28 June 2011

lavatory dreaming

Today I had to write an excruciatingly long exam, and therefore instead of rambling on about random nonsense, I'll just fill your brains with some beautiful bathrooms that I've been saving for renovation ideas!  You're welcome.


27 June 2011

colors and stuff.

Who knew it would be the toughest decision of my entire life choosing exterior colors?  It's so easy to find photos of great color combinations, and to drive by google map the newer neighborhoods looking at the latest trends, but actually trying to replicate a look is proving to be extremely difficult!

These are some of my favorites which I have been hoarding in a desktop folder for a while now...

 Photo: Sherwin Williams


The obvious trends you may be noticing here are medium-tone stained wood accents and lighter, muddy-earth tones.   I took the top photo to the closest Benjamin Moore paint store and had them replicate the colors in solid stains.  I spent about $80 on samples and painted my little heart out as soon as I got home.  

It looked terrible.  The colors themselves were right, but the way they looked on my house was just all wrong.  This is why I'm learning there are so many other factors to take into consideration when deciding on exterior colors, and it's not just as easy as copying someone else's winning look.  Here are some of the factors I have learned to take into account:

-roof style, material, color, age
-gutter color
-neighborhood themes ie. stand out or blend in?
-architectural details ie. knee braces, size and style of window and door frames
-semi-permanent (expensive-to-replace) factors ie. stone, brick, rock work
-material of house ie. vertical/horizontal cedar siding, stucco, shingle, combination
-age of house itself
-style of house itself
-number of colors to use
-current design trends
-colors and style of existing landscaping
-window style ie. aluminum, vinyl, wood

I get stressed out just looking at this list.  Our unfortunate neighbors have been forced to look at the one side of our house with about 47 different colors that I've been testing for the past three months, and i'm quite sure that the poor girl at the paint store is ready to kick me in the shins.

We have narrowed it down to our favorite color combination being Copley Gray HC-104 for the body color and Iron Mountain 2134-30 (both are Benjamin Moore colors) for all the trim, barge boards, fascia boards, and knee braces. I will probably change my mind 3 more times before we start painting but as of now, this is the top choice!

Copley Gray                                       Iron Mountain

These might look scary dark on your monitor, but once on the siding itself, they lighten up substantially. Here are my test samples on the house (Copley Gray is on the bottom body of the house, with Iron Mountain being the top color on the door trim.)

We currently have brown gutters, which will not work with this new charcoal trim color.  I went to the gutter store (exciting, right?) and got samples of the colors they offer, and of course am now back to square one.  They do not offer a dark gray color that works with Iron Mountain, so we could go with black gutters or with a more slate-toned gray.

Some people take the gutter sample right to the paint store and match their trim exactly, so they blend in as much as possible.  I think i'll do that next week and see how it looks in comparison to what we have now.  Keep ya posted!

This guy has nothing to do with anything, he was just being cute.

25 June 2011

visit from woody

We had a visit from our resident female Pileated Woodpecker this morning.  I am always taken aback at how large these birds are, as big as a crow, and actually the largest woodpecker in North America.  And their ability to hold their entire weight with three toes, while repeatedly almost knocking themselves unconscious just trying to score a meal.

Photo: Hilke Breder

These are a couple shots from a few months back looking out the window at an adult male (excuse the photo quality, they are quick little buggers)...

The males have a red mustache, while the females have a black one.

We are lucky to have this pair in our backyard; they require 40 hectares of old-growth forest and each pair defends this territory year round.

Each year, a new hole is excavated in a dead or dying tree for their nest.  These holes can get so big it can actually break the tree in half.  Both the male and the female incubate 3-5 eggs for about two weeks, and they have even been seen moving their eggs to another site if they find their nest not suitable.

My aunt and uncle have a beautiful piece of property about three hours north of us, and while out walking in their forest last week they were attacked by the female, apparently trying to protect her young!

Too cool!  The babies won't get their red mohawks until they're old enough to fly.

These birds hammer away up to 20,000 times per day, so they have developed a reinforced skull structure to spread the impact of the force.  Their nasal openings have tiny feathers that filter out all the dust and debris from excavating these holes and foraging for carpenter ants and beetles.

Okay Bill Nye, time to tone it down a notch.

I will leave you with a movie clip that I filmed last fall in our backyard.


24 June 2011

sarah richardson daybed

This post title may be slightly understated.  I need this daybed:

Here's what Sarah Richardson has to say about her Annie daybed:

"My Annie daybed is a true multi-tasker! In the living room Annie floats gracefully near the fireplace or in the center of the room for two-sided seating – welcome at any and all parties! A favorite spot in my own home for evening storybook reading, this seems to be a popular choice for all ages."

There would be storybook reading and a whole lot more happening in my living room if I had this beauty to work with.

Designed and manufactured in Canada, it is available in a wide variety of colors and fabrics, but I think I would stick with the ivory.  Yup, definitely risky with a large black hairy mutt, but we already have so much dark furniture in the room and I'd like to lighten it up somehow. 

I would put it up against the large window so it would be possible to face both directions with nothing to interfere with my prime birding view.  Right now we are using these ridiculous little footstools to sit on, which are doing the trick for now but if my butt gets any bigger will simply not suffice. 

Sarah Richardson also designed the Quinn daybed which is somewhat similar to the Annie:

Gorgeous, right?  Sarah is brilliant.  Here is a comparison of the two; Annie first and Quinn second.

 The Quinn might be a little too modern for my style.  But heck, I'd be happy with either.

When I showed my mother a photo of the Annie, she told me it would be "simple to make" and said that I should "just go to Costco and buy a twin mattress, build the base and the sides with plywood, and then staple some foam and fabric over it".  I informed her that we do not live in the slums of Detroit and, bless her frugal heart, but I have no desire to birdwatch from a dodgy looking mattress in my living room.

This is a slightly exaggerated depiction of me, bird watching from a dodgy daybed.  Notice the sad look on my face.  Not sure why I need binoculars when three birds are 1.5'' from my face, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Which is why I need Sarah Richardson's $3500 Annie daybed.

Love you Mom!

p.s. this lovely flowered chaise lounge is actually up for grabs on usedvic today.   $350, I kid you not.

23 June 2011

fence post

We have two major house projects going on this summer.  One is a new fence and the other is painting the entire exterior.  These are proving to be no small feats.  For whatever reason I assumed that building a fence was a 2-weekend kind of job; I should know by now that house improvements are never as easy as they seem!

This is kind of hard to explain, but the previous owner had installed a chain link fence for her dogs, however in doing so had cut the backyard in half.

Let's try this in photos:

I was standing in between the two fences while taking these photos.  It just doesn't make any sense...there is about a 600 square foot area that is not being utilized whatsoever because the chain link makes it feel like the backyard stops there.  So, we are currently ripping out this chain link fence and building a new fence in place of the old wood fence which was at the very edge of the yard above the retaining wall.  We had to build a new one because the existing one (see photo above) was not sufficient for corralling the hound.  Not that he would run away, he would just terrorize the resident deer, otters, raccoons, quails, rabbits, and occasional cougar.  (Yup, there was a cougar spotted in this forest last year.)

So far, this new fence has made a massive improvement to our backyard and we're not even halfway finished.  We are actually spending more time in the living room than ever before, just gazing out the windows at these beautiful hunks of cedar. 

Here is a sneak peek:

The posts are 6x6 cedar and the handrails, also cedar, we scored for *free* from a leftover deck project at the in-law's place.  I liked the idea of using painted post saddles instead of mounting the posts directly into the concrete.  We routered some detail into the posts, sanded the heck out of them, and then stained them with a transparent Benjamin Moore acrylic stain in "teak". 

Here is a closeup of the detail:

So sexy, right?  Now, for the middle section.  We wanted to have something we could see through, to be able to enjoy the views of the forest.  I thought about going cheap and just buying a roll of chicken wire to staple to the outside.  I thought about using glass panels.  Then the proverbial light bulb went off:

Stainless steel aircraft cable!  The turnbuckles needed to tighten each length don't come cheap, but we are still shopping around looking for quotes.  Funny enough, the people that have been the most helpful are from sailboat rigging companies.  Apparently they do a lot of these residential fence jobs. 

Anyways, we are building the gates this weekend and will hopefully have cable installed by mid-July.   (Update...you can see the finished project here!)

I will leave you with a snapshot of a just-bloomed peony I discovered in the garden this morning.  Too bad they don't last longer as cut flowers!

22 June 2011

roadkill decor

I know that it's not time for a "friday wants" post yet, but something happened on my morning commute today that made my mind spin a mile a minute.  I passed a dead peacock on the highway.  No, I don't have any photos of it, and yes, I considered turning right around and jamming the thing in my trunk if it was in decent shape.

I have been hoping for a long time that I might come across a peacock that had died of "natural causes" (a pickup truck is a natural cause, right?)

Why on earth would I want to do such a thing?  Because look at the price of this.

Yup, $2500 + shipping + customs & duty charges.

One of my girlfriends has a hunting license and kindly offered to "pick off" one of her mother's neighbors' peacocks and take it to her taxidermist for me.  I declined her generous offer, hoping that someday I might come across one in the forest that had died of some kind of disease.  I have the perfect spot for a taxidermied male peacock in an alcove in my living room, which has huge vaulted ceilings.

I was thinking it would look incredible with its feathers gracefully flowing down the wall.

Like this:

Oh, and it's perfectly normal to be jealous of my photoshopping skills.  All it takes is patience and practice, guys.

Anyways, I feel incredibly guilty and hypocritical about this desire to have a dead bird as a decoration in my home.  Which is why I would never pay for a stuffed bird knowing it had been bred and killed specifically for this purpose.  (Please disregard the cowhide rug in one of my previous posts.  I'm sure that this cow died of natural causes as well.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

For those of you who can't imagine having a peacock in your own living space, get a load of these beautiful interiors...

Photo: Eric Bowman

Photo: Sarah Coffey

Designer: Celerie Kemble

Did I change your mind?  No?  Well that's okay, because with my luck and at that price I don't think I'll be showing off a new stuffed peacock in my living room anytime soon!


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