Sunday, June 28, 2015

I'm Baaack

Hi Friends,

Made it through spring and nicely settled into summer now. We had lots of rain this spring so everything is green and lush. The garden is in and I have harvested swiss chard so far but I got the garden in late due to the cool rains. Everything looks great so there is promise.
Lots of baby colts this spring. That is always one of the highlights of April and May.
The roses are amazing this year. I grow very fragrant roses so when brought inside, the house smells so lovely. I tucked some spirea into the bouquet.

Although the temps have risen considerably, the pansies are still flourishing at the front door. I smile whenever I see them.
Those of you readers who have been with me from the beginning know that I have done many different things to protect my flower beds. First it was the free range chickens, the Dots, who made a mess of them. Then we got Buddy, our wonderful English Shepherd, and he dug many holes in the flower beds. I tried chicken wire (too hard on the hands of the gardener when weeding!), then large pine cones (thank you John and Cheryl for making a significant contribution) and then small rebar sticks around valuable plants. NONE worked. This spring, Mark put an electric fence around the flower beds. Buddy doesn't go near them so our flowers are coming back. I'm so happy that I don't mind that wire and yellow hooks that hold the wire. Often it is not on but Buddy doesn't know so he stays away. Sigh (of relief).
One of the 5 rose bushes with a heavenly scent.
And then there were 12. We lost one Dot recently, cause unknown. But the remaining are thriving and producing eggs so I'm happy. They are so fun to have around and they love their new location with lots of cover from hawks, cool trees to roost on or to take a dust bath beneath.
I hope you each have a fun summer. We have some fun planned so I can't wait. I'll be telling you about it as it happens.
Love, Delores

Sunday, March 1, 2015

PART 2: The Big Reveal

OK, are you ready for Part 2? We'll explore the laundry/mud room and powder room AKA Bear room (you'll see) upstairs first.

We've just entered the laundry/mud room. The door you see at the back leads to the garage. To the right of the door and behind the mirror wall is the Bear room. The laundry/mud room is pale yellow with a red accent wall. The octagon window on the red wall looks onto the porch.The ceiling is also beadboard. I raised the washer and dryer a foot so Dick would have less bending when doing laundry. There is a collapsible clothes hanger to the right of the deer mount. The sink is industrial in depth with a tall faucet so Dick can work on his hunting trophies here.
This view is looking back toward the hallway. The sliding doors you see on the right of the entry door are for the pantry and broom closet.
The mud room is tucked next to the garage door. There is room for the coats, shoes and a bench for convenience. The black container is a trash can. The bench is a split log with branch legs I found in Virginia on our way to N.C. at Christmas.
You can easily see the raised washer/dryer. The cabinets above have pullout shelves to make reaching easier. You have a better view of the beadboard ceiling here. The floor is ceramic tile that I had laid on the diagonal to visually expand the room. There is a pocket door that can be closed to keep the noise contained.

OK, are you ready for the Bear room? Here it is, just off the garage, very practical and totally manly!! 
We decided to include a urinal, why not? The light in this room is a red industrial pendant which unfortunately doesn't show. Dick had requested wallpaper border and since it isn't so 'in' today, I wanted to honor his request but struggled as to where it should go.  I think I found a perfect solution, don't you?  Easily viewed here and with a theme that fits the owner and the bathroom woodsy look. Wolves in a birch forest! I used beadboard wainscotting on the powder room walls to tie it into the laundry/mud room.

Above is a closeup of the wolves border.

Follow me out of the laundry room and down to the finished basement. You can see the polar bear art here in the hallway outside the laundry/mud room.
We designed two guest rooms downstairs. One with two full size beds and one with a queen bed. Dick wanted plenty of room for family and friends to visit. We decided to go with full sized beds because although his grandkids are still small, when friends visit, especially hunting friends, they need to be in a comfortable sized bed.
The yellow room has grey quilts and grey/white ticking bed skirts. This bedroom has an egress window which we will add a 'scene' to this spring. One can purchase an outdoor scene to place on the tin sides of the wall to dress it up and not look so dreary. I'll send pictures once that is installed. The blinds here are partially open. They are Allure blinds, the newest in fabric blinds, which we've used throughout the house.  
The large white shelf to the right is to set luggage on. The bottom two shelves can be used as a dresser. We thought of the convenience of guests.
I added fun pictures that I purchased online to each of the guest rooms. Most of the furnishings were ordered online including the headboards, kitchen table and all the light fixtures and cabinet knobs and pulls.
A night shot of the cozy yellow bedroom.

Standing at the bottom of the stairs, you can see into the two guest rooms. The bathroom is just to the left at the bottom of the stairs. The closed door on the left is a storage closet - a huge storage closet. The basement is totally carpeted for a cozier feel. You can see into the red bedroom that has a full garden window so therefore the brighter light. The family room also has a 6' garden window. It certainly doesn't feel like a basement at all.
 The red bedroom is ready for guests.
As you can partially see, the red bedroom has a large garden level picture window so the view and light is marvelous. It also holds a chair and the suitcase shelving. Also both bedrooms have large closets.
The guest bath is fun. The round mirror is leather, the pictures over the toilet are watercolors of a bear, fawn and fox. The shower curtain is a huge butterfly. The bath is roomy and convenient.
I added hooks instead of towel racks along with a couple stools for little ones to reach the sink or moms to sit on while bathing the little ones.
Behind the door is an open linen closet. It holds towels and bedding but also contains empty shelves for the guests to place their cosmetics case, shaving kit, toothbrushes etc. I always notice the lack of open space in guest rooms and especially baths; so we wanted to ensure that those spaces were available for his guests, large and small.
A fun space is Dick's hunting room. I found this mural and placed it on the wall like wallpaper. He mounted a fish and also a deer in this space. It includes tons of storage and workspace. There is a door inside this room that leads to the mechanical room. The house has geothermal heat, instant hot water, great insulation and other energy saving ideas throughout.
I've left out the family room and game table area because it's not quite finished so I'll send that another day along with outside view shots. This last shot is looking up the stairs to the front entry.

Speaking of view shots, I found this one looking from the kitchen window that gives you a glimpse of what Dick sees out the east windows of his new home. Double-click on the picture to see it larger.
I hope you've enjoyed Part 2. Part 3 will be the finished family room and some outside view shots.  We'll begin working on the landscaping and finishing out the front porch as soon as it begins to warm here. Part 4 will be the landscape and outside house views.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Here It Is, The Big Reveal...Ta Daaaa (PART 1)

I went on the wonderful fifteen month creative journey with our dear friend and neighbor, Dick P. He originally asked me to help him design his kitchen, and after many meetings over our dining table, he decided to be his own general contractor and the original house plans morphed into a different form from the original and I became his creative partner on this exciting journey of building a house and making it a home.
Above is one of my first drawings of the layout after we omitted the dining room and moved the guest rooms and bath to the basement.  I am very proud of the results and I hope you find it as beautiful as we do. 

The process was exciting and revealing and sometimes stressful but always fun. I had to find ways to discover Dick's taste, his color choices, how he wanted to live in this house etc. Since he is a hunter, I gave him several pictures of colorful birds, ducks and such. From that he selected the colors that resonated with him. He was very definite about a green that he saw and it took me quite a while to find it.

In the meantime, I would get samples and paint them on boards for him to live with for awhile to see if he liked them. It took seven different greens before I found the exact one. He told me he wanted to live with lots of color so we worked on finding the other two colors, red-orange and yellow, that would make the scheme sing.
I drew each room, all four walls, to show him what it could look like. For each room, I did multiple variations so he could 'see' what I meant when I discussed design. He could then make changes and as a result, we didn't have change orders during the actual building process. It worked for us.

Whenever we had to make a decision about design and style I would show him multiple pictures and ask me to tell me the one(s) he liked. From this we found his "style" and from there making the decisions about cabinets, lighting, fixtures, flooring, tile, etc. were much easier. I would then find the products I thought would work for his home and would give him a selection of three to five and from that he selected his favorite. Therefore this house represents his likes and style, not mine. I'll show you how I included things from his past, his loves and interests, his pictures and some furniture, etc. 

Ready for the tour? 

(NOTE: If you click on the picture, a slide show will appear and you will see them more closely in larger format.)

Here we go....
This is what you see when you enter the house. It is an open concept with no dining room but rather the table is in the center of the kitchen.
On the east side of the living room facing the front entry. His style is transitional, a modern twist on traditional with modern and rustic touches. Isn't his rug wonderful? It is called a tribal design and it brought all his colors together - green, red, yellow and black.
Dick P. is an archery hunter so I worked at placing his mounts in a way that would show them off best. These three mounts reminded me of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting so I knew they had to be on this wall above the stairs that you see from all over the main floor.
Looking past the TV and fireplace toward the entry.

From the entry looking to the east where there are 4 large windows and a glass door to the patio. The small swivel chair is yellow and sits out of the way of the view to the TV. The giraffe was brought back from Africa and the marvelous 'grandfather' clock is so modern yet so traditional and lovely in the space both is appearance and in sound.
The TV is on an old ammunition cart and the fireplace is totally modern in looks but still has a hearth so one can sit on it and really soak up the warmth. The TV and fireplace are on the south wall. The blinds are closed because it was so bright when pictures were taken.
This octagon ceiling inset contains the ceiling fan. It sits in the center of the living room area. There is green paint on the inside of the octagon which picks up the green in the kitchen and the green in the tile on the fireplace. The stained wood is also seen on the porch ceiling.

Next, meet me in the kitchen...

it's just this way, past the bear around the living room...
...on to the room that started it all! I LOVE this room. White shaker cabinets with glass insets, quartz counters, stainless appliances and the beautiful green walls. The farm sink is lovely and all this is countered by the recycled wood dining table, modern wishbone chairs and a padded bench. The bead board ceiling gives a country or cottage feel and the lighting is totally modern. And the view, oh my. A perfect kitchen. 
The west side of the kitchen holds the desk, the oven and the refrigerator. There are lots of cabinets for storage and plenty of space to move around efficiently. You can see the green paint here too above the desk. The backsplash tile has green in it and it is the same as on the fireplace. The tiles are large rectangles on the fireplace which we had cut down for the kitchen. You can see the doorway to the laundry room/mud room.
And I found this tin letter for Dick's last name. But my all time favorite is this mount of a crow!! Who mounts a crow? I guess if you are an archer, you do.
Standing guard to the laundry room and hall to the master suite, is Mercedes, the parakeet that was in Dick's family when his kids were young. I found  it on an artist's site and Dick said it looked exactly like Mercedes, so we brought her home.
This is the vestibule into the master suite. Dick uses a replica of Sadie, the old family dog, as his door stop. Come on in...

Dick wanted a camouflage comforter so we found one and carried out the green through the grasscloth wallpaper and the green silk carpet. The red-orange accents come into the bedroom to carry out his colors.

His huge walk-in closet is just to the left when you walk into the master suite. It has hangers, shelves for shoes and some clothes and dresser in the rear to the left of the bench. This is a complete dressing room. So large and nice.
You can see into the master bath which seems to be located in the woods!  
In person, the birch woods wallpaper has a three dimension effect. Very cool. The floor tile is placed on the diagonal and has a wood look in person.
This window is one of only two that faces north which saves energy. Every window has fabulous views including this one.
Onyx vanity and shower add a practical yet beautiful touch to the room. The shelf on the right is a tambour to hold his daily grooming items. It is topped with another bear sculpture.
This picture shows the onyx shower and the linen closet.
Proud homeowner, Dick P., enjoying his new home.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. Delores

PART 2 will come soon. It will show the laundry/mud room and powder room on the first floor along with the finished basement.