Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Last Minute Remodeling Decisions

Some remodeling decisions are effortless. Others make you want to put a cold rag over your eyes. However, the intrepid home decorator must forge ahead. You know, make a decision and stick with it. No prevaricating. No "what ifs." No do-overs. Well, I'm trying to be decisive, but it ain't easy.
Still, even for me, a couple of decisions were a snap.

I knew immediately that the black exterior doors in the Master bath had to be repainted (BM White Dove), but I still took a week to make a formal decision. I posted pictures on Facebook and wrote a blog post about these doors. Even though the votes were divided, the comments helped me see my overall goals for this space: soft, calming, traditional, and informal. 

Finally, I realized that it did not matter if the doors were painted all black, or if the sidelights were painted white, this wasn't the look I'd imagined. [I had visions of myself hunting for rugs, draperies, accessories to repeat the black, and I knew I had to stop the madness before it started.] 
So, White Dove will go in the Master Bath.

I'm leaving the other black-painted doors. I had planned to replace them eventually, but I'm loving them to pieces. 

Other decisions awaited.
It took one second to order cedar shake for the pool house--but just for the front elevation. The brick sides and rear of the house will be painted, and cedar lattice will be installed. Hopefully, I can train climbing roses or ivy to weave up through the lattice. The thick dentil molding will be replaced with simple, never-paint-again trim. (It was so large, it overwhelmed the cottage--plus, it had to be painted every 5 years or so.) 

It hasn't been easy to find a paint color that works with the shake. I've tinkered with formulas, but I've run out of time and energy. 
Time to pull the trigger. 
But my trigger finger keeps hesitating.
It's a difficult decision, because, in addition to the pool house, the brick on the woodsy side elevation will be painted, too. These areas have completely different exposures, and one color looks best on the side of the house (southern exposure--it's shady due to the trees) and another color looks best on the pool house (eastern exposure on the front). I wouldn't hesitate to use both--letting the exposure dictate the paint choice--but this is the sort of thing that gives my GC headaches.

Below, a large patch of BM Plymouth Brown was painted over a small section of BM Valley Forge Brown. 

BM Valley Forge Brown on the left; BM Plymouth Brown on the right. 
No stone work will go over the pool house or the side elevation, but I was still trying to blend all of the elements--paint, shake, stone. 

I really don't know why I'm hesitating.  

Everyone thinks that Plymouth Brown is the best choice...for this one elevation. And that's the problem. It's not the best choice for the pool house.

Another decision must be made about the two magnolia trees in the pool area. Normally, this would be an easy choice--I am a magnolia tree hugger. But when I think about picking up those fallen leaves, I start to wonder if the trees should be removed. (I am pretty sure that they can't be replanted easily or economically.)

I'm also doing a mad dash to find sconces and bathroom mirrors. Luckily, the ranch is turning out to be a good place to shop for lighting. The exterior sconces were taken down when we remodeled the kitchen--we basically blew out the walls, and the electrical outlets were removed. We opted for  recessed lights in the porch ceiling.

Here's the porch (it was beautifully decorated by the P.O.--she is so talented) before we expanded the breakfast room. I just know these cute sconces will work work somewhere else, inside or outside.

I may try them in an interior hall. Worth a shot, right?
The (exterior) sconces appear to be smaller than the interior hall sconces (there are 2). But the little ones are way cuter, in my opinion.
Here's a blurry picture of a hall sconce.

UPDATE: My GC and his team were all over this. They just sent pictures of the sconces:

For me, the mirrored sconces are pretty but a little formal. 
Here's a closer look.
What do you think? Will they work with relaxed, modern country/cottage-like/whatever decor?
(Whatever Style = Stuff I love, and will use in the new house, even though it doesn't fit a category; or fits the wrong category. My affection for the objects creates cohesion, seems like.)

Image: Amazon.com
Still, I thought it was best to leave the sconces on the wall until I'd lived in the house a while, to see if they still felt too formal in a few months. However, my GC said a new sconce may require the electrical outlet to be raised or lowered--and that means drywall repair and painting.The thought of drywall dust in a clean house throws me into a panic. The last thing I want is to remodel after a major remodeling project.
So I am trying to decide, weighing pros and cons.
If I don't use the mirrored sconces in the hall, they'll be used somewhere: my DH says he will love them in his study.
Ditto for the cute outdoor sconces. 

My last option is to keep looking for something like this.

Image: Amazon.com

UPDATE: Sconces that were bought for a bathroom ended up being too wide, so they'll probably go in the hall...if I can remember where I stored the shades. :-)
photo by My Lord Imp

And for the guest bath, Livex sconces from Wal-mart are high on my list.

In the next five minutes, I'm sure another decision will crop up. Until then, I'm eating cold, calming lavender ice cream.


  1. I don't envy you all those decisions to make, mercy!! But I would take the magnolias out, they get so big and the roots could damage the foundation where they are planted. I love trees too, but I don't relish spending money on foundation repairs. Your mom is right, only have what you love, you have to live with it for a long time.

  2. It's all going to be so so pretty....you are blessed to be able to do all this and end up with a house you love.

  3. So many decisions! I think I would pull out the magnolias because they are so messy and are a little close to the house. As for the sconces, I think the mirrored ones look nice but if you are going for a more informal look the preview of the other one from online is nice! Enjoy that ice cream, looks good!

  4. I just keep wanting to tell you to breath! It'll all be okay :)


  5. Oh dear Michael Lee, so many decisions! I know you'll be glad when it's all over and you can enjoy your beautiful home with the gorgeous view.

  6. The black sconces look great in your home. Imagine how they will complement the black doors!

  7. Re exterior paint colours; I can relate to your dilemma as living in the climate I do its amazing how a landscape of snow can even change the colour palette of a home. Regarding the mirrored sconces; I think you are wise to live with them a bit longer as though pretty, I feel they still have a rustic charm about them so think it may be more the style of them that speaks formal and not so much the material they are made of. (If the top and feet were lopped off, IMHO they would be more simplistic.) Also I see that you are still in search of mirrors for the Master Bath. FYI, have you looked at Restoration Hardware as they do have a rectangular mirror that may work with your décor and they come in various sizes. (Search: Under Décor/All Mirrors / Venetian Beaded Aged Brass). All said, I think you have made outstanding progress and so far love all your choices Michael. -Brenda-
    P.S: Re the Venetian Mirror I believe it is very similar (if not the same) that I purchased through a store here Canada and feel the online photo does not do it justice. It has a bevelled mirrored border and the aged brass beading is actually a combination of both silver and gold which works well with any type of finish that you may have in plumbing/lighting fixtures or vanity hardware. Best of all worlds so to speak plus elegant, but not over done.

  8. Yay! for painting the black bathroom doors. Yay! for keeping the other black ones. Yes, remove the magnolias -
    they are too close to the house and spell trouble. Your keen gardner's eye will tell you exactly what to do instead by and by.

    I totally understand your hesitation about the paint color. It's impossible to try to match color from one type of application to another. It just never seems to look quite right. Shocking as it may seem, have you thought about not even trying? Plenty of houses just have plain white clapboard adjacent to shakes. The match is to the trim rather than the shakes. I don't see why the same wouldn't work with painted brick. However, if that seems too stark to you and doesn't feel right either, just know this: Either way, you will probably second guess your decision from time to time. That's because the shakes are several colors and the bricks will be one color. Make a stab at it and let it go. Nothing you do at this point will be a glaring mistake unless you "drop your mental basket" and make some insane decision, which you will not do.

    As for the lighting, although the black sconces would look absolutely fine, I cast my vote for new wrought iron ones similar to those from Amazon. They are more graceful and could bridge your elegant style (from what I've seen of your old house) to the vibe of the ranchburger. The old black ones would certainly be fun in the man cave. Of course, it's very easy for me to spend your money! :)

  9. Magnolia trees and pools DO NOT mix! I spent years cleaning a neighbor's magnolia leaves out of my pool. Also, they look too big for the space they are in and will only get bigger and unmanageable. You won't miss them.

    Once a paint color is chosen and landscape finished...paint color becomes non-entity...all the colors are suitable!

    Thanks for letting us share in your journey.