Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blue Porch Ceilings

Ever notice how the porch ceilings of many historic homes are painted blue? There certainly are a number of them in my neighborhood, including my own house. 

It never occurred to me why a porch ceiling would be blue until we moved in couple of months ago and my brother asked about it.  Since then I've come across a couple of theories. 
One is that bees and spiders mistake the blue color of the porch for open sky and are discouraged from building nests and webs there. Another insect related theory is that around the time this tradition originally started in the 1800's, the ingredients used to make paint were toxic and that had the unintended benefit of deterring insects before they could enter a home.

Some say it is because a blue ceiling gives the impression of extended daylight as night begins to fall.

The most entertaining theory, however, originates in the South. The handmade pigment of this light blue-green color, referred to as Haint blue (Haint being an evil spirit of the dead), was formulated specifically to trick evil spirits into believing it was water. Apparently, evil spirits can't cross water and thus the home's inhabitants were protected.

Whatever the reason, we''ll keep our porch ceiling blue when we eventually paint our house. It is an easy way to stay in touch with our home's historic roots (and if it wards off evil spirits then that's an added bonus).

Here's a sample of some of the houses in my hood that have porch ceilings painted blue-green.

Are blue porch ceilings common where you live?

Note: For more information about Haint Blue, check out these resources:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I'm super humbled and honored to have been nominated for the Stylish Blogger Award from Elizabeth of The Mustard Ceiling last week. I'm relatively new to the blog world and have been enjoying every minute of it, especially the opportunity it has provided to "meet" some amazingly talented people with similar interests. 

Thanks Elizabeth! 

In the tradition of the award, here are 7 things you probably didn't know about me...

1. I'm the eldest of 3 kids. My brother and sister drove me crazy growing up, but now they are my best friends. 

2. I'll eat just about anything. My most adventurous food yet might be alligator.  (Which by the way, tastes like chicken.)

3. When I was 25 I quit my job and my grad school program, left my friends and family, and moved across the country to live in San Francisco where I didn't have a job waiting and knew only one living soul. Looking back, I wonder where I found the courage to do this. 

4. I met my husband on a blind date. 

5. My husband's name is Chris, my brother's name is Chris, and my brother-in-law's name is Chris. Makes for some creative nicknaming at family gatherings. 

6. I honestly believe that my dogs are small people covered in fur.

7. Despite a fear of heights, I hiked Yosemite's Half Dome.
Yosemite National Park

I'm honored to pass on the award to: 

Michelle at Ispirito Design

Please stop by and say Hello!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pane in the Glass

So maybe that's a little harsh. Replacing the solid wood doors to our home office with french doors wasn't that difficult. It was just tedious and repetitive. 
Original door

New door
Sand, paint, sand, paint, wait a day (okay a week, we're busy people with day jobs) for the paint to dry.
Sand, paint, sand, paint.
Multiply all this fun by 2.

Hang.  We cheated and had our contractor, SuperTony, do this part. Lessoned learned from our first house that there are some tasks worth hiring out.

Tony was able to reuse the original glass knobs from the old doors on the new ones. 

Then I added another coat of paint to both doors. When the paint dried, I began the tedious process of removing the plastic film off of each pane. First I scored the edge of the glass to break the paint seal, then gently peeled it away. 

Two panes down, only 58 more to go...

Ta Da!

This wasn't a project that needed to be done, however, they make our recently renovated home office a little more interesting. 

Linking to

The DIY Show Off

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wallpaper It Is!

I was 100% committed to painting the powder room, but then decided to check out a wallpaper shop just to see what was available.  My poor husband returned from a business trip to find this going on in his dining room and a wife who wanted him to make a decision pronto!

He was a good sport, however, and attributed it to fond memories of his mom's dining room table looking much the same way when he was a kid.

The Lotus Papers, from Farrow and Ball, were my favorites. In person, they look like fine works of art. They were also the most expensive.  Just as well, because Chris didn't like these at all.

We both really liked these from Shumacher:
Coconut Grove

Shantung Silhouette

But we can't commit to living with either of them.  Coconut Grove feels a little too traditional for our taste and the Shantung Silhouette seems a little too modern for our Victorian. 
It's back to the drawing board my friends.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Warning: Lazy Summer Days Ahead...

There may still be snow on the ground in some parts of New England, but Chris and I are already thinking ahead to warmer weather and enjoying a frosty beverage on the front porch of our new house. I think a comfy outdoor loveseat will be perfect for that space. 


Pottery Barn

Restoration Hardware


Or maybe I'll ditch the idea of a loveseat and go with two cozy chairs instead...
Warning...this could mean that all of our home renovation projects get put on hold for the summer :) 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mud and Tape

More progress in the downstairs powder room! Things are really starting to come along now. 

The walls are now "paint ready". I think I'll pop into a local wallpaper store just to be 100% sure that we don't want to go that route. 

Still to do: 
- Molding
- Paint or Paper
- Connect electricity and hang lighting fixtures 
- Install tile & baseboard
- Install the sink and toilet & connect plumbing

Btw, to see just how far we've come, click on the "Powder Room Renovation" link under LABELS on the left hand side of this blog.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why I Love My Husband...

Yesterday, with a straight face, Chris asked me if I thought we could salvage the wallpaper in our kitchen and rehang it in our new powder room. 
He was kidding :) 

Honey, you were just kidding, right?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Comfy Spot

I've been brainstorming ideas for the family room...

Side Tables, West Elm
Rug, West Elm
Side Table, West Elm
Garden Stool, West Elm
Footstool, Ballard Designs
Coffee Table, Room and Board
Upholstered Chair in Arden Chocolate, Ballard Designs
Ikat Pillows, Etsy
Pillow Fabric, Online Fabrics

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Master Revisited

Breaking news! Our Master Bedroom project is being featured on Remodelaholic!
Please swing by and take a look!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Living in a historic home has its benefits. Look what Chris uncovered while ripping apart the powder room

This was a little surprising because all of the doors in our house already have what look to be the original knobs, but what do I know? In any case, it was a fun discovery and we're wondering what else we might find during the course of our renovations.

Have you found anything in your home that was left by previous owners?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do we need this?

I need your help please! The sink we chose is exposed underneath which means the drain trap and water supply lines will be exposed. Originally, I thought all that we needed and all that was available were the standard "plumber grade" chrome pipes. 
Then I saw that Restoration Hardware sold decorative water supply kits.  Designed to match the style and finish of my faucet no less

When searching for less expensive options, I found this

and this

and even this

Apparently, Chris and I have been living under a rock because we didn't know such a thing existed. Tell me please, is a "decorative" water supply worth the splurge?

(Btw, to see just how far we've come, click on the "Powder Room Renovation" link under LABELS on the left hand side of this blog.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Our powder room now has walls! Look, it is starting to look like a room again! 

The sink will go on the wall to the left.

The toilet will go on the wall to the right. 

Ceiling (fan and chandelier)

The wallboard is up, but it still needs to be taped and mudded. Stay tuned. 

(Btw, to see just how far we've come, click on the "Powder Room Renovation" link under LABELS on the left hand side of this blog.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If My Blog Was a Room...

Simple Dwellings: If My Blog Was a Room...
Recently, Amber, at Simple Dwellings posed the question, "If you designed a room around your blog, what would it look like?".
Interesting question! My room would have white walls, lots of navy, and punch of hot pink.  I imagine it would look something like this:

Etsy Seller, KonaInteriors

Restoration Hardware

Thanks, Amber. What a fun idea! 
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