In Design on April 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm
We bought our house almost 3 years ago, and it was a fixer to say the least. Built in 1920, the house still had its original cloth-wrapped electrical wiring (which was singed in places) and a shake roof that was completely rotten—truly a miracle that the entire place hadn’t gone up in flames. Before moving in we replaced the roof, electrical and many of the ceilings (to say nothing of kitchen, floors, etc). It was another year before we were able—either emotionally or financially—to tackle the landscaping and put in stone steps and gravel paths.
Last spring kept me pretty busy with our big home office project. And now, finally, we bid adieu to the crumbling and grungy Navajo White stucco. Plus the granny awnings and oppressive security bars on all the windows—courtesy of the Watts riots I’m told—are history! Here’s a picture of the house when we bought it:
Here’s the new stucco and the new slate roof (sadly wood shake is no longer legal). For the stucco, we went with a warm gray tone and had the color mixed right into the stucco, which is then applied and smoothed in by hand with a trowel. The workmanship is kind of amazing.
And a close-up of the before and after:
I was so sure that we would be going with cream trim that I had the kitchen window and back door painted in cream when we replaced them a couple years ago. But once the new stucco went up last week, and I saw the sad old flaking dark brown trim against the gray, it hit me. The dark side was calling. My friend Mia (the only person I know with an obsession for paint that rivals and possibly exceeds my own) concurred and brought over multiple fan decks. And so I pondered.
“All these colors are the same!” said the guy behind the counter yesterday afternoon upon my third visit to Mann Brothers in as many hours. Not true! The blue that Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe threw off against the warmer gray of the house, or the hint of purple that emerged in Benjamin Moore’s Deep Caviar, and the army green the afternoon sunlight picked up in Fine Paints of Europe’s steely #58 were all completely out of the question. Ralph Lauren’s Smoked Glass and Pratt & Lambert’s African Night were both delicious, but too similar in color to the roof and sort of disappeared next to it. Which is how I landed on Benjamin Moore’s totally gorgeous Ashwood Moss. I love the way it plays with the slate and it brings out all these really cool tones in the stone steps in the front garden. Ashwood Moss is second in from the left, below:
God, I love paint. And tomorrow we start…..
In Design, Film on April 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm
Sometimes, the universe tries to tell you things about color. Like on a spoon painted in the new Charlotte’s Locks hue from Farrow & Ball:
Or as modeled by Saoirse Ronan in Hanna.
And, also in Hanna, not to be outdone by these amazing Berlin Subway tiles.
And the splash of color I spied last week through the leaves of a tree in Florida.
Imagine my surprise upon opening a package on Friday from Ristretto Roasters (my very favorite coffee in the whole wide world) featuring a redesigned label.
Which could explain how this Madeline Weinrib Mandala rug leapt into my arms and demanded to be taken home.
But I think what all of this really means is that I need to repaint the hallway orange.
In Baby Love, Design, Out of Town on April 10, 2011 at 10:08 am
We’re back! It feels like the past week spent at my inlaws’ place in Gulf Stream was something out of a dream. A very, very good dream. Mornings at the beach, lunch poolside, lazy afternoons kicking around a ball in the garden.
We saw sharks and snakes. We saw butterflies and birds.
We picked strawberries and tomatoes with the cousins—and there was ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. Mostly chocolate.
And then we woke up. It was a particularly rough landing as we returned to a construction zone, our house having been sandblasted the day before we got back.
But there’s a happy ending to this messy story. I’m once more in the throes of my very favorite obsession: PAINT! (A topic I fear I may have exhausted last night at a chic dinner party hosted by our friends Lizzie and Matt.) Yesterday the crew hand-troweled the final coat of stucco on the exterior of the house in the most delicious shade of gray. I’ll post some pics later on. But first, I must obsess a tiny bit more about what color to paint the trim. I was so sure it would be cream. But now I’m leaning toward something a little more dramatic. To be continued…
In Baby Love, Design on January 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm
More rain here in Los Angeles makes for a stir-crazy toddler. To the rescue: Tiny G’s rainy day Pantone Metal Storage Box, filled with art supplies like construction paper, crayons, markers, maribou feathers, sparkly pom poms and glue. I love these boxes, avail in seven Pantone colors, for their functionality and of course they speak to my well-documented paint obsession. Tomorrow Tiny G is super excited to break out the contents of his Box of Rain once more as he hosts his first play date with Scarlett, as well as best buds Lila and Charlotte. In the meantime, one of my favorite rainy day songs:
In Design on May 12, 2010 at 9:38 am
Today we are supposed to be all finished with our garage project! Of course I don’t believe that for a second, having lived through a major house renovation two years ago, but we’re close. That much I know. At this point, all that’s left is to put the hardware on the new custom-built garage carriage doors, a pull on the “secret” door that leads to the storage, and a final coat of Benjamin Moore “Poppy” paint (above) on the bookshelf. In fact, the bookshelf has proven to be something of a challenge. High gloss paint is a pain in the patootie! Just ask the last painter, who painstakingly painted all the woodwork in our dining room in high-gloss Farrow & Ball “Fawn.” But the results are so worth it!
In Design on May 5, 2010 at 7:39 am
We should be 95% finished with the garage by the end of the day! But let’s start with last week’s exciting victory, the roughhewn back wall. For the design backstory and method for the wash on the tongue-and-groove Douglas Fir back wall, head over to Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog. The inspiration came from my neighbor Debra, who is the last word in taste on our block. She had the vision to see that roughhewn Doug Fir beams washed in gray would be this beautiful:
To contrast with the Farrow & Ball Light Gray walls and ceiling, our outstanding painter, Jeff Lee, stained the cedar beams across the ceiling in Minwax Provencial.
Up next: bookcases and garage doors!!! Oh, yeah, and more……………..PAINT!
In Design on May 1, 2010 at 7:24 am
I’m going to admit that I’ve been kind of tough to take recently—I’ve been super amped up over paint. Bordering on obsessive. I know, I know. It’s just paint. And so I can’t blame my poor husband for telling my sister last weekend: “She’s like a cat on a hot tin roof with this paint thing.” But luckily for him and our marriage, my paint angst has a Hollywood ending. After the dreamy wall color went up yesterday (more on that later) I was able to take a look at red paint samples for the bookcase in its true environment. And so, after MUCH neurotic deliberation, today we begin priming the bookcase to paint in Benjamin Moore Poppy! A heartfelt thank you to my design muses Debra and Lizzie for talking me off the hot tin roof.
In Design on April 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm
Sorry, sorry! I promised exciting paint photos, but I’m waiting for them to go up over at Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog before I share here. Also, the 15 mph winds today slowed down our paint progress considerably. In the meantime, I’ll show you what isn’t happening. And that’s this Poppy paint from Benjamin Moore. I seriously love the color, but it is skewing too pink? Do I need something a little more BLOOD RED with more black in it? I need to make a decision on the red for the book case in the next 36 hours. So please—if you have any thoughts on shades of red, would love to hear!
In Design on April 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm
This is what happened over the weekend. But wait until you see what happened today! Check back tomorrow. It’s really, really exciting. I promise. Hint: It involves…….. PAINT!!!
In Design on April 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm
I have a favorite pair of Lanvin ballet flats that are the prettiest shade of red I think I’ve ever seen. It’s almost a tomato, or, more accurately, what the Ben Color Capture app on my iPhone calls “Poppy.” (There are fantastic applications for this fantastic application, like when my friend Katie photographed our friend Hugh and discovered that his skin tone was akin to Benjamin Moore’s “Coyote Trail” and “Nutmeg.”)
But back to my shoes. According to Farrow & Ball, the color is called Incarnadine, or blood red. Whatever it’s called, I want a bookcase painted this color in my new office—and I love how it pops against the above shade of F&B’s Pigeon gray, which is one of the contenders for the office walls.