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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Flor Tiles Make a Mod Runner

Robin's Egg Blue with Brown Stripe, by Flor

When we walled off the old front room of the cottage to add a bedroom, it created a long, narrow hallway that needed a runner. We looked at a lot of rugs but the patterns tended to be heavy and traditional, many of them Persian style that wouldn't suit this little beach cottage. 

I found these tiles from FLOR and we connected eight of them to create a long runner for under $100.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cushions on a Budget

Sunbrella cushions -  Restoration Hardware sale

Once I realized the custom cushions were out of my budget, I started to scour the web for a better deal. It turns out it's a good time of the year to buy outdoor furniture -- all those end of summer clearance sales.

I found what I am looking for at Restoration Hardware's clearance sale. Each sectional's worth of cushions is marked down to just $446. So two sets will be $892 -- that's $3,000 less than the custom cushions I priced. And the sunbrella fabric and white piping are no extra cost.

I took the dimension of the cushions to Dan and asked if he could build the sectional seating to fit the cushions rather than the other way around. He said it's a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but he was game to try. To figure out the height we tried sitting on different outdoor chairs to see which was the most comfortable.

Best of all? Under the seats will be hidden storage for things like boogie boards, umbrellas, sea shoes -- all that beach clutter we seem to be tripping over all the time. (I'm claiming the other storage bench for paint cans. It's so much easier than lugging them up and down from the attic every time I have a project.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Custom Cushions Blow Budget

Custom cushions were out of my price range - but this cute little tote was not!

The first place I went to price custom cushions for the front porch sectionals was a local shop: Wm. J. Mills, renown for its pristine boating upholstery. I've always been attracted to this little shop, with its navy awnings and white piping -- so nautical.

The sales staff was very helpful, but I soon realized I was going to be totally priced out. Given the dimensions, the seat cushions would run about $150 a piece and the smaller, back cushions about $100.

I quickly did the math.

The two L-shaped sectionals Dan was building for us were almost identical, except the corner of the lefthand sectional was going to be a built-in table -- to better fill out that side of the porch, which was about 24" longer than the right side. All told we'd need 23 cusions, 11 seats and 12 backs. That's $2,850. And the sunbrella fabric and piping I wanted would be extra. Mill's gave me a quote of about $4,000 for everything (and the sales woman explained how oil prices drive up the cost of foam batting).

So Mill's was out, sadly. But I bought myself a cute little tote while I was there. ;)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cottage Paint Color: Ice Blue

Choosing paint color for the beach cottage hallway was challenging. The porch and hallway are where visitors form their first impressions, so we knew we wanted it to be a light color that reflects the colors in nature surrounding the cottage - colors of the sky and sea.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Turning a Front Porch Into a Sunroom

One of the more dramatic changes that we made to this cottage was turning the screened porch into a sun room.  The old porch required us to batten down the hatches during the winter, literally. And the heavy brown storm shutters tended to make it look more "fishing lodge" than "beach cottage".

Here are some before photos.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cottage Paint Color: American Cheese (Yellow)

Painting the bedroom turned out to be more complicated than painting the bathroom!

The bead board in this room is the original tongue and groove type boards as opposed to bead board panels. Not only was it not pre-primered, it was original knotty pine. So, before we could even begin to paint, each of those knots had to be treated with Zinsser Bin and allowed to dry. If you don't do this, the oil from the pine seeps through the coats of paint and in a few years would start to show up as rust-like spots.

Here's a photo of the walls before.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Installing Hardwood Floors Over Linoleum - Before and After Photos

Dan finished laying the hardwood floors, and it's the most dramatic change we've made to the cottage yet. The hardwood floor looks great with the freshly painted white paneling in the living room. 

It even makes the oak wood trim on the '80s style beige melamine cabinets in the kitchen look intentional. (I see a kitchen renovation in our future, but not in the budget for a long, long time.)

We painted the kitchen walls a soft cream with yellow undertones, Benjamin Moore Man in the Moon.  The walls in the living room are Super White. 

Here are more before and afters.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How To Paint Beadboard and Trim

painting bead board
Bathroom with bead board and hardwood floors installed

If you've never bought a house that needed every room painting, you can't imagine how daunting it can be. While we were ecstatic to see the mauve tiles gone and the bead board up, it meant we had a lot of work ahead of us.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vintage Sinks Versus Vintage-Look Sinks

I am seeing some amazing vintage sinks on craigslist for just $50!

Look at this vintage peg-leg sink - swoon! These old sinks make me weak in the knees - despite the grit and grime. I just love these old porcelain beauties.  Unfortunately, I can't go for them. 

Here's the reasoning.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bead Board Bathroom Loves Claw Foot Tub

cottage bathroom benjamin moore lemongrass
Cottage After - With Bead Board
Our cottage was built in 1925, so it's pretty astounding that it had an indoor bathroom. One of the elders in our home association told me that our cottage was built as a display home and the indoor bath was a selling point.

Here's what it looked like when we bought the place.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Corner Cabinet in the Bathroom = Cottage Style

cottage style corner cabinet
Corner Cabinet = Cottage Style
As you can see, the mauve tiles are gone and the bead board is up. We actually did not even remove the wall tile. Dan paneled right over them. Yes, you can do that. He had to remove trim and put it back. But looking at it today, you can't tell it was ever there.

You can also see the base of the new pedestal sink.

I love the look of a pedestal sink - especially in a small bathroom, where being able to see the some floor beneath the sink contributes a sense of airiness - but I also hate clutter. And there is always the challenge of where to put our "stuff".
This cottage bathroom has a linen closet right outside the door, so we can store extra towels and soap and TP and such things there. But where to put all the little things like razor blades, shaving cream, shampoos and rinses, shower gels, and sunscreen?
We found this charming little corner cabinet at one of my favorite antique stores - White Flowers Farmhouse in Peconic. And I think it will fit right in with our cottage decor. I'm not even going to paint it. I like its imperfections.

This bathroom is coming together!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why Do Men Love Wood Panel Walls (and Women Loathe Them)?

painting wood paneled walls white
Great Room - Minus Deer Tropy

What do you think of when you look at this room? That might depend on your gender.

We had a lively debate over dinner with friends about men's versus women's feelings about wood paneled walls. In my experience, the men dig the hunting lodge look and the women do not.

When I first saw this room my first impression was not beach cottage, it was hunting lodge. But I could tell that with a few coats of white paint, hunting lodge could be transformed into seaside cottage.

Ross kind of liked it hunting lodge. So did Dan. So did almost every other guy who has walked into the room. (I gave one lucky contractor's helper the mounted deer head for his enthusiasm!)

But the women all said the same thing: It's going to look great when it's painted.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Example of Renovation Estimate

cottage porch windows installation
Front Porch Awaiting Windows Installation

We got the first project estimates from Dan and we are well within our budget - it's a go!

Here is the breakdown.

Build Porch Built-In Benches with Storage Beneath: $1,540.00
Parition wall + door to create fourth bedroom out of old livingroom: $1,228.00
Oak flooring over old linoleum: $2,485.00
Bathroom beadboard over old mauve tiled walls: $1,850.00
Beadboard panel and retrim over wallpapered bedroom: $1,449.00
Porch: Replace screens with windows 8- 4 x 4 windows, trim inside and out: $4,212.00

Total: $12,764.00

Here is the plan.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hiring a General Contractor - Dos and Don'ts

cottage porch renovation - before and after
Cottage Porch Renovation - Before & After

Much has been written about hiring contractors, and I've read a lot of it. The horror stories about bad general contractors are enough to keep a girl from even embarking on a renovation project. I'm not here to tell you any scary stories. I've had only good experiences so far. How do I account for my good contractor karma?

I do exactly what the experts advise:
  • Get recommendations
  • View past projects
  • Get everything in writing
  • And pay in thirds (first third on contract signing, second halfway through the job, third upon completion)