Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What the Sunbeams Saw

Work goes well on the new [old] house, but there is a fair bit yet to do. Our contractor is a long-time friend, and I will post about him some time soon because he is amazing, and not just when it comes to renovating houses. He is crazy-imaginative and also young at heart (as well as simply being young), which, coupled with technical prowess and lots of tools, makes for some seriously cool projects involving costumes, puppetry, and special effects! 

He is also, according to Clementine, a secret avocado. That is, whenever she sees avocados, in print ads, in bins at the store (even in London), she points and, with great confidence, declares them to be "Tyler!" Maybe she knows something we don't?

Anyway, I don't get over to the house that often to check out the progress, but I did go a few days ago, when a stray sunbeam or two made their way through the windows. This is what the sunbeams saw.

Camellia blossom confetti on the walk.

Windows ready to paint.

Happy new glass.

Dapper sun squares.

Sigh. I love it so.

The real fun, of course, is in befores and afters. I don't have any "afters" yet, 
but I do have some striking "durings." For examples, the bathroom remodel:


(teensy and ill-proportioned and not user-friendly)

We've never done a bathroom before. This is the height of luxury! We took out a wall to open things up (and when I say "we," I mean Tyler.) Below is the same exact vantage point as above, amazingly. It doesn't look even close to being the same room! We subtracted a window and added a skylight.


Such fun picking out sinks and tile! For a vanity we chose an antique Asian sideboard from Cargo; everything looks really dark in the above Hipstaprint, but here it is in its natural habitat. You can see the color better, and also the true color of the tile sample I brought with. (Also, we sawed off the legs, again "we" being Tyler, and sawed up the top to accommodate sinks. Sinks, plural, oh happy day!)

I love tile and have never picked it out for anything before. It was scary, but we found some we loved at a very good price.

7-inch terracotta on the floor, and 1-inch white hexagons for the shower and backsplash and stuff.

Yet to come: shower doors, all knobs and spouts and, importantly: the toilet and tub!

This room is going to be soooo awesome I can't even stand it!

* * *

Next, my writing room. You may recall the bright yellow converted sun porch.


It was already cute, but not at all weather-proof. Brrr. Tyler has completely rebuilt it. 


New windows, walls, trim and ledges, and brand new wood floors! Now it is cozy and looks like a room, instead of a cheery afterthought. 

 * * *

Lastly for today, this is a detail, but a good one.

In both the living room and dining rooms, there is a support beam.

The dining room one is substantial and beautiful:

The living room one, not so much.
It was all stingy and narrow, uninteresting and ugly knotty pine.



We asked Tyler if he could trick it out to look like the other one. He said yes.

And look how much better! (Plus which, farewell wallpaper!)


It will be painted white, so all the elements will blend.

White paint. Ah, we have a stockpile laid in. We are going against our previous design style entirely and painting the entire interior white (and in this case, when I say "we," I mean Jim.) There will still be a lot of color, just not as wall color. If we don't like it, we can change it later, but I think we will like it. Months back, when we were househunting, I started pulling images off design blogs into a desktop folder. I posted some on my old blog, and seeing them all together I noticed, to my surprise, that what they mostly had in common was white walls! That's what planted the seed for me. For Jim, it was a combination of places we saw while traveling, including Dar Beida in Essaouira, and the villa in Positano, all whitey-white-white.

So that's where we are now. Maybe a month to go? April, my plan for you is a rip-roaring writing month and no house distractions! Think we can do that?


Catherine Denton said...

It's fun to watch the changes! Those matching beams are going to be awesome. I especially love your writing room with all the windows!
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johanna said...

YEeeeee! So beautiful!! xoxox

Anonymous said...

Hey, can you tell me *what* white you are using?

Anonymous said...

The avocado does beautiful work!

tone almhjell said...

Hmmm. I want to house squat in that writing room. I'm small. Maybe you won't notice...

It all looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

But white walls are so sad! Why, Laini, why? Seriously, I'm just curious to know why you chose white after your last house was so colorful. And gorgeous, of course ;-). Which I'm sure this one will be too. Loving the changes already, and as always, your blog.

Laini Taylor said...

It's an experiment, Anonymous, and one that will be easy to remedy if we choose! But for now I am envisioning lots of bright art and points of color and cool unifying white washed in sunlight. We'll see!

amy said...

so fun and interesting and lovely!!

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