Posts Tagged With: house

Color Commentary

I’m feeling the itch to redecorate again. This is a sure sign I’m  going through some sort of transition. Maybe it’s the fact that I turned 40 this year? I don’t know. But I’ve repainted the rooms of this house so often that they’re probably a quarter-inch thicker than they were when I moved in.

Sipping brights palette from Design Seeds. These are the greens of my kitchen; I'm going to add that cherry red as an accent. Click for original Design Seeds link.

Sipping brights palette from Design Seeds. These are the greens of my kitchen; I’m going to add that cherry red as an accent. Click for original Design Seeds link.

My first go-round in this house involved color. A LOT of color. My entry had a strawberry-red wall (it took five coats of paint). The soft grey living room walls harmonized with with navy and deep purple upholstery. After repainting the red brick fireplace cream, I painted the wall surrounding it a deep bittersweet orange. Then I thought, what the hell, and painted the opposite wall orange too.

The dining room was a brilliant yellow, the kitchen apple green. My first attempt at a deep pink in the project room (office/junk room) left it looking, in the words of my mother, “like a Chinese bordello.” I repainted it Tiffany-box blue. My own bedroom was a deep, nearly cobalt blue.

It was a bit like living in a box of crayons, but all that color satisfied something deep in my soul in my late twenties and early thirties.

After the end of a relationship in my mid-thirties, the first thing I did was repaint my bedroom a soft aqua. This was the beginning of my Tuscan farmhouse era. The walls of the living and dining rooms are a mid-toned apricot. The project room is sea-glass green. The kitchen is still apple green, although a lighter tone than the original. Despite a lack of lace or frills (I’m not a fan of either) there was no doubt that a woman was running this home.

Macro bloom color palette from Design Seeds. (

Macro bloom color palette from Design Seeds. My bedroom uses those two bottom aquas and the second (really bright) pink. Click on the photo to see the original at the Design Seeds site.

Now I’m finding that I need more contrast, a little more edge. I’ve introduced black into the rooms (frames and art) to ground them a bit more. I’ve added patterns for the first time, having in the past been firmly a solids kind of girl.

As I look through the palettes on the Design Seeds, I’m finding that monochrome palettes make my lower back itch. (I have VERY visceral reactions to color.) I need some contrast. The apricot on my living room walls, warm as it is, isn’t quite cutting it any more. I’m drawn now to darker oranges, spots of raspberry, and hits of intense aqua.

I find this is true in the garden, too, where my early affinity for English-style pastels has been replaced by a love of orange and pink zinnias and dark purple salvias and lavender.

So it’s back to the paint-strip aisle I go. I love my bedroom; I just need a few hits of raspberry in there. The kitchen and project room just need a bit of tweaking. But the living and dining rooms need some thought. It may take a full year to get around to redoing them. In the meantime, I continue to cut up magazines for my inspiration files and curate images on Pinterest.


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Home Ec for the Modern Farmgirl

I am not a housekeeper. (That howl you hear is the laughter of my friends and family at the very idea.) The Fraudulent Farmstead is home to three cats, a professional garden designer in a constant state of dirt, and a woman who works two jobs and goes to school. My sister and I are busy, messy people.

But the truth is, I love the idea of a clean and organized home. I want clean laundry neatly folded and put away, shining wood floors, an immaculate kitchen, and a week’s worth of meals planned and prepped. I want a sparkling bathroom with a seemingly endless supply of clean, matching towels. I want to be able to sit on the couch with a pot of tea and survey my shining domain with the cozy feeling of being prepared for a blizzard.

Enter home economics. Continue reading

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Winter Retrospective (or, The To-Do List, Done)

Last week was my first back with the Spotts crew. We've had unseasonably gorgeous wether, except for one day that it rained steadily while Amy and I were trying to move eight yards of mulch, which was less than fun. 

Spring's definitely close; my crocus are blooming in the front garden and the daffodils and tulip foliage are up. But since my winter break is officially over, I'm totaling up the projects I completed. Go me!

Finished projects:
Cleaned out and organized the furnace room, tool closet, and laundry rooms in the basement.
Cleaned out and organized the kitchen cabinets and the pantry. 
Cleaned out and organized all the closets, plus painted and hung peg board in the project room closet.
Cleaned out the potting station in the kitchen.
Painted the entryway and hall and finished painting the living room.
Installed new doors in the laundry and furnace rooms.
Painted the bathroom window and trim.
Painted the kitchen.
Painted the kitchen cabinets. 
Replaced the kitchen backsplash.
Projects currently in progress:
Replacing sink, faucet, and disposal in kitchen (awaiting delivery of new sink).
Replacing kitchen floor (floor still hasn't been delivered, dammit).
Painting kitchen baseboards.
Projects I didn't get done, but for which there's still hope:
Fixing the electricity in the garage.
Installing a threshold in Ginny's bath (I have the threshold, I just have to actually put it in).
Making windowseat cushion for dining room (but I have the necessary supplies).
Replacing knobs on lingerie chest (it's hard to find 2.5" handles).
Making the rainbarrel I've been meaning to get to for two years.
Building a coldframe.
Repairing my garden bench.
I can't wait until my kitchen is once again functional. But aside from finishing the kitchen, most of my energy and free time will now turn to:
1. the burlesque show on March 27. I still have to perfect my routines and do the program.
2. garden stuff, including redoing the rose border and getting the kitchen garden under control.
3. plus, of course, making a living.
Here's to spring!

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Backsplash, baby!

The backsplash saga continues.

As you know, Mr. Dan helped me install cement board as the backer for the tile. First, though, we put in insulation. The house has no insulation in its walls, and the builders cleverly stuffed the gap around the window with newspaper. In 1938. 
So we bought some rolls of insulation and shoved those into the gap between the wall and cabinet, using the very sophisticated tool of a piece of scrap board. We also sprayed foam insulation into the window gap, then covered the whole thing with furring strips. But not until after Mr. Dan installed new, deeper electrical boxes and rewired the outlets.
Best. Dad. Ever.
Mr. Roy came over to help with the last day of cement board installation. That was totally cool, because he and Mr. Dan could talk measurements and swear together, and I just had to stick my head in periodically and make sure they didn't need any drinks. Thanks Mr. Roy! 
Also, Mr. Roy was jealous of my new Dremel Multi Max tool. Given that the man owns the equivalent of the Sears hardware department, inspiring that envy is not easy. If he doesn't have one by now, it's only a matter of time.
So once the cement board was up, I tested out a few patterns, finally deciding on subway tiles with a decorative 1/2" tile to break up the pattern. 
Yesterday, I was finally ready to tile. I had all my supplies, I rented the tile saw, I put on my Carhart overalls with authentic grout stains. I was good to go.

The tile saw broke.
By which I mean after a few cuts, the on/off switch stopped working, and the circuit reset button did not do its failsafe job, so the only way to turn off the blade was to UNPLUG THE SAW. I had to return it to the shop and get a new one. Except that the tile saw sits in a pan of water, which keeps the blade wet. And the plug for that pan of water is attached to the saw, so when I lifted the saw out of the pan, the plug came with it, dumping approximately three gallons of water on the floor.
I was not amused. 
So I cleaned that up, exchanged the saw, came home, saw that the dog had gotten into the recyclables, counted to ten, picked up the gnawed cat food tins and plastic peanut butter jars, set up saw v2.0, and finally got back to tiling. 
The good news is I finally completed tiling the backsplash. It needs to cure for 24 hours, so today I'll touch up the cabinet paint. Tomorrow I'll grout the backsplash, then I should be ready to install the floor. I hope.
Good lord, I can't wait to go back to work.

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Snow. I’m over it.

We continue to receive a ridiculous amount of the white stuff. At left, no, that's not a weeping cherry. The snow fall was so heavy it snapped the staking line around the standard lilac, which is now bending to the ground. It still faired better than the one on the other side of the path, which is currently at about a 20 degree angle.
With all this snow, I'm spending even more time inside. I continue to plug away at the chore list. I've repainted the accent wall in the living room to be the same apricot color as on the other walls; it's amazing how much brighter that makes the whole room. And then I decided I was tired of the Roman shades in there, so I'm making some simple cafe-curtain-style sheers.

Mr. Dan came over yesterday to help prep for backsplash install. We didn't get to the cement board, but we did buy a new tool: the Dremel Multi-Max. This thing has an oscillating blade, so we were able to cut out the lath close to the cabinets and clean up the cuts to the plaster. Mr. Dan also capped off some very old pipes that we previously sticking out of the wall just enough to mess with creating a smooth plane. And we put up the first of the furring strips that will push the cement board out to the correct depth (see photo at left).
Home improvement is a pain in the ass.

Mr. Dan's coming back in the next day or two to help me finish the furring strips and get the cement board up. Then it will finally be ready for me to tile, which is a whole 'nother excursion into swearing.
Then I'll freshen up the paint on the cabinets. And then, praise the saints, I'll get the new floor in. 
All this work has led me to neglect a few basic household routines. Today I'm attacking the piles oflaundry downstairs.  And at left, Fi reminds me that we need more Diet Coke.

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Categories: In the house, The garden year | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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