Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Medallion, a Door Knob and a Paint Color

I buy a lot of my office supplies from Ebay so at the end of each month I get an e-mail from them that I have X number of Ebay Bucks to spend.  I usually use the bonus dollars to buy something like a little McCoy planter or as a credit toward a larger purchase.  I mean free money is free money.

With last month's Ebay Bucks I decided to buy a little plaster ceiling medallion.  Totally free including the shipping.

I've had real issues with the dining room ceiling.  The paint and/or plaster on one end of the dining room was peeling severely when I bought the house.  I thought it might be calcimite which I've read horror stories about on the internet.  But, refusing to accept I might have calcamite, I decided to scrape all the peelings and use joint compound to fill the holes.

The ceiling in the same area was also really discolored.  Whenever I would use joint compound on the holes, the discoloration would migrate and leave a urine-colored circle around each area that was wet.  I tried a latex primer to no avail.  It would look good for a month or so and the discoloration seemed to start bleeding back through the primer.

To add to my ceiling misery, the plaster around the box for the light was just a mess and I just couldn't get it to look good.

So I tricked a friend into helping me install the medallion.  It came with a metal ring that screws right in to the box so it wasn't necessary to glue it right to the ceiling.  I caulked around the edges but if I want to take it down at some point, it should be pretty easy.  And then I did a coat of that nasty, oil-based KILZ to block the discoloration.  I typically like the smell of things like gasoline and airplane glue (and I'm particuarly fond of magic markers) but I'm still a little disoriented from all the VOCs in the KILZ.  I think it will do the job once and for all though.  The ceiling looks great.

Here you can see the edge of ceiling and wall blur at a misty horizon.  I'm also really liking my choice of oil-rubbed bronze hardware.  I love the contrast of it against the White River paint.  The hardware isn't a perfect match with the spray paint I put on the hinges but it's pretty good.

The door know is white porcelain with an oil-rubbed bronze backplate.

I think this room is crying out for a little purple.
I was just starting to load things back into the room and try a little artwork on the wall when I decided I wasn't 100 percent happy with the paint color.  I painted the walls and trim the same color and what looks great in the living room looked just a little too dirty in the dining room.  Why does that happen?  In the living room, the paint is broken up by the burlap-colored drapes and in there dining room, there's larger expanses of the same color and it's just not perfect.

So even though White River is the lightest shade on that particular page of the BM fan deck, I went and asked for a 50% version of the same color.  I think the woman actually tsked at me.

In the photo above, I've just done above and around the closet door.  The 50% is a very subtle difference but I'm liking it 100% more. 

It acutally shows a little better at night.  The lighter wall color really provides a better reference for the oyster/mushroomy color of the door and trim.

So here's the view from the dining room into the bathroom foyer.  It's about a foot larger than it was before.  The bathroom door is on the left.  The gnome door to the basement is on the right.  And the hidden window is under the sheetrock between the two.  I can't wait to get that restored but, alas, I am broke for now.  I'll have some time to make some decisions on the bathroom finishes and fixtures.  I want something really special for the sink.  A bathroom easel maybe?  No, I guess not. I'm thinking something with wheels for sure.  My peeps are on the hunt.

Here's a picture of the front staircase when I bought the house.  You can see down the hall how dark and tight that space was.

And this is what that looks like now.  That window will really bring in some much needed light.

I'll shut up for a while.  I have a friend coming in to town so I'm putting away the paint brushes for a few days but I have more visitors coming in early June so I'd like to get going on the guest bedroom soon.


  1. Wow Steve! Things are looking so wonderful. I love your style and, I so agree, a touch of purple would be fabulous.

  2. Purple...like an aubergine? I think that just might be gorgeous. Any ideas about how you'll use that color in the room? And did you pick up the door for the bath already? Love your door hardware too. Did people smoke in the house before you bought it? They did in our house, and even though the smell was no longer here, the nicotine still bleeds through the paint. Especially ceilings. We even tried priming and the yellow bled through that too. Pretty disgusting, but that's one of the challenges of older homes I guess.

  3. Once again, here you are getting things done, done, done. I know exactly what you mean by paint looking dirty. I feel that way about every inch of paint in my house.

    The entry certainly has changed for the better! And I love your chandelier. Keeping my fingers crossed for that Kilz to do the trick.

  4. WOW! Love, love, love the artwork you put in there!!!!!!

  5. Yes purple. I am loving mine.

    What a difference you've made in your hallway. now it's totally inviting.

    We're coming in June?

    xo Jane

  6. Dianne,

    Thank you for noticing that. I'm really liking my modern/minimal artwork in here too. Those are Ron Ehrlich pieces I've had for a long time.

  7. Sometimes the light in a room makes a colour look so different than it does somewhere else. Your dining room looks great. What shade of purple are you thinking of?

  8. LOVE the medallion. now i need one - it's funny, i didn't realize i did until i saw this on your blog. gonna send this to my honey, who loves to find things on ebay.

    have fun with your friends coming into town!

  9. I'm having a laugh at all your dining room woes! There's a tremendous amount of work getting this room just right...I think purple would look wonderful in there. Is there purple in that lower painting you have hanging?

    Love the dirty green shag carpet - you, my dear, have some vision!

    See you in two weeks ~ :)

  10. OMG! You are crazy when it comes to paint color...but I am the same way. The color that is perfect in one room looks way to bright in another. The whole house is looking so bright and beautiful. Yes! I think something with wheels would be great for the bathroom. I'm sure you'll come up with something fabulous.

  11. I can't believe she "tsked" at you! OMG, it looks great, I think you should bring in a photo, the difference is amazing!

    I've been painting my fireplace with an oil based enamel . . . talk about VOC's! It needs 4 coats because the brick is really sucking up the paint, and each coat is a quart, and because it's oil it needs to dry for 24 hrs.

    The transformation in the hall is just stunning, but for the life of me I can't imagine why you got rid of the green carpeted stairs! LOL! When the window is added it will make a huge transformation!

    Enjoy your company!

  12. Is that a mouse on the dining room sisal?

  13. Yes, Randy. The cats haven't learned to pick up their toys.

  14. Just came across your blog and I am loving your style right up my alley. The mix if white and dark wood is me all over.Touch of purple would be lovely but even just a large vase of flowers would add that bit of drama. x

  15. An update on the site preparation for my log cabin. We moved the creek 17 feet, no problem. Now the front of the cabin will still be 100 feet from the creek. The power of the bulldozer is underated. THEN, a spring turned up on the back side of the site filling the footing trenches with water. A pit was dug to contain the water but then what to do with the continuing seepage. Oh, another ditch, 7 feet deep was dug to take the spring water to a second creek. Wait a minute, the bottom of the pit is below the level of the creek. No problem, call in the power of the bulldozer and lower the creek bed. In two weeks of site preparation I now have $32,000 worth of mud.

    A future update will be coming on getting cement into the site over a bridge restricted to 8 tons. Cement trucks weigh 13 tons, EMPTY.

    Stay tuned. Ann

  16. The ceiling rose (medallion) really adds the finishing touch to the ceiling, and goes so well with the light and the whole look of the room. I love your attention to detail, you go that extra mile to make something special, different, like the backplate for the door knob. It looks so restful and welcoming at the same time.

  17. Ann,
    It sounds like you've got your own "Falling Water" in the making!

  18. I love the new door. It all looks great. Enjoy your time with friends!

  19. Just don't shut up for too long, please.

  20. hi steve,

    nice ceiling medallion. i would never think to add purple. but it is v rl. it all looks pretty dang good.


  21. ok, so your heading comes up and my mind is ahead of me. 'wonder if he is going to do what i just visualized. it did not but loved what i saw and your home is taking on such wonderful form.
    back to your heading; you gave me a great idea, would be curious what you think

    for a plain interior door, add molding and in the center of the door is a medallion; let's visualize all in a black lacquer with a door knob in the center.

    thanks for the inspiration

  22. I love watching this transition.

  23. Sorry I am late on this one. No time for blogs these days. Brutal headaches and piles of stinking work at the office leave me dead at night.

    Like your medallion and you sound as weird as me about paint. I also like the smell of aromatic hydrocarbons destroying my brain cells..

  24. I am missing that green carpet on the stairs...
    NOT! Great work and I just noticed your purple comment. You are weird. xo Terri

  25. just found you blog! can't wait to pour through it! we live in Fenway! My dream is to buy a brownstone in the South End and gut it...not sure that will ever come true, but can't wait to see what you are doing in Cambridge!

  26. Love the art, too! Everything is looking hunky dory!

  27. uhhhhh. I hate bleed through problems like that and that one sounds like a doozy. I hope you got it fixed! I do the pop of purple thing too- learned it from studying Bunny Willliams years ago! Love the art, and totally understand about the paint. It's the different lighting that changes it. Love the art- tres cool! Can not believe you got rid of the green shag... such a shame- it was the perfect pop of color!!!
    The gnome door;)!! That reminded me that you had 'issues' going into the attic, was it?! How are you with the basement??
    And lastly... you have friends??? :)

  28. Its always nice to visit your blog and get inspired. I love the contrast with the new paint and trim. Our walls are similar. Love the door and knob. I'm looking for a round table the size of yours for our morning room. Did you paint or stain the wood on your stair railing. Are the treads the same finish? Love the quality look of what you have done. I'm soooo inspired now for River House! :)

  29. It really seems you have been on a roll to finish off your projects. Everything is coming along so nicely. I liked the subtle difference in paint colors. Your guest is going to just love your house. But really whats not to love!!

  30. I love your attention to detail and the transformation of your hallway is brilliant, what a difference x

  31. Dear Mr. Cottage,

    "Falling Water" noted. Honestly, I can't stand that pretentious fellow or his overrated hard-to-live in houses.

    Here is the update I promised. How to get 17 yards of cement over a bridge rated for 8 tons. Give Up? No indeed, you would have figured it out by now. Pump it. The empty truck (which weights 13 tons but whose counting) goes over the bridge and a pumper hooks up to a full truck and fills the empty truck. The cops came by and ok'ed the whole affair.

    The footings are poured.

    The amazing part of building from scratch is that one must decide were to put the soil pipe. This is not something I care about. Without walls or floor the location of bathroom, kitchen sink and washer/dryer must be determined to the inch It all seems so backwards to a remodeler like me.

    A new problem has reared its ugly head, purlins. About this more later.

    Keep up the great posts, I learn so much from you. Ann

  32. That staircase looks so much better! I LOVE the white doorknobs...now I want to change out my crystal ones :) Dang it is always something.