Picking Paint

Where to begin.  Well, we have to paint it at some point and I am googling everything to do with “Exterior Paint” combinations under the sun.  There are so many shades of white I quit counting and I do not have a degree in design so I do not understand undertones so there you go.

We thought a shade of white would look classic with the shake roof.  I really don’t want black shutters though.  No red door either.  That is just too traditional.  So, I have branched out and tried to find other color combinations besides a body color of white and see if I(we) like them.  Here are some of the ones I found late night googling-

Option 1-







The colors are pretty, they look sophisticated to me and they are clean-looking.  I like this look.

Option 2-








Pretty, I think…kind of a beige with a dark brown shutter and crisp trim.  Love the green landscape with it.  This looks like our house but I wonder if it is too yellow…hmmmm.  I have the magazine advertisement from Behr with this picture and it looks better in person that online.

But then I go back to this-









I just love white. I could sure tear up that pretty grass driveway with my Suburban though!  Wouldn’t stand a chance!

I’ve called in for reinforcements already.  I have a consult next Wednesday with a paint specialist.  Then I can have someone else to blame if it doesn’t turn out okay!


Outside Update

No big update…just took a photo of the front tonight.  Siding is going up!


Tile has been the hardest thing for me to get through.  The choices are unlimited and it is difficult to find a starting point.  

Our foyer in the rental house has become my staging/selection area. It gives me the best light and it is not in the way of the kids.  This is what I have selected- I say “I” because David has had nothing to do with any of this.  It’s really for the best because it is too difficult to have to run everything by him.  I just pick what I like and he says it looks great. I’m not even sure if he has really looked at any of it.


I like the 12×24 bricks for the kids’ bathroom floors and Avery, Audrey and Hudson will have just that- Hudson is going with a gray for his bath, Avery has a “marble” tile and Audrey has a really pretty linen pattern beige tile for hers.  All of them will have Botticino honed marble subway tile and trim.  It’s neutral, mostly white and clean looking. I wanted to choose something that will not look dated in 5 years. I do not plan on re-doing kids’ baths anytime soon!

For Addi, she has a bath that was fitted into the roofline over our bathroom and it is a tight space- perfect for her frame!  I want her to have the hexagon marble tiles for her floor- I love that vintage look and the extra grout that goes with that will give her more traction in her bath which is also good for her little frame!  It looks great too. She will have a simple white porcelain subway tile to go with it.

I think I am using Corian in Audrey and Addi’s baths- I found a “white” I really like and for Avery it will either be that or this cool Silestone gray- it is the square laying on her floor tile.  I really like the look with the white and I just want to make sure I can live with it for a long time and it won’t be too trendy.

Hudson is getting an awesome silver veined limestone countertop that I got at a warehouse sale- it is awesome and it was a great deal. Thanks to my designer, Teresa for that find!

The basement is still up in the air- I am leaning towards a honed travertine tile for there since it will get a lot of in and out from the backyard and eventual pool- seems like the most intelligent choice for down there.  

I didn’t include the master bath in the picture but our floors and counters are a limestone and the shower and backsplash are a glass mosaic tile- I absolutely love it and cannot wait to see it in the house.

So, I guess we ended up with a little of everything- the wood floors are “character grade” which looks old, the tile has a neutral palette with a modern style and hopefully all of it will feel like home.  

We’re getting there. I actually heard the word “home” come out of my mouth the other day when referring to ‘yellow house’. It caught me off guard but hopefully that is a sign for what is to come and it will feel like home very soon and will actually BE our home very soon!

April 13, 2012

We’ve quit calling it a renovation.  That is a severe understatement.  We are rebuilding the home.  It’s a rebuild.  I think we have created a new genre of construction with this project.  It’s not a renovation, it’s not completely new construction, it’s a rebuild.  Many people have asked me why we didn’t just knock it down and start anew.  Well, you have to consider your lot and place in a neighborhood.  The worst thing we could do financially is out build our lot.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a big project but when you start with a blank page with new construction, you go large.  It can keep going and going because there are no limits.  We were forced to stay within the foundation for the majority of the house and like Tim Gunn says, “Make it work!”.  This lot in this neighborhood didn’t need a castle sitting on it between 2 modest homes so we went with the rebuild.  We will likely still out build our lot, especially if you ask David, but the home will not look abnormal, it will blend and it will be unassuming, all qualities that make us comfortable.

April 13, 2012

This was the back on April 13, 2012.

April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012

Before the addition.

Back progression

April 27, 2012

As the addition goes on

May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012

Addition is on!

Front updated view-

May 18, 2012

Front view with addition complete.

The rear is still missing the courtyard and from what we understand that will be added towards the end of the project so the rear view is not complete at this point.  The plumbing is going in and the electrical begins Monday!

Garage addition-


We rebuilt and added the garage

The last 2 weeks have been like what I imagine watching paint dry will be like expect there is no paint.  There are no walls for that matter.  We’ve managed to get the addition foundation walls poured and set and we now have a dirt pile 10 feet tall in the backyard.  It was delivered to fill in under the soon-to-be back courtyard if they ever start framing that is.

Right now, it is so slow.  Waiting for cement to dry is like watching paint dry.  Waiting for the inspectors is like waiting for your turn to check out at Target with a kid screaming in the cart.  Lots and lots of waiting and in the mean time, I am frozen waiting on what to do next. I haven’t made that many decisions yet and I feel like I am going to be steamrolled eventually and not prepared. I’ve had some weird dreams.  Nothing with naked people but dreams that make you wake up thinking you forgot something.

We need a landscape plan. Don’t really want to pay a company and we would rather look for an individual to help but that doesn’t seem easy to find right now either.  We have like 6 weeks before school is out and after that, I will likely be dragging 4 kids with me to any appointment and I can already feel the “That’s fine, whatever”, boiling up in my throat when it comes to what all needs to be selected.

Today was fun.  We had the privilege of going to see the inter-workings of Olde Savannah Flooring.  William(Bill) Riley gave us a tour today of their facilities and it was nothing short of spectacular.

A few weeks ago, going through my files of torn out magazine pictures, I stumbled upon an ad from Olde Savannah Flooring that ran in Southern Accents magazine(R.I.P. SA, sniff, sniff).  It is a lovely picture and I remember calling and asking what the floors were a few years back.  They were an antique oak and just lovely in the ad.

I called and after asking one too many questions, was transferred to “Bill” to “help” me.  He got on the phone and asked me where the house is and I told him in Duluth, near the Forum and Wesleyan and I asked did he know where that is.  He replied that he did and he continued with telling me his daughter, Irleand, goes to Wesleyan! OMG!  Our kids go to Wesleyan!  I knew this was going to be good.

I told Bill about the house and he encouraged David and I to come to the warehouse and he could show us what they can do with hardwood floors.  He also explained to me that they do not use polyurethane on their floors, never have, and that explained why I kept seeing floors that were of the right species but didn’t look like the one in the ad.  They either use wax or tung oil on their floors to finish them.  Now, it started to make sense why we couldn’t figure out why the samples from our builder did not match the one we had seen at an Interior Design shop.

Well, today we finally got to go see Bill and his flooring and it was a really fun experience.

He took us around and showed us different flooring- walnut is their most popular choice and the floor that we are going to use, hickory.  It comes to him from Kentucky.  We are going to go with a random width floor and the basic will be 3, 4 and 5 inch but many times, it comes in with widths up to 10 inches and ‘you get what you get’ as Audrey would say.

From here, they cut and saw until you end up with the boards that you can then choose to have hand-scraped to add extra texture and character.  Here is a picture of that labor intensive process:

Hand scraping

These are actually hickory stair treads that are headed to Florida.  You can see how long this process would take!

Custom Stain Room

Then, there is the custom stain room.  If you have a color or picture or specific color in mind, these guys can make it happen.

Above, is the sample board that we liked.  They are going to make up a couple of sample boards and we will go from there!

It was a fun morning and a big thanks to Bill and Mark for showing us around!  If you are in the market for flooring or are thinking about updating, I would seriously consider Olde Savannah Flooring!  www.oldesavannahflooring.com

Lastly, he told us that they just did Taylor Swift’s house and I figure it it’s good enough for Taylor…

Friday update


3-30-12 Update


The windows are back in, front is wrapped and old landscaping has been removed.  The changes in the backyard are dramatic.

Before addition and garage


The footings are set to be poured today and then the addition can begin next week!


Today, we received a basic landscaping layout plan.  It is just an overview of how to put the puzzle pieces back together but it give us a birds-eye view of the property.

We demolished the original pool but we plan to have another pool but we likely will not start that until next spring.  Let’s just get us in the house first!

The “Porch” is the topic of the day.  This is a typical day for me- The builder will text me and say, “Are you fine with the landscape plan?”. I have to get my phone out(because I am ALWAYS in the car) and pull up the latest PDF file and review it without crashing the car(don’t text and drive).  Are you “okay” with _____ is a loaded question.  You have to pay attention to the details because you are usually agreeing to a huge list of items that are not listed out.  

I open the plan and the one thing I see above all else is the location of the rear stairs to the backyard.  They are now located at the far side of the back courtyard which seems like a huge distance to me to travel to access the backyard.  

landscape plan
We have ONE door from the main level to the back and that makes the stair location critical to me.  

Stephen Fuller is our architect. If you are not familiar with him, he was/is the “Southern Living” guy and his kids go to Wesleyan.  He is an awesome resource.  He is my phone a friend.  So, whenever I get a call from our builder that I cannot answer immediately, I use my phone a friend and call Stephen.  Steve.  Here was his conceptual/rough drawing:

Rear courtyard

It shows stairs in the center.  That is where I thought they should go logically.  For some reason, the new landscape plan has them on the left hand property line.  I am not okay with that.

So, after emails/phone calls and texts, we have to meet at the house tomorrow to discuss the stairs!  Stairs.  Just one piece of the puzzle but it has to hit right and you cannot make a corner piece out of an interior piece no matter how hard you force it into the puzzle.

Bye bye pool

3-26-2012 Today, they started grading work in the front and back.  We are planning an addition that will go across the back of the home and a new single car garage will be added.  We are also taking off the old front porch and replacing it with a larger front porch making the window above it smaller to accommodate the new.


In Progress



The plantings to the left of the home out front are gone as of tonight.  The landscaping was so overgrown, it really dated the home.  On the right side of the lot, there is a row of hydrangeas that are beautiful and those will not be touched.

Also today, the right side of the home came off.  That was a surprise to me- the roof was always coming off to accommodate Addison’s bath above the first floor but everything is gone so I guess that will be all new too!  I know it seems like I should know this already but we are staying inside the walls over there so I really didn’t know it was totally coming down.

This week brings lots of changes.  Audrey got glasses.  Bright pink ones which she will debut at school tomorrow. When I brought them home to her she put them on and said look at that apple over there and handed me HER glasses so I could clearly see the apple as she now does.  So, I guess tomorrow brings a clearer day for Audrey.

I went and looked at tile again today.  So far, that is the most frustrating thing to conquer for me.  There are just so many choices but I am just trying to find something neutral for the kids’ baths and the choices are limited with neutral and trying to keep cost reasonable.

I have selected 12×24 tiles for the floors and 4×8 subway tile for the bath/shower walls.  I did opt for a hexagonal marble tile insert on Addison’s bathroom floor to give her more grout in there and thus more traction which will help keep her from slipping.  It’s very pretty and clean-looking.  I just need to figure out if I want any accent bands or do anything interesting with the tile.

I’m still working on the master bath.  The only thing I know for sure is the glass mosaic shower tile.  I am trying to find something that works with it and right now it may be marble.  I wish I could get some glasses like Audrey and see things clearly tomorrow when I put them on.  It would make the selections so much easier!

So, I have learned that when you start focusing on the inside of the home, your finishes revolve around your kitchen counter selection.  It defines the look, the colors and the feel of the home.  It is that significant so due attention must be paid.

I have been to so many stone lots- all the way up to South Carolina by car and even put in a call out of desperation to California and thought about having slabs shipped!  Crazy.  It shouldn’t be this hard but it is.

I love the look of marble.  I think a classic white kitchen is hard to beat.  I like wood but I think paint is timeless whereas wood tones come and go so we will be going with a painted kitchen cabinet.

On one of my first trips to look at stone, I came upon quartzite and once I saw it, that’s exactly what I wanted- quartzite is harder than granite and it does not etch or stain.  It looks like marble- it has the same veining without the specks that granite contains in the stone.  It’s the best of both worlds- the ease of care like granite and the look of marble.  It is more expensive that marble though- of course!  I can pick them!

I’ve been through a few different choices but the one that I think we are going with is called White Macabus.  It is a taupey-grey color with a dark gray veining.  I really like it.  Some of the quartzites are whiter in color but they have a ton of straight lines that run straight across the slab and I just wasn’t so sure i wanted to start at those lines for the next 20 years.  This one that I have picked is more random like marble.


I think it will set the tone that we want for the house and I am loving the color grey right now and it works with that very well!