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Grout Cottage: Exterior Paint Selection

by Sarah on September 18, 2013, one comment

Leaving dirty yellow, Pepto pink, white and a battleship gray foundation would be no trouble at all.

Grout front

From previous experience I know how painstaking the process of choosing an exterior paint color can be and I didn’t want to be rushed or procrastinate. I’ll sheepishly remind you all that I once had a house painted three times. In order to get ahead and never make that mistake again, I let samples stay up for something like two months at the Grout Cottage.

grout paint sample side2In gathering inspiration at the start of the project on the Grout Cottage pinboard, I pinned a few color combinations on Queen Anne style homes. For a hot minute, I kicked around maybe stepping away from the blues, greens & grays and doing some sort of terra cotta combo. Ultimately, I couldn’t depart from what I love so much so I decided that I would do something in the blue/gray family.

There were a few Benjamin Moore colors I have been curious about and wanted to try including:

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

grout paint sideI narrowed it to Woodlawn & Wythe fairly easily. After viewing them at different times of the day, I found that the intense sun washed Woodlawn Blue out significantly at certain times of the day.

So I chose Wythe Blue.

paint wythe blue

And then the rest of the players fell into place after that.

The Grout Cottage Exterior Paint Colors The Estate of Things



Grout Cottage: The Porch Plan

by Sarah on August 12, 2013, one comment

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,

Grout front

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.

Grout front June

After porchectomy in July 2013,

grout front 7-24

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.

tucker alder door

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

gable accentThis 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,

grout kitchen window

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.


Grout Cottage: Porchectomy

by Sarah on July 25, 2013, 2 comments

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.


Grout Cottage: Checking in Upstairs

by Sarah on April 30, 2013, no comments

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.

While Apartment A (downstairs) of the Grout Cottage is getting the finishing touches, Apartment B (upstairs) is getting new frame work and a new layout.

It doesn’t look like much now but this is the current state of Apartment B after demo is complete and re-framing is well underway,

grout cathedralThis is what the living area looks like now,

Grout Living Room BThe future site of the bathroom and kitchen,

Grout Kitchen B

And those bedrooms now have real closets with average size doors.

Grout closet frame BSo we’re getting there, you have to get through the important structural stuff to get to the fun stuff.


Grout Cottage: Overhangs & Such

by Sarah on February 22, 2013, 2 comments

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex and we are presently remodeling the ground floor apartment. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

The rooms have taken shape, all the sheetrock has been hung and mud applied and sanded. We’re ready for the big trim out.

I spent about an hour + talking about the right overhang for the back door. I should’ve taken some pictures of my carpenter Joseph putting head in hands. I know he loves the special kind of torture that I put him through.

Here is the back door. I know it still looks very sad but don’t worry it will get better. The deeper yellow patch to the left of the door is all new wood lap siding!

grout cottage back door

Going in to the conversation about the overhang, I did the crew the great service of narrowing it down to two different designs.

The first overhang option,

copper overhang


And the second option,

A frame overhang

There were some impediments which made the decision difficult including the placement of my exterior lighting choice (sconce), the highest possible point for the pitch of the overhang and the siding.

In the end we collectively decided that the 2nd option, the a-frame would be best. It echoes the shape of the gables, its not too fancy (it’s the back door) and it can accompany my exterior sconce next to the door.

Check out the Grout Cottage inspiration board on Pinterest!