Choosing a paint color- I can’t, I can’t

“A little paint, a little wall paper and in no time it will be as cute as can be”

 I worked with a realtor in Westport, CT years ago when I was moving from Massachusetts to Fairfield County. She would say this about every house she showed me. Back then, I believed her.

I wonder if she would have said this about our condemned cottage.

While reworking the interior plans and settling on that, I was also under the gun to come up with a color scheme for the house. My dream of reverting to the original cedar shingles on the roof quickly dissolved when I learned the price tag that it came with. Sounds silly, but that meant another choice had to be made in addition to the exterior color- the roof.

Will and I began the selection process; confidant that gray with blue would be the way to go. I am always trying to channel a beach house.

 

Paint colors- our first, of many passes
Paint colors- our first pass, of what was to become more than many!

 

 

And then, I paired them to asphalt shingles and thought I had two pretty decent options. One more brown, the other more black.

 

Cottage paint and shingle option 2
Cottage paint and shingle option 2

IMG_1586

 

 

But I didn’t really like the shingles and began to re consider Will’s original idea of a metal roof, which I had gaffed at weeks ago. Suddenly it seemed very cool and I wondered if I could live with something as bold and dramatic as a black cottage and grey roof. I think I lived with that idea for the better part of the week and actually thought I could.

I thought I nailed it with this combination. Gunmetal gray metal roof, black stain, red front door, galvanized metal light fixtures.
I thought I nailed it with this combination. Gunmetal gray metal roof, black stain, red front door, galvanized metal light fixtures.

And then I thought I couldn’t.

I had to keep in mind that we had ordered all the windows in white because in my heart I believed I would have my beach house cottage grey/blue scheme and white would be perfect. Then Lydia, my color expert friend,  told me the windows were the eyes of the house and they should never be so harsh as bright white, but a darker more subtle color to invite the eye in.

Oh boy…

 

Paint Chips- decisions, decisions
Paint Chips- decisions, decisions

 

 

 

Cottage exterior color choices
Cottage exterior color choices

 

Too grey- too brown- too blue. And then we asked an outsider for another opinion. When do I ever learn this is not the way to go? We opted to go for Cabot’s semi solid Dune grey as she suggested. Jason’s crew began to stain the boards. I took them out in the daylight and leaned them up against the house so I could see everything in the sun, and the shade and I hated it. Back to ground zero.

 

The pressure was on- in a moment of complete frustration, and a husband whose bountiful source of patience was suddenly wearing thin- I opted for Cabot’s solid white. Good old boring white, not so boring with a grey metal roof, right? So we were all systems go on that. The exterior trim was painted with a coat of white. The rough cut clear pine siding was painted white on the backside and as it started going up we decided that was all wrong too.

 

Want to see me make up my mind? I cant. I can’t.

The white cottage- getting the floor plans right- framing and re-framing the walls

The next step in the white cottage renovation was to begin framing the exterior walls for doors and windows, and the interior walls.

The White cottage, stripped down, boarded up, ready to frame
The White cottage, stripped down, boarded up, ready to frame

 

 

The original design of the house was intended to have a dual purpose;

a single standing, self- contained cottage complete with full kitchen that would then morph into a master bedroom suite when we linked the cottage and house together.

 

Our first plans drawn had the bedroom space on the back side of the fireplace, facing into the yard. The entrance to the bath and closet would be in that space. The kitchen was to be in the front, on the street facing side of the house.

This is the rear wall of the cottage- framed in for door and window, and entrance to closet and bath- we ended up moving this but that is another story...
This is the rear wall of the cottage- framed in for door and window, and entrance to closet and bath- we ended up moving this but that is another story…
This is the north side of the house- The bathroom is framed, with two small windows- we ended up changing the entry
This is the north side of the house- The bathroom is framed, with two small windows- we ended up changing the entry
More of the northern side- this wall framed in for Kitchen , which we moved, and moved again
More of the northern side- this wall framed in for Kitchen , which we moved, and moved again
the revised interior of the white cottage, now without the sq footage of the shed.
the original floor plan of the cottage with bedroom facing the rear

 

As it was being framed in, Will and I would go and walk through, trying to visualize where we would put the furniture. Its not an easy task to get everything you need into 340 square feet, especially with a fireplace and chimney smack in the middle. Where would the tv go? How would we like the flow if there was another door into the link? The sleeping area seemed awfully tight when we taped out the mattress area on the floor.

 

We were stumped. We invited outside opinions. And then we revised our plans. We moved the kitchen to the back, the bedroom to the front, removed a window, changed the entrance to the closet and bath. A little re-framing- no problem. Or so it seemed.

 

Note to self- stick with your first intuitions and never ask for outside opinions.

Phase two, the red house, gets underway

 

Red HouseLast week the white cottage passed all final building inspections. Commencement on phase two, the red house, is announced by the arrival of a new dumpster in our driveway. We are not wasting any time here.

Will , about to begin the demolition on the red house- dining room comes first
Will , about to begin the demolition on the red house- dining room comes first

I am behind in posting. For one thing it hurts to type. My right hand and forearm ache from wielding hammers and pry bars as we tear down walls that are centuries old. The new dumpster is already full with the debris from just the dining room so the remains of the kitchen lie on the floor- a chaos of plaster, lathe and square nails, awaiting a second dumpster this morning. 9 more rooms to go.

 

Bursting dumpster- the contents of the dining room
Bursting dumpster- the contents of the dining room
Square hand made nails and all, the dining room walls now fill the first dumspter
Square hand made nails and all, the dining room walls now fill the first dumspter

 

And then, there is my head, which is still whirling like the spinning house which appeared in my dream last night. The dream, now fractured into disjointed images, continues to loop in my head. Snap shots, Kodak flash bulbs of dream fragments keep showing up to distract me. No tin men or munchkins- just a house that comes alive. A refrigerator, door only, hangs on the wall, the floors roll as tectonic plates undulate below, and the walls sway wildly in the wind.

I wear a respirator so I won’t inhale the dust.

Caked in dust
Caked in dust

I wear my glasses so I can see what I am aiming at but they keep fogging up and begin to drip with condensation in no time. Sometimes I am grateful because it clouds my ability to see the extent of the mice remains dropping from the ceilings.

We pry away at the walls but I notice Will has stopped for a minute. I look up. Will snaps a photo of me on his iPhone…

Rocking the crowbar..you bet I am no sissy!
Rocking the crowbar..you bet I am no sissy!

“Ok- this is so not funny.” I say as I push my glasses up and pull down the respirator. He smiles and blows a kiss to me.

“ Hey, you are rocking that crowbar. You’re no sissy.”

It’s Official

It is official!
It is official!

It’s official.

We received the certificate of occupancy just a few days ago.

The white cottage Fall 2013...condemned
The white cottage Fall 2013…condemned
The cottage, Fall 2014
The cottage, Fall 2014