Current debate: What color shutters?

In the running: Essex Green or Black Forest Green (the two bottom colors on the paint strip below).

As an aside, here they are featured in a STUNNING kitchen. Drooling…

…but back to shutters. We are working with Karl at New England Shutter Mills to install historically accurate painted wood shutters this spring.

Here is my (horrible) photoshop reproduction of our house with Black Forest Green (and pasted on window boxes) – my favorite at the moment:

And here she is with Essex Green (my original favorite, which now I fear is too light in the sunlight):

Paint. It always astounds me how difficult it is to pick!

The Basement

We weren’t working with much. It was a 15’x15′ space, with 6’5″ ceilings that needed to house a bathroom, laundry, utility closet and with whatever remaining space we could eek out, a kids playroom.

I had visions in my head of a true play space, with a swing anchored to the ceiling, and maybe even a climbing wall. Images like this amazing attic kids room from the talented Chango & Co would always catch my eye. I love a bit of whimsy in a house.

Source: Chango & Co

By the way, check out the “before” photo. Isn’t it amazing how a space can be transformed?

Source: Chango & Co

And wouldn’t a climbing wall be fun for kids to expel energy? Maybe something like this from The Created Home blog:

Source: The Created Home

To begin, I sketched a floor plan to scale using graph paper. After playing around with various iterations we settled on this layout:

We ultimately decided to scrap the shower in the bathroom (this will be mostly used for guests running in from the back deck and pool, and we have an outdoor shower that we installed last summer). Instead, we moved the washer/dryer into the bathroom to free up more space for kid play.

Instead of recessed lights, I wanted to use sconces. I do not like recessed lights – after doing two home renovations now, and trying to find the warmest, smallest LED recessed lights, I’ve realized they are truly not for me. If we ever renovate another house I vow to use them more sparingly (or not at all). The warmer, eye level ambient light of a sconce is much more comforting.

Here is the lighting plan I (very) roughly sketched for the electrician:

Next up – the fun part – the idea board. We knew we wanted tongue and groove, light bright white walls, and blue rug. Some dark contrast (I find that with a neutral space, some dark contrast is really necessary to help the space pop). And a pop of color. Here she is:

1. Industrial Pipe Wall Sconce

2. Anywhere chair

3. Climbing wall

4. Wool rug

We ended up doing a wall to wall carpet in poly material instead of an area rug in order to make it as comfortable as possible down there (and also durable – poly indoor outdoor), but we own the above rug and love it. Amazing price for 10×14′ 100% wool.

Here are some progress shots. Starting with the literal rubble we began with.

Concrete slab poured. We were able to dig down about 5″ to get the ceilings to nearly 7′ tall. It is miraculous the difference that extra 5 inches makes.

Framing. You can start to really feel the space!

Finish work – Tongue and Groove!

Doors in, sconce installed, rug pad down, walls painted:


I cannot speak highly enough of this rug, I love it. Looks sharp, feels soft, and is easy to wash down.

Here is a close up before install, as well as a look down the stairs:

Next up…toy storage, climbing wall, swing, and rope ladder. Stay tuned!

Life Happened

Life happened, and more than a year has passed.

New house, new baby, new year. And hopefully, new content here!

We left off with a half done guest bathroom, so let’s pick up there.

The chevron marble tile was drool worthy. So much so, that part of me regretted not using it in our master bathroom.

Here is a closeup, mid install:

We used simple 3×6″ white subway tile from Home Depot on the shower walls.

You can see that the front half of the floor still needs to be grouted – what a difference that makes. It really pops with the grout.

We went with an inexpensive 72″ double from Houzz. Simple sconces from Restoration Hardware, and mirrors from pottery barn kids (great source for less expensive mirrors!).

The wallpaper I lusted after turned out to be too lust-worthy ($2000 in materials alone), and so we held off. One day I will muster the energy to find another option I love.

Here is the final mood board:

And here is the current space!

Guest Bathroom

We are getting down to the final stages of our house renovation and there is so much to share. Plaster is dry and floors are going in – tile will start next week (if we can order it in time!).

The work will start on the third floor and move down throughout the house. So the first bathroom to tackle is the guest bathroom. It currently looks like this:

Before the plaster went up, I took this shot standing outside the door:

We added this bathroom to the house by extending an existing dormer, and stealing space from two closets in the neighboring bedrooms.

It will have a small shower tucked to the left of the door, a double vanity and toilet tucked behind a wall for privacy.

These are our final finishes, if you’d like to see:

We got simple white subway tile from Home Depot ($1.75/sq foot!), herringbone carrara marble from builder depot ($9.75/sq ft), and a vanity from houzz that included the marble top, two sinks and large mirror (all for $1600).

Here is the full supply list:

Vanity: $1600 for 72”, including mirror, sinks, carrara counterop

Faucets: $160 each

Floor tile:$9.75/sq foot

Wall tile:  1.76/sq foot

Toilet: $398!c945267110!a48669617444!k!m!p1o4!dc!ng!f&

Toilet paper holder: $31

Towel ring: $19 each

Shower head:

Wallpaper: $88 per roll, assume 3 rolls:

Lights: $200 each, times 2\

A parable.

Goals. Do you love them, or do you hate them?

Context matters – are they daunting and unachievable or are they challenging yet possible?

The latter are inspiring, and achieving that goal is, well, the goal.

And yet I find that after an accomplishment, I almost immediately think “OK, what next”?

The thrill of accomplishment is fleeting.

It is the act of striving that provides a more sustaining boost. We owe ourselves a reminder that process is just as important.

Stay conscious. Present. Be excited about the future but don’t let that excitement rush you through today.

Remember to play.

“The end of a melody is not it’s goal, and yet if a melody has not reached its end it has not reached it’s goal” –Nietzsche

So too the weekend – savor the process, and don’t disparage its end. Without it, we would not be getting the break from routine that we crave.

Happy Friday!