The Cool House: paint
Showing posts with label paint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paint. Show all posts

Monday, November 03, 2014

Spucing Up

Hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I last posted anything on this blog. It's not that we haven't been tending to The Cool House rather that social media has changed a lot about the way I document my life and that goes for the house too.  I'm more likely to take a thousand word snap of something we've done and post it right there to Facebook or twitter. One click and I've saved all that tedious typing. You could say instagram killed this blog.

But it would be unfair to ask you to search through all the hundreds of photos of sunsets and kittens to find one that shows the renovated pool, or the color we ended up with in the sitting room after several, expensive redoes.  So, here, in no particular order, are the projects we undertook in the first ten months of 2014.

Pool renovation: all the pipes, skimmers and reruns were replaced. This job entailed digging up and replacing half the brick patio but it mbas meant no more leaks. Also the pool light works again and we have a new, quieter energy saving pump. The pool housing is screened off with a nicer replacement for the termite eaten fence and next Spring a gas heater will be installed.

We lost a couple of trees and big rhododendrons to last year's severe winter, which Neal the Landscaper said was an opportunity, especially as the pool guys had to rip through the shrubbery to lay new pipes so hey presto one May weekend we got a new awesome shrubbery. well, almost new, The Guy insisted on keeping a dog wood because it looks spectacular from the master window for one week in May. It will probably come crashing down this winter!

The kitchen patio, front path and steps were re-grouted and broken bluestone slabs were replaced. We also installed four Marvin windows in the den, downstairs bath and basement where the rot or weather had damaged them beyond repair.

While all that was going on we started the BIG PAINT JOB, which kept getting bigger as we progressed form room to room. I'd taken three months to narrow down the fifty odd shades of gray and gold to half a dozen. We used Benjamin Moore Aura paint on all the walls and baseboards, which has no off gases and dries to a tough knock resist finish; the painters replaced moldings as needed. Eventually after much trial and error, we chose Collingwood for the kitchen and second and fourth bedrooms, Moonshine for the great room, stairs, hall and balcony and one bath, Camouflage for the third bedroom & the den. My office ended up Golden Tan, the third bedroom Buena Vista Gold, the laundry Metropolitan and we matched the original dusky pink tiles in the downstairs bath to Peau de Soie. The painters took advantage of the cool, dry summer and stained the house Mission Brown, with doors in Marvin Bronze to match the windows.

Last but certainly most significantly, we converted from oil to gas. This was prompted when our oil guy telling us he couldn't keep the monster burner going much longer coincided with an oil bill that cost more than our first new car. I won't bore you with the details of the 6 month saga of no heat or no hot water, repairs, work-arounds and crossing our fingers it took to get us to October 8 when National Grid finally turned the gas on. It's also not the prettiest project, and it took one guy an entire 8AM-4PM day to get the monster out of the basement but it did finally get done. We worried about an ugly gas meter outside our beautiful house but we managed to hide it behind an estate rhododendron. Can you see it in the photo above? No? Neither can anyone else! More importantly we can take showers without screaming and the air coming out of the vents is toasty so it's probably the project that impacts our comfort level the most.

10 years later

Finally, 10 years after we moved in, thirteen years after the last coat of Navajo white, we summoned up the courage to have the space painted. As this room is open to so many spaces, we envisioned chaos, with scaffolding everywhere and paint-splattered animals leaving tacky trails on the furniture and furnishings.

And the color? I had major issues here. The eastern light and huge windows played havoc with the hues. Each wall looked a different hue, a different color even. I'd love a color on one wall at 9 am and hate it by 1. Another would look great on one wall, be subtle on another and disappear on a third. It became a process of elimination and I know I drove the painters crazy, though they were much to polite to say so, even when I changed my mind in the middle of the night and emailed them with the new choice.

What do you know? Turns out the whole process was drama free. Even though some cats love the no-smell BM Aura paint and snuggled up to it at every opportunity, they managed to keep their paws out of the paint trays. Scaffolding? Not necessary. Three men with rollers accomplished the whole job in two days.

The wall color we finally landed upon is Benjamin Moore moonshine. On this wall, and only this wall it looks a watery green, That lasts an hour or so when the north eastern light hits the wall. The same color is on the balcony walls, which look off-white and the double height wall that looks gray. Later in the day all the walls fade to the neutral color in the first photo above, which is a very relaxing shade that showcases the art.

When it was all clean and fresh The Guy decided he had to have this bright and vibrant piece by Long Island artist Stanko, which was framed by rockstar framer Cherie Via Rexer of Ripe Art Gallery. It has a mid-century vibe that really sits well in the space. The only regret I have about this room is that we didn't have it painted four years ago when we renovated the kitchen. On the other had the paint color I had in mind for this room wouldn't have worked nearly as well and i would be repainting right about now...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Picking Paint

Various people have been asking what color we have chosen for the kitchen and while I'm tempted to leave up the mix of spackle, old paint and backing paper that's currently adorning the walls, I think it may be more aesthetically pleasing to have coherence in that space. The oppressive heat and humidity that was summer 2010 has abated so we're up to the challenge of picking a paint color. Obviously we aren't undertaking this lightly. Remember this marathon paint ponderation from 2007? That wasn't resolved until 2008 - and after all the drama we went with the color on the dining room walls. I had already used some sample pots left over from the master bedroom to try out four shades of green/gray, Iced Cube Silver, Gray Cashmere, Moonshine and Crystalline but none was really speaking to us. So I got out the paint chips and with some trepidation began the process anew. It turned out to be a really simple process. We had already decided on a gray to pick up on the tones in the Caesarstone Misty Carrera countertop. Most of the chips were too dark, a couple too light and then we had the perfect Goldilocks moment.

We loved Silver Satin, the color I painted the door and trim in the green bathroom many years ago. It works in both the sunny and full shadow areas of the kitchen. Because there is no logical place to stop in this house we'll continue this color through the mud room, up the back stairs, along the balcony, down the front stair, finally finishing by covering the walls in the foyer. Eventually we'll also give the great room a coat of two of this lovely pale grey.

We could use Silver Satin in the den as well but ultimately we decided that Bronzed Beige give this room more definition. Bronzed Beige is the color we used in this room and The Guy's office.

The ceilings and room openings with be freshened up with Simply White.
All colors by Benjamin Moore.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's all over now sixties blue

In anticipation of the arrival of new shades for two bedrooms I stained and sealed the triangular window frame, touched up one bedroom wall and got two coats of Navajo white over the blue wall in the den. I really should have primed the latter first... I'll be painting a third - and hopefully final- coat tomorrow. And when I say final I mean final until we've chosen a paint colour we like for that room because enough with the Navajo White, it's been almost six years of blah and I need something that says I chose this not I was afraid of paint. Maybe something inspired by the sunset last week...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quick reno update

Before I left for Palm Springs we had a few house issues - tree in pool, missing tile and snow up to my armpits but as of today we have resolved most of those. Steady rain is taking carre of the snow; a man with a chainsaw and a truck came, happily declared "Let's make a mess", chopped down the tree and hauled away the debris. Bonus: more light at the back of the pool so the hollies I'm planning should do well; potential problem - more weeds.

The tile came in, the floor is finished and grouting has begun. We used half a bag of anthracite grout on the shower and floor tiles and two bags of grey (gris) grout on the mosaic walls. Quick pic above of the grout drying before they washed it off the tiles. Got a big thumbs up design-wise from the plumber who came to check it out before he returns tomorrow to attach the faucets, shower fixtures and WC. He wanted to know how we made it bigger! Shower door ordered and should be here in less than "tweaks"*.

Painters already have one coat on master bedroom walls, ceiling and trim and the closet. Today the bath and dressing room get their turn. We also ordered the new bed/furniture and the Awesome Designer is waiting patiently to install the upholstered window valances.

Still to do: Fit vanities (scheduled for Thursday); measure and install counters and re-fit saddle (marble guy will be here asap after vanities go in - turnaround is one week); plumber to fit basins, faucets; electricians to finish lighting and carpenter to attach all the pretty hardware to the wall. I'm still hopeful we can make it so The Guy can take his first shower in there on his birthday but at this stage I'm just happy we're making progress.
*The official supplier/contractor delivery estimator - supposed to equate to two weeks, rarely meets that timeframe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Chocolate and Clouds...

...with a glint of metal... After all the selecting, culling and final editing and the twenty 12" x 12" squares in 7 different colors I painted on the master bedroom walls we have finally (maybe) come up with a paint palette* that pleases both The Guy and picky me.

Benjamin Moore Titanium to be precise. A warm pale gray with a greenish undertone for the master bedroom walls

Benjamin Moore Cloud White a cool creamy white, soft and billowy on the ceiling and inside the closets

Benjamin Moore Bittersweet Chocolate brownish black. Tasty on the trim to match the dark vanities.

By the way designers and decorators, Benjamin Moore has just launched a couple of exciting projects- new showrooms in New York and Chicago that have variable lighting to mimic those pesky north and east facing windows I'm currently dealing with and huge color blocks so you can truly imagine your finished design. The NYC showroom is painted in Cloud White, a shade I've used very successfully at The Cool House that provides a neutral background to the color chips.

Additionally, the "Designer's Colors" Virtual Fan Deck, a design-tool launched a couple of years ago with Kravet fabrics and furnishings is now available online making complimentary color choice a snap.

Benjamin Moore has also added an e-commerce section to the website so you can buy all the supplies BM offers, plus the sample pots in 600 colors, without stepping away from your computer. Shipping is free on orders over $75 and for 4 or more Color Sample pots. My local paint store is only offering pint samples these days - great for touch-ups or small areas, not so economical if you want to try out 3 or 4 colors on the wall. If you have any painting dilemmas there is a problem solving section too: Learn How that incorporates tips on faux-painting techniques and a calculator so you know exactly how many gallons of paint to order.
*For those keeping count - during the master bedroom project I have spent countless hours using BM's Personal Color Viewer, made innumerable trips to the paint store, bought 5 Color Sample pots, three pint size pots and 50 chips - all to find that what works best is a color scheme I used here, here and here. Ironic, no?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ben: Capturing Color

I've been having some difficulty pinpointing the exact shade, tint and hue of paint I need to decorate The Cool House but come June 1st my problems will be solved by Ben.

Ben, or more properly, ben® Color Capture™ is a free iphone app developed by paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore that digitally matches photos to to any one of the 3,300 or so colors in Benjamin Moore’s system. I'll tap the app and let ben do the rest.

Using the iphone camera, I'll snap my inspiration image and zoom in on any part of it.  A strip of colors will appear on the screen under the image, with the closest match highlighted, I can then save my preferred shade to my favorites. Shaking the phone will give me four co-ordinating colors or I can use the app to access the BM full spectrum color wheel. 

Then all I need to do is go to the nearest paint store (using the iphone's GPS system to locate it) and say "I want it this color". Ben should making choosing paint easy and fun, and I'll be downloading it from iTunes first thing Monday morning.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Refresh Your Stinky Room

Dutch Boy paints introduce Refresh, the first premium quality paint with Arm & Hammer Odor Eliminating Technology and zero VOC.

It's talking a big talk with GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality and Green Cert certification and the website has a cool interactive video but as my mac doesn't come with sense-o-smell I don't know how well it really works. All I can say is that Sadie the dog had an "accident" a week or so back and even Nature's Miracle couldn't get the smell out. I eventually poured a packet of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda over the stain and left it overnight. Result: Smell completely vanished. If Refresh has the same effect as an open container of baking powder at neutralising odours I would definitely try it. And if Dutch Boy throws in a competition whereby I could win paint AND big bucks, I'm intrigued. What about you?

Here's what you do: Go to My House Stinks and submit a photo of your horrible room (there are a few examples up already so you can see what the competition is like). The winner of the most "annihilated-looking" room wins $5,000 and 50 gallons of Refresh to help rejuvenate their living space! Second prize: $2,500 and 25 gallons of Refresh; 3rd prize: $1,000 and 10 gallons of Refresh! Voters are eligible to win gallons of paint too, when they rate the rooms. Drawings monthly until October 2009.

If you win (or you decide to try the paint anyway) come back here and tell the interwebs what you think. Deal?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Inspired by Daffodils

One lone daffodil to be precise. I don't know the variety but the combination of pale sunshine yellow and hot orange makes me want to sing* and decorate with:

A bright orange Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair

Soft saffron Elin bed linens by Area from The Conran Shop 

Finnish designer Sanna Annukka's folklore inspired Kanteleen fabric from Marimekko

Or maybe I should make a couple of DIY art panels with a quart of Benjamin Moore Citrus Orange and another of Lemon Meringue?
What would I be singing? Well, certainly this number from the Belgian days

Sunday, April 26, 2009


via pointclickhome

Four or five years ago when we were buying The Cool House someone asked what we were going to do with all the huge white walls as we didn't have enough art to fill the space. I said we'd find more as we went along and if the need arose to hang a big picture I could always paint a blank canvas with a bold solid color. I remember there was much derisive laughter and shaking of heads at this suggestion.

Well, I say to you scoffers: Look at the New York Times Home & Garden section . They showed this panel from the Kips Bay 2009 Decorator Showhouse; a 12'x6' stretched canvas painted with Benjamin Moore Big Sky Blue. Hah! I was just a little ahead of my time.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I got really excited when I read the headline for self-repairing paint. Turns out it's for cars, but car today, house tomorrow, right? I could sure do with some instead of constantly having to touch up the animal-inflicted nicks and scratches on the walls and trim at the Cool House. Until then I'll have to make do with this handy little gizmo.
Of course what I'm really waiting for is a self-painting wall....

Monday, April 07, 2008

Paint Your own Wallpaper

If you think moving flagstones is hard work, just imagine the hours that went into getting the masking tape straight so you could achieve this effect. I came across this idea for a painted striped wallpaper effect by Modern Self. Totally in awe right now.
via Master of Your Domain

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The power of democracy

red & black

After I mentioned I had asked the internet readership to help us choose a new vessel sink, the Guy announced he has a definite preference and that he is a Super Delegate and therefore gets two votes. I have a different choice of sink but as I threw it open I will of course abide by the majority's decision.

red crackle

He is concerned that I didn't give you a choice to state you think all four were horrible. So if you hate them all, have a better suggestion or have a reason why you favor one vessel sink over another send me a comment.

red marble

Each of the above has at least one vote.

red spiral

It seems no one is into the Red Spiral, are the swirls too distracting perhaps?

red Imprint with a #50 Paintbrush

To help us with the decision we visited Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today at the MoMA in Manhattan. It was a fabulous show, possibly the best I've seen there since they expanded MoMA, but we are no nearer reaching a concensus. More about the exhibition over here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Touch Ups

Or things I've been meaning to get around to for the past few weeks months...
1)Remove paint from cabinets in the kitchen. Pretty good going here. It took me less than two months to fix this. The embarrassing thing is that they are laminate cabinets so the paint washed off with a sponge.
2)Paint one three inch corner the girl's bath where the vanity top was installed and the glue got on the wall. Time it took to do this minor repair: 8 months
3)Paint 1.5" circle on den wall where the original owners realtor stuck an air-freshner to disguise smell of kitten "accident" on carpet. I pulled it off the wall and a chunk of paint came with it. Time to effect this repair: I'm not sure when I did this but I'm pretty sure it was around the time the shades went up, so maybe two years ago?
I managed to do all of these in less time than it took to blog about them. I am truly ashamed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The kitchen is painted but the tacky carpet remains

This is where we started in June 2004, flowery wallpaper and vinyl blinds, dingy ceiling and brown indoor/outdoor carpet. Practical, but not our style. Our Impala aluminum chairs and cafe table look really odd amongst all the abstract florals. The two Marcel Breuer chairs got repositioned to the basement where they remain.

eik (or eat-in kitchen)
I couldn't live with the flowers so within a week or so we had white walls, and the dresser and table from an upstairs bedroom took a pause on their way out of the house and stayed in the kitchen for the next 40 months.

Earlier this year we hung the plans of the house above two Andrew Geller sketches and that just seemed to emphasize the grotty ceiling. So we decided that rather than wait until the kitchen is updated, we'd just give it a coat or two of paint and clean it up a bit.

We chose eventually to go with Benjamin Moore Cloud White on the ceiling and Titanium on the walls. Half way through painting I skimmed the Pottery Barn catalogue, (I usually throw it straight in the recycle bin) and discovered Titanium was a Pottery Barn colour.

I feel the same way about PB as Phoebe in Friends so I tried to persuade Steven we needed to pick a different colour but he wasn't having it, and as he was wielding the paintbrush, he won. Just as well, I'm really pleased with the colour in here now.

We had to move the dresser and table to paint and we couldn't bring ourselves to put them back so it's looking a bit empty right now. I'm searching for a walnut credenza that will fit along the wall, something similar to the ones I cannibalized for the dining room and the great room. I'd also like to replace the cafe-style table with a larger oval Saarinen table, or this round Rondo Lapalma table but I'm not sure that would ever be in the budget. Still, we are making progress. Now if I could only get rid of that looovely brown carpet......................

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Paint Colors

It seems a shame to paint over these swatches, doesn't it? The first square on its own didn't look right, the next couple were better, but adding the last two colors makes the original one really pop.
Top row from left to right: Sweet Pear; Titanium; Crystalline; Iced Cube Silver. Bottom row: Wind Chime; Titanium. All by Benjamin Moore USA.
We decided that the sagey-grey will work best (although I'm still hankering after the Sweet Pear, especially with the Titanium next to it) and the lighter tone is the one we chose. Which just happens to be? Titanium. Yes, that's right, the color we painted the dining room walls and the powder room, too. The strange thing is that in the dining room it is more grey with an undertone of green and in the powder room, which has no natural light, it's definitely grey. I put two coats on the swatches on all the walls in the kitchen and it registers from sage green to silvery green. Certainly not grey. I really resisted this color because I didn't want the whole house painted the same but it just looks right. I hope we are still happy once the whole room has been painted.
But first we will be tackling that beige ceiling.