Durham Project: Progress City

The homeowners at the Durham project really steamrolled through this quick update with the help of their contractor who actually listened when they said, we have to finish this in a month before our baby is born.

What happened in about 3 weeks time? Interior paint, new flooring throughout most of the downstairs, kitchen cabinets painted, quartz counters on!

The Cosmos Carrara Classic counters are in, as well as their new faucet and single bowl undermount stainless steel sink. Subway tile backsplash awaits a light gray grout.

quartz countertop

 

Newly opened up space, combining the kitchen with the family room, the hub of the house. New flooring and paint color unites the space.

Flooring & paint progress

Unfortunately, the client couldn’t put hidden hinges on the existing cabinets, so they went on a quick hunt for polished nickel hinges to match our chosen kitchen cabinet hardware.

hardware matchup

Family room looking extremely fresh with new recessed lighting, Benjamin Moore Moonshine on the walls. The fireplace is primed in this photo. The homeowner liked the washed brick look and in a clutch decision decided not to paint the fireplace brick white.

Family Room moonshine

Horizontal backsplash border, some folks opt for a vertical bullnose border on the ends of the backsplash.

vertical backsplash border

Primed fireplace brick up close.

brick fireplace close

The TV is now mounted on the fireplace and the built-ins were repaired and got fitted with new shaker style cabinet doors.

TV installed2

Picking the right light gray grout for backsplash.

grout choice

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.

Our Most Popular Pins

We are always so honored to see our work on your Pinterest boards. It gives us a thrill each and every time. So, we thought we’d take a little look into the most popular pins from TEOT projects that you guys have saved on Pinterest.

You can follow Sarah here and Betsy right here on Pinterest.

 

I love a nook, you love a nook and we all love it when you take an awkward and unused space in an old house and turn it in to something functional and cool like this cabinet in the May bath renovation.May nook

One of the things you love to pin the most is the right neutral paint colors, so we did this little roundup and you liked it, you really liked it…

Best Neutral Paint

 

I think you guys were in agreement with my color palette on the interior of the Indiana renovation!

indiana interior paint

Continued interest in paint color choices takes us to the exterior of the Indiana renovation. You loved the bold blue and yellow combination. Funny story here…I painted that house three times to get it right.

Indiana House Exterior The yellow front door The Estate of Things Sarah Farrell.jpg

 

Additionally, we pondered, “what is the perfect light grey?” This is one of life’s great mysteries and it looks like you all are trying to answer it too

Master Bedroom Paint

These shaker style kitchen cabinets are our favorite and yours too. You guys pinned this cabinet closeup from the Indiana project.

Indiana House Interior kitchen cabinet The Estate of Things Sarah Farrell.jpg

 

We’re always on the lookout for affordable and classic floor tile, and this floor from the May bath renovation is inspiring,

May bath tile

In my own previous house (the Connecticut house) I gave my hallway a quick spiff up with Ben Moore’s Wickham Gray paint and a new hurricane fixture from Shades of Light. Here it is.

sarah new hall light

 

I am not much of a DIY-er but when I shared my DIY necklace rack it looks like you’re put it on your list of things to attempt too.

DIY necklace rack

 

Choosing the exterior paint colors for the Grout Cottage total renovation was a success and you’re storing it away for future reference,

The Grout Cottage Exterior Paint Colors The Estate of Things

 

And lastly, my Mom’s “Desert Diamond” agave from Plants Delight in it’s second season is a huge hit,

desert diamond agave

 

 

A Quick Paint Fix

A little cottage dining room recently required some quick updating.. Getting rid of the dated paint colors was first and foremost on the list and what resulted is just further confirmation that paint will go a long way.

Tan walls be gone,

Quick Paint Update

We used Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue to brighten up the dining room. We also replaced the existing light fixture with an easy Allen + Roth drum pendant from Lowe’s. How fresh is that?!

We also sent pouty Laney to the pool, so we don’t have to hear “Mom I don’t want to go see any more houses”

Charlotte Project: Paint Color Selection

I worked briefly with a family in Charlotte, NC who had just moved in to a new home. You might remember the inspiration for their family room design. They had moved a few times over the last few years because of careers and had found that they always moved from an unfinished house. They had ideas and aspirations about what they could do to the houses they’d lived in but never got anything accomplished. They wanted cohesiveness and something they could finally call finished.

When they bought the house there were some pretty unattractive paint colors in play, electric blue ceilings and walls, teal and lots of drab tan. They hired a painter and it was time to select colors. The Charlotte family’s home is a traditional five bedroom, three and half bath home with a vaulted ceiling in the entry, formal living and dining rooms and a family room. The client decided to let their funny and charming 10 year old daughter have some creative control over the color of her room–she chose a vibrant stem green color on the color wheel.

In addition to the daughter’s pick, I also took in to consideration the Client’s and six year old son’s shared love for Star Wars and their full intention to purchase a Death Star fathead for the wall in his room.

The Client was really open, there were very few colors that they did not want and those were easily avoidable. I wanted to neutralize and brighten some of the rooms, eliminate all of the tan for fresher warm whites and grays and eliminate the other ridiculous existing colors.

This is what resulted,

Charlotte Color Palette

 

My New Favorite Subtle Gray

Like me, you may be struggling to find that perfect shade of super subtle gray. I know how very difficult this search can be. But search no more because I’ve sampled and identified two most excellent choices during planning of the Bennett kitchen project.

bennett paint samples

I know how truly relieved you must feel now.

 

Pretty Pantry Doors

The door to the laundry room at the Bennett kitchen renovation is a newly installed pocket door. I’m thinking about painting it an accent color and I’m considering a bright, pacific blue like this fabric,

pocket fabric

Aqua is a big fan favorite as an accent color but I don’t think that’s right for this project. I want a more saturated, stand out color. Here’s the path that others have taken,

 

pocket gray

I really like this one,

pocket blue

 

pocket yellow

 

pocket turqouise

 

pocket red

 

 

pocket blue gray

This makes me want to go lime green,

pocket lime

 

pocket aqua

 

 

pocket blue gambrel

Grout Cottage: Interior Paint Colors

Grout Interior PaintI stayed relatively neutral with all of my choices because it’s not my living space– it was made to be attractive to all sorts of prospective tenants. I got to try out some new grays, Classic Gray and Moonshine. I especially loved Moonshine. Simply White is my new go to trim color and Woodlawn Blue was great for the bath in Apartment B. If you’re looking for a “greige” I’d test Classic Gray. If you’re curious about which colors went where, they will all be labeled on the posts about the individual rooms.

The Very Best of…Front Door Colors

This is our edition of the Very Best of…Front Door Colors— of course until there are more that surpass these in bestiness.

This door is on an interesting modern Georgian farmhouse fusion, pretty wild combo

yellow door2

I’ve always liked this simple modern entry

yellow door

The old Blueprint mag cover. Makes you want to go out paint your whole cottage white with a little black trim on the gables, get some modern steel house numbers and some of those barn lights from Lowes, and don’t forget your IKEA watering can to get all styled up for your photo opp.

yellow door3

This is really tempting to me. I have warm brown shingles on my house with white trim and I’ve really been thinking about this,

blue on shingles

Before we could spruce up the Connecticut Ave duplex, I painted the front doors a color similar to this to shape the place up temporarily. It’s a stately blue.

dark blue door

I know all you beachy cottage loving boys and girls want to know what this color is and according to most sources on the interwebs, it’s Ben Moore’s Wythe Blue

blue wythe door

We couldn’t talk about front door color without mentioning the exquisite front entry of the townhome of designer Miles Redd,

miles redd door blue

 

pale blue door

Even if this is not your style, surely you must appreciate the detail and sophistication here,

cool blue grey

Again with that quiet blue/green,

sage door

OK things got a bit serious there now we’re back to a little more fun in a coastal cottage with robin’s egg blue paired with yellow shingles,

robins egg on yellow

I love those big tall french entry doors with a quarter of the bottom a solid panel and lime green well that just makes it all the more better, again with the barn light

lime door2

the contrast is paramount here, love it

lime door

having a little fun with a traditional entry, clearly there was risk that the gas lanterns were going to make things too formal,

green door

this shade of spruce green is so rich, wonder if it’s pine scented?

spruce green

Coral and navy, now that’s something you don’t see everyday

coral on navy door

a pattern will emerge, light blue likes to commiserate with orange quite often

orange door

 

orange gambrel door

 

orange door2

 

red

and rounding up the round up, is pink and peach on old brick, pretty dope if you ask me. Please email me if you actually do this to your brick house and then convince your neighbor to use the other color.

pink and peach

Connecticut Avenue Duplex: Exterior Paint Selection

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?

Best Neutral Paint Colors

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

 

 

Sheena Murphy and Benjamin Moore Newburg Green

Newburg Green by Sheena Murphy House Beautiful

The glimpse into Sheena Murphy’s layered Brooklyn apartment featured on House Beautiful has been on my mind. I’ve been digging dark moody walls more and more lately, and really have been wondering if something this blue and bold would be good for the Heffe House dining room. Maybe I’ll have to hold onto dreams of this much wall color for the next hizzy.

For now, I’ll live vicariously through Sheena’s apartment pics that feature Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green, a nuanced navy that tends to come play between the blue and green hues depending on the light. Enjoy!

Newburg Green by Sheena Murphy House Beautiful 3

Photo Credit: Kelly Stuart

Sarah’s Desk Revamp

A few months ago I bought this old desk at my favorite local thrift shop for about $30.

sarah desk before

 

I was immediately drawn to the brass pulls. And then upon closer inspection, I realized it kind of has a Parsons look with classic straight lines. The finish was in horrible shape, it had not been treated well. I needed a desk and the price was right and it appeared that I could repair the finish with some wood filler and paint.

You know lots of bloggers post about painting furniture but two of my go to sources are Little Green Notebook and Young House Love. I felt confident about my knowledge of the overall painting process but needed to review the recommended primer and what kind of clear finish to apply over the paint. So I consulted YHL’s furniture painting tutorial before starting.

I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to paint the desk white. I was waffling between white or gray. But then I saw this and it was really tempting,

desk black+whiteBut I think it was a little too sophisticated for a desk area in the kitchen/sitting area. So I returned to gray because I love the way that gray and brass hardware live so well in perfect harmony.

I really wanted to hit the gray just right and I think this image embodies what I was shooting for,

desk gray

So my color would be,

fieldstone

 Ben Moore’s Fieldstone, which is what Sally Wheat painted her kitchen cabinets and everyone drooled all over them and it started a revolution or at least it felt like there was a movement? Maybe it was all in my head…

I used Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler because that’s what I had on hand and a latex primer and paint from Lowe’s. Yeah, I used latex primer because I am absolutely over oil based paint and the mess that it creates and John & Sherry said I could anyway.

And here’s my thrifty lover in process after one or two coats,

desk progress

 

And here it is dunzo… finally. I know you’re jealous of my whitewashed paneling in the kitchen, those feelings are natural– just try to contain your excitement. The desk chair is totally temporary and I do not in anyway consider this to be styled.

DSC_0138

 

Close up shot, I did add Floetrol to the paint to diminish some brush strokes and I think it worked…ok. I also scrubbed the hardware with Barkeeper’s Friend and a little Brasso. For about $50 all together I’m absolutely fine with the end product and I could move it somewhere else in time and use it as a console.

DSC_0142

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grout Cottage: Exterior Paint Selection

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: 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.