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Betsy’s House

Betsy’s House is a dream home, with many possibilities and projects to unfold in the future. After a mini-renovation, the family moved into the home in the early Fall of 2015. Her warm rustic wood beams soar over an open living area surrounded in light and lifted by a lovely wide plank pine floor in a natural finish. The house is a two story ranch built in 1966 into the sloping terraces of the Pacific Palisades. While midcentury lines prevail throughout the home, tons of french paned windows look out over a rustic ambiance in the canyon she was built upon. It is natural that this elevated perch among such lush landscaping has influenced a treehouse like effect. Her gardens and lovely blue paned windows and doors are the features of fantasy living! Let’s get started.

Betsy’s House: Checking in on our Home Renovation

Dodge Puppy Eyes

Dodge wants to know…

What is going on at our house ya’ll, and when will we get to move in and introduce our new home to our new puppy? OMG, wheeeeen?

Heffe and I are sitting on the sofa feeling slightly relieved that at least there is some progress because well, this:

Before-After-Electrical-Panel

My dad might be the only person on the internet that will enjoy this before and after.

I knew that we were signing up for some boring stuff and that it would take a minute, but it all feels like a slog, and really we should be moved in by now. But, I’m trying not to get to hung up on the things that were out of our control throughout this whole entire process.

Basically what that photo means is that our old house has a brand new electrical service that can handle the new Air Conditioner that we had installed in the attic. That part was just a bunch of moving of things behind walls, stuff that I can’t even see. A little underwhelming, but overall a GREAT functional addition to the home.

But dude, get me to the fun part! Let’s do the living.

We played a little experiment with an old dirty kilim runner that I had on hand, to see how everyone feels about a big dose of carpeted pattern on the entryway stairs. It was a winner. Now we are on the hunt for some Kilim or Persian action that meets the criteria of 32″ width and over 25′ of length.

Kilim-Runner-on-Stairs

Not this particular kilim, but something like it

The dude and I were initially inspired by Paris, we (okay, mostly me) loved the carpeted stairs in our AirBnB flat.

Stairs in Paris Flat

Another inspiration image that has been floating around my world includes the entry stairs in Christine Lennon’s home, featured on OKL.

kilim on stairs

Christine Lennon’s entryway stairs let first time guests know that this is no “buttoned-up colonial”

I like this look, and I love the fact that we have an opportunity to set a similar tone for the rest of the home since our stairs, like Christine’s are the first thing you’ll see when you you enter.

I’m hoping to find one persistent design though, b/c the dude of the house doesn’t lean boho enough to let me mix up the patterns as seen above.

I’ve scoured sites like RugsDirect and all of the many kilim sellers that I follow on Instagram and Ebay for unique runners in the length we’ll need. It’s especially hard with the one offs on Ebay, since I’ve calculated more than 25 feet of rug needed. So, it looks like we may have to land on something that is mass produced. Unless I can get lucky and pull of something like this + this. They could be a close enough match.

I dig and I love so many of them, but I can’t love just ONE enough. Here a few Rugs Direct options that I’ve bookmarked b/c they caught my eye, and filled me with doubt and longing. I’ll keep the search going and we’ll see where we end up.

runner rug 1A bit too trad?

runner rug 2A bit too rad?
(by rad, I mean pink. I don’t think the dude will get down with that much pink)

runner rug 4Pretty strong graphically, just a bit too much punch?

runner rug 3Hmm… Leaning a bit too folksy?

rug no runner 6Pretty good, but sadly not available in a runner.

Let me know if you’ve got any killer ideas!

 

 

 

 

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Black Frame Windows

7th_street_residence_black window framesvia PullTab

I’ve been feeling rather drawn toward black frame windows.

It’s an industrial vibe, a warehouse look, and it’s had my attention for some time — but lately I’m noticing it more and more as it mixes traditional residential architecture with modernized interiors and it’s really impressing me and that has me thinking about my own new home.

This particular home decor trend is not adopted without some commitment to the cause. Many times the executions are impressive because they were an architectural choice at the time of installation. However, painting an otherwise normal window frame is an option for upping the aesthetic ante. Painting windows can be a real pain though, especially if you are covering up oil based paint. Many folks wouldn’t be willing to get into this without real commitment to the look.

We are trying to make that decision for ourselves now. I’m growing more and more committed each day though. It started as an quick idea that I brushed away almost as soon as I thought it. It has since evolved from that to the “Heffe would never buy it” stage to this full on campaign for his consideration. This marks the official launch of my efforts to convert the dude into a believer.

First, let’s have another look at the windows in the new hizz. There are 13 in the sunroom alone. They are lovely old french panes and they are painted blue on the outside, which is an endearing feature that made me fall head over heels for this home.

But, from the inside, you can see that blue sneaking and peeking around the edges, blurring and distorting the frames and distracting from the view beyond the jungle greenery. The addition of the screens, which we only have on the windows that open, makes for an illusory sense of color in the frames, ie, not white, but very fuzzy.
the-windows-at-shaniqua-the-estate-of-things

You can clearly see the illusory color effects happening in these pics. They are already imperfect — why NOT paint them black? My feeling is that the strength of the black mullions and transoms will stand up with a bit more visual strength to the sunlight and the screens, providing a more cohesive grid like effect on the windows and thus improving the view overall. I’ve photoshopped it below.

But first, join me as we journey through a world of black frame window inspiration and what got the old wheels spinning in the first place. Most of these painted frames maintain their original white window trim, so it is only the frame that should get the black treatment in our home. This is the look that I’m after. Of additional note, some of these are most definitely metal frames and some have no trim at all.

Black Window Framesvia Carter Kay

ellen-and-portiasvia Architectural Digest
Ellen & Portia’s foyer has got it going on and their black frames are definitely an architectural statement. Plus there is a large dose of Serge Mouille at play, which is another recurring trend in the images I’m pinning. I’m feeling all wanty inside.

chenault james black windowsvia Chenault James

Amber-Interiors-Black-window-panesvia Amber Interiors.
Amber’s recent client reveal showcases an impressive architectural statement with its black warehouse window wall.
Peep the before and after post to get a load of just how this feature sings agains that brilliant white.

french windows painted greyvia Rethink Design Studio
Just for fun, here is a room with the french frames painted grey.

black windows Feldman Architecturevia Feldman Architecture, Inc.

So, I put our home in its mid-renovation state into photoshop, to help us see what our little spot could look like. I’m rather loving the turnout. Let’s do it!

black-window-frames

black-looking-into-the-dining-room-shaniqua-the-estate-of-things

 

UPDATE:

We did it. Here is a little look at our turnout.

the-sunroom-with-ky

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

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Designing Our New Home From Scratch

Part of the move-in process includes a fresh start by repainting the entire interior. I’m talking walls, trim, windows, doors and ceilings. It’s no minor task designing our new home from scratch. Every day presents a new decision, but we’ll start first with a fresh coat!

Sarah and I are having an email dialog about the perils of choosing paint colors. How lucky am I to have her expert consultation at my fingertips?

It makes me anxious to hear her say she needs to know more about the vibe we are after in order to help me suss out the differences between whites! But this post is my attempt in communicating our desires.

To start, there is nothing like experiencing the room throughout the day, and getting a feeling for the light as it passes from east to west.

Here is a look at the vacant living room.Shaniqua Living Room 700

Shaniqua Living Room other side 700

We have already removed the drapes and the brass fire screen. The large built-in will be torn out next week, and despite falling rather in love with it at first sight, those interior french doors are going away too. Our whole M.O. up in here, is to simplify and modernize.

I have pondered removing almost all of the trim detail from door jams to window casings, but I don’t believe I can readily get the dude on board with that. It seems like it’s a worthy consideration though.

The walls are already white. Part of me thinks it is kind of crazy to come in and repaint it all a shade or two brighter (especially with the associated price tag,) but we decided that while she’s vacant, we want the fresh coat either way, and the current white is a creamy yellow that reads super warm, where we are looking for that crisp cool bright white we’ve all grown to love. We love the rustic wood beams, and will be leaving them as is.

Are you the kind of person that belabors the decision making process? Mostly, I am not. I’m usually in and out. I don’t really like to test or sample, I hate trying clothes on, and I don’t need a yelp review to decide where to eat. Let’s just go, it’ll be fine. I’m willing to live with my often less than perfect results.

Except for when it comes to white paint, apparently.

Due to the price tag, this isn’t something to take lightly, and it definitely isn’t something to throw up to chance. I must choose ONE white from the seemingly infinite array of whites that exist on our paint chip fan.

white-paint-chips

We are narrowing down some choices that we will next paint in large swatches on the wall. The room sees an array of hues with the passing of the California sunshine overhead. The dead center chip is called Oxford White and is seeing high favor from both me and Heffe throughout the days and nights. That top left is “swiss coffee,” I believe it’s the closest to what is already happening on the walls throughout the home.  We are also partial to the top right chip, Dogwood Blossom, but it definitely reads less crisp white and more greige. I’m not sure we want the hue.

The ALL WHITE EVERYTHING phase that is going on in decor at the moment is the move of the decade. It’s certainly rampant in SoCal design, borrowed from Scandinavian design and quite prolific in the French interiors that I have been digging into since our vacation to Paris last week, where we stayed in this incredible flat.

incredible paris flat on instagram betsymoyer
From the mix of those influences, there is a vibe that we’re after, and I hope that we can achieve it. A crisp white backdrop is part of that look, but rustic woods and black accents play an important role as well.

Here are a few more inspiration images that I have gathered to help us set the tone.

Patrick Dempseys Malibu homebeautiful newfie in living roomImportant first and foremost because of Newfie, but of additional note this room features Serge Mouille lighting, warm rustic textures and use of pattern! Sarah, you actually linked to this same room in your Serge roundup!
I found the Newfie pic on Instagram

the bridge houseThe Bridge House is notable for its mix of whites, woods and black accents, which is a trend that you will see in the following photos as well. Let’s call this the vibe that we’re after. It has a sense of a rustic, worn, lived-in modernism.

wood kitchen cabinetryOriginal Source unknown, via Pinterest

white walls wood floors black trimThe large black warehouse frame look is achieved with a mirror. I’m totally into that trick, since I probably wouldn’t be allowed to go so bold & paint the trim on our french windows in black. Could be a great way to try out the black grid accent without the major commitment.

The kids rooms will be painted the colors of their choosing. We’re tossing around some ideas to toss some color on the hallway doors and the ceiling in the sunroom is going to be blue. But any other color choices will come about later, once the all white walls living commences.  I hope we get it right.

See more visual notes on the Shaniqua pinterest board.
We’ll see what comes together, but for now I’ve done my best to give Sarah a glimpse into the vibe we’re hoping to achieve.

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Lofty Dreams of Attic Conversions

My mind is often prone to wander off towards dreams and fantasies of a more unrealistic nature, which is why I presume – when we have a whole brand new house to plan for with reasonable needs like space planning and painting, I can’t stop thinking about the attic.

It’s a real romantic notion.

Since my childhood I’ve journaled. The voice has changed throughout the years but most times I write as if I’m communicating with an audience. That audience is often a girl that came after me, maybe I helped to make her, my child or my grandchild. This girl is sitting up in an old attic somewhere, breathing in the must of a generation gone by, flipping through the pages of all my most silly dreams and tales of the times that I lived in, interesting if only because they happened in the past.

It’s dramatic and it looks like something like a scene from the NeverEnding Story.

the-never-ending-story-attic

With that in mind, imagine my surprise when we popped our heads through the attic opening to find this roomy, spacey spot in our new home.

shaniqua-attic-unfinished

Wouldn’t it be irresponsible of us to have this much space above our heads without some usability?

My mind wanders from storage and stories to a full on finished conversion.

We had a contractor over this weekend, and he appeared overwhelmed with the thought of re-routing all of the pipes and ducts which proved the dude right, that I was pre-mature for pondering it, but I’m thinking long game here. There is an INCREDIBLE view on the other side of those eaves.

For now, I’ll settle my silly notions with thoughts of HVAC and insulation and we’ll pocket this dream for another time in the future, but since I’ve already indulged myself, I’ll share the attic conversion inspiration images that I gathered while dreaming.

attic bath attic master

attic queen bed

attic romantic embellishment guest room

attic working space

bold window end that I  ove

crazy talk but what about a solarium over the kitchen

glass dormer

 

 

 

 

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Designing Ideas for our New Home

At some point in the house hunt, the dude and I started referring to the blue paned house, aka Silver Springs as Shaniqua. It is a reference to the street it’s on, but really it’s more about personifying the home that we couldn’t get out of mind. The name has since grown on us, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Even Heffe’s kids have taken to it.

We got to take them over on Saturday and get a few measurements. Part of our negotiations allowed the previous homeowners a leaseback for 30 days after closing. We had to make formal arrangements to see the home, but we were thrilled to find it mostly empty.

It feels more real than ever now, and we’ll be glad to finally have full access at the end of the month.

welcome shaniqua

Step into her little foyer, where you are immediately greeted with a set of stairs! I’d really like to change that, but we’ll have to wait and see what’s possible.

Come on up!

Shaniqua Living Room 700

We previously discussed the wall of traditional shelving. After seeing the home empty, I’m leaning more towards removing the entire thing. It’s just so heavy and that crown moulding and cabinet facing is not speaking my language.

I’m curious to hear from Sarah, and you if you have any opinion on the matter.

It might be interesting to see what the dude and I could do with some more personal choices for that wall. I’ve seen his carpentry work firsthand, he’s gifted. We might prefer to design something ourselves, but what would that look like?

Where do you see a football & futball lover’s gigantic TV fitting in?

Shaniqua Living Room other side 700

To help me think, I’ve taken to the drawing board. While we there on Saturday, we grabbed all the measurements so I could put together a floor plan. It was a rather painstaking process, but I’ve finally got it pulled together, and relatively to scale.

I used Homestyler by AutoDesk. It was fun and I really lost myself working on it for hours. You can even go fantasy furniture shopping and outfit your entire house with new products from select retailers that they have partnered with. Pretty futuristic robot awesome if you ask me.

Now that I have saved the base floorplan on my free account, I can really play around with thoughts of moving doors, busting out built-ins and contemplating kitchen reconfigurations. I’ll be fantasizing here until we actually get moved in!

304 Chautauqua Floorplan

Shaniqua Floor Plan 3D

 

 

 

 

 

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House Hunting: It’s DONE Y’all

Now that the house purchase is complete, we will happily be bringing the HOUSE HUNTING series to a close.
(… until Sarah decides to move again, which could happen any minute knowing her crew.)

But as for us, let’s have a cheer since we are donezo! I’ve never been more grateful.

The news came in last Friday that we officially closed (10 days and ten thousand headaches beyond our contract close date.) We were pulled through the mire a bit on the nuances of lending protocol, so it was hard to feel anything more than mere relief. The champagne is still chillin’ in the fridge.

Thank God for our real estate agent, Joyce Gottlieb though, who I can’t recommend enough. She was super savvy and tough as nails on hard core sellers and less than stellar funding agents. God bless her! I wish I could buy 50 more houses with her.

So, here we are! We own a home, and it’s literally a fairytale of an entrance. It’s like the Southern California version of the little cottage in the woods that lured Hansel and Gretel. Though I promise I won’t be tossing any children into cauldrons up in here.

storybook front entry

In slightly anti-climatic news, we agreed to allow the sellers to remain in the home for an expressed 30 day period after the closing. We heard that we may have access as soon as next Friday. Fingers are crossed for that, since I’m chomping at the bit to get inside and I’ve already purchased a gigantic piece of rattan furniture (a total wacko thrift store score cause that’s how I roll) for some of the SoCal style that this home calls for.

I can’t wait to style the newest batch of TEOT Pillows on it.

Until then, I have upwards of 200 cellphone photos to pour through, but I cannot WAIT to get inside the emptied out version of our new home, devoid of the Safari-luxe style of the sellers, and onto a blank canvas. I’m starting to brainstorm a bit, and so far my fantasies are a bit unbridled. Dude already said no to a swinging hammock in the Sunroom. Please let his mind be changed.

This is the future hammock room. Upon close inspection, I realized that this room has been sponge painted… and it made me laugh because it’s hideous and horrible and just weeks ago I was trying to convince everyone that this faux finish deserved a new reputation. I still believe it needs a new approach.

Sunroom at shaniqua

Sunroom at shaniqua 2

But for this room, I’m contemplating paying some homage to my southern roots, and painting that beadboard ceiling a plantation porch blue, as seen here.

Of course, I don’t even know what we will put in this room if not a hammock. It will take some living in this house for sure, to see how we spread into these spaces. We clearly do not need multiple dining tables as the current homeowners have. Boy, I can’t wait to open all of those windows and capture the ocean breeze as it creeps up the canyon! We’re only 3 blocks from the Pacific Ocean!

Another space that I’m all geeked about, besides the dudebar that I shared with you last week, is the art studio. I’m not sure how this coin landed on heads, but Heffe volunteers up this extra space that was carved out behind the garage to me and his sweet daughter, my right hand / partner in artistic crime, for our studio. Again, once we start living, we’ll see what the living brings… but I’m thinking this is TEOT headquarters for sure, especially since the demand for more pillow inventory is upon us. Can’t wait to build out some storage shelving, a little spot for photography and of course a desk and inspiration board to tack up all my fancies. One day, we’ may even carve out a spot for a pottery wheel. #dreamsarefree

shaniqua art studio

art studio 1

Maybe we’ll get adventurous and take a sledgehammer to that bathroom too!

The short story version of this home, and how we were able to snag it in this redonk market is that it has some structural issues that were scaring buyers away left and right. The sellers had been under contract more than a handful of times and each time the deal got away from them when the buyers discovered undisclosed information about some settling that has occurred over the past 50 years.

By the time we came along, the seller’s agent was shoving engineer’s reports and buyer inspections into our hands at the mere mention of possibility. You may recall that I started swooning and acting like a maniac over this home back in Feb. I practically tricked Jeff into going to see it since it was listed as a 2br and we needed no less than 3 for our fam situation.

Between the fact that the home was falling down a hill and its lack of legit bedrooms (despite its rather large footprint) we wrote it off.

But we just kept coming back to it, and as born witness on this very blog, we had a heck of a time competing with all cash buyers on every other house that we put a bid in on. So, along with our genius agent, we submitted an intent to purchase at a price that we felt accommodated the worth of the home taking into account the massive repairs it warranted. So basically, we got what we felt like was a deal, and they finally got to sell their house, albeit not for what they thought it was worth. We had several consultations with structural and geological engineers, and all of the reports were studied until we found some peace in the risk of buying a home that is settling into the ground. And we went for it.

Anywhozitz, that is behind us! YAY.

Here is a look from the master into what was once a third bedroom. The seller had converted it into the mister’s dressing room and office by opening the wall with an arch. We feel that we can easily close this up and bring the hallway door towards us to reclaim that space for one of Heffe’s youngins. Word on the street is that this will be an Xbox dungeon for gamers only. I can’t wait to find out if I’m going to have to walk by closed doors, or if we will be able to satisfy the carnal need for Call of Duty decor without compromising aesthetic palpability. We shall see.

rustic-midcentury-renovation

There will also be a struggle with the built-ins, and I would love to hear your opinion. Part of me wants to remove them completely. They are uber traditional in stature , and they are taking up the only good portion of wall that we have in the whole living room. Meanwhile, our only choice for mounting the largest tv of all time is either within the shelves of this monster, on the fireplace (where there is currently no mantle) orrrrr we have discussed a hidden screen/projector combo.

built ins at shaniqua

This is the room it sits in.

living room silver spring

shaniqua-living-room-bookshelves

This post has grown so long, I won’t launch into the landscaping and my dire hopes to claim some access from the garage into the foyer, nor will I bore you just yet with manometer readings and what a settling house on the terraces of the Pacific Palisades really means for the structural stability of this home if we indeed ever get rain again here in Southern California. We’ll talk about that another day, I’m sure!

But thank you so much for bearing with me and for allowing me to relish in this excitement. It’s truly an unbelievable house and I’m so excited to see how the dude, the homies and I turn it into our home! <3

For more pics of the home, see SILVER SPRING & DON’T JINX IT.

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