Adding a Little Fun

I love having a space that is playful and fun to decorate. Downstairs is subdued and sleek–sometimes you’re stuck being a grown up. Upstairs in the girls’ wing, we can take some chances. It’s a fun, vibrant space more fitting a pair of teenage girls.

Of course, we only have one girl at home at the moment, but we’re hoping Sweet Miss will be heading this way come summer. Maybe that’s why Baby Girl has had a little more say in the decisions we’ve been making lately. During Thanksgiving break Sweet Miss will get a chance to offer up some suggestions. We’re looking forward to our girl coming home on Wednesday.

So enough chit chat, let’s take a look  upstairs.

Baby Girl enlisted the help of a friend, and the two of them got busy.

The Mr helped them out with the high part, but they did the rest all by themselves. Snaps for take-charge, can-do girls.

Now you may be asking yourself why in the world we’d let Baby Girl paint a wall black.  Well, it’s not simply black paint; it’s chalkboard paint. Girls love to write notes, messages, flowers, hearts, poetry, music, and basically anything. This is a great space for them to be totally creative.

And remember the Magic Carpet? (Check out the whole story here.)

This wall totally plays off the black and bright vibe we’ve embraced in this area rug. The red bookcase totally pops against the black wall.

It’s amazing how much area the girls have to fill with their chalk drawings and sayings.

Little Buddy wanted to get into the act, too. He tried to eat the chalk while we were at church yesterday. Apparently, a bag full of chalk isn’t as tasty as other treats he’s found in sandwich bags.

Now that we’ve added a bold black wall, we have been trying to figure out what color to paint the rest of them. I’m pushing for subdued and Baby Girl is looking at a vibrant aqua. I guess we’ll let Sweet Miss be the tie breaker.

It’s nice to have the hangout room where we don’t have to be as serious and can take some chances. The chalkboard wall is an ever changing source of entertainment. Who knew I’d ever hear Drake and laugh rather than change the station? (He’s a rapper just in case you’re as totally uncool as I am.)

Have you taken any chances with decorating lately? Do you love or hate the chalkboard paint craze? Does your dog eat everything in sight?


Let’s Talk Color

After the painters finished outside, we had them give us a bid for inside. It’s time to get rid of the Miami Vice look in the great room with wall to wall white.

My color lady, Sweet Paige, gave us a book to look through with color schemes. We settled on golds and greens and grays and picked up some samples. They were all wrong; I guess that’s why you buy samples. We went back for more and this time ended up closer to the target.

The Mr painted every room in the old house at least twice, but this is different. That outer wall of windows is going to require hours of prep work. And the ceiling is 20 years old; it needs a refresher.

We want to make good choices and not have to go through all this again in just a few years. So I’ve been painting boards, and then painting more boards, and then repainting boards.

The joys of being indecisive.

Along with the sample boards, I’ve returned to my computer drawings. I remembered how “painting” the fireplace photo gave me a feel for what I liked and didn’t like in Fireplace Sizzle.

I started with the kitchen, since with the white cabinets and white counters any color would simply be an accent. So here’s what we have.

As you can see, there’s a whole lot of white going on. My first inclination was to try out the yellow we were leaning towards.

If the yellow has a touch of green, it starts looking really awful–especially at night when the the light fades. So while the yellow was a bust, I decided I liked the medium gray trim and light gray ceiling. Moving on, I decided to try a light gray since we’re having trouble embracing color.

Frankly, I find this rather awful. It looks so washed out and anemic. Instead of admitting failure, I decided to pump up the gray.

This is so much nicer. The cabinets are clearly outlined, and the gray matches the gleam of the appliances. But is it too cold or industrial? Maybe I should try something way out of our comfort zone. I could go with a purpley-blue to match the mountains in the distance.

That’s way too feminine. It’s a pretty color–just not us. I decided to go back and try something warm reminiscent of our old house.

This I like. It adds color and warmth without looking crazy bright. I could even wrap it around the rest of the kitchen area.

While all this swapping colors on the computer hasn’t brought us to a decision, it has narrowed down the search. I was quite surprised to see how much wall space there is in the kitchen after all. To be honest, the photo I was working from was taken from behind the bar, so you lose the impact of the lower cabinets. This whole space would look different grounded with another four feet of white, but there’s still a lot more wall area than I realized. Paint color is going to make a bigger impact even in this room filled with white cabinets.

My color lady was over yesterday to give hints and direction. She had some fabulous advice. Just paint the fireplace and live with the colors for awhile. It’s a small manageable area and won’t cost a lot in paint or effort to redo. Then if we hate what we’ve chosen, we can change our minds before committing to colors for vast ceilings and huge walls of windows.

Since my post about the fireplace, adding color, changing it up resulted in a plain, white fireplace three months later, we have a blank canvas to work from now.

I’m crossing my fingers that we can take that plunge. Our fireplace might end up something like this.

Have you had trouble committing to color? Do you embrace color or run from it? How do you make those hard decisions?

A Whole New Look

OK guys, I’ve been holding out on you. I mentioned we were going to paint the house about a month ago, and while my Facebook friends have been asking whether I would change the name of the blog, I haven’t mentioned a thing about it around here.

In the last year, we’ve learned that working with construction requires patience. We had a deal with the deck company and the siding company and we waited. We had a contract with the heating company, and we waited again for them to get started.

The only people who were really quick to come when we called were the plumbing guys. When we ran out of water, not once but twice this summer, they were here lickety-split. I guess when it’s an emergency, construction workers show up quick the rest of the time it’s more fluid.

So we chose our paint colors, had an agreement, and then waited around for the painters to show. We were in the midst of 80-plus days with no measurable precipitation. That’s basically unheard of around here. The weatherman said it was the driest spell since 1890. You can imagine we were getting a little anxious.

This is a big house, it hasn’t rained in forever, and it’s Seattle. We knew our luck would run out before too long.

Well, they did a walk through on the first Thursday in October, started the next day and worked till late Monday through Thursday. We were enjoying bright sunny days swathed in plastic.

I felt like a fish in a fish bowl. After they’d masked and sprayed the house, they started on the trim. This was just frightening. There are times I choose not to look.

They were so close to finishing when the rains came last Friday.

Leaving the house looking like this.

I’m not into the two-toned look. And while I really liked the new gray trim color, the blue looked so much brighter and added so much contrast. I started wondering if we’d made a mistake.

After a few soggy days, the weather cleared on Wednesday, and the painters came back to put all my worries to rest. I love it.

If you’ve ever been to Rome, you’ve seen the Victor Emmanuel monument–sometimes it’s referred to as the wedding cake. It’s this massive bright white monument in a city of  golden beige; it just doesn’t fit. I feel like we’ve turned our big, white house on the hill into something a little more subdued with an understated beauty.

This was one of my favorite pictures of our house I took last spring.

And here’s the new version.

While I miss the beautiful foxgloves, this goes so well with the fall backdrop.

When you move a little closer, you can see the outline of the decks and windows against the warm color of the house.

The painters didn’t paint the staircases and they could really use some freshening up–maybe that’s a project for the spring. All the drip lines are gone, and our house looks so well cared for.

We really do have some very unusual angles on this place.

And are surrounded by so much natural beauty.

It was the view that won me over to this place, but the house is really starting to grow on me.

This is home.

Have you painted your house lately? How do you decide on color? Do you go for wow or more subtle?

A Fresh Start

Ages ago I mentioned the girls were busy painting Sweet Miss’ room. I planned on showing it to you back in August, but if you’ve ever seen a teenage girls’ room, you probably know why I haven’t.

The piles of clothes and gobs of knick-knacks made me a little embarrassed to let the world see this room. Did I really want to admit it was allowed in our house?

There are certain things you argue about with your teenager. Sweet Miss is responsible, gets good grades, held a job this summer, runs with a nice group of kids and helps around the house. If being really messy is her only vice, I guess we can endure it.

But things they are a changing around here. Yesterday, the four of us moved Sweet Miss up to Western Washington University. We’re excited for her and this new adventure, but we already miss the joy and excitement she brings to our home.

That being said, her room is cleaner than I’ve ever seen it. I ran up some clothes she’d left behind and decided to do a little dusting and straightening. I even found birthday presents for Papa and me. This girl was planning ahead–thank you dear.

So here are the vibrant green walls the girls and the Mr painted over the summer.

The green looks really sharp next to the silver vanity and black-and-cream curtains.

The white wall was going to be a mural, but that never happened. Maybe over Christmas break she’ll be inspired. And the old comforter has to go. A duvet cover in black and white stripes or a sophisticated print with some green would complete that sleek look she’s going for. We want her room to look as welcoming as possible in order to entice her to visit often.

I love the way the emerald green sets off the white doors and trim work. It’s so fresh and clean looking. I’m surprised we have not one but two jewel-toned rooms for the girls .

The Mr and Baby Girl painted one accent wall in this intense purple on Christmas Eve as we were moving in.

These colors speak to their youth and vibrancy. Thinking about it, we have that lovely square of navy walls in our bedroom (check it out here). Maybe we aren’t as afraid of color as I think. Me and the Mr have been talking paint colors for the great room for the last few weeks. We are definitely leaning towards muted neutrals for the downstairs.

Sweet Miss has traded one small room for another, but this one she has to share. It’s pretty cozy.

Hope she’s settling in along with all those college freshman leaving home for the first time.

We love you Sweet Miss.

Have you painted any rooms with bright, intense color? Said any goodbyes recently? Do you love the way a new paint color gives a room a fresh start?

The Big Not So White House

I’ll give you three chances to guess what we’re up to.

  1. The Partridge Family was our favorite show growing up, and we’ve decided to paint the house to match their bus. Now that’s a big NO.
  2. The Mr’s favorite artist is Piet Mondrian, and he’s paying homage to him through this lovely abstract design. Uh, that’s so wrong in so many ways.
  3. We’ve opened up the side of the house to the girls and their friends so everyone can practice their tagging. We live in the middle of nowhere…come on.

OK, I’m sure you’ve already figured it out, but sometimes it’s fun to come up with fantastical ideas. We’re getting ready to paint this big, white house, and it’s not going to be white anymore.

We started off thinking we’d use 1 as the body and 2 as the trim.

But wow, that perfectly mimics the colors of our tile. We were totally dismayed. We don’t really like the tile.


So we’re going with 3, which is a touch darker and creamier, and 4, which steers clear of brown and taupe.

You may ask why we decided to paint, and we do have some good reasons. First of all, you can see our house for miles across the valley. We’ve decided to tone it down a little. If it’s not bright white, perhaps it won’t stand out quite so much against the backdrop of trees. We’re not going dark. One of my friends thought our house was some kind of army bunker for years. We don’t want to encourage that train of thought by painting it a dark gray.

If we paint a touch darker than bright white, it could obscure the drip lines down the side of the house and maybe even hide a little of the dirt. Now the drip lines show that the weep holes in the windows are doing their thing, we just don’t like looking at them.

Another reason not to go too dark is the fade issue. Paint does fade no matter what the manufacturer promises. At our last place, our lovely cafe au lait brown faded to a rather disgusting pinky-beige. The girls told all their friends that they lived in the pink house–how embarrassing.

The Mr got a bid for a great price. The company provides the paint and the labor. They would even power wash the house, but we do have this limited water supply issue, so the Mr has been giving them a hand with that. You may wonder why we’re not painting it ourselves.

Well, this is a big place, a big job, and it was a great price. The Mr did paint our old house twice. I’m not sure it would have sold as quickly if it was still pink.

Now we have to cross our fingers and hope we’ve made a good choice in color and wait for our painters to get busy before the weather goes back to normal.

Now for the question of the day: Do I have to change the name of the blog?