A little virtual art shopping

Do you ever play "I'm not buying but if I were, I'd buy..."?

The Art.com catalog came today and I found a number of things that could be so cute in the right space.

Here are a few:


These are from their Country Chic collection. I love the birds. I feel like you might be able to re-create this with a framed piece of fabric.

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I love Picasso's sketches, even if it seems weird and maybe a little wrong that they are mass produced. Some of the animal sketches are great, but I love this one. Plus, doesn't it feel good to know that even you could have made the same piece of art that Picasso did?

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I love Botero's sculptures. I remember when they were displayed in downtown Chicago and were flown in via helicopter. I think this print would be adorable in a bathroom. I'm picturing it in a period bathroom full of white subway tile with black accents.

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I also love vintage posters, but I don't care for the ones that are so popular you see them everywhere, like this one, which I instantly associate with bad Italian food. (OK, so there hardly is anything like bad Italian food, but just seeing this poster makes me have garlic breath.)

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 I much prefer the look of old travel posters.

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So what do you think? Do any of these pieces of art have a future home in your house? Or is there something else you're lusting after? And am I the only one who pretends to shop?

All images from Art.com

Construction update No. 10: Getting there

I've been so caught up in painting and other house projects that I'm behind on construction updates. So let's catch up, shall we?

The new ceiling fan was hung in the living room. And then it was hung again.

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Too low.

We actually purchased this fan well over a year ago to replace the hideous shiny brass thing with the ugly burned-out lightbulbs but realized that it would be no easy chore to actually mount it. We decided we'd just wait until some scaffolding arrived. Unfortunately when I bought it originally I guessed at how long the downrod was and ordered a four-footer. When we got it up, we realized that was way too long, as Rich was actually looking at the TOP of the fan (you know, where all the dust collects?) when he stood upstairs. So we got a new downrod and put it up a second time. The photo is of the longer downrod and taken from upstairs so you can see how it's RIGHT THERE.

They pieced in the paneling in the living room.

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Old and new grays

Since we didn't have long enough pieces, some of them had to be spliced in but a little wood filler and paint later, you can't even tell. You can see the difference in the old and new colors here (we had one coat of paint on before they spliced in the boards to finish the walls). The light gray was the old color. The darker gray (BM Gray Husky) is much warmer and we like it a lot better.

They also finished the paneling in the hallway upstairs.

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Bathroom on the left, and the second/guest bedroom next to that. That's Desdemona the cat checking out the progress and wondering when there will be a bed for her to sleep on all day.

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Other side of the hallway and the doorway to the master bedroom.

I'm so happy we decided to do this. Since the upstairs hallway is open to the living room we wanted to keep the paneling there to make it feel more cohesive. Even though we salvaged as much of the old paneling as possible and only had the minimum amount of new paneling made, this was definitely an upgrade over drywall. But worth every penny. I actually kind of liked how the mismatched board looked up there, but I knew over time it would look a little shabbier than chic to me. I wish we had thought to put small barn lights over each bedroom. I think that would have been so cute.

You can also see the rather severe roof angles it that hallway. Amazingly, even though Mr. Much More Patient is 6 feet, 3 inches tall he doesn't have a problem negotiating them.

We also got ALL of that paneling painted. Two coats. And sanding a primer before that. That was quite the project.

Then the board for the bedroom ceilings arrived.

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Doesn't everyone have a stack of wood boards in their living room?

They were all stacked in our living room for quite a few days. We had them pre-painted by a professional painter (after the kitchen I swore I'd never paint another ceiling again, much less a wood ceiling) and then put up. We actually got the boards at Menard's (a big box store, in case you're not familiar with it), and they cost about 75 percent less than if we had purchased them through the lumber supplier. They had some knots and a few cracks but we figured since we were painting them it wasn't a big deal. Although the installation cost was a little higher than if we had drywalled, I think the material cost was actually less.

Unfortunately when they were installed, the guys weren't very good about only nailing into the tongue, and we ended up having to have the painters come out and fill all the nail holes and spray it again, making that original spraying pretty much a giant waste of time.

The interior doors also arrived. We had these pre-painted by the painters as well. They've now been installed. Honestly, I didn't pick the door. I just specified a six-panel and I'm not thrilled with the trim detail on it, but since they were already painted there was nothing I could do about it, and frankly, it's just a door. I'll get over it.


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Not to mention a stack of doors?

Mr. Much More Patient also headed up the yard grading project.

If you recall, the back yard looked like this in September.

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Um, you left a mark.


Although we knew it was getting a little late in the season to be thinking about planting grass, we gave it a shot anyway. With the dogs, spring is already a very dirty season but the idea of having a giant mud pit in the back yard was rather unpleasant. He got three truckloads of dirt, a Bobcat, some grass seed, a bunch of straw and a lot of help from the on-staff landscaper at the company he works for, and went to it.

Hudson and Rita are in charge of holding the straw down.

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This straw has been Hudson and Rita tested and approved. Kindly ignore the junk pile migrating toward the garage.

Here's the rest of what's been happening:
1. All walls are now painted. The bathroom has been painted about four times since I keep missing on the color but I think I nailed it last night. BM Healing Aloe seems to be the winner. For some reason the green helps keep it from getting too icy but it still reads blue-gray in the room.
2. We've moved back into the living room. This is cause for celebration. Having a place to relax other than the kitchen or bedroom is awesome.
3. We had a big talk with the contractor. According to the schedule we got, the project was supposed to be done November 6. Obviously that didn't happen. Apparently that was a "phantom schedule." Anyway, the conversation got a little tense and work did pick up pace for the next week or so. Overall I'm happy with where a lot of things are. Frankly, right now we're the holdup on some of these things. I'm not hoping that we'll be completely done by Christmas, but I wouldn't be surprised if the bathroom lingered on a little bit since some things, like ordering the shower glass and the countertop, can't be done until the last minute and both take some time and of themselves.
4. We installed the floor in the master bedroom! I'll have a whole post on this at some point.
5. The deck is about half done and I've stained almost all the cedar for the risers and skirting.
6. Most of the lights are in. The electrician broke one and cursed at most of the others, and the one light I bought off eBay turned out to be defective (I've contacted the seller but honestly I don't have a lot of hope that the situation will be rectified).

I still have to do a lot of painting to do. All the windows and trim upstairs, the staircase and little things here and there. I am now an expert painter, by the way. Tape? For wimps, I tell ya. I think I'm developing carpel tunnel syndrome from painting. Which is a sad state of affairs for a person who types for about 10 hours a day.

We have one more floor to go in and of course we'll be installing the cable railings on the deck (in winter it looks like). Still, it's starting to look like a house again.

Want to catch up on the whole process? Check out these posts:


Construction Update 1
Construction Update 2
Construction Update 3
Construction Update 4
Construction Update 5
Construction Update 6

Construction Update 7
Construction Update 7.5
Construction Update 8
Construction Update 9

This is what I feel like today

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Hudson, modeling how I feel today.

At about 3 p.m. yesterday, it occurred to me that perhaps I bit off a bit too much of this renovation project for myself. As you know, I suffer from TES: Time Estimation Syndrome, in which I estimate everything will take way less time than it actually does. And this weekend it all came down on me at once.

For some reason I thought it was realistic to do the following this weekend:
1. Move back into the living room.
2. Install a floating bamboo floor in both bedrooms.
3. Prime and stain all of the cedar trim for the deck.
4. Paint the bathroom (AGAIN! The right color continues to elude me).
5. Design the built-ins for the bedroom.
6. Spray paint the mystery item (mentioned on the Impatient Gardener Faceboook page).

Here's what really happened this weekend:

1. Moved back into the living room. Yay! (But still plenty of cleaning to do).
2. Installed most of a floating bamboo floor in both ONE bedroom.
3. Primed and stained all of the cedar trim for the deck under 1 a.m. two nights in a row.
4. Paint the bathroom (AGAIN! The right color continues to elude me).
5. Design the built-ins for the bedroom. 


I also wanted to catch up on a lot of blog posts, but that didn't happen either. And now I just want a nap.

The blue door ... again

I have lots of posts just waiting to be finished, written, posted, etc.  But this weekend is the big push on painting and installing the floors upstairs.

In the meantime, I'm thrilled that once again our blue door was featured in a Houzz ideabook



If you don't know about Houzz.com, you must check it out. It is every decorating inspiration picture you could ever possibly need in one spot.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Leaving our mark

You might remember that we found this awesome little note on a rafter when we started the demo (way back in September, which now seems like ancient history).

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It was so cool finding this on one of the first days of demolition.

We saved it, of course, although I haven't decided what to do with it yet. However, we loved finding it so much that we figured sometime in the future someone else might want to find a little note from us. So we set up the big ladder (the construction guys leave all their ladders here and it's so nice always having a ladder around when you need one), and climbed up to the big ridge beam where we left a note of our own. Our very own time capsule, I guess you'd say.

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Our own note to the future owners.

To commemorate the moment we took a really awful photo of ourselves and tried to get the beam in the background. It didn't work. And we look like aliens.

So instead you get a picture of Mr. Much-More-Patient scaling the ladder.

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With all the overspray from the primer on the plastic up at the ceiling it sort looks like Mr. Much-More-Patient climbed up to a cloud.

Breaking the barriers of paint technology

You know how people say "We can put a man on the moon but we can't _________ (fill in the blank)?"

Well now there is one less thing to say that about. I got an e-mail this morning from My Perfect Color announcing that they can now make you a can of spray paint in ANY COLOR. That's right, you can now pick beyond the 15 or so colors commonly offered in spray paint and you can specifically color match it for your project.

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Now, this product needs to be tested for sure, because not all spray paint is created equal. Some just works much better than the rest, but I have a mind to order a can to give it a shot as I have a spray painting project in the works soon (just wait until you see what I'm going to spray paint. Hide your husbands, ladies, because they are going to cry at the horror of it.)

They describe it as a high-quality, industrial-grade spray paint "perfect for painting accessories, railings, grates, registers, crafts and anything else." Well, that about covers it, I guess. It's available in semi-gloss and gloss (too bad because I'm a fan of the satin finish, but beggars can't be choosers.

It sells for $19.99 for a 16-ounce can, which is insanely expensive, but as far as I can tell, they have a lock on the ability to give you spray paint in any color, so I guess that's how they get away with it. Right now there is a coupon for $5 off with the code SCCoupon5A. Free shipping is standard on orders over $50.

To order it, type in the color you want (they offer color matching to almost any brand of paint other than, sadly, Farrow & Ball and Ellen K.... whatever that other one is. 

I've ordered from My Perfect Color in the past and they do a great job of color matching and ship quickly.

So, what do you think? Would you spend $20 for color-matched spray paint?

Construction Update 9: Don't want to leave you hangin'

It's been awhile since I've posted one of these, and that's mostly because things were moving quickly there for awhile. Sadly, that pace seems to have slowed and now it seems like every little thing is taking forever and a day.

Anyway, here's where we were as of about a week ago.

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Everything was insulated (about four inches of spray foam followed by the roll-type insulation).

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We were fortunate that they were able to go through the paneling wall in the living room to get the plumbing up to the new bathroom, meaning that the existing bathroom was untouched during the process. Thank goodness. I don't think I could have handled one more destroyed room. Especially such an important one.

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Drywall went up! That was a great day. It was so good to see things closed in. The drywall crew was there for over a week putting it up, taping and mudding, applying texture and then priming. We decided on a very, very light texture that was troweled on, sort of a plaster type look. I really wanted smooth walls but the drywall guy suggested that since our ceiling still wasn't perfectly straight/flat, we might want a little texture to help hide that. I love what we ended up going with. If anything we could have used a touch more texture, but this is great too.

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That's the drywall in the master bedroom. The walls look sort of brown because the the texture was still wet in these photos. It took two days for that stuff to dry before they could prime.

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All of that drywall work left a ton of dust behind, most of which settled on our fireplace. The dust is (and it's still there, a week later) a quarter-inch deep in some places. Supposedly they are cleaning that up today.

If you've been following on Facebook, you'll know that I've been painting. Non-stop. All the time. I'm either working, sleeping or painting these days. I sanded the whole railing on the stairs. Not only did it need some smoothing out, but the woodwork in the house is all oil-based paint and I wanted to take the time now to switch to water-based, so I'm sanding everything, priming with an appropriate primer, and then I'll follow with two coats of a water-based paint (I like Benjamin Moore's Aura when it's in the budget). Here's the staircase looking pretty rough:

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There's primer on it now, but I don't really want to get to finish painting until they are done with a lot of the up and down. I'd be sad if my new paint job got all dinged up right away.

If you want to follow the progress of the remodel, here are some old posts:


Construction Update 1
Construction Update 2
Construction Update 3
Construction Update 4
Construction Update 5
Construction Update 6

Construction Update 7
Construction Update 7.5
Construction Update 8

Lighting the way

Gosh, I'm so sorry that I haven't been posting more regularly. It seems like every free moment of my life has been spent with a paintbrush in my hand lately.

Since our renovation project has gone over budget, and we weren't willing to cut out some of the things we really want out of this (like the deck), we started taking on a few more projects than we anticipated, and painting is one of them. So far I've painted both bedrooms (walls only ... very TALL walls), the bathroom ceiling (which doesn't count since I hate the color), all of the trim that wasn't attached but was on premise, and have sanded and primed the paneling and stair rail. This weekend I'll finish up the paneling (the new stuff for the hallway will thankfully be unattached when I do it so it will be so much easier to whip through that in the basement), paint all the windows and trim in the living room (except for the baseboards, which I'll wait for the floor covering to be off when I do that), and sand and prime the windows upstairs (and MAYBE get a coat of paint on). And then I still have to do the risers and the trim on the staircase, which I'm not at all looking forward to.

Anyway, one of the more onerous tasks of this remodel that has fallen entirely to me is the lighting. I think this may be a case where too many choices is a bad thing. I am sure I have looked at more than 40,000 lights. I'm not joking with that figure. I've been to every big lighting store on the Internet (and one in person). Since most of these have about 10,000 pendants alone, and I've scrolled through all of them, it's not an exaggeration.

I have almost all the lights taken care of at this point so I thought I'd show you what I chose.

Bathroom
We have a lot of lighting in this 8-by-8-foot space. I can't stand dark bathrooms. So in addition to the two windows, we will have a light/fan in the shower, two pendants flanking the mirror, a ceiling light and two "hockey puck" lights in the linen unit.

In order to keep from blinding ourselves when we visit the bathroom in the middle of the night (which will now be much easier since we won't have to go downstairs), we got a combination shower light/fan/nightlight. It's not beautiful, but it's better than some.

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Panasonic Whisperlite

The ceiling light for the bathroom was very tricky because we have an angled ceiling, but didn't want a chandelier. There aren't a lot of lights that work on angled ceilings (something to keep in mind if you're ever building and you have the option of an angled ceiling or not). Unfortunately I cannot find a picture of it anywhere (and frankly, nor can I find the light in the pile of boxes in my basement), so you'll have to use your imagination. Picture a white glass cylinder about 9 inches long, with a larger, clear glass cylinder around it. Now hang it from the ceiling in a semi-flushmount arrangement.

The pendants were the hardest light of all to find. I wanted something classic, but not boring. Clean-lined, but not overly modern. And most of all, proportion was very hard to figure out. Since we're using a large mirror, the pendants couldn't be itty bitty, but it's overall a small space so they can't be huge either.

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I ended up choosing this teardrop-shaped pendant. It has a chrome finish which matches the rest of the hardware in the room, which was nice, although not a requirement (I figured I could have gotten away with a stainless or brushed chrome finish as well). I haven't actually seen it with the mirror yet as both are safely boxed up, but I hope I love it in the room as much as I think I will.

Master bedroom
A ceiling fan was a must for us in this room. We love leaving the windows open as much as possible in summer, and now that we have more east-facing windows we'll be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. But we need some air circulation, especially with cathedral ceilings. Sometimes I feel with ceiling fans that you just need to go with the least objectionable. This one's not bad.

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While I was looking around the site where we got the fan, I found some nightstand lights at a nice price. I was planning to  look for a good deal at TJ Maxx for these, but after the discounts and coupon codes, these were $50 each and that's about the best price I've seen on halfway decent lights at TJ Maxx.

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Second bedroom
We'll reuse one of the existing ceiling fans in this room, but we needed a light for it. Ceiling lights were a luxury we didn't have in the old bedrooms because the ceiling was too low for them. I thought I'd go a little crazy in this room (if you can't have fun in a guest room, where can you?) so I picked up this light to attach to the fan.

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Hallway
This is a tough area to light because it's open to the living room and it needs to light the stairs as well as the hall. We could have done recessed lighting, but I didn't think it was right for our house. In a more modern home, or definitely a mid-century modern home, definitely, but recessed lights didn't feel right. Enter track lighting, which falls basically in the same category as ceiling fans: just get the least ugly thing you can find.

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It's no beauty, that's for sure!

These aren't so bad. We'll have four of them total.

I'll also have a little gallery wall in the hallway that I'll light with a Pottery Barn track light that I picked up eBay. The finish matches the finishes of lights in the living room (but not the finishes of the doorknobs and stuff ... I'm trying very hard not to get crazy about that).

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Exterior
This is the last lighting area I need to deal with. I really wanted lights in the steps on the deck, both for safely and ambiance. I found these neat little LED lights that are angled down (so you don't get blinded walking up the stairs) and look like they would be easy to install (in case we need to do that ourselves since we have the worst electrician in the history of ever).

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I'm not going to worry about the lights by the back door and patio door at this time, we're just going to use what we have. I might paint one to match the others or replace them all in the future, but they'll do for now. I do, however, need to get a light for the front door. It will be mounted in the ceiling of the gable/pediment.

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I was all set to get this lantern, but it will take six weeks to get it, so the hunt continues!

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So that's the lighting plan for the house. I hope it looks as good in the house as it does in my imagination. And even if it doesn't, well, it will do. My brain can't handle any more light fixtures.