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Grout Cottage

Grout Cottage: Columns and such…

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

I thought you might like a little update on how the Grout Cottage is looking. We’re in the home stretch now.

The columns are up and the porch is about half way complete. The foundation was repaired and re-coated by Howell Masonry. The old picket fence was finally mended. We should wrap the exterior work up this week.grout columnsThis is what the “character grade” maple floors look like down in the apartment. This is a phone pic but they look seriously good.

grout floor

This is a view back towards the kitchen area and front door. The floor tile is down but not grouted. Cabinets are going in today!

grout kitchen

Moonshine is seriously a fantastic gray and you can see more of the maple flooring.

grout tile

What happens this week:

  • kitchen cabinets installed
  • floor tile grouted in kitchen
  • bath floor tile installed
  • countertops installed in kitchen
  • decorative porch brackets arrive
  • exterior repair completed

 

 

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Grout Cottage: The Porch Plan

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

After hours and hours of pouring over pictures of Victorian era porches, Queen Anne style architectural accents and referencing my Field Guide to American Houses I’ve finally committed to a design plan for the front porch of the Grout Cottage project. I think it was more of a challenge to make design decisions this time because Queen Anne isn’t my favorite architectural style.

Front of house before renovations began,

I’m naturally pretty indecisive and I always pour over this stuff for too long, waffling back and forth. But I feel good about the plan that I’ve created. There is always a sense of temporary relief associated with making these big design decisions. But it’s only temporary relief because the next challenge in a renovation is never far off.

Front of house in June 2013 with repaired gable ends, dog-eared gables gone but still has the original porch.

After porchectomy in July 2013,

So here’s the plan,

A skinnier square column coupled with a curved bracket like the images below,

grout columns & curved

grout brackets & columns

This is the bracket I ordered to match up with my square column that the carpenter will construct,

grout crescent bracket

After pouring over different spindle designs for the railing, mulling over getting someone to make a pattern for me, I decided to keep it simple and purchase traditional turned spindles like the ones below. Also notice these spindles are paired with square columns and a mitered handrail. I love the panel on the base of the column, don’t you?

grout washington square2

Here’s the front of the same house, they have decorative brackets, square columns and turned spindles–all things that are good. Another thing to note about this house, its two colors–a trim color and a body color and the front door is stained which has really been my plan from the start.

grout washington square

That’s why I purchased a nicer wood species without totally breaking the bank, the front door at the project is a custom Alder door from Tucker.

The remaining part left undecided until yesterday afternoon was– should we add a gable accent on the front like this one,

This is a little more ornate than what I was considering but you get the idea. But yesterday we decided against the gable accent because our carpenter suggested that we trim out the top window to mimic the rounded gable vent trim on the sides of the house that looks like this,

You see that vent at the top with the pink trim, that little guy is original and that’s how we’ll treat the window up top on the front of the house. Genius! And I have no idea why that didn’t occur to me earlier because I love those vents. What’s even better is that my front door has the same curved shape at the top.

I’m still considering lighting for the porch, it is wired for two sconces, follow the Grout Cottage Pinterest board to see some of the selections.

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Grout Cottage: Hardwood Selection

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

Choosing what type of hardwood I wanted for the flooring in Apartment B was a lot less about style than it was about price per square foot. Sure, I wasn’t going to choose something so hideous that it would compromise the whole look but price was a huge factor.

Normally, we can salvage the existing hardwood floor. Fortunately, in the downstairs apartment we had amazing heart pine floors to refinish that came out beautifully. In apartment B (upstairs) we didn’t have that same luck. Also after you consider the time it takes to de-nail and very carefully pull up every floorboard without damaging it, cost would significantly increase. We had an uneven, uninsulated upper apartment floor, my attempt to salvage was overruled and the heart pine was gone.

It just so happens that the price of hardwood flooring has managed to increase significantly just since the summer of 2012. In 2004 we bought a closeout load of 5″ wide Brazilian cherry and Tigerwood flooring for around $2.89 per square foot unfinished. Today that same material is around $6.00 + per square foot depending on where you are shopping. So it was sticker shock at Moore Floors.

I went in to the showroom wishing for Hickory but willing to settle for white oak. But what I ended up with was pretty different.

  • Budget was $4 or less
  • Pre-finished
  • Solid wood

Here are the notes that the lovely Carla at Moore Floors wrote down for me,

grout floor notes

We jump in with Hickory first,

Hickory floor

and quickly jump back out because 2.25″ boards are $5.26 per square foot + its $2 a square foot to install. I need 550 square feet so that’s $4,000 for just flooring let’s not count the matching shoe mold I want and tax.

OK oak what’s going on with you,

oak floor

According to Carla this oak by Mullican is at good price right now. I can only tolerate white oak and natural, Gunstock is really on sale but I just can’t do Gunstock. The price for Mullican white oak is $4.46 per square foot.

Then Carla says in a really thick Southern accent, “lemme cawll this ma-an and see if he’s got any deals” yes Carla give him a ring-o.

The guy does have a deal, turns out he’s got what is referred to as “character grade” maple for $3.84 per square foot. They made too much at the mill and now they need to get rid of it. Sounds good, maple is pretty hard but what is the grade of wood. “Character grade” means darker mineral striations and filled knot holes in the boards. So a quick internet search yields these images,

character grade maple floor maple flooring

I’m ok with it and the price is too good to pass up. I signed on the line and in a little over a week I’ll become very familiar with character grade maple flooring.

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Grout Cottage: Porchectomy

Our skilled surgeons performed a routine porchectomy this week at the Grout Cottage. The old columns are stacked neatly in the yard but I’m not going to re-use them, sorry purists. I’ve got a new plan but not to worry residents of Southern Pines, neighbors, blog readers.

grout front 7-24

Looky here, some stairs are complete! That nice wide landing will be more conducive to moving furniture up. Some windows got trimmed too, siding replaced, exterior carpentry happening.

grout stairs

Imagine a carriage once parked here and horses tied up. A sight for sore eyes certainly and recently I voted to tear it down but was overruled. Once we stop that tree from eating it, it will be great storage for the renters.

grout carriage house

And finally, the samples are still stewing in harsh 5:00 sunlight. Betsy likes Woodlawn Blue but its pretty light, Wythe has a little more substance. And while we’re talking about paint, the first coat went on the interior walls today.

grout sample 7-24

I’ve run into a scheduling nightmare today, the whole big finish on the inside just got pushed back two weeks and I talked with a brick mason today that said the foundation was a mess. Up and down, up and down.

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Grout Cottage: Samplin’

This week it was time to do some color sampling on the exterior of the house and the interior of the upstairs apartment. The interior selection is fairly straight forward. I generally approach the paint color selection process in this way.

  1. I gather some inspiration via Pinterest, Houzz, blogs, misc interwebs
  2. Based on the inspiration and my personal preferences I choose a general color for a room, i.e. I’d like to paint the bathroom aqua blue, living area will be gray etc.
  3. Take some paint chips and the color wheel over and see how some specific shades look in the actual space
  4. Purchase paint samples and paint them on
  5. Live with things, re-visit at different times of day. Hopefully don’t have to repeat.

So I’m at Step 4 of the process and this is what things looked like this week,

This is the open kitchen and living area combination, there is no way to break this room up to change colors so the whole space will be all the same color. I have so many light gray samples already so I boxed up some of my favorites and took them over.

The samples in the kitchen area,

grout paint kitchen

1. Gray Owl  2. Classic Gray  3. Moonshine

Before putting the brush to the wall I was really banking on Moonshine being a sure thing but I don’t feel 100% about it yet. Everyone loves Gray Owl and I thought I would give Classic Gray a chance. I had tried Winter White in the downstairs apartment and it was too light although it looks like perfection on the chip. There’s no clear winner at this point. I’ll have to keep visiting and I have a week to decide on interior colors.

Here are the same colors in the living area,

Grout paint LR

1. Gray Owl  2. Moonshine  3. Classic Gray

On the same day I tested some colors in the bathroom. I thought about maybe going bottle green this time but I just can’t seem to get away from blue/green and I’m going to use the snowflake tile again and I like the blue/black/white combo.

Grout bath paint sample

I tested Woodlawn Blue, my go to Healing Aloe and Hollingsworth Green. Woodlawn is the winner.

Moving to the really exciting part on the exterior. This is my first round and really this project warrants at least a 2nd round BUT I think you’ll agree there are some solid possibilities here.

Testing on the side of the house,

grout paint side

1. Woodlawn Blue  2. Hollingsworth Green  3. Stratton Blue  4. Wythe Blue

5. Knoxville Gray  6. Templeton Gray

grout paint sample side2

Colors 5 and 6 are meant to be accents. I originally set out to find a 3-color scheme but I really want to make things a bit easier on myself and do two colors–a color for the body of the house and a trim color. But I think I can easily use Knoxville Gray on some small trim parts on the house without over thinking things.

Same set of samples on front porch of house under cover,

grout paint sample porch

And again on the back of house,

 grout paint sample back

I know someone out there has a opinion so let’s hear it. Favorites, clear front runner, instincts, experiences with these colors? Do tell.

 

 

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Grout Cottage: End of June Progress

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

It’s high time we check in with the Grout Cottage project, there have been some Instagram snippets here and there but let’s talk about a few details. On a good day the Grout Cottage still looks a little like a haunted house but that’s because the exterior transformation hasn’t really happened yet. Earlier this week a young couple drove by and stopped to look at the house. I chatted with them and they said they liked to stop by periodically to see the change happen. They asked me if we were going to paint the exterior and of course I said yes…what color do you think? I said maybe blue/grey, they agreed that would be a good one.

After that I joked with my Dad about the question of painting the outside. He said, no we’re not gonna paint, haven’t you seen the magazines, post-apocalypse is all the rage. We had a good banter back & forth.

Jokes aside let’s check it out,

The gable ends were changed to A-frame

Grout front June

For funsies I used a site called Colorjive to paint the house a blue/grey–not that I don’t think blue/grey is an entirely safe color but I’d like to get a visual. This is not the exact color it will be but it is a Benjamin Moore color but I can’t remember what it was now.

Grout blue

Then we put a new metal roof on. The front porch will have to be rebuilt before it can get the new metal roof.

Grout new roof

We rebuilt the upstairs porch entirely and raised the roof and the door to make enough room for a standard size entry door for the apartment. Also notice the gable end was changed to an A-frame on the back and you can see the other one on the right side of the house. There were four in all that had to be converted.

grout upstairs porch

The light hits this house beautifully in the mornings that’s why I take so many pictures of the side and the blue sky. That rectangular window was added in the bathroom to provide natural light, there was no window there previously. The old and too small kitchen window is covered in black weatherproofing temporarily and the new kitchen window is right next to it. Notice the gas line running right in front of that window, that will be relocated. Those attic vents with the curved trim are darling, there is one on each side and they will stay exactly as they are.

grout kitchen window

Look now because pretty soon the new outside stairwell will be built and this shabby arbor will be gone and the patchwork stairs will be gone too. I will be #trulyrelieved when I don’t have to look at the crappy staircase any more.

Grout stairs

Electrical lines and an HVAC line running up the right side of the house. We’ll build a box around these to parcel them together neatly

grout side conduit

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to change some of the Queen Anne trim but stay consistent with the period. A lot of these trim pieces are rotten or have been re-created. I’m not wild about the “nipple” hanging off that bay. I’ve also thought about panels here around the window in this bay instead of just continuing the siding.

grout bay window

The sawtooth trim is pretty cool around the front of the house but some of it has deteriorated over time. There are a lot of important pending design decisions left for the front of the house.

grout sawtooth

This is the newly sheet rocked Apartment B (upstairs). It’s exciting when walls go up and rooms form. We are looking at the living area in this photo. Originally we had exposed collar ties or “beams” but they were removed at the beginning of this week. We felt like the span wasn’t large enough and that the beams were detracting from the cathedral look.

grout sheetrock apartment B

So that’s a snapshot of wassup right now at the project. Currently I’m thinking about a built-in in the bathroom with glass doors,  a corner shelf at the entry and a whole boat-load of trim ideas for the front porch.

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