Posts Tagged ‘neutrals’

It’s well documented on this blog that I’m behind in my posts.  So far behind that it doesn’t even make sense to make excuses anymore, so I won’t!  Instead, I’ll just post pictures of the master bedroom put back together after the new carpet earlier this year:





The most obviously unfinished part is the closet:  like all of our bedrooms at this point, our master bedroom doesn’t have closet doors.  The old luan doors were sliders, and that was a pain for two people sharing a closet:  you can only get into one side at once!  We’ll be replacing all the luan doors in the house eventually, so this seemed like a good time to get rid of the luan sliding doors.  Sliding doors require a cutout in the carpet for a small track/guide in the middle of the door frame, so we pulled out the old track when we ripped up the blue carpet, pitched the doors, and put down new carpet without a hole for a track.  Eventually we plan to put in bifold doors, but that day hasn’t come yet.  In the meantime, gold stars for Marcy and Guinness for leaving our shoes alone.

Another project still on the list is the windows.  Eventually we’ll paint the trim around the windows white.  We skipped it in the first round of trim painting because the carpet installers had us on a deadline.  Any trim that didn’t touch carpet was deemed non-essential.  Plus, the previous owners installed the blinds and curtain rods directly to the trim.  Before we paint, we’ll want to take those down and fill the holes, but that means we need to have the new window treatments ready to go.  I’m over the mini-blinds that came with the house, but still undecided on what I’d like to put up.

DSC_0038The new carpet looks so much better than the old jewel tones, but even better is having new carpet padding underfoot instead of almost 30-year old padding.  This post is not so belated that the excitement has worn off!


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Ah, before and after’s.  My favorite posts to write.  Without further ado:


Taking photobombing lessons from Bo Obama

I’m really pleased with the finished product.  I think it looks more polished, will be more practical to take care of, and like I mentioned in a previous post, I think it helps our very own green monster staircase stand out a little less.

So there you have it!

Eventually we’ll paint the door frame trim white, along with the baseboards and the sides of the stairs, but probably not until we’re ready to replace the flooring.  I’m not holding my breath for that one, though, so we’re calling the project done for now.  This is one I’m very glad we did.

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Almost done!

The only thing left to finish is the last few coats of spray paint on the banister brackets, and then putting the banister back up.

I’m really pleased with how well the Stone Lion paint below the chair rail coordinates with the carpet, curtains, and couch slipcover in the living room, when you look into the foyer from the living room.

Once I get the banister back up, I’ll post a photo of the finished stair case.  I think the chair rail and the darker paint help de-emphasize the green carpet a little, which is great.  The green is no longer far and away the darkest, most obvious thing in the space.  I’m still looking forward to replacing it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little less aggressive now.  I’ll take it.

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Painting continues here at Guin’s Yard:  the molding is finished, with three coats of semi-gloss paint.  We’ve finished edging the ceiling white, cream, and brown along the trim, and rolled the brown.  It essentially looks finished, but there are a few spots on the walls where a 2nd coat would be a good idea.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll be done!

This is a good look at the color, from a little earlier in the week:

The thin little strip of Sandbar shows how much lighter it is than the Stone Lion.  Now that it’s (almost) done I think we made the right choice.

One little part of the project that’s still ongoing is that I’m spray painting the brackets for the banister.

From the looks of them, the banister was stained in place, and stain drips are still all over the brass brackets (which I’d probably spray paint anyway, since the brass doesn’t match anything in the house).  I cleaned them up with hot water and a pot scrubber to get little bits of latex paint and dust off, and primed them with spray primer.

Tomorrow I’ll do a first coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

I still haven’t decided if we should leave the banister itself stained or paint it.  I’m not sure what color to paint it if we were going to, so I think it’ll stay as-is for a while.  White seems like it’d get dirty fast, with hands on it all the time.  Plus, there’s still a lot of unpainted molding, so it won’t look out of place right away.  We will get to painting the baseboards when we replace the green carpet, and painting the door frame trim when we replace the interior doors with nicer 6-panel doors in the future.

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We’ve finally arrived at a final decision on tile for the downstairs bathroom:

(The color on the right)

After starting out looking for something like this, then trying on a bunch of other ideas for size, we’ve come full circle.

We’re going to do 13×13 squares of Tracce del Tempo porcelain tile.  But instead of arranging them in a grid like we’d been setting them into the room, we’re going to orient them in a diamond pattern, rotated 45 degrees.  That way we get the unfussy look of a small amount of grout, without looking like we’re putting grid lines into the bathroom.  We’re hoping the space will look bigger that way.

I want to make sure we finish the hall and stairs before work on the bathroom starts, so that we’re not living in the middle of a long stretch of works in progress. This will provide more motivation to get the hall painting finished in the next week or so!

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This weekend we had a visit from mom & dad, and tackled the chair rail and crown molding in the foyer, up the staircase, and around the upstairs landing.  It was a tremendous amount of precise cutting and detail work to get all the corners right.  Well done dad on that.  As of Sunday night we’ve got everything installed and caulked, and have just started the painting.

The starting point was about as blank a slate as possible:

With the exception of the light, which we updated a couple years ago, it’s been pretty much untouched.  It has sort of a “plain vanilla landlord vibe.”  And even though we walk through it many times a day, it still had the feeling of being accidental square footage, just sort of a continuation of the kitchen and stairway wall color, and the kitchen floor.  It certainly didn’t offer a gracious welcome at the front door.  So we decided to give it some polish and make it feel more like a “room” unto itself.





First came the crown molding, starting by the kitchen.

and as Saturday progressed, we wrapped around the foyer

The wall that the front door and the garage door are on turned out to be bears, particularly the garage door wall.  They weren’t even close to being true.

Once the crown molding was up, it was caulked to fill any gaps between the wall/molding and ceiling/molding, especially where the walls have some of the more glaring imperfections.

The caulk always makes it look so nice!  Even without paint.

Then it was onward to the chair rail installation, which we started on Saturday and spanned into Sunday.  The angles and joints between the first story level and the stairs, and the second story level and the stairs were the most time consuming.

We did all the installation work with the banister in place, so we could make sure they would be perfectly parallel.  We took the banister down later to caulk the underside of the chair rail and start painting.  Before it goes back up, I plan to spray paint the brass brackets with the same oil rubbed bronze spray paint that I’ve used on a few light fixtures so far.

Eventually, we got the molding wrapped all the way around the landing upstairs, and around the foyer downstairs.





Shortly before we finished, we put the piece of chair rail up on the wall that I’d painted earlier in the week, testing out a possible paint color.  It would’ve been so nice if Sandbar worked out, because we have the better part of a gallon leftover from our bedroom.

But as I’d been concerned might be the case, with a white chair rail separating the two wall colors, they didn’t look clearly different enough.  We settled on Stone Lion (SW 7507) instead (the middle chip in the picture), and off I went to Sherwin Williams before they closed.

Once all the chair rail was up, we took a break for some late lunch, picked up, and said goodbye to mom & dad as they headed home.  We closed the day out by doing the caulking on the chair rail, and starting some of the Stone Lion paint below the chair rail.  (We couldn’t paint any of the molding itself yet, because it all had some wet caulk still.)

I will need to take some pictures in better light once it’s all finished, but I was surprised by how dark the Stone Lion turned out.  The chip didn’t look so very different from the rest.

These pictures make the Sandbar strip just under the chair rail look a lot darker than it seemed in real life.  The Stone Lion also seems a little more gray in person than it looks here. I’ve learned my lesson in the past though about not judging a paint color until it’s completely finished, there are no edges visible of other colors, and it’s dry.  So judgment is reserved.

Still ahead of us:  3 coats of Alabaster paint on all the trim, then re-edging the cream, the ceiling white, and the Stone Lion around the molding to cover the caulk, and rolling the Stone Lion below the chair rail.  We are hoping to have finished pictures next weekend.

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We brought home samples of some of the front runners for the half bathroom’s new tile.  So, what do you think?

These are the four tiles that we’re most strongly considering.  (They’re all available in both 6×6 and 13×13.)

Apparently the sniff test yielded a winner, but we’ll have to see whether the humans agree.

In terms of how they’ll hold up, they’re all equal.  They’re all rated 5 for wear, they’re all porcelain, and they’re all from Italy.  The big questions are color, pattern, and tile size.

Palladium vs. Tracce del Tempo

The biggest difference that I see between the two is that the Palladium tiles (avorio left, verde right) have little glossy ridges that catch the light and kind of sparkle under bright lights.  (You can see it better if you click on the photo to see it larger.)

whereas the surface of the Tracce del Tempo tiles (verde foreground, marrone background) are more matte throughout.

I’m torn on my feeling on that.  I kind of like the brightness of the Palladium for a tiny bathroom with no natural light.  But the kitchen is only a few feet around the corner from the bathroom.  Someday we’re going to redo the kitchen and put in tile there too.  I don’t like the idea of the Palladium sparkles in a much larger room with natural light.  I definitely would prefer the matte finish in there.  And I’m not sure I want the two different finishes so close to each other — even if the bathroom door is often shut.  I’d notice, especially if the tile patterns are anything alike.  So I guess that’s a vote in favor of the matte Tracce del Tempo?


It’s a pretty easy decision for me that I prefer, in each tile, the lighter color.  I like the marrone Tracce del Tempo.  In the Palladium, I like the avorio ok, but I think I’d most like one called tortora, which is in between the two samples we brought home.  Unfortunately they didn’t have it in-store.


This is a tough one.  I laid the tiles into the actual bathroom just to see how they’d look:

And the 13×13’s, which I thought I wanted, looked enormous.  Two barely fit between the toilet and the wall.  The whole bathroom would be covered in 20 tiles, 4 tiles by 5.  Even then, we’d end up cutting some down with the wet saw:

The 6×6’s might be a better option.  They’d cover the room in about 80 tiles, 8×10.  They probably wouldn’t look that different, in terms of size, from the pattern on the existing laminate.

That crack keeps reminding me why we’re doing all this!

A pro to the 6×6’s is that I expect we’ll do 13×13’s in the kitchen eventually.  If the same tile isn’t available then, it might be nice to have a slightly different pattern/size in the bathroom so it doesn’t look quite so “tried to match but not quite” with the future kitchen.  A con is that it might end up looking kind of “tried to match” with the existing kitchen floor.  The color and shape will be awfully close.  One way we might be able to move away from it a little bit would be to arrange 6×6’s in a staggered pattern instead of a checkerboard.

The idea of looking different from the someday-kitchen (and from the existing kitchen) brings me to another idea, one kind of different from what I’ve been considering.  The Palladium tile is available in a basket weave:
If we went with basketweave tile we could either do it with a border, either of 6×6’s or two staggered 3×6’s, or just do the entire floor in it.  I really admire this beautiful bathroom over at HOUSEography, which has a marble basketweave tile floor (and the same oyster bay paint we have in our dining room–at least I’m consistent!).  I didn’t expect to go in this kind of direction, but I think I like the idea.

If I had to make a decision today, I think it’d be between the basket weave, and 6×6 squares of the marrone Tracce del Tempo Guinness favors:

As between the two, honestly, I’m not sure.

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