Posts Tagged ‘paint’

We can’t have friends to stay and we dont know when that will change. But I dream of having guests: People to cook for and with, friends whose presence justifies that extra drink that now just makes me feel guilty, and someone new with whom to play board games and cards.

This desire, along with a decision not to rent our place this year to vacationers, was ample motivation to spend a few days improving our guest room.

2019 guest room. Someone had to sleep against the wall.

This room – every room in fact – was freshly painted with a matte white when we bought the place in late 2007. So repainting was not an early priority. It has; however, become increasingly desirable over the last few years. And no excuse not to do it right now.

Benjamin Moore has a new, extra durable paint called Scuffex. It’s not outrageously expensive either. I chose a pearl finish as the room is a bit dark and would benefit from a reflective lift. As for colour, as usual I went with my gut, quickly singling out a pale grey white called White Wisp. It isn’t a warm colour, which is what one craves just now, but the cottage is principally a summer spot, so I had to put myself in summer thinking mode.

The paint went on beautifully, and floor, ceiling, 5 panel door and window trim were all given 2 coats of gloss in BM Cloud White.

We replaced a cheap ikea ceiling fixture with a lovely nickel fixture that we wrote out of our sales contract when we sold up in Port Moody. I was so glad to find a perfect place for it. We also replaced the non- functioning dimmer switch.

We reoriented the bed so there is (some) room on both sides, then edited and rehung wall decor. We also painted up some found “free” shelves with trim paint and installed them at about 2 metres from the floor, to add a splash of interest and some high storage to an otherwise bare-by-necessity wall.

A shippy light fixture and some free, high shelves are favourite touches.

I washed the duvet and mattress pad, replaced all the pillows and polished the floor.

As usual, there are a few things holding me back from declaring the job fully complete. We are hoping to refinish an old piece of furniture to double as desk and dresser for this tiny room. And the baseboard heater needs to be replaced.

But in general, I am happy everytime I walk by the room and can’t wait to welcome our first guests of 2021. Whenever that becomes possible.

Meanwhile, we use this as Break Out space for our individual activities: puzzles and crafts for me, and music and gaming sessions via Zoom for my partner.

A more inviting space, just waiting for friends.

There was about a litre of the grey white paint left, so after a few days rest, I washed, taped and painted the small hallway outside the guest room.

I followed on with the trim and other doors off this hallway. Now I can’t stop. My room next, then the livingroom and eventually, a complete redo of the bathroom.

The hallway before it got a fresh coat of paint.
In progress. Lighting is not optimal, but this photo shows the soft grey shade of BM White Wisp as I started to paint the hallway.

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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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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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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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Uninviting, no ambience

Bedroom Before: Uninviting, no ambience

You would be forgiven for thinking that my bedroom update has fallen by the wayside. You may recall that after a stay at the Indigo Hotel in Ottawa, I resolved to seek a similar feel in my own bedroom – not at the cottage, but at my city home – and posted photos of the inspiring room (A Hotel-style bedroom – Part 2, The Indigo Photos.)

Neither Cottager nor I are big on summer home projects – there are more than enough rainy months on the West Coast for painting and improvements. Still, a bit of progress has been made. I have only postponed taking some ‘after’ photos because it looked unfinished without something on the wall over the bed. A large Ikea print of dogwood blossoms that I had planned to put there proved too large, but looks great on another wall in the room.

Owing to the low light in the room, I painted just two walls and small jog in a third wall with Benjamin Moore Violet Mist. The remaining walls are being done with a harmonizing grey shade called Tundra (also BM.) 

The headboard is a salvaged swing door from a demolished home. The bed linen is all Ikea, with the exception of the bed skirt, which is marked for replacement when something more suitable offers.  I am not normally a fan of lots of pillows, but the goal here was to create a retreat, and a comfortable and quiet place to read or study.  The three large square pillows make the bed a comfortable spot to do either. The bedside lights are also Ikea cheapies.

After some paint and a few little tweaks

After some paint and a few little tweaks

After months of looking for the right something to go over the bed, I finally decided to frame some of our own photos. These are pictures of rocks that are stacked by some patient soul along the seawall at Stanley Park. I’ll change the frames over as soon as I can find some of a similar size with a finer, more modern vibe – preferably in two-tone black and pewter. But for now, they are up, and I really like them. They are personal, inexpensive and kinda zen. 

The frames are temporary but I love the pictures

The frames are temporary but I love the pictures

 Over the winter — time and finances allowing — we will probably put an inexpensive laminate into this room. I am still looking for just the right armchair and footstool to fall into my lap. These things can’t be rushed when one is on a budget.  Considering how neglected and awful this room was, I’m pretty happy with what has been achieved with paint and a few inexpensive updates. It is restful and, at this moment, beckoning. And so to bed.

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Home Sweet Home. Here are some photos of the hotel room I wrote about mid-week.

comfortable reading spot

I’m a bit disappointed in these photos, since the flash has significantly brightened the colours, and by extension, the way the colours worked together in the low natural light of the room. For example, the duvet cover appeared to be black and white in the room, but in the photos is clearly green and white.

Also, the photos can’t really capture the overall feel of the space. Never-the-less, this will give you some idea of how the design elements worked together and made the room both relaxing and stimulating – if that makes any sense. 

The wheat design was really quite cool, though I think one might tire of it quickly. Certainly I’m not planning to do anything quite that dramatic. If our cool weather continues, I may open some paint next week. If it suddenly improves, I don’t plan to waste a fine day painting. But once I have made some progress I’ll be sure to post some photos.

Update:  See the before and after photos of my new hotel-style bedroom

Indigo Room

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I’m in Ottawa this week, for work, and feeling inspired.  Been down pub for a pint recently, so I hope this is coherent.

In our non-cottage life, our bedroom is pretty sad and has been for a long time. The green-tinged yellow walls are a failed experiment. And it goes down hill from there. We typically spend very little conscious time there. The bed and furniture are generally bestrewn with laundry, socks in search of partners and old magazines we hope to get around to.

Nowadays, the urchins seem to take up space all out of proportion to their physical size in the shared areas of the house.  I need a retreat, and the bedroom sprang to mind as the most viable space. I visualized a soothing restful space… revolutionary, wot?

Last week I bought the Benjamin Moore big chip of Violet Mist which means I am nearly committed. Did I mention the room has poor lighting amongst its other charms? So poor that this quite-blue colour chip looks like a warmed up grey at all but the brightest moments of the day. Also invested in some finely checked black and white bedding from Ikea. Then got carried away and splurged on some Ikea art:  celery-green tinted dogwood blossoms on a dark background and a black ribba frame. 

So those are my basic elements: Pale violet blue, black and white, celery accents – oh – and navy – just because I can’t imagine it without navy.

The existing furniture is good quality warm brown country pine. The headboard has a similar tone, being the swing door from a 1910 farmhouse. These things, and the dreary beige carpet must remain, as total budget for this make-over is 500$. Will spring for brushed nickel hardware on furniture to jazz it up a bit, but thats it.

So imagine my surprise when I checked into the Indigo Hotel here to find my colour scheme ready and waiting for me to test-drive. The wall behind the bed has a wall to wall colour transfer of golden brown wheat waving against a violet blue sky. The bedding is high contrast – dark-dark green and white, with indigo blue and white pillows and indigo bed skirt. The window wall is celery green, as are the armchair and footstool. brushed nickel hardware, and nickel and navy lamps with black-trimmed white shades pull it together. All other walls are white. If this sounds like a dog’s breakfast, check back next week when I will post some photos of the room.  But how weird is it that I would imagine a room almost exactly like the one I’m now staying in? 

Happy Birthday Cottager. Have thought of a great gift for you… wouldn’t you love a celery-green armchair?

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Like a bolt out of the blue, I opened my morning paper yesterday to learn that country style-guru Mary Emmerling has written a book on beach cottage decor:  Mary Emmerling’s Beach Cottages: At Home by the Sea .  My birthday is just a few weeks away . . . so hopefully I can provide a full review mid-July.  Meanwhile, there are some juicy tidbits in this interview from the Washington Post, in which she dishes on her favourite white on white Benjamin Moore paint combination. (Linen White and Decorator’s White) and throws out some great ideas – and a few impractical ones. 

My favourite idea, from this short article, is planting mint all around your outdoor shower (I don’t actually have one of those, but I know a good place for one!)  Less charming is the idea of ‘putting flip-flops everywhere’ – My life is one long battle against scattered shoes. Sorry, Mary, but I will NEVER deliberately toss flip-flops around a room for aesthetic purposes. 

Update:  August 2009  – See the Solar Shower we just installed at the cottage

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Needs some TLCA quick sand before the second coatReady to use, if not finished

I had a very particular bookcase size in mind. I wanted it to be squat-ish. No more than 40 inches tall. 

I got this dirt cheap, probably because it was covered in dirt. But it is solid wood and had a good coat of faux granite finish under the grime, so I just filled roughly 4 dozen upholstery tack holes, gave it a light sanding and then two coats of some old white paint we had lying about. As we like to say in Canada . . . Voila!

If the walls ever change colour (!), it stays white. If the walls stay white, then it is only primed and it will get two more coats of something very bold – french blue or aqua.

While the paint decision drags on, I am happy to have a place for favorite games and books. Now I am more determined than ever to find something colourful to replace the cat quilt . . . and the rug . . .

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