Saturday, October 27, 2018

Paint Dilemma; Northern Light and Small Windows  

Our "fairy tale cottage" faces east, the living space is along the north side of the house, with two small windows punctuating the main wall, which equals northern light.  The problem with northern light is that it tends to have a blue tint to it.  I experienced this same dilemma along the coast, where the light is very intense with a definite blue tint. Our home there had large gorgeous windows, where the fairy tale has few, small windows.  Heavy sigh. Now I understand why the walls were burnt orange. 

The trouble with blue light is that it will throw green upon everything except blue base colors; blue, purples, greens or maybe taupe.  Warm colors dull in blue light.  The additional challenge of low light creates a space that has bright spots, the small windows throughout the living room act as blinding spots of light.  The result of that is that colors become darker than they are, it is imperative not to go too dark or you'll just have a void of color.  Pastels are a great way to brighten up a space, the soft light colors add visual light.  Bright true colors are another option to brighten up a low natural light room. Short of painting the walls black, pastel or Crayola colors....(burnt orange) - what to do? 

Mr. GDC and I are not pastel people.  We prefer neutrals, also warm colors.  I've never been much a blue girl, except for blue and white porcelain.  The in between shades of soft colors don't appeal much to us, the idea of pastels is not making my heart sing with excitement. Bright colors make me sigh. I was hoping to create a warm, inviting, cottage space a little English with French accents.  

In Galveston I chose Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige, it is a soft taupe.  With the changing light of the long sunny days there the rooms actually changed color as well.  The spaces would range from soft grey to beige.  It was a wonderful color to work with, it literally goes with anything.  Do I want to use it again? 

The daily trips to the Home Depot here in Corsicana found me standing in front of the Behr paint counter.  There's only so much following Mr. GDC around I can do.  I get distracted...Squirrel! I brought home a couple of Behr samples; Creek Bend and Naturalist Grey.  I absolutely love Creek Bend at night, a medium warm grey it is stunning at night.  During the day, you can't see the color on the northern wall of the room due to glare from the windows.  Can I live with that?  Broody walls... I envision taupe and cream buffalo check drapes with a wide trim on the lead edge, paired with warm accent colors of terracotta and gold, maybe a floral chintz - English Country Cottage.

Naturalist Grey is actually a medium to dark sage green.  It performs better in the space.  Do I want green?  There are terracotta bricks everywhere in the house.  I planned to have rusty, brick reds or oranges as an accent color to pick up the brick floors and exterior famed "Corsicana Brick".  Do I want green and orange?  I think with this sage green I'd use blues as an accent.  Sage, blues, and terra cotta?  

I tried one of my all time favorite Benjamin Moore paint colors; Coastal turned green, not a pretty green, it looked as though it needed to take two aspirin and get some rest green. The collection of paint cards is growing. 

Behr Creek Bend left, Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog center, Behr Naturalist Grey right 

My design training is whispering in my head to go lavender, blue, or green.  Mr. GDC may divorce me if the walls turn lavender.  Benjamin Moore has a beautiful dusty lavender Violet Pearl that  may have a go here at the cottage. 

Photo Credit; Benjamin Moore Violet Pearl #1451

Photo Credit; Carla Moss Interiors, Benjamin Moore Violet Pearl 

Photo Credit; Carla Moss Interiors 

I can envision the walls in this soft, dusty lavender, blue drapes paired with terra cotta and camel accents I think the living room could come together well.  Heavy sigh, we would need a different Persian rug, that is a large investment. Do I want lavender walls? 

For soft greens you can't do better than the perfection created by Joan Garner, at "For The Love of a House" blog.  She used Benjamin Moore Grey Owl OC52 in her living area. It is pure perfection.  

Photo Credit, Joan Garner, For The Love of a House

I admire and adore her easy style, elegant yet comfortable. She expertly layered texture and subtle color to create an interesting space.  You can visit For The Love of a House here .  She's a Texan too, transplanted to New England.  BM Grey Owl may be my next paint sample, inspired by this gorgeous room! 

One thing is for certain, we need better lighting.  There are 1980's/1990's recessed downlights in the room, complete with diffusers.  They fail to provide enough light in the center of the room to make up for the shadows from the small windows.  More clear light would help solve the dilemma. I can't help but wonder if there is another six inches above the drywall ceiling. Maybe remove the ceiling and install track lighting.

I'll keep painting sections of wall, creating vignettes while pondering and collecting paint cards - maybe I'll play a little "go fish",  Got any blue? Got any green? Go Fish! 

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Corsicana, ready or not, here we are!

Corsicana, ready or not, here we are! Our next victim - 

To say that getting to Corsicana was a challenge, well, that would be an understatement.  Nightmarish, is closer to the truth. Thankful for our most amazing realtor, Janet Gummelt, from Keller Williams, Arlington Texas office, who's tenacious personality, along with a sincere drive to help us, found us the most amazing English style cottage - 

Are we lucky, or what?!  The year built is a little sketchy at this point, 1939 seems to be the most  relevant, with a suspected renovation along 1950 then another probably early 1990's.  We've heard at one time it was a carriage house.  We wonder which part.  What I can say is that it's been added on to a few times.  There are steps up and down from room to room, a covered porch was added somewhere along the way, then enclosed into a "sunroom".  It's a cottage, it's quirky, it's old, it's very much us and it's our next victim...

The house faces East, and is nestled at the back of a large corner lot.  The front doors are on the right, the black double doors with the "X" motif, that interestingly is carried throughout the cottage.  As you open the door you are welcomed into a very large rectangular shaped, knotty pine clad living room.  The end of the room has wall to wall built-in shelves surrounding leaded glass crank out windows.  There is a massive fireplace on the right with a raised hearth that I've tripped over countless times.  


The floors are wide plank stained in walnut.  The knotty pine walls have been painted a color Texans will recognize, University of Texas burnt orange.  The ceilings are 8' 6" high, finished with beams that create coffers featuring drywall and old style recessed lighting.  I'm guessing if the drywall is removed there's 6" above and maybe a knotty pin ceiling. The room spans the length of the house, there are two cased opening on the left side.  This room is two steps, about 18" higher than the remainder of the house, it feels like an addition. 

Directly to the left of the front door, through the first cased opening is a room featuring another leaded glass crank window, built-in and Dutch door that exits to the front garden.  This room was used previously as a dining room.  It's the new home of Mr. GDC's office.  We plan to add doors for privacy, change the lighting and of course paint and window treatments. 

View from the room looking toward the front door. 

This view shows Mr. GDC's office on the left, through the second cased opening is a Keeping Room with brick floors, the stairs to the second floor bedrooms rise from this small space, the kitchen sits at the end  and the largest fireplace I have ever seen is along the wall to the right.

The wall to the left hides the range. The built-in on the right hides the fridge, which creates a huge issue with fridge replacement; fridge doors cannot open against a wall unless they are built with a "zero hinge", which most are not.  Our choices are built-in fridge, or remove the wall.  Mr. GDC, like most fellas, appreciates the water and ice in the door option.  Of course I would prefer the sleek lines of a built-in fridge.  I'm guessing the wall will be removed, because the fridge is not in working order and must be replaced.  

Moving on to the fireplace, it literally spans the entire wall length of the Keeping Room. 

The fireplace is a "cooking" fireplace, complete with pot and bracket, along with shelf for baking and wood storage. My question; is it original?   My first instinct is to remove the entire fireplace, add a row of cabinetry or antique hutch to extend the kitchen.  But, first instincts aren't always the best choices.  

The kitchen at the end, a small U shaped layout with an amazing farm style sink.  The counters are blue granite, the backsplash tile is white and blue clay tile featuring a harlequin pattern that mimics the leaded glass windows in the living and Mr. GDC's office. 

A new, revised kitchen plan is in the works. Maybe a way to "spill" the kitchen into the Keeping Room space?  I can imagine a French baking table in the center of the Keeping Room.  I need more counter space, a place to knead bread, roll cookies and croissants.  The keeping room is dark, very dark because there are no windows.  The room is a pass through to the kitchen, upstairs, downstairs bath also the backyard access.  The view below shows the stairs along the wall opposite the fireplace in the Keeping Room. 

Behind the fireplace, a previous covered porch was enclosed into a sunroom. We are uncertain what to do with this space.  For now it will sit and wait. I hope for patience. 

Upstairs we have two bedrooms and a bathroom.  Unfortunately my wide angle lens is packed!  For now this is what I can share.  

Exterior back view of our cottage.  It has a large patio centered around a fountain.  We also have a very large yard, with many gardens that need a little attention. 

 After eleven days the movers arrived with our belongings...

We are unpacking, moving things about, trying to get to know the cottage.   My mind is swirling with paint colors, kitchen plan, where to place the furniture. Every home is different. Some pieces work, while others will be adopted out to knew homes. 

My cousin Paula asked, "Have you named it? Is it male or female?"  I'm uncertain. It has a decidedly male feel to it, strong, sturdy. But females can possess those traits as well. Something English I would think. The wind is definitely changing, that's for certain - I feel an interior with more of a cottage mix.  My design searches seem to all have the terms "English Cottage" in them.  Maybe more color, perhaps buffalo check drapes paired with a little floral? 

 It's been raining.  It is cold here in North Central Texas.  Much colder than this "island girl" is accustom too.  We haven't seen any dove yet...maybe if I put out some seed - 

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Leaving Galveston and Sybi

The movers arrived three hours late, they got lost.  They had an incorrect address in their mapping that took them through Houston, then down to Bolivar Island.  The guys got to bring the  moving truck across from Bolivar to Galveston on the ferry.  We all laughed about it, they didn't see dolphins, they did see Pelicans and Gulls.  They had never been on a ferry before, or to Galveston.  It was an adventure for them.   It was a gorgeous day on the island, a light shower in the afternoon just as they finished loading, it was a good day to move. 

What took us eight days to pack, took the crew of four men only four hours to load.  It was amazing watching them work as a team.  Before we knew it our Sybi was empty - 

The dining room, with silk blend drapes hanging like ball gowns, puddled upon the red pine floors. 

The Parlor with original pocket doors featuring porcelain knobs and the only closet original closet in the house.  In 1894 when Sybi was built, a closet was considered a room, therefore taxed.  People with closets often showed them off by placing them in the parlor, a display of wealth. Mr. GDC used this parlor as his office.  He spent many hours working away in this room, occasionally giving a wave to our friends who wandered by on the sidewalk  - 

The center of the house with cabinets and columns. 

The Keeping Room with it's eight foot square French window framing the view toward the detached garage.  12 foot ceiling throughout, a chandelier dripping in crystal she still felt gracious. 

Her well appointed kitchen where we cooked many a dinner and dozens of cookies to share with friends.  Homes are never truly empty, the memories of those who lived there whisper long after we leave; the lively conversations, clicking of glasses for champagne toast, the soft prayers linger in the air.  

We made our way down the seawall one last time, the waves were crashing along the gulf coast as we began our new adventure. Thank you to our lovely Sybi, to our warm and loving friends who made our time in Galveston such a joy.  There will forever be a part of hearts living there - 

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Big Move

Moving and Organization 

Moving can be, is a stressful time.  In addition, trying to fit your furnishings and accessories into a different home is real trick.  Some people chose to sell a great deal of items prior to moving. While others of us, well, we love a challenge - 

Bringing it with can present a whole new set of challenges.  One thing that gets on my nerves faster than anything is the repeating parrot; "Where do you want this?" question from movers.  You're just moving in, you have no idea where you want anything, or if it will fit!  In an effort to prevent my glance from becoming one filled with daggers launched in the direction of our hard working movers - I color code.  Yes, color code.  It was born from being the Mom of a dyslexic kid, they can transpose all sorts of words, letters, numbers so color coding is the dyslexic Mom's best friend.  As it turns out, also an excellent method of moving organization.  

For moving supplies I use a combination of boxes, bubble wrap, paper, Styrofoam plates/bowls, furniture wrap, packing tape and colored construction paper.   We also store our large original boxes in our attic.  Boxes to specialty items; televisions, computers, small appliances etc... which allows us the opportunity to pack hard to pack /fragile items in their original packaging.  

When packing there is usually one or two items in the box that will help me to remember the entire contents of the box.  I list those few items upon the top of the box for my reference.  I mark two sides of the box with the destination room, along with writing the one or two things upon the side to help me remember the contents.  

Finally, the box receives a color code; on each side and upon the top.  I color code all of my rooms in the house prior to moving, assigning each space a color.  I cut construction paper into rectangles and tape three rectangles to each box.  On moving day I post a sheet of assigned color of construction paper to its room.  Have I lost you?  Below is the color chart for our next home: 

Living Room - Orange (The walls are UT burnt orange. It's a Texas thing) 
Kitchen - Blue (The marble counters are dark blue and white. Tiny kitchen, gorgeous countertop)
Sunroom - Green (The walls are painted in something close to Sherwin Williams Sea Glass) 
Bedroom - Red (There are red plaid drapery panels on each window) 
Dining Room - Brown (Because that is the color left in the construction paper packet) 
Guest Bedroom - Yellow (There are cream chintz floral drapes with yellow/pink roses)
Garage - White (Because there are tons of boxes that will initially land in the garage. I can color code those boxes with simple printer paper.)

Now that we've spoken about the color system, let's talk packing.  It is very important to make certain that your boxes are packed snugly. Not so tight that things may break. Sung enough to prevent them from shifting in the box.  When items move about when being carried, they break. 

All breakable items should be wrapped in bubble wrap or paper to pad them.  I typically bubble line the bottom and sides of all boxes I am packing breakable items inside.  The bottom lining wraps up two sides, with enough left over to tuck over the top of the box.  On fragile glass items for example, wine glasses, I add another layer of bubbles between layers, offering additional cushion. I'm no expert, this is simply my method.  I can't guarantee or promise that your beloved items won't be broken.  This is a method that has worked for me over, twelve moves. Yes, twelve. 

I've also found that Styrofoam plates and bowls help in packing, lining a Styrofoam plate between each dish helps to pad the dishes, preventing breaking.  The stack of plates will actually spring, when pressure is placed upon then stack. Wrapping the stack with bubble wrap, then adding paper around the stack to create bumpers in the corners insures the plates from moving around, coming unstacked and helps to cushion the plate stack from each side of the box.

The boxes are organized together in our home prior to moving day.  This allows movers to pick up and load all of the same color/rooms together.  I try to stack the boxes three or four high so that movers can easily load them upon a dolly and carry them out, aiding in a quick loading.  This organization in loaded also results in an organized off load.  At the destination I hang a full sheet of construction paper in each room.  The coordinating color for that room.  When movers begin to offload our items into the home, they simply take their stack of color coded boxes to the room with the coordinating color of paper.  It is a bit of work to prepare, to organize, but a method that works great.  Movers seem to appreciate it because they don't have to ask that repeated question "Where do you want this?"  - over and over and over again.  Can you imagine how monotonous that must be, day after day asking the same question?  Color coding on the new destination helps me as well, our boxes are in the appropriate space so I don't have to shift them room to room after the movers have left.   

Someone is a little nervous.....

The movers arrive next Tuesday. It has been challenging move this time; trying to find a home turned into a monumental tasks. It's been one of those moves where every step created new hurdles. We've kept steady.  Our belongings will go to storage for a week in between closing.  It's always so difficult to coordinate moving dates, so many rules, so many people to juggle.  We will be homeless for a week.  We tend to use that week as an opportunity to visit family, and get to know our new town, Corsicana, Texas.  I'll tell you all about it soon; a quaint small town about 65 miles south of Dallas.  Our Real Estate Agent found us the most amazing cottage, yes, a cottage.  I just hope there are grey dove in Corsicana - 

Wishing you all the best -