Archive for the ‘choosing paint colours’ Category

I set out this summer to redo the exterior paint on the cottage. It was a bit of a challenge finding chunks of time between rental guests when it was also warm and dry enough to get to it.  And then there was the scraping. I estimate I spent 5 hours prepping for every one hour of painting.


the trim was pretty bad too


Prepping before painting

As a result, I got slightly less than half the cottage painted, but gosh it looks nice! And it is the important half – the front half. It was also the hard half, since the front takes all the sun, and there are lots of windows with finicky trim, and posts and whatnot.

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So satisfying once it is done

The trim is a BM colour called Mannequin Cream. The cottage itself use to be BM Duxbury Grey, which has a hint of green in it.  I love the colour, but here in the rain forest, paint already has a tendency to take on a green tinge, both reflected and from algae. The driveway shed was a different, slightly mauve grey of unknown origins, and it was this shade that I had colour-matched for the cottage paint. On the advice of a house painter acquaintance, I went with a premium Behr paint from Home Depot

Next summer I should be able to get the job finished. There will be much less prepping, but more ladder work, which I do not love. Meanwhile, I’m fired up to do more painting, and will start with the front hall of my home, which needs an all-over redo.

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Our buffed-up master bath is grey and white. Very soothing, but requiring a few pops of colour. These two different wine crates came from the garages of friends in the neighbourhood. One became a wall shelf for a few items too tall for the vanity drawers. The other is now a stool – style table for accessories beside the tall tub.

From the canvas over the tub I choose red ochre as an accent colour for this small project.

I used craft store acrylic paint, and only put on two coats as I wanted these items to look a bit rough. Once dry,  I sprayed them with some varnish to protect the paint.  The cloth in the back of the wall shelf is a place mat from a sale table at Pier 1 and can be changed out easily when I find something I like better. Cottager cut some molding for the rough front edge, and I filled the joints and gave the frame a coat of BM Cloud White. These small practical additions make me feel that I have put something of myself into the project.




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Snuck away from my responsibilities for some of the fresh air and quiet of the cottage.
Messed around in the garden and got some of the railings stained in between spring squalls
Two teenage girls walked up and down the road today playing their violins. I love stuff like that.

Deck Railings Before

Satisfying to spend time outside

And make the cottage look nice too

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When we first bought the cottage, I was determined to paint every interior wall.
Then I started to like the white-white walls and white-white trim.

Over the winter, we’ve done a mini make-over of the kitchen – with a few finishing touches yet to come. We replaced the dishwasher, stove and baseboard heater.

And it became clear that it was a good time to paint. So would it be white-white or white on white?We opted for white on white. Aside from the simple happiness a really fresh coat of paint can bring – I like it.

Didn’t go looking for Linen White as recommended by the Cottage Decor guru. Simple reason – we had a half a gallon of BM Elmira White. In some lights and angles the difference is very subtle – just enough to make the white trim pop.

At night, under artificial light, (and in this “after” picture) it is a bit more distinct. For a kitchen, I would say its pretty perfect.

Won’t be long until we feel the urge to give the main room and halls a paint job too. Probably next winter or spring. When we do, I will likely go about 50% lighter still, to get a really subtle white on white effect in these areas that will still harmonize with the kitchen and make all that white trim pop.

So here it is before…


And here it is after – with a new piece of countertop and some backsplash tile still to come….

White on White cottage paint job in the kitchen

White on White cottage paint job in the kitchen

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Finally the days are longer and warmer and, like every spring, we were itching to start some projects.  Since the weekend was  forecast to be dry, we decided to prioritize the deck, which is really bleached but still in good condition. Our last attempt to stain and protect the deck did not go very well – See “The Tomato Soup Deck.”

Four years have passed since I said I wouldn’t use the Thompson’s Water Seal treatment again, and having failed to find another product we liked, we reversed course and bought an ‘advanced formula’ Thompson product which did not require the deck to be bone-dry. We even chose the same cedar colour, for want of better options, since putting a transparent seal on the bleached wood wasn’t going to improve its looks enough to satisfy us.

Thompsons 'advanced' formula on the bleached deck

Back then, I read that power-washing would cause the wood to ‘bloom’ and was not advised. So I scrubbed the deck by hand.

This time, Cottager just got the power washer out.

Back then, we really didn’t get the product into the spaces between the slats.

This time we taped paint brushes to broom sticks and got much better coverage in those spaces.

Cottager with a brush taped to a broom handle

And while the product recommends you don’t use a roller – without explaining why…

We did it with a roller anyway.

Either the product has improved or we have. We shook it really, really well and it went on evenly and looks and feels great!

Nicely stained and preserved for another few years.

It didn’t take all weekend either. We also had time to: trim hedges, do some garden clean up, barbecue steaks, see a movie, walk into the village along the beach, have a weiner and marshmallow roast on the beach, fly the Angry Birds kite a recent visitor left behind for us, and have the neighbours over.  Love these longer, warmer days.

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This old vanity stool has been hanging around our place for years now – a legacy item from my mother-in-law that didn’t seem to hold much promise. Cottager was able to reach way back in his memory to describe – in detail – the pattern on the fabric that’s under this blue velvet. Yes, this has already been remodeled once. Why not again? 

Could this sad old thing have a place at the cottage?

Finally a vision for where it might go coincided with a few rainy hours to make it happen.  I sanded it down, brushed on a coat of primer and then a second coat using the dregs of a can of Benjamin Moore Tealight Green, used in our closet-to-alcove make-over.  A small remnant of an English floral fabric containing a perfect match for this green completed the update.

Yep, this will be useful.

Since I most often spend just a night or two at the cottage, I generally just live out of an overnight bag left on the floor. From now on, my bag will be up off the floor and much easier to get into when resting on this stool. This re-furbished item can also quickly be moved into the living room to act as a foot rest during winter movie nights.

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Coming from me, these words may make you roar with laughter.

I’m the one who has been agonizing over colour choices for the main room of our cottage  for what?…a year now?

And because we still weren’t quite ready to do that paint job (March, I think) I could afford the luxury of mulling it over from time to time.

But over the holiday break, Cottager started a kamikaze-style project – at our city home – to summon a home office out of …nothing really. It has been a bit of a ride, watching the walls go up, choking on drywall and filler dust, the agony of glass brick and mortar installation  – all I could do was stand back and watch, offer signficant constructive criticism, and trust his vision.

This weekend we hit the paint stage. I grabbed my holster of benjamin moore colours, sorted 30 or so strips out of the horde, and quickly decided which one was my favourite. Then I showed them to Cottager, asked him to pick out his favourites, and when his finger landed on the one I’d chosen, we had a winner:  Nantucket Grey (which is actually quite green, fyi.)

Got it, used it. Love it.  It was just that simple. 

I’ve resolved not to give the cottage paint any more thought. Cottager and I have agreed, in principal, on how we would like it to look. When the day arrives that we are really ready to paint, we’ll do the same thing:  Pick 20 or 30 possibilities out of our holster of swatches, narrow it down to two we like, then leap into action.  It is only paint, right? 

Tune in towards the end of the month for before and after pictures of the home  office Cottager magic’d out of thin air. We still have flooring and molding to do, but it already looks terrific.

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