Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!! Can we all breathe a collective sigh of relief? Usually when I paint from room to room, like I did the first year we moved into our last home, I painted the master bedroom and bathrooms last, working on the children’s bedrooms and living spaces first. Over the course of seven months, I repainted most of the house as it needed freshening up. This time, I decided to do our bedroom first since it is just us now, and it is the darkest room in the home even with all the windows it has.
I love yellows, which is what I painted in our first home’s master bedroom, and I thought about painting this room a soft yellow but chose to go more French European.
In our second home, I painted over a bright yellow color in that master bedroom with a soft rag rolling of white over top. It was just enough to tone down the yelllow and it turned into a lovely soft pale yellowish color, which we loved. Just the one wall behind the bed was left the original color and to that I added French trefoil stamps in gold.
For our new home here in Texas, the walls and ceilings throughout the house are painted a deep coffee color. I liked it at first ~ a bit more contemporary, more transitional. However over time and especially in summer, when the angle of the sun doesn’t hit inside the living/family rooms or this bedroom much, I knew we needed to paint a lighter, softer color that would really bounce around what sunlight does come inside.
Hence the move to Valspar’s “Comet Dust” (#773956) in eggshell. It is a lovely light Gustavian grey which pairs well with off-the-shelf Valspar Ultra White (#773957) in satin. I found Comet Dust back when we were remodeling the kids’ bathroom in California to sell the house. The finished bathroom ended up feeling so much lighter with the removal of an un-needed wall to the tub and bath but which in the early 1990’s was put in to hide the changing ceiling height of an added dormer. We embraced the changes and opening it up made all the difference!
I loved how this bathroom turned out!
“Comet Dust” on the walls paired well with the travertine look-alike tile flooring we had installed, which then in turn worked well with the real 20″ x 20″ travertine pavers we designed and laid ourselves downstairs (after ripping out the 20+ year old carpet).
So while watching favorite garden shows on YouTube (Garden Answer) and listening to SiriusXM radio, the coffee color disappeared! That and about 100 hours of priming and painting throughout the three spaces ~ commode, bathroom and bedroom ~ over two months or so has given us a beautiful change!
I’ll share a little home tour soon, but with freshly washed inside windows (rain washes the outside lately, though they really need a good scrub!), the bedroom is coming along. Thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the “in process!”…
Labor Day weekend was all about fixing little projects around the house. Mr. Ethereal wanted to do these things for a while and with a bonus just in, now was the right time…
Our Sears Kenmore washer and dryer are 25+ years old and these last few weeks as I have been using the dryer, it only blows warm air once in a while. The thermostat must be broken. We learned about five years ago now that replacement parts weren’t being made for our set anymore from a repairman who worked on our washer then, so it is time for a new set.
This has been a great washing machine even with its rusted out case.
Hubby and I have looked at what’s available on the market and I still like a top loader so that is mostly likely what we will purchase to replace these.
This vintage commode ran continuously and was too short for us and our aging knees, so we picked out a taller Kohler extended bowl style with a self-closing lid to replace it.
When Hubby pulled out the old toilet he found wallpaper still in place. We thought I’d better paint before he went any farther with the installation so I quickly added some Valspar Comet Dust #5006-1A I used in the craft room (post still coming ~ still need to finish putting some things away) to the area behind the toilet.
Any guesses on how old this wallpaper is?
Here’s the new toilet ready for its new area paint job!
The other bathroom project was replacing the moldy caulking in the master bathroom shower. After Hubby removed all of the old caulking I scrubbed and bleached the lower walls and joints to prep for new caulk.
When we moved into this house our inspector noted that the three dimmer switches in the living, dining and family room areas needed replacing. Hubby picked out these sliding dimmers with rockers which turn on and off the switch.
No more snap, crackle and pop ~ a good thing!
While Mr. Ethereal was doing these little jobs I’ve been working on a t-shirt quilt for our son’s birthday. Begun in June I have been working steadily on it throughout the summer. The seam binding is being sewn on now. I hope to finish it this week and to share a post with you soon.
We are currentlyin the process of buying a home here in Texas so today’s post is all about what to look for in a home. Whether buying your first home or a place to retire to ~ let’s look at some key home features…
Location Location Location
Location is always high on the list of priorities as we all want a house with great curb appeal in a good neighborhood. Lately I have seen some great houses but their locals weren’t so wonderful. Check out areas you think you might like to buy in then keep that in mind as you shop for your home.
One of the homes we were considering needed just a few updates. The cabinets were in good shape and solid wood so why rip those out to put in cheap particle board ones? Removing the lower added mini cabinets with sliding doors and replacing the outdated lightboxes with strip lighting above would update this kitchen nicely.
The heart of the home is the kitchen and family room ~ the places where we spend the most time ~ so look at the layout of each of the homes you are looking at and considering. The flow of these rooms especially affect how we feel about our homes.
If you don’t mind doing a little work, a fixer upper is usually a cost saver on the home loan side. Check and see if the appliances are good enough to use until you can afford new ones and also check the layout of the kitchen. Decide too if it is important to you to have a good view out the kitchen window. Or if there even IS a kitchen window.
Loved this kitchen with its granite counters and stainless appliance!
In this home we loved the brand new appliances but ultimately decided that the main room didn’t flow for what we were looking for. Buying a home because it has a beautiful kitchen and not a good flow in the main living areas can be a costly mistake.
Does the home need a remodel?
If you do buy a home with remodeling needs ask yourself if you can afford to make these changes over time. Fixing the vault of a room’s ceiling ~ you’ll need a structural contractor to give you an estimate. Adding new beams and headers if you are removing or moving walls ~ the same.
How set are you on having a fireplace in your next home?
Condominiums and apartments don’t often have them and it was one of the high priorities we wanted in our first home. Now we are looking at style of each fireplace.
We would look to remodel this fireplace with removing these ugly grates
in the upper area and having a stone mason put in soldiers (brick standing
upright) spaced evenly apart to allow for passive heat flow with this ventilator.
These two photographs show two different fireplace layouts and both could be kept the way they are, or have some minor or major facelifts depending upon on one’s needs and tastes.
Garden and yard
If you are a gardener like me then you are probably looking at the curb appeal of your next home and its gardening potential. This home sat on almost a half acre and we loved it for its beautiful manicured English style gardens.
Newer construction gives us much bigger and usually better laid out laundry rooms but surprisingly not all of us require a large laundry area. This one is charming and practical for when a hot water hose breaks ~ a drain is already set into the floor plus the room is sunken by 4″ to deal with major water spraying.
In our first home we had a hot water hose break while we were eating dinner. First we heard a strange hissing sound then saw a swirl of water turn the corner from the carpeted hallway coming rapidly into the kitchen!
Not the best way to end dinner ~ but insurance paid for all the repairs. 🙂
Something to look at on your home owners insurance ~ is flooding included in your policy? It should be but it is good to read through your policy to be sure. If the carpeting gets soaked during a pipe burst will your insurance replace all connected carpet and other damaged flooring? Good things to make sure you have in place especially if looking at an older home.
Sorry this is a bit dark ~ taken with my iPhone.
Bedrooms, bathrooms and office spaces
For a room to be counted as a bedroom it must have an egress window in case of emergency plus a built in closet. I’ve seen some homes here in Texas that were advertised as having a certain amount of bedrooms but the room in question was really a play space ~ not very ethical and a potential for disaster.
Office spaces are wonderful especially if they come with built in shelving. A drawback is what to do if you already own cabinets and bookcases. Where would you now put yours? Could you put those bookcases somewhere else in a potential home? Would you have to sell them? That’s something to consider.
Good layout for a powder room. Could make an update down the road with new cabinet and countertop.
In looking at the houses you visit you’ll want to check the layout of each bathroom in each house. So important as we have found that many homes today look pretty but aren’t functional. It is the trend today in some bathroom remodels in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs to take out the medicine cabinets in favor of just plain mirrors. This may be all over the country, as far as I know, and this is perfectly fine as long as there is a base cabinet with drawers (such as in our soon-to-be home, below). Oddly enough, one flipper in our area took out the base cabinet in one master bathroom as well ~ a totally non-functional bathroom. What he put in was beautiful with its granite countertop and pretty marble shower but there was absolutely no storage. It was a hotel bathroom and not a residential bathroom… big mistake and had we bought that home we planned on asking for money to make it functional.
Good design must include function as well as beauty. 🙂
Sneaking this photo in of our soon-to-be home, if all goes through. 🙂
Putting in an offer
These are two of the many homes we looked at over the past six months and considered as we were finding our first Texas home. We lost out on the first house we bid on (the older home shared here in these photos which sat on almost 1/2 acre and had a lovely English garden… I was crushed at the time!).
This beautiful all white home was one we really thought about but ultimately decided not to go ahead. But we did find another home we really like this and this second offer was accepted.
Yesterday’s post shared just a peek at our home-to-be… 🙂 Which is another thing to be prepared for: not having your offer accepted and it is very emotional and disappointing and often we don’t know why our offer wasn’t picked. Sometimes it is timing ~ that your offer is contingent upon your current home selling. Sometimes it’s just a matter of what the seller and realtor feel is best for them. In our case with the first home, the seller’s had a cash offer which trumped ours. 🙁
But don’t lose heart as there are plenty of good homes out there in a style you will love! Keep looking and try for the one which has the most items in it that will suit your current needs.
After touring over 30 homes with our realtor and many open houses on weekends and also through one which is an open door construction/realty company, we have finally found a beautiful place to call our own…
Our second offer on a home was accepted and we are happy with this sweet home! All week long we have been signing e-documents, picking up a check at the bank, scheduling the home inspection and contractors for things which will need fixing, etc.
And making plans and dreams…
And for some crazy reason this will be our third home with white carpeting! Crazy, I know…
How this happens I’ll never know but I know that we are both attracted to basically white interiors as it always looks so clean and fresh ~ a clean slate, a new beginning.
I am especially in love with the kitchen! The countertops are already a beautiful whiter granite with purple flecks in it ~ I will have to find out what this type of granite is called, sooo pretty!
There are several work triangles in here which we will have to get used to since the kitchen is laid out in a square and we are already looking at adding gas lines to have a gas cooktop, if possible and for a gas dryer hook-up. Part of this 7 day option period as part of buying a home here in Texas.
Our new master bathroom ~ lovely as is.
The master bathroom vanity does not have the granite the rest of the house has but is still very pretty as is.
We will be doing a small remodel in the near future as the shower needs repairs due to someone falling in it ~ and should be part of the sellers’ concessions and included on our inspection later today.
The guest bathroom ~ equally lovely!
Here is the second bathroom/guest bathroom and it is lovely as is! After all these years and going from whitewashed red oak cabinets in our first home, then to golden oak and painted white kitchen cabinets in our second home. I am liking these pretty cherry style cabinets here for our third home.
Our current bed ~ a California king ~ has no headboard… yet. 😉
Our queen sized bed frame was cherry and our daughter has it now since we moved up to a king, and oddly enough if she ever decided to move up this way, that bed would be a nice compliment here.
I think our current bed will fit nicely in our new master bedroom, as long as everything continues to move along in the home buying process.
Love love love these floral curtains in Laura’s kitchen!!!
I am already dreaming of curtains and bedding updates and getting inspiration from friends’ homes.
Dusty but still intact ~ our 1880’s reproduction Louis XV armoire and my
French handcarved buffet, which I use as my bedroom dresser.
I am already space planning where our furniture will go once we get it shipped from California and out of our two storage units there.
We will have to sell a lot or keep some in another storage facility for the next house ~ our retirement plan is to have a place where Hubby can get back to coaching pole vault to young athletes again. Complete with pole vault pit and runway.
Yes, we looked at places to have that now but found nothing over this way. It’s a 10 year plan for now.
Hubby Charles had gone to work and I awoke to this
strange sound ~ a boom really ~ and our water
was still frozen from the day before.
It was 17 degrees at the time.
I thought I’d better go check things out underneath
as that sound didn’t sound so good
so I pulled out our trusty screwdriver and
took out the six screws holding this makeshift
RV door closed to take a look at our
I found our water pump with a tiny bit of
what had been a small leak.
That was wrong #1.
The day went on and after taking the dog out for
his morning walk and business
I got to experience bathing the old-fashioned way ~
today’s version of an ethereal
rose-covered bowl and ewer ~
mainly our old yellow Tupperware bowl
and a 2 gal. jug of water.
Not really wrong but definitely a throwback.
Christmas lights illuminating the scene ~ the new water pump motor under its warming blanket and all its plumbing pipes. The large white box by the back wall with grey hose arms coming out of it is the propane heater. It has been acting up but it had to do with the propane not getting to the heater right and it not igniting it. Happily that is fixed for now. 🙂
Wrong #2 came when I tried to leave to buy a new
water pump and the car wouldn’t start…
It had been glug-glugging for a couple of days with the cold
so I knew it had to be the battery.
AAA came out an hour later and jumped the car
only to then find out that the auto place
down the street didn’t have any more of our Sequoia’s
on the computer… the lovely sound of running water!
We had water again but not the way we had
hoped. The waterline release valve for our residential refrigerator had frozen and split and was gushing water every which way! Luckily our plants who were in need and a bucket propped underneath provided sustenance. 😉
Luckily this is a minor fix if we can find the part
but it did take talking to several people, lots of walking around and one of our camp hosts to help me find the cut-off valve under the kitchen sink and a button inside the freezer to stop the ice maker from sounding off its alarm pleading for water.
You get a photo of me in yesterday’s lovely outfit
(my right arm actually CAN make a pretty good muscle, but it was busy with the camera…This left arm, not so much.)
***BTW, The “Fabulous” and “Awesome” glittery,
crystal letters come in a sheet of the alphabet and are from
Michael’s Craft Store
in case you would like to decorate some
mirrors around your home.
They are really fun!
(I got the idea from something Fifi O’Neill did in a magazine a couple
of years ago. She had them on her mirrors and I thought it was
NOT compensated for any of this, just in case you were wondering. 🙂
The swirls were another package.
Repairing Wallboard 1. Obviously, remove old wallboard (if necessary), and Tip: clean area with 50% bleach/50% water, if you have had any water damage and there is black mold. *A lot of what you hear about mold is really only a problem for people (like me) who have allergies to mold. It causes us to have breathing issues/asthmatic reaction to it. A contractor friend told us about the bleaching trick and it works beautifully! This bathroom was fine, we just removed the wall, but I thought I’d put this in as a tip for you. 🙂
2. What NOT to do: Buy wallboard that is an exact fit, depth-wise, and install. There is no depth left for the tape, plaster, and texturizing you’ll want to apply and your repair will stand out from the original wall. This is what happened the first time when Hubby installed the right side. It was standing OUT from the wall instead of just slightly under-flush. So… He ripped it out while I went and bought the 3/8″ thick wallboard instead. (We had the 1/2″ originally.) It is pretty cheap for an 8′ sheet (about $11) so it won’t break the bank. The only real cost is time and learning something new! 😀
It may standout a bit, anyway, but you want to limit it as much as possible. You will always know where your repairs are, but friends and family coming over aren’t going to be looking for your repairs so try not to worry about it. 🙂 If you aren’t okay with that, then take down ALL of the existing drywall and replace fully with new. That’s the only for-sure way to get a perfect wall. It just depends what you are comfortable living with in your look.
3. Prep your existing walls with sanding the edges and paint off a bit where the wallboard tape will adhere. Clean up the inside edges of the existing wallboard to receive the new. Vacuum out the chunks and dust. (My personal favorite OCD thing!) You can find my original posting also here in the month of May 2015. (Sorry! This program won’t let me “link” it… 🙁
4. Measure your area to fix. You’ll bemaking your piece to insert a tiny bit smaller than the actual width. This helps it fit into the space without being having to trim too much. (Trim your new piece with a rasp or wallboard knife as necessary as you dry-fit your piece along all places that need trimming.)
5. Mark off the width and length needed across your wallboard piece, on the paper-side, which comes conveniently in 4′ widths. (We had our 8′ board cut in half, so we had two 4′ x 4′ sections.) Use a long straight-edge ruler/T-square or something very straight against which to draw your cutting line.
5. Trick to cutting wallboard: *Score the paper-side of your new wallboard along the cutting line all the way through the paper. *Gently snap the wallboard with a light taps or hits along your cut piece. *Once it breaks across the line, lift up your wallboard and cut across the other side where the break shows. This will give you a pretty clean cut! 🙂
5. Starting at ground level, place something down on the ground as a “lift” on which to place your wallboard piece as you set it into the wall. (I used the back part of my metal spatula handle that I use for scraping things, applying plaster, scraping off paint, etc.) You DON’T want your wallboard touching the ground, especially in a bathroom where water invariably splashes, etc. You will want it up about 1/2″ or more off the ground so it won’t suck up water and residual water. Your baseboards will cover the gap. 😉
6. Using drywall screws (they self-tap and are really sharp on the end to go into wood easily.), screw in your wallboard. If needed, use wallboard shims to thicken areas that need a bit more depth. (I had to do this with 6 thicknesses up on that left-side ceiling in a couple of spots.) Cut your wallboard shims into as large a length as needed; they are about 3′ long to begin with, anyway. 🙂
The mounting 2×4 needed to be an inch less deep on the very left edge, so I used our chop saw and cut out pieces of the board down to the 1″ depth I needed (do this carefully by bringing the blade down over and over, turning off the saw in-between as you move the board each time to a new spot. Works great!!!
Up along this left ceiling edge,
there wasn’t much wood to nail into,
we cut a piece out of the one of the 2×4’s that held up the
original dummy wall to put up into the spot
so the wallboard would have something on which to be mounted.
After chipping up the board, take a chisel and chip out the little wood pieces using a rubber mallet to bang against the chisel. The pieces come out easily and you can clean up your wood easily with the chisel, if so desired. (Always wanted to learn to wood carve! Future project… ;))
I predrilled and prescrewed the board so it would be easier to install. Hubby came home and helped countersink a couple of the screws that were being finicky, but for the most part, this went up easily. The pre-drilling and setting the screws into this board really helped a lot!!! 🙂
I thought this would be a kinda fun photo to share!!!
Onto what we have been up to these past couple of weeks.
Hubby has finished moving insulation, lying at odd angles,
working in the tiniest-crawl-space-between-a-joist,
and cutting plywood to get into said-space
and has finished moving the
heating and air conditioning vent from inside that
large, long horizontal spot
(where the fake wall used to be)
to where it should have been all along
(in my humble opinion)
along the right side of the ceiling
here in the second bathroom upstairs.
He has also replaced the little night light
ceiling light with the ever-so-much-more-practical
(this was an easy switch compared to moving the vent!).
Both look great!!!!!
So proud of my husband for his doing this ~
something I have wanted to have done for years.
Sorry this photo is so dark… I could have turned on more lighting (or opened up the aperture…), but didn’t think about it. 😉
THE word for the day!!! Feeling fabulous that all this work, though it is chaotic and practically every room in the house has something going on in it and we are living in the middle of all this destruction/construction! 🙂
What the wallboard looked like prior to sanding
…and afterwards. 🙂
While he was doing all that,
I’ve been down in the kitchen slaving away on cabinets ~
sanding, painting, more sanding, more painting.
I’m about half-way done.
Not far enough along as I’d like to be,
happy that it is coming along.
(Still have to cook, clean, do laundry, work, blog…
a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?!)
I also have been working on finishing up the thresholds
going from the kitchen into the dining room
from the hallway into the living room sitting areas.
You can just see where the kitchen threshold will go over in the very upper right of this picture.
This just will NOT move to where I want it, so here is the photo to go with all the talk about wallboard mesh and the little hand-saw, my new favorite tool!!!
Just a pop of color from outdoors, since I was out there staining in the overcast p.m.
These are the oak planks all cut to size, routered on the leading edge, and sanded and stained.
Different stains that I have had and used over the past 28 years of marriage. 🙂 One of these I used on some Windsor chairs we no longer have, and I think the “sugar maple” is what I used on the sofa-table-turned-side-board.
Lastly, I helped Hubby yesterday by holding the vacuum hose for awhile while he was cutting wallboard to finish an old repair. Then, I went up and spent the afternoon sanding wallboard in the 2nd bathroom (the one we are working on remodeling).
***Wallboard is dusty stuff! Definitely wear a dust mask rated for keeping those nasty little particles from going into your lungs!
I found these sheets of super rough wallboard mesh at Ace Hardware for sanding wallboard and they work great! I went through 3 of them just going over those open wall spots.
Tip: One of the older gentlemen who works at Ace Hardware told me that you can cut a piece of this sanding mesh off to clean up hard calcium deposits in your toilet (those hard water spots that the toilet brush doesn’t quite get rid of). He says to just roll it and stick it in there and scrub gently. Good tip!!! And it works!!! 🙂
Well, that’s it for now! Happy Mother’s Day to you!!! Blessings to you, Barb 🙂 p.s. Almost forgot! A friendly electrician came by (hubby called to wire the ceiling lighting together on one switch) this week, and Hubby mentioned he wanted to have a plumber look at our sink attachments, so… A plumber came this week, too! Busy week!!! Bye, Ya’ll! ***Will be sharing this week with Feathered Nest Friday http://www.frenchcountrycottage.net/2015/05/feathered-nest-friday_14.html#more and some DIY sites.***
Here is our new patio cover! Our friend came over to help my son and I rebuild our patio cover. My husband and son took down the old rotted beam on the original front section in June which was falling down.
For the next several weeks, I had been washing, priming, and repainting all of the usable joists (2 x 10’s), then this Monday our friend came over and together
he and my son took off the beams closest to the house and started rebuilding the structure.
30 hours over four days, it is all built, sturdy, and just needs touch-up painting. 🙂 Oh, and the sky really was that blue today!!! 80 degrees F. and nice breezes coming over the coastal mountains. Lovely!
As much work as we were doing, we debated and then decided to cover the whole thing and only build out half. Long-term goal is to span across the back of the whole house.
My son Peter helping rebuild the cover and learning some new carpentry skills.
The remaining front posts may come down or become a free-standing pergola-thing. I still like the idea of having hanging plants and our birdfeeder there on those front posts! Project for next year. 🙂
So… the title to this post is about patio covers and mantels,
well… I have had this idea of making a faux fireplace surround since we moved to this house almost a decade ago. I know right where I will put it, too! In our living room. This surround will be a “Ladies’ mantel” only about 5′ wide across the board.
I located one of the left-over boards that had a really, really, really straight section between broken and dry-rotted ends. That board is now hand-sanded, all burrs are gone, and I am loving the old look to it!
At our local Home Goods, I found this corbel. It is about 24″ long and made of resin (I think). It was $22 on clearance and was originally $29. Only problem, you ask??? I need a second corbel! :(((
So, if anyone out there is stopping by your Home Goods, will you check in the shelving and paintings section to see if you see this corbel??? Message me if you find one, thank you!!! 🙂 I will keep looking at ours, too. I have been haunting ours all summer, and there were two different, cute, shorter corbels last weekend, but… NOT MY CORBEL…
Sometimes something I really want comes through at a later date. I ended up with a second angel for our yard that way a few years ago. 🙂 Then, last year a beautiful urn came up on clearance and now it houses a lovely, dark pink-flowering rose bush. It is a favorite in spring!!!
And there’s where this fireplace surround will go. (photo, above left) I even put the triptych of a mirror I brought back on the plane with me from England, and the two ladies, up high enough for this ethereal mantle. I will post a photo of my inspiration piece later on.