color, called Sea Salt (SW 6204). Andy mentioned wanting to do an accent color on the back wall of our tall staircase to give it a little dimension but we didn’t want something bold. As well, I really wanted a soft calming color in the other upstairs bedroom which will be the guest bedroom for now but eventually a nursery. We both thought it would work well to have these two areas be the same color and to help keep the two areas of the house cohesive and tied together.

DSC_2304This is without a doubt my favorite color of the bunch. I had been eying it for months and kept coming back to it. I showed my Mom and she laughed because it is apparently the same color she painted the downstairs of her house. This color has the most change between natural and artificial light going from an almost steely gray with very slight green undertones to a warmish blue-green (like the photos below). That description does it no justice but I highly recommend it. It’s gorgeous.

DSC_2312DSC_2308Overall we’re happy, but I’m also relieved I have a general paint pallet to go off of when we re-do the original house which takes some stress off. We may not use the exact colors here (except in the kitchen/open area which will be Dover White) but they will either be from the same pallets or complementary pallets.

As far as the addition goes here are the next steps:

  • Paint the master bedroom
  • Paint a second coat in the upstairs and downstairs bedrooms
  • Paint the stairwell
  • Finish the electrical hookups in the entire addition
  • Lay the flooring
  • Build the staircase including treads, posts, balusters, etc.
  • Sand the beams in the upstairs bedrooms
  • Seal the beams (we’re not painting or staining)
  • Trim the doors, windows and flooring out

Now, where are those cookies?



P.S. I have a Public Service Announcement: Eat the lemonade Girl Scout cookies you haven’t. If you’re as lemon flavor obsessed as I am, including fake lemon flavor (it’s a guilty pleasure), you will not regret it.

A Paint Color Choice Method Which Is Going to Sweep the Nation Like Those Shamwow Things Which, By The Way, Are Actually Awesome.

I have a very distinct method of choosing paint colors. It’s very effective and may sweep the nation as the best way to choose a paint. Consider yourself lucky to have a sneak peek of such an innovative method. Please note this method should be accomplished with good lighting, but only at the time of day in which said good lighting is quickly fading. Also, wear sweatpants and unwashed hair in a messy bun on the side of your head that’s falling. Any wispy hair sticking straight out is a bonus. If you have short hair it must be plastered sideways to your head in a crazy cowlick like you just woke up after sleeping on the side of your face all night smushed into the pillow at an awkward angle. It’s critical to the process.

Step one:

Gather a ridiculous amount of paint samples and then choose a handful you think might work with your style. In our case this meant a color which would work with a wide variety of different kinds of wood all within what will be open view of each other.

DSC_1635-01Step two:

Walk around your house what feels like fifty times comparing each potential sample to every kind of wood that is currently in the house which will be in view of said paint color. Then, take a piece of flooring for your living room and put all the paint samples on said piece of wood.

DSC_1649-01Step three:

With great attention and conviction, analyze the colors in the flooring against the paint samples and start placing samples to the side that you know just won’t work. Don’t throw them away though, because they might work and you might change your mind and you just don’t know. Take a deep breath.

Step four:

Find more paint samples you forgot about and even though you really hadn’t thought of going in the direction of a cooler color, and you’re concerned about being jammed into a corner style wise by having a punchy color on the wall, put those samples up anyway.

DSC_1651-01Step five:

Step back, cringe at the new samples, and immediately remove them from the running. These ones go in the recycling. Oh wait, no, take them back out, you might want to use those colors in another room. Phew! That was close.

Step six:

Take your remaining colors and place them on your plank of wood and then walk around your room to all the different kinds of lighting because you refuse to spend any money on an actual paint sample you could paint on each wall and watch how the color changes throughout the day.

DSC_1654-01Step seven:

Start weaning down your samples again after eying every possible lighting scenario you can find. Before you start discarding though, make sure to walk around a minimum of twenty five more times to compare them to every thing that is important the paint goes with. Make sure to throw the paint samples you don’t want in the recycling. For real this time. Except don’t take it out yet. Just in case.

DSC_1670-01Step eight:

Narrow it down to two and then show your significant other so they can help you pick the color. No significant other? Just have your dog nose one. Or cat paw one. Or rip them into tiny shreds and then put them in a mug and toss it around and the first color you pick out is the color you’ll be painting. Of course you’ll likely change your mind anyway so this is a totally worthless step.

DSC_1681-01Step where the heck are we at now?

You’ve picked your final color. Phew! It’s about time. Hang this color up on your board until you’re ready to buy paint.  (Also, make sure your photo doesn’t really show the color properly, because in person it’s actually a lot creamier and yellow then in the photo below). Now go take a shower and fix that crazy hair you stinky minx.

DSC_1685-01Step oh dear goodness gracious just buy the paint already….

But not before you change your mind – again! The night before you go buy paint for your living room, which will also be the color to your open concept kitchen area, have a conversation with your significant other which results in it turning out they don’t really like the color anyway and you realizing it’s way too yellow and you’re really more of a neutrals person who likes to have color with accessories. Take your paint sample book from your favorite paint company and give it to your significant other and tell them to pair it down to a few colors they think would work. They will then hand you a bar of colors and tell you they would like if it could be one from that bar. You immediately zone in on one color. Oh wait, nope, the other one. Oh but look at that one. Choose a color from the bar of swatches in approximately two minutes. Google photos of the final color you like and realize it’s perfect. Or you know, it will do and you’ll like it. Probably. Good enough.

Your choice for this round?

doverwhiteStep congratulations you’ve actually finished picking your color now put your samples away and stop looking at them, enough is enough.

Do not go to the store to order your paint. Call it in. This way, it’s all mixed up and you can’t change your mind once you get there and see all of the other potential colors. By this point you’re ready just to have the paint anyway and you’re over picking colors.

You’re done!

You’ve finally picked your color, you’ve picked up your paint, and now it’s just time to get those brushes stroking and those rollers rolling. Spread this method, you are sure to be a hit among your DIY friends. They will have no idea how you became so efficient and precise in your color choosing ways.



Awww Sheet Yeah!

Yay for a new blog design! It was time to make a change up in here that felt both warm and fun. Heads up our house style will likely not reflect this same style overall. The house is a different beast since we have to blend a more traditional style (Andy) with a more modern farmhouse style (me). It’s all going to be a mishmash up in this maison. The blog, and maybe my office, are solely my design choice – holla. New blog background compliments of designer Brandi Galuzzi, it’s a free design I found. Go check her site out!

In case you hadn’t heard from every news station in the United States, we’re currently getting walloped with a nor’easter. In other words – we’re having a snow storm that might deposit anywhere from one to three feet. In other words, to someone born and raised in New England, it’s just a good old snow storm. So as the polar bears are taking over while the hot cocoa is being rationed and the snow is whipping and raging outside, lets discuss what’s been going on IN our home. It’s been pretty epic.

When I last left you, we were finishing up insulation and that’s about where we stood for a little bit. UNTIL THIS HAPPENED.

DSC_1451-01So much drywall, and this wasn’t all of it. Before we could drywall though, I had to finish sanding the ends of the beams to take the surface mildew off as noted in this post.  Sanding wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, but that’s because I had our handy dandy Porter Cable sander with 100 grit paper to help me out.

PorterCableSanderIt amazed me how much of a difference there was before and after!

DSC_1454-01DSC_1452-01Our drywall came on Friday even though we expected it on Saturday. They apparently thought it was going to a different house. In a different town. A good 30 minutes from our house. Whoops. So long story short, Andy got the call and came home to meet them here. When I got home from work on Friday night to a downstairs and upstairs full of drywall it’s safe to say I was a little shocked but totally excited.

Saturday started early and then this happened. Are you ready?

Are you really even ready?

Let’s recap that at one point in time the place that is now our living room was an ugly porch with a toilet on it, firewood, and a bunch of other crap. Oh dear goodness. This is hard to even wrap my head around.

House-Set-II-9.23.2007-040Thankfully that porch is long gone, an addition is in it’s place and we’re both excited it’s no longer framing and insulation only! When you see the photo below really take in that my husband built this entire thing with his two hands, since June 2012, and there’s another three brand new rooms to the side and above this one. I married a good one.

DSC_1511-01Our neighbor John had been waiting for us to start drywalling and came over to help out. He had previously helped with the trusses too. He absolutely loves dry-walling and he is good at it. I mean really good! While he ran out, I learned how to use, and manned, the drywall screw gun to help the guys anchor the drywall in place. Andy would then take over and complete it, since I was a little slow. Once John came back the guys had a rhythm and I stayed out of the way! The living room was first on this drywall adventure.

Let me break in here for a minute to say that the following conversation just took place.

Me: “What’s the screw gun called for the drywall?”

Andy: *raises eyebrows* It’s a screw gun…for drywall. It’s called a drywall screw gun.

Me: “Oh, really? I didn’t know if there was a fancy name for it. Good, that’s what I had it called.”

(Andy looked over my shoulder as I was writing this and laughed. I told him to “go awwayy!” , laughed, and covered the screen.)

DSC_1514-01I mostly took photos of the process and did other things while the guys worked. Casey made sure to razz me and photo-bomb as he often does. So as I do, I will ALWAYS post them to the internet. You’re welcome, Casey.

DSC_1520-01Let’s go to the photos of the transformation, because there are a lot of photos to get through!

DSC_1540-01 DSC_1569-01 DSC_1570-01 DSC_1574-01I knew drywall would make a huge difference, but I couldn’t believe just how much of a difference it made until I saw it go up.

DSC_1600-01So different, right?! It’s hard to believe this was ever a porch.

You know what’s also hard to believe? The old living room (now bedroom) was once a dark brown panel cave and is now a bright bedroom. It’s such a better use of the space. As a reminder, we didn’t drywall over the paneling. We ripped every single piece of it out and gutted the room to the studs before re-framing for the new windows and insulating the exterior walls. We did drywall over the ceiling beams because they are supporting the second floor and we didn’t want them exposed. This room isn’t the showpiece of the house since it was all wonky from the original construction, but it is already so much nicer and cozy.

DSC_0094DSC_1606-01 DSC_1607-01 DSC_1608-01With the lower two rooms drywalled, John and Andy worked the rest of the week taping and mudding. John came over in the evenings and was here early on the mornings he wasn’t working. There may have been one morning I was getting ready for work and Casey let him in. I may have been in my pants and bra and I grabbed my shirt and dodged into the office so I could be decent. Close call, and funny, for sure.

DSC_1616-01 DSC_1620-01So that completes where we are at with the downstairs. Both rooms have had all their taping and mudding complete and now it’s time to sand, prime and paint. PAINT! Colors are not chosen yet, but different ideas, as well as lighting fixtures, are being thrown around. It’s like a paint chip rave party up in here.

Finally, the guys almost have the upstairs complete too but since this post is already so long I’m going to save that for another post! My brain is currently shutting down due to too many computer waves infiltrating it all day. Also, it’s time to let the dogs out.

Let’s hope I don’t lose them to the abominable snowman and polar bears that are surrounding our property. It’s insane out there.



Wednesday Weekly Renovation Update: From Concept To Reality

I have lots of photos to show, some huge progress, and a lot of blurry boys in said photos since I had to set the camera up on a tripod with a slow shutter speed to get good exposure of the rooms. Let’s just pretend the boys are blurry because they were working so fast it was hard to catch.

Saturday morning started like most Saturday mornings around here—Winnie standing in my face whining for me to let her out, and then when I say “off”, Rosie jumps off the bed to run to the door and Winnie starts licking my face as if to say, “Human is awake! Human is awake! I have to pee. Oh I have to pee. Let me out. Let me out. Feed me. Human is awake! I love you human! Stick. Ball. Human!”

So like any other Saturday morning, I drag out of bed and let them outside, proceed to fill their bowls with kibble and fall back into bed, grasping for just a few more hours of sleep. Most mornings this is the start of the “get ready for work” routine, but on this Saturday morning I fall back into bed.

After listening to the jingle of their collars hitting their metal bowls, I hear the ominous clicking of nails on the floor and thumping of tails against the wall. With one big *womp* onto the bed, I am promptly jumped on by a dog who wishes to thank me for her morning breakfast by holding a ball in her mouth and pressing her forehead into mine lovingly while making snorting noises. The other dog jumps on the bed and proceeds to roll onto her back squirming. Sleep is not happening, but it’s too cute to stop. Finally everyone settles down, I go back to bed and what feels like 20 minutes later Andy rolls over and says, “ready to get going Beatrice?”

And so begins my day.

I ask him what we’re doing today and he tiredly mumbles “re-framing the stairs” as he drinks in his hot coffee and starts putting on his work gear, which is almost always some form of Carhartt overalls. I’m starting to get nervous about what the stairs will look like, but I trust his judgement to make them fit this house the best they can, it is after all a weird spot.

At this point I have to laugh at how serious and focused on things I get sometimes when Winnie jumps on the bed one more time and stares at me and drops the ball and smiles. Rosie smiles at me too. It looked a little something like this. Same faces, different scenario. I thank them and bury my face into them.

I hear one more time, “time to get up Beatrice!” and I know it’s time to officially start the day. Seriously this time.

I hear the banging of the hammer, the radio turned on and there’s no going back. My day has begun. There’s already debris at the bottom of the stairs.

By the time I’ve thrown my sweatshirt and jeans on to help pull nails, which is pretty much my official job of this renovation, part of the landing has already been removed. We’re making switchback stairs, so this whole section of the ceiling has to be taken down and re-framed.

The dogs run upstairs to say hello to Andy, but when Winnie realizes the top tread is missing she starts whining because she doesn’t know how to get back down the stairs. Rosie jumps right over it, but Winnie is a little uncertain about things. Andy does the only thing a good Dad would do, and picks her up and carries her back down the stairs with her acting like a big baby the entire time, and us laughing.

With the dog rescue complete, it was time for Andy to smash out those timbers.

Casey comes home from an unsuccessful first day of deer hunting for a break and Andy puts him right to work on helping take the beams down. His buddy Chris is at the house too and the dogs go nuts over him. We pretty much just all start making fun of each other and laughing.

While taking the posts down it causes cracks in the drywall, just this side of the addition. I hear “we might as well take it all down” and that was that. I’m taking a way to long video of the removal process and eventually Andy tells Casey, whom I’ve handed it off to, to stop the video. He’s trying to figure something out and having the video on him is distracting. I stop while he figures it out and start it back up again. I know he loves looking back on these things, so I make sure to document them in multiple ways.

I’m pretty relieved as the ugly thick wood “trim” (timbers) ,which had been up for the last five years, come down.Off came the boards to the wall to reveal…black paint. Black. Paint. I won’t even go there except to say it’s never seeing the light of day in this house again.

Taking this wall down has been my favorite part of the renovation to date. We were able to take out the grossly oversized massive humungous window as well as the original exterior door. To say I will miss them would be a blatant lie.

Before the door came out, they initially decided to take the drywall down between the two. When Andy was banging on the drywall though to take it out, without disturbing the electrical, an arch shot out of the front of the wall from the switch. I was in the room but I missed it, and Andy was on the opposite side of the wall. Casey and his friend yelled “WOAH WOAH” and explained what happened. We knew 100% the electrical wasn’t bad, so it only took a second to see what the issue was.

At some point in time, when the original boards were up (where the black meets the white) things could slip behind it. Apparently a penny fell behind it, wedged itself and as Andy banged on the wall behind the switch, it shifted the penny just enough to cause a connection. The odds were astronomical something like that would happen and it was crazy. This is why you need to be careful about exposed metals touching, especially something as conductive as copper. Poor old Abe suffered some serious flesh wounds.

I pried it out with a piece of wood (remember, metal and humans are both conductive), and they got back to taking the door off.

So close!

Bit by bit the wall slowly went from open concept to open reality. I was both excited and nervous. I remember how the house was, but I was seeing the house my children would remember and only know.  Sometimes the fact that only Andy and I really know what the “before” house looks like feels like a little secret for just the two of us, and I like it. It’s obviously something I’m sharing, and not a secret, but I like that the before house was our before kids house, and the new house will be the after kids house. No, I’m not pregnant, but when we do have kids, this is the house they will know.

Thar she blows! This angle is from the kitchen area. I really really love how open it is. Here are shots from a few more angles.

Between the two rooms being entirely torn apart, it was starting to look a little hairy in the house. I really loved it though.

The guy who built the original addition built things to last. The staircase landing was no different.  The photo below is Andy literally jumping on it and springing up and down like a trampoline. Then I got on it and tried. Then he did it again. He finally got it out, but wowza, that baby was in there.

Fast forward a little bit, and well into the evening, I grabbed a quick family picture while it was all still open. I swear Andy has a slight smirk on his face, but I was being a little “please please family photo please please please now please please now please.” So, you know, he obliged. Such a good guy and totally not because I furrowed my brow when he initially said he wanted to keep working.

Family photo over, Andy got back to framing up the landing. I’m not sure why the above photo looks like night, and the one below looks like day, because the family photo was taken just as the sun was setting. Weird.

Right before he framed up the new landing, the boys removed some of the old drywall from around the chimney. The people before us were apparently very patriotic. I laughed when I saw this simply because I had totally forgotten about it. When we moved in just over five years ago it was the main background behind an ugly hearth we took down. It had long been removed and put out of memory, so to see a bit of it again was a fun reminder of how far we’ve already come.

I was really looking forward to seeing the new stair layout. I have to admit they didn’t grow on me right away, but I’m also someone who new things need to grow on. Rarely will I proclaim I “love” something without time. Then again, it doesn’t take too much time. A few days later and I already love them and the new layout. It really opens everything up and will let so much more light in. With the new mid-way landing up for the switch back stairs, Andy hand cut (er, made, but with power tools) the douglas fir stringers.

Finally, the base to the treads went on, which right now are plywood but the plan is to use solid beech for the staircase. After a long long day of work, we cleaned up. I stood back and then ran up and down the stairs multiple times laughing. I can just picture our kids running up and down them someday.

One of the things we realized was how much space underneath of the stairs there is, and how in a house like this we really need to utilize every nook and cranny. I was trying to figure out if we should put drawers under there, or use it as a storage spot since we don’t have an attic. Then we thought about making the access from the left side, which will be in the lower bedroom. Then Andy came up with it – a dog kennel! It’s not set in stone, but we’re seriously debating doing a built in dog kennel large enough for both dogs. It will give them a nice place to get away, without us having a large crate out in the open and will be pretty cute built in. Down the line if we want to it would be super simple to change into a built in storage area. So far I’m loving the idea, but who knows where we’ll end.

For now, the open concept is finally an open reality. We still have a few more walls to take down but I think we’ll just finish what we started here first before moving on. You know, mostly at least. I just can’t believe Andy, with a little help from Casey, did all of that work in one day.

Who am I kidding, I’ve lived with him long enough to not be shocked by it. Even as I write this he’s working some more. A man building his family a home, is there anything more attractive? I think not.



Weekly Renovation Update: Haunted House

I have to admit that I’m having trouble writing this post for one reason and her name is Brandi Carlile. I really shouldn’t listen to her when I write because all I want to do is sing along, and then those words end up on the screen and get mixed in my head with the ones that I need to write. I get to see her tonight in concert, with momma bear, for my birthday. I’m rather excited to see her live. It will be my third time and she never gets old. So excuse me if this post is somewhat incoherent, it’s simply because I’m singing at the top of my lungs while writing.

Despite my singing being something to be saved for when I’m alone, I am happy to share progress on the house which by the way is missing a ceiling.


While we’re waiting for the final small six windows to come in for the addition, Andy started renovating the downstairs of the original addition, where the living room used to be located. In the photos I have the entire ceiling isn’t quite down yet, but it’s getting there!

For some reason these photos came out very creepy to me. It was dark out, so in order to get well exposed shots I had to set up my camera on a tripod with a remote shutter and one small light. I don’t know about you, but this is just eery.
Despite being a total creep fest and what looks like an abandoned building, I really wanted to be able to show you what the split level looks like at this point between upstairs and downstairs. I somehow managed to cram my camera and myself into the tight corner on the tiny staircase landing to get these.

I swear to God these are no squatters in the house.

While I love not having a ceiling, I definitely turned myself into an apparition while taking photos. I have to tell you something—ghosts freak me out. It turns out that when I accidentally ghost myself in a photo it still weirds me out, no lie.

This is what happens when 1.) You don’t realize you’re in  your long exposed shot and jump out of it and then 2.) think you can run through the photo and not get caught.

Thank God this house isn’t actually haunted. That would not be awesome. Ahg, I can’t even look at them without being spooked.

Needless to say, I don’t watch scary movies.