Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Color Adjustment

It was fun reading all of your comments and suggestions.  I tried not to reply
to any comments that would sway you one way or the other. I don't think
there's any one right or wrong answer but I was surprised  to hear so many
people suggest dark navy or black.  By the time I had done the post...

...I had already gotten a sample pot of Farrow & Ball Down Pipe.

The color is meant to imitate lead and I thought it would give an  industrial feel.
I should also add that I REALLY wanted to use Farrow & Ball.
I had gotten as far as buying a quart of Lamp Room Gray and painted one
of my window casings before deciding it was a little too blue for the cabinets
but I absolutely LOVE the paint!  It's got a beautiful consistency, paints on
smoothly and dries to a beautiful finish.  I'm completely sold on its quality.

In the end it was the perfect gray that I won out.  I didn't feel I was too far
off.  During the day, the old gray was reading a little lavender.  I went back
to the historical colors and found a gray that was a little darker and drabber
and I think it's perfect.  Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray.  The darker tone really
highlights the marble and the hue give me the historical look I was shooting for. 

"Christmas Gift" amaryllis is late to the party but she's putting on a great show.

You can see the contrast of the two colors on top of the column on the left.
And the entire column on the right has been painted in Chelsea Gray.

Between the dishwasher and refrigerator is a new cabinet
that will have doors made from the old store counter...painted
in the Chelsea Gray.  I love the contrast of this gray with the marble.

The little wine rack next to the refrigerator has shelves made from the
store counter mahogany that I showed in an earlier post.

And you also get a glimpse of another color I've painted in the
small recess next to the refrigerator.  

(Oops, the flowers have moved over to this shot.  That's bad styling.)

Above the counter next to the refrigerator, I've designed a little built-in cabinet
that will house a small microwave, a TV and leave a little extra room for 
cookbooks and some white pottery.  My thinking is that the dark color
(Benjamin Moore Deep Creek) will help disguise the microwave and TV,
highlight the white pottery placed in front of it AND provide balance to the
black armoire that will go over in that right corner where all the crap is.
We'll see how that works out.

The sunshine pours in through the French doors on winter mornings.
While the cats sunbathe, you'll find me here...painting.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Counters and Colors

The stone place surprised me with a call about four days after the
templates were made.  They would be ready to do the install on the
MLK holiday.  I was off work so it was perfect timing.  

Here's a peek at the counter tops.  I couldn't wait to set my faucet
in to place.  It's the Rohl Perrin & Rowe bridge faucet in polished nickel.
I looked at as many faucets as I did light fixtures and I think this is the 
most beautiful one by far.  

The installation was just as interesting as the templating.  The installation
team cam in and measured each section again and made tweaks to the
stone outside before bringing it in and setting it in to place. 

On two of the sections, they even made new templates and took them
outside before grinding here and there to make sure everything was perfect.
They were really impressive.

Shortly before the install, the cabinet doors were finished up and
installed.  The detail on the doors was replicated from the panels on
the front of the store counter.  The base moldings still need to go in.

You can see my predicament with the wood color here.  The doors
are made of the wood from the antique store counter but they needed
to be planed down to made the rails and stiles of the doors.  And then
the drawers were made out of fir when we ran out of wood.

After considering the Farrow & Ball colors, I just couldn't find a
gray in the right shade and value so I picked a Benjamin Moore
color I thought would look nice.  It's Cape May Cobblestone which
is on the same strip in the fan deck as my exterior house color.

It goes really well with everything:  the floor, the marble, the stainless,
but I'm having two problems with it.  Don't get me wrong, I think it
looks beautiful but I think it's maybe too safe.  More importantly, I'm
feeling like it's wrong for the architecture of the piece.  The hefty carvings
somehow don't feel right in this misty, modern color.  It's kind of like the
Dowager Countess wearing a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress.

Okay, maybe not that silly but it's a good way to describe
how I feel about it.  I'm not going to rush a decision.

Of course, the cabinet color also affects the window casings
and sashes so I can't wait too long.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Counters and Storage

Having to decide what one wants to do with their life at the age of 16 is
one of life's cruelest jokes.  If it weren't for earning a scholarship to attend
nursing school, I might have taken a much different path.

If I'd known I could build forms with balsa wood, cut things with
X-acto knives, use a hot glue gun, smell magic markers,
and see the inside of a million different houses, surely I would
have wanted to become a counter templater.

I've never seen this done before and I thought for sure they
would have arrived with laser instruments to ensure a perfect
fit right down to the micron.  But, no, it's still a very old-school
process.  Simple square of wood are made to outline each section of
counter. Smaller squares of balsa wood are lined up tightly against
the wall to follow any small curves in the wall.

And each template is marked with instructions such
as the size of the radius cuts in the inside and outside curves
of the sink and notes where the counter is to be placed.

This is the template that shows a tricky portion
of the counter next to the fridge.  The "No BS" means
no backsplash as well as the one place in the kitchen
where I needed to have a seam in the counter.

This area will end up a built-in for a small microwave,
a small TV, some cookbooks, and other doo-dads. 

Just under the counter, you'll see a gap next to the fridge.
There was a little four-inch gap there so instead of filling
it with a panel...

...the little bit of mahogany countertop that could be reclaimed
from the store counter got cut up to become little shelves
for a wine rack.  With a little sanding and about seven coats
of tung oil, they're almost too beautiful to hide.

My desire to have no upper cabinets in the kitchen
required a solution for adding some good storage.
That proved to more difficult than I expected.

This beautiful piece from Darby Road was too wide
as were many I found over the past several months.

This one was too tall as were most that I liked.  Also
from the Darby Road warehouse. 

I've also been on the lookout for some cool old doors
or window to do a custom built-in piece between the 
dining room and kitchen, but, after a year, nothing. 

I finally found a piece over the weekend that seems
just right to hold many of my dishes and serving pieces at
European Country Antiques right here in Cambridge.
(Sorry for the blurry iPhone photo.)  It's a great place to
check out if you're in the Huron Village neighborhood.
It's just packed with rustic European pieces.

It's nice and deep with really sturdy shelves to hold the
weight of dishes.  I was hoping for something with a little
hidden storage but I could put baskets in the bottom to
hide some of the less pretty stuff.  

I look forward to the day I can have it delivered and
start putting things on their forever shelves.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Kitchen Ceiling and Cabinet Paint Tests

There hasn't been a lot of progress on the kitchen the last few weeks but
the holidays gave me some time off that I was able to step right in and get
some things done without getting in the way.  The walls are now all primed
and ready for paint but most of my time was spent on the ceiling.

The wood planks took quite a lot of prep work, filling and sanding before a coat of primer went
on.  And then I walked around and marked trouble spots with blue tape.  There were quite a few
rough spots, nail holes and dents that needed to be filled and sanded down before touching up
with a second coat of primer.  If you ever decide to put in a planked ceiling, let me suggest doing
as much of this work before installing the wood.  It's neck- and shoulder-breaking work.

And finally on Sunday I put on the first coat of semi-gloss.  It's Benjamin
Moore Decorator's White in Aura.

It's really brightened up the whole room.  This is one of the things about the
old bakery from my hometown that I loved so much.  It seems so clean.

I really want to lighten these cabinets so paint seems pretty certain.

I've been playing with some paint to see what it might look like on the cabinets.
I bought some rosettes at Home Depot--the little things that would go in the top
corners of door or window casings--to experiment with.

I would put a lot more effort in the final finish but these are good
"sketches," if you will, of layering a few different colors.  

I used colors #2 and #5 from the Farrow & Ball paint samples
I made up which are Lamp Room Gray and Mole's Breath.

This is Lamp Room with a wash-n-wipe of burnt umber
acrylic paint that was thinned down juxtaposed against
the Carrara marble counter in my bathroom.

I think it's a little dirty looking.

This is Lamp Room with a little Mole's Breath
brushed in the recessed and then rubbed down to
almost bare wood in a few spots.

I like this one.

This one is Mole's Breath undercoat with a dry brushing
of Lamp Room over the top.  The effect is just a little
bit darker than the previous one.

I also like it.

I want to try a darker gray glaze on these to really highlight
the details.

Here's the three of them next to the stainless.

Excuse the fingerprints.

This is a little section of the cabinets that's had the finish sanded
off a bit.  Ideally, I'd like some of this grain to show through so it
might take a delicate dance of brushing paint on and caressing it off.

I only get one chance to get it right so I'll do some more samples
and perhaps look for a piece of furniture I can buy and experiment on.

Stay warm!