Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sleepless in Richmond

Does making decorating decisions keep you up at night? Let's just say my new best friend is Simply Sleep - a little blue over the counter pill that helps me stop the swirling thoughts in my head concerning the house. The latest obsessive thought stream has to do with the kitchen floors. When the decision was made to give up on the original floors (seen above) we had to quickly decide what material to put down in its place. Since these old houses have no sub-floor under the hard wood (hello basement) (they didn't have plywood back then, poor souls) any thoughts of having limestone floors went out the window. I didn't want a change in elevation as the rooms are fairly open to one another. So, knowing that there was no way to match the existing heart pine, we opted to lay down a wood floor and make the finish completely different than anything else in the house. Below is a shot of the floor right after the raw goods were installed. After hours "googling" painted floors I have decided that I can no longer live without a checkerboard floor. I love the checkerboard in this photo from the myhomeideas.com
I hope that our kitchen can feel like this one does - light and airy and happy. A friend and talented artist from Northern Virginia is coming down in a few weeks to lay it out and paint. Here are a few more checkerboard floors that I also adore:

The above image is from myhomeideas.com

This image is from Canadian House and Home.

Also keeping me wide eyed and bushy tailed at 3:00 a.m. is what counter top material to select. Being married to a perfectionist engineer has its upside and its downside. Many years ago we split kitchen duties - I cook and he cleans up. He is obsessive about the counters and I am a messy cook. Not a great match in the kitchen. Add to that the fact that I LOVE honed marble. Sort of a recipe for divorce court. So, I threw caution to the wind and selected two slabs of honed Carrera marble at Marva stone yesterday. I wonder if anyone has ever gotten divorced over counter tops.

Photos from the last week of renovation:

I painted the laundry room floors with Benjamin Moore Floor and Patio latex paint - Cape Hatteras Sand. Here is the before: As soon as the base and window trim go in its off to the appliance store.
Above is one last shot of the kitchen floor - my poodle has already made himself at home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One of my most favorite places on earth..............

Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Many summers of my youth were spent vacationing on the island of Nantucket. These vacations were very meaningful, inspiring and certainly formed a love of early American architecture that, I'm sure, influenced my choice of major in college (art history), my career (interior decorator) as well as the purchase of Haven on Hanover. The cedar shingles and morning fog is what caused the color gray to get into my blood. I didn't put all of that together until I had the fortune to visit the island again this week. It has been twenty years since my family has been back to Nantucket to vacation. The coordination of the house rental with the ferry tickets and the hike in the price of living out there all caused us to turn to other geographical areas to vacation. While out for a long walk with my camera on Monday I was bombarded by the sights, smells, sounds and tastes and textures that I have always loved and longed for. The fog rolled in and brought with it the smell of the salt and the sound of the fog horns and seagulls.

This house on Main Street was one of our most favorite rentals. I didn't recall that it had a blue door - but it must have stayed with me as I painted my door in Northern Virginia (photo below) the same shade years later.
This home on Union Street was a rental for a few years. The lanterns of Nantucket certainly has influenced my choice of lighting for our renovation here in Richmond.
The lantern pictured above came from a consignment shop here in Richmond. I was told that the fixture came from a house nearby so it seems only fitting that it come back to the neighborhood.

Now all I need is some hydrangeas. But the southern magnolia tree that I have in my front yard probably would object. I always knew Nantucket was in my heart - I guess I just didn't realize to what extent!!Here are some more shots of Nantucket:
The view down Main Street
Early morning fog at the ferry landing.
Steps Beach at dusk.

Brandt Point Lighthouse. No words can describe this accurately.

The view of town from the passenger ferry.
Charming home.
Hydrangeas everywhere.

So, speaking of Richmond, I came back to more progress on the renovation. The Kitchen and Family Room windows have been trimmed out, the walls and ceilings have been primed and I had a date with the laundry room counter top installer.
The next step is to paint the floors (Benjamin Moore Cape Hatteras Sand) and get those laundry machines in there. I'm actually looking forward to folding laundry on that slab of marble.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When I look out my window, Many sights to see. And when I look in my window, So many different people to be

Those lyrics are from and old Donovan song and I'm singing it today because I have four new windows in my kitchen. Light beams are pouring in at all different times of the day but especially early morning - I can just see myself sitting at the future island with a cup of coffee and the sun streaming in. The dogs will fight over the sunny spots. Harvey (terrier) will win. Right now I can't imagine putting any window coverings in these openings - privacy is really not an issue. However, my addiction to textiles will probably get the better of me.

One great thing about the new windows (besides the fact that they open and close and have screens - unlike the rest of the house!) is the amount of depth created by they way the contractor framed and insulated the openings. The display options are endless. Hopefully they won't get cluttered up with the necessities of daily life like keys and leashes and mail.
Today all of the old trim - which was salvaged during demo - has been sorted and readied for tomorrow's activity - trimming out windows and doors. We were able to save old doors and will use them for closet and powder room openings. Speaking of the powder room - I had a wallpaper contractor come out to give me an estimate. I am going to use this Farrow and Ball paper. It is a lotus-flower design drawn from 19th century French archives.
My friend, Susan, who came down from Northern Virginia last week to visit,  said that the lotus could be used as a metaphor for the renovation and sent me the following information - "The lotus flower starts as a small flower down at the bottom of a pond in the mud and muck. It slowly grows up towards the waters surface continually moving towards the light. Once it comes to the surface of the water,  the lotus flower begins to blossom and turn into a beautiful flower."  I might have to have someone write that in calligraphy and hang it in the loo.

The contractor is calling for paint specifications which is, to me, when the fun begins. I've got the paint fan decks spread open wide and will make selections very shortly.

The laundry room is also approaching completion and I'm hoping that date night soon can take place other than in the Strawberry Street Laundromat.

A wall in the laundry had to be built out around the ceiling above the back stairs so we've designed a cabinet to hold laundry supplies and it requires some sort of top.

I hate the thought of spending a lot of cash on a custom fitted counter for a laundry room, but on the other hand I want it to be a spot that I'm happy to be in (yeah, right). This is where Craigslist comes in so handy. I went to the "for sale" section and typed in granite remnants in the search bar and wouldn't you know there was a posting for a company very close to me that sells remnants. I went over there yesterday and a gorgeous piece of Carrera marble jumped out at me. The price was right so I yanked out my credit card (hoping it would start smoking when put through the machine) and made an appointment for them to come out to make a template next week. I never thought I would see the day when I had Carrera marble in a laundry room - I'm sure it will make the task ever so much more fun.

Things to look forward to this week:

1. The Second Annual Jonny Z Festival on Saturday- just a few steps from our door.
2. The Carytown Watermelon Festival on Sunday - a decent walk but one wouldn't want to drive.
3. Window trim and priming of walls.

A few days ago we removed the 70's track lighting from the foyer - things feel better in there already . My next post will address the lighting changes being made around here.