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Get the Look: Lake House

by Sarah on July 23, 2014, no comments

For a hot minute when we were house hunting last year I thought I might fancy an untouched 1960s ranch style home on a lake. My dream is to renovate a rancher and on a lake—even sweeter. Anyone would want their very own lake house after reading Thom Filicia’s book, American Beauty, right?
I fantasized about gutting the place and turning it in to my own slice of lake house heaven but then reality set back in and I quickly realized that lakefront property even though completely dated and lacking in charm, carried an unreasonable lakefront price tag and that possibility was eliminated.
thom filicia lake house
Thom Filicia’s Skaneateles lake house

As summer carries on and we retreat to the water whether it be a pool, lake or river, let’s indulge and decorate the lake house in our minds.

Lake House

lake house2

1. An x-base accent table

2. Vintage pottery to accessorize

3. Thom uses the Theodore lamp from Arteriors in his lakeside living room

4. A chunky coffee table

5. Thom’s Weedsport upholstered chair for Vanguard

6. A go anywhere pouf the Seagrass cube

7. Get the pillow mix started with Alan Campbell’s petite zig zag

8. A great base, durable and right for any interior a seagrass rug w/black border

9. Layer Thom’s ikat rug over the seagrass

10. mood lighting with these lanterns

11. Pretty pair of Chiang Mai throw pillows in the mix

12. Bringing in a little yellow, still mixing pillows

13. Mixing all kinds of materials here, Thom uses this leather bench in his room

14. We went classic with our sofa, a linen roll arm on casters

15. We didn’t go custom work room we chose these linen drapes

16. A sweet little rattan table to set our drinks & periodicals on

17. Pair of vintage cognac leather slipper chairs






Connecticut Avenue Duplex: Exterior Paint Selection

by Sarah on July 21, 2014, one comment

Lately I feel like I’ve been in a perpetual state of paint color selection.

It was time to begin the color selection process for the Connecticut Avenue Duplex project. You might recall we’re giving a rancher a Venice Beach bungalow inspired facelift. I knew I wanted to go dark because the trim work and arbor we’re adding to the front will really stand out on the dark house. Set that dark house and white trim up with some more green in the landscape and maybe a white flower here and there and we’ll have a solid outcome.

Here are the lead off colors (all Benjamin Moore),

West Conn color samples

In this image, we’re looking at these colors in the harsh morning sun in a spot on the house that gets the most direct light. The reason I put the samples up here is to ensure that I choose a color that has enough substance to stand up to direct sun exposure. I’m looking for a charcoal that has a navy cast at times. So far, French Beret is out. What’s your feeling here?

Recessed Lights No More

by Sarah on July 16, 2014, 2 comments

For a while now I’ve been thinking very seriously about this whole not using recessed can lighting in kitchens and baths. Some designers utilize it with more frequency. I’d like to attempt it but the right opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.

Here’s a little exercise–go in to your kitchen, if you have recessed lighting in the ceiling, imagine they are all small flushmount fixtures.

It is in the numbers and the scale but the trickiest part I think is getting all of those smaller fixtures to make sense with pendants over an island. Things could get busy in a hurry.

Have you put any consideration in to this course of action?
light Gambrel
Really simple enameled base with a retro bulb,
light edison bulb
light robin bell kitchen
pendant heavy in a beautiful white kitchen,
light pendants2
Food 52 apartment kitchen reno on a budget,
light food 52
light CA ranch
light galley
light bilhuber
light scheerer bath
light pendants
light o'brien
light mark sikes
light this is 40 set
all images via Pinterest

Best Neutral Paint Colors

by Sarah on July 14, 2014, one comment

If you paint enough rooms, you’ll have the fan decks memorized and you’ll have a select group of colors that almost always work. Your go-to paint colors. I’m pretty close to committing the entire Benjamin Moore Classic Colors fan deck to memory but I also have a few colors that I always try first because they look great in most settings.

grout paint sample side2sampling exterior colors at Grout Cottage project

I like complicated colors that don’t read clearly one way or another, is it blue, green or gray—it appears slightly blue in the daylight and entirely gray at night. Choosing paint colors is pretty challenging, it’s a sampling and trial and error based process– like when I painted the same house three times (not recommended). Exterior painting is trickier than interior in my opinion because so much of the house’s identity rests on the colors.

To make the selection process a little less of a guessing game I’ve got a set of go-to neutral paint colors. This particular set contains all Benjamin Moore colors.

Best Neutral Paint


Paper White OC-55

This is a great subtle gray. If you need just a hint of gray, this is your color. It’s crisp and it can go modern or cottage.

paint paper white

Simply White OC-117

For the last year or so I’ve been steadily using Simply White for all my trim, cabinetry and millwork. It’s a relatively warm white but remains pretty crisp because the yellow tone isn’t overdone. It plays well every time even with walls that are painted white. I apply it in satin but I’m sure it’s great glossy.


Apt A Living Rm Trim Detail

Trim detail at the Grout Cottage

Suzy Dressing Room cabinet

Dressing room cabinet detail at friend’s Master Bedroom project

Moonshine OC-56

This is a warm gray that in the evenings when subjected to only interior light doesn’t turn lilac. I commonly use it in living areas and bedrooms but it will work anywhere.

paint moonshine YHL

White Dove OC-17

I’ve painted both kitchens and baths White Dove. It’s an almost infallible warm white that works well on millwork and cabinetry and makes for the perfect wall color for those white kitchens that we all love.

paint white dove

Stonington Gray HC-170

If you’re looking for a cooler, more traditional gray that stays consistent throughout the day and night, this gray is a good option. I’ve only used this particular gray in living areas.

Indiana living room after

Finished living room at Indiana Project

Healing Aloe 1562

Healing Aloe lives in that uncertain mix of blue, gray and green. It can go any of those three directions depending on the amount of light in the room. But no matter which direction it turns it always looks great. Although I commonly use it in bathrooms, it worked out surprisingly well in the dining room at the Connecticut house.

paint healing aloe

 Images in this post via The Estate of Things or Pinterest