At the start of the a-frame project I requested a price quote for cable railing from a local building supplier because I knew that was the direction we were going with the stair railing. The quote I got back was about $3,000 for just the cable rail and accessories, after that you would need to add in cost for either pressure treated wood newel posts or cedar and labor for construction and installation. The supplier quoted two different cable rail systems and the second was more expensive than the first. So for budgetary reasons at this project, I wanted to come up with an alternative. A substitute that would not mean that I had to compromise the look I wanted to achieve.
Galvanized piping, electrical conduit or powder coated piping used as a part of interior and exterior railing was a concept I was a little familiar with prior to renovating the a-frame but I hadn’t really dug in on exactly how the concept was actually executed. I thought it might be a great option because of affordability, it introduced the metal element much like cable rail and it was consistent with the modern look I was striving for.
After several conversations with one of our carpenters, Thomas Clark, we settled on 3/4″ galvanized electrical conduit. I really wanted 1/2″ conduit but Thomas had concerns about durability. So based on his recommendation, we shortened the horizontal runs of conduit to 3′ between newel posts and installed 3/4″ conduit. This is what electrical conduit looks like,
After trips to two different Lowe’s stores, we purchased our conduit in 10 foot long “sticks” at our local electrical supply, City Electric in Southern Pines. They were about $5.30 per stick.
We ordered 4×4 fir newel posts for our interior railings and pressure treated pine for our exterior railings.
I wanted to keep it simple in design, so our carpenter made simple post caps to go on top of the newel posts. At first I intended to paint the fir posts but not the handrails. White handrails just end up looking dirty from all the hands using them. After some thought I left both the handrails and newel posts natural to add some warmth and contrast to our bright, white modern space.
Here’s the pressure treated pine and piping combo on the front of the house,
It’s time to apply some stain and we are just about complete on the exterior.
I know you’ve been on pins and needles out there waiting to see the exterior color that was chosen for the a-frame exterior and I’m here to deliver.
Let’s review the field,
So without further adieu,
It’s Benjamin Moore Vanderberg Blue (721), who called it?
She’s bold and she’s beautiful. On the side, it’s like the forest and jewel-toned velvet got together and had a love child. On the front with it’s face to the sun, it’s a bold and modern teal.
The brackets and cedar accent fascia board on the front of the “a” haven’t been stained yet but they will all be finished to match the deck and railings. The door hardware is only temporary not going with polished brass here, my plan is to install nickel hardware and house numbers to partner with the silver of the metal railings.
Once the leaves start to change a little more it’s going to be modern cabin magic. It’s so exciting to see it come together in the end but sometimes it just takes so damn long and especially long when there are two hurricanes through here in less than two months.
The fun time of a renovation project is starting to come about now. That time mostly surrounds trimming windows and doors and the general finishing of the space, when all the walls are up and sheetrocked and the finish line is in sight.
I’ve had a deep, moody teal color in mind for some time and I had earmarked this color in my mind for a different project all together that never came about. That was a 1920s cottage but I thought that hue could work equally well on a 70s a-frame.
Although I was excited about using a color (moody teal) I hadn’t previously applied anywhere, always lingering is the blue/gray tone and the temptation to maybe play a little safer. So I narrowed the field on the fan deck, reviewed my Pinterest color board, made sure to visit all the #aframe peeps on Instagram and then bought my samples.
Here’s the field,
My initial reaction after they went up was a hard lean toward Blue Spruce. Almost immediately Van Courtland Blue was eliminated as was Riverway and Ocean Floor. But a little nugget to store away for later is that Ocean Floor is a great candidate for kitchen islands or bath vanity color. On the exterior, exposed to full sun, Ocean Floor has a purple tinge. Riverway was just too one dimensional with too much green and Van Courtland was an experiment in going light but truthfully my heart was never in it for a light color but I needed to be certain.
So the battle was on between Blue Spruce and Vanderberg Blue. The samples were up for a week and I was prepared to choose Blue Spruce but my Mom came out strongly for Vanderberg. Then Betsy put it up on Instagram and the commenters were pretty evenly split for Spruce and Vanderberg. So before I tell you what we chose, we’d love to have your vote; Blue Spruce or Vanderberg Blue?
After long last, the windows arrived. The front windows from Jeldwen caused the delay. They took what felt like two months to come in, while the other windows had all arrived and were waiting for installation.
And we got our side entry in place with an overhang to shield someone from the elements while they are unlocking the door.
We added a square window on the right wall of the living area to shed light on that side and at that level. The size of the window in the kitchen was increased and changed from a small rectangular sliding window to a square, fixed window that has black grids and frame on the exterior.
Great turnout with the window in the new, larger stairwell. I would’ve liked for the window to have been a bit taller and my design plan called for a larger window but I was talked out of it somehow but those windows took so long to arrive, I can’t remember why.
A bookcase is going in that space under the stairs that will be re-configured soon. The addition of a small pantry cabinet behind the bookcase will provide another space for kitchen storage or for whatever the homeowner chooses to store there.
A new view of the trees and more light in the master bedroom.
My main inspiration for the A-frame kitchen design is the next three images of the same kitchen taken at different distances or angles. Like this kitchen, we need a lot of open shelving.
We need open shelving especially in the A-frame kitchen because it is a smaller kitchen space and we want to maintain an open and modern feel in the space. So we’re going with no upper cabinets and just floating shelving.
A close up of shelves turning the corner with square tiles installed in a brick pattern. The plan (this week, subject to change) in the a-frame kitchen is to have the shelves wrap the corner to the sink window.
I liked this island style a lot. Its a bit different from usual kitchen island fare and it has storage and a place for a couple of stools. We need both of those things in this space. Also, I particularly like the decision to make the shelving out of stained wood. A lot of these painted wood surfaces can get scratched up sometimes especially in the kitchen where you might be sliding bowls or fruit baskets or whatever around, the stained wood has a durable finish.
I’m really liking this subtle off white but still modern subway tile on the backsplash, our main kitchen inspiration also had an off-white tile that has an alabaster quality, it makes things less stark. The focus of this image for me, is the tall cabinet that may or may not be next to our refrigerator. Trying to figure out if there is a cabinet next to the fridge or if we’re just building in the fridge with panels.
We’re so close to finalizing the kitchen plan. It’s time now to do the leg work on finding the right person to fabricate the shelves and I’m really leaning toward ordering from the same company that built the shelves at TEOT’s former shop space. I know how much people loved them because I heard at least once a day.
Every so often I just wanna share images that are inspiring or just good looking. As always feel absolutely free to tell me what you’re into and not so into.
This is how to properly handle the Creeping Jenny you randomly bought from the garden center when you had big container garden dreams in May.
Consistency is good, it can bring calm to the pursuit of using many colors
The Le Barn Hotel in the french countryside is just bonky, I’m certain that’s how they would like this exquisitely simple place to be described- bonky
Headboards and banquette back rests that are leather or an upholstered pad that is mounted on a wooden dowel is everywhere and I’m 100% behind it
sometimes we don’t want the holes, so instead of patching, maybe this?
Smink Things, concrete and ceramic tile is exciting. You should have a look-see. If you read the word Smink and thought oh is that British, you were totally right.
We spent a good week or so planning and ordering the windows for the front of the house, new windows for the living/kitchen and windows for the dormer.
Without making the whole entire front glass, we wanted to expand the view of the lake from the living, dining and kitchen areas so we needed to add windows. We expanded the existing french doors with a new, nicer pair of doors with full view windows on each side.
For the top, we had two different design ideas in mind to enlarge the windows. The first concept was something like the image below, where the two end windows each had clipped corners to accommodate the a-frame.
The second design was a larger set of windows that followed the triangular line of the roof with the tallest window being in the center of three, similar to this,
I was a strong proponent of design #1 for some time but after discussion I saw the merits of design #2 because it was a melding of modern and a little lake cottage so… we went with design #2.
We added two new windows, one square window in the living area and a larger square kitchen window over the sink to replace this one,
For the stairwell portion of the new dormer we settled on a window design like this scaled down to fit our space. For this project we did choose black frames on the exterior with white frames on the interior.
To the right of this window on the same dormer is the master bedroom.
Because the bed would be placed in this dormer, we wanted to add a modern, short rectangular window for the bed to slide right underneath. We used some of these images as inspiration to help us work out size and shape.
With our wrapping rectangular window we hope to bring in more light and have a pretty green forest view from the master.
Once the windows were ordered it was time to start preparing for the new roof. Roofing material choice is black metal.
Pinterest knows that I’m working on a kitchen, a modern and relatively simple kitchen because of algorithms and such.
So what begins to get threaded through is a lot of those types of kitchens, what a little helper. And I started seeing this tile,
Granted it’s a little forced because of the algorithms but I also began taking notice on Instagram too and before you know it, I’m thinking are we inching away ever so slowly from subway or do we just need a break now and then.
If you’re looking for a break from subway, maybe folding those corners down or giving a slight exotic twist still holds you to the timelessness of the subway rectangle while still creating a little modern edge.
What other solid color shapes are you thinking about lately for your kitchen backsplash?
What do I do with that beautiful textile that I bought at The Estate of Things other than just drape it over a sofa arm?
I love it but how will it work in my space? We’re answering those kinds of questions and offering light suggestion with these images below…
In some cases, size does matter and the context in which I’m thinking about size is art, specifically large scale art or as we sometimes like to call it big art.
I was recently lamenting over not pulling the trigger on a piece of abstract art I saw at the High Point Furniture Market two years ago. I ran across a reminder of this piece in my camera roll as I was trying to free up some space on my phone by getting rid of screenshots from too long ago and blurry images of little girls at ballet recitals.
I came across it on the roll and instantly realized that it would’ve been the answer to my question of – do I move the gallery wall from the living room to the dining room and put shelves in the living room or do I leave the gallery wall where it is and get a new larger piece for the dining room…on and on and on and on
And this is where I land us all on big art.
When we first started on this project in late spring we encountered some routine rain fall that sent the crew home for almost an entire week but after the rain stopped we got back to it.
Here’s what happened in week two…not much. Well actually, the dog house entry over the red door is gone!
That’s why we combined weeks two and three, so you could see some action.
We started and framed the dormer that will expand the head room for our stairwell and create a much larger space to put a bed in the master bedroom. We decided on one large dormer to achieve both objectives instead of framing two separate dormers.
You can see the beginnings of what the dormer might add to the interior. You can also see our brainstorming scribbles of a built-in bookshelf on the staircase wall.
This view shows how the dormer relates to the existing shed roof of the laundry room. The dormer lands right above that existing roof.
It’s time to take a deep dive in to window design and configuration next week so be ready to pour over images of the windows of modern homes.
We kicked off the A-frame renovation in Week 1. We had our own #demoday and we removed the tan vinyl siding and vinyl trim from the house and uncovered a strange little add-on cavity underneath the vinyl at the end of the “A” on the left front side. It was a strange and unnecessary design flaw that we promptly removed. After removing that we found that the leg of the “A” on the left side was then shorter than the right. So we’ll fix that soon enough.
Just for fun, here’s a refresher of what she looked like when we purchased.
There is a lot of discussion about changing the window and door configuration on the front of the house and we’ve all agreed that would be best to expand the view and improve the design. We’re adding windows up top and there will now be four doors with two of them being fixed.
We uncovered T-111 heavy textured siding that was popular in the 70s and 80s. I can’t say that I’m a fan. It was an affordable siding option back then, a material that kind of mimicked board and batten and barn wood at the same time.
In week 1, we also started the processing of pruning and trimming and clearing built up yard debris. It’s a process that will continue.
This awkward design that is the covered entry on the side will disappear next week. We’re looking forward to exposing the chimney and making it more of a standout as an architectural element.
After some demo, it was an obvious and simple task to rebuild the deck. The existing deck was compromised structurally and long past it’s prime.
Not a bad start at all! Check back soon for more progress at the A-Frame Renovation.
We’ve been scouring the web, looking for images of the right dormer examples for the A-frame and I think we collected some good ones. Here are some other images that are providing inspiration for our A-frame renovation.
We know we want cable railing or a metal element in our railing on the front deck. But we’re on the fence as to whether or not we use metal conduit, or galvanized pipe or spring for a Feeney cable railing system.
this exterior is a huge source of inspiration and we’ve ordered black windows
we thought about using a “dog-eared” window on the front like below but we ultimately decided we didn’t like the corners,
there’s a lot of angled storage opportunities in an a-frame
Color picks for the exterior will be on the darker side. This Benjamin Moore color, Brewster Grey is an interesting color. I recommended this for a master vanity color and it worked fabulously!
I like this combination a lot, interested in the way they chose to trim the windows in white. I also really like that rich teal color. Our doors and windows are black.
You can check out the rest of what I’m pinning for the A-frame project here.
We’ve got some projects on the burner right now and we want to introduce you to the first one, the A-frame project.
The A-frame architectural style is popping these days as a second home and a family dwelling and we wanted to get in on the fun. This house is in a lake community called Whispering Pines and is across the street from Lake Thagard with a lake view from the front of the house.
Here is what the house looked like in the beginning,
A person of regular height does not have enough head room to get up the stairs to the master bedroom without some serious ducking. Clearly, not okay for daily living. Also, you cannot get furniture up the current stairwell to the master bedroom or to the loft sitting area. So we’ve got to build a dormer on to the side to alleviate both of these issues. While we’re at it, we’re going to carry this dormer all the way up to the master bedroom to create a nook that a bed can fit in perfectly. In this dormer, we’ll add more windows which equals more light in to the master and the stairwell. The dormer will have the same siding as the front and back of the A-frame.
The exterior requires new siding, a new deck and the removal of that strange little dog house structure on the right front side that serves as a covered entry for the side entrance. The demo of this little section will expose the chimney and make it more of a stand out architectural feature.
A change in the window configuration on the front has been planned. We want to increase natural light and expand our view of the lake across the street. So those windows will be widened. We wanted to go all glass on the front but for budgetary reasons we need to compromise.
I’m into green cabinets but not grass green so they’ll be going and the kitchen will be re-designed with open shelving, cement quartz countertops, new appliances and new lighting.
We’ll install new flooring throughout the main living area and update light fixtures. So yeah, I’m ready to get started.