March 31, 2011

3 Gray Hairs...

My life is over. My life as a young person anyway. While in Virginia for two weeks working my ass off in the middle of nowhere BFE I found 3 Gray Hairs in my right temple. What the What? How could this be? Is this what stress gets you? Instant gray? I'm like the President in his first term. One day I was young, the next day I wasn't. What's next - mother effin wrinkles? eeegads getting old sucks balls. 

Mark this day. My name is Keri. I'm 36.4 years old and I have gray hair. A little part of me died today.

I knew this would happen eventually, but honestly I wasn't sure when. My mom never had a gray hair in her entire life...probably because she frosted her hair since high school. Yeah, I said frosted. With a cap and some sort of crochet hook. I remember my dad doing the slow gray thing that ages men with "grace." Jerks. Bernie doesn't have a single gray at 40. He still gets carded. grrrrrrrr.

I started coloring my hair in college, sometimes light sometimes dark. On and off. Then I decided a couple of years ago to stop for awhile because soon there will come a day when I will have to color it all the time so I had better enjoy my die-job-free youth while I still could. Plus sitting in the chair for color is like torture.

When I was home before xmas my bff announced there was a gray hair sighting but she could provide NO confirmation. She bluntly told me she saw it but when I made her search me like the yearly elementary school lice check we used to get she couldn't produce the goods....she thinks she's got one up on me because she doesn't have any grays but like both of our beautician mothers she hasn't seen her own hair color in a decade or two.

I don't think A Perfect Gray had this gray in mind...I much prefer the gray of this French bathroom to anything that may or may NOT be growing on my head. One of my most favorite bathrooms. I would die for that towel cart.
House Beautiful

On the upside....no wrinkles. Yet. Fuck. I just know they are coming.

I dedicate this post to my young friend Claire with her real blond hair and her 20 something skin...I don't even need to say it because you know what awful things I'm thinking about your young self ;) I hate love you.

March 28, 2011

Bernie's Room Update - Trim & Mouldings

Gray / grey. Mouldings / moldings. I don't know which is right or why. Honestly I don't really care. I like Gray and Mouldings. Well, I actually like mouldings spelled without the "u" but my friend Danielle emailed me and she spelled it with a "u" so I instantly conformed because that girl usually knows her shit. Even with Google at my fingertips I have no intention of looking up which is right.write.whatever.

I can't tell you how much time we have spent on this 8' x 12' room. Bernie scraped and sanded and removed the window frame and the doors. I didn't think it possible but he replaced the window cord and reattached the weights and now it works! Seriously! Our floor mouldings have 3 pieces - he pulled off the top and bottom pieces for stripping and cleaned up the baseboard in place. Lead paint = respirator.
with a heat gun the old paint came off like buttah
 seriously, I'm living with Bob effin Vila
 it was such a mess - I was against removing the mouldings but it turned out great
I can say our floors don't look this good after the project even though we covered them completely they are all kinds of scuffed which pisses me off. BUT! I came home from my latest trip and Bernie put some magic liquid on them and poof! all better
 Did I mention you can only paint before 1pm due to the light?
There were a million trim pieces - I tried to get in a quick coat on in the mornings
 I had to paint the new crown mouldings and corner blocks - not at all easy!!!
40 minutes per 8' section x 5 sections!
because of the brick house and plaster walls you have to drill pilot holes for everything
 we took the easy route and put up corner blocks to avoid the miter cuts
we glued the mouldings up with caulk then secured with nails
we used a 4" polyurethane moulding ~ $20 per 8' section
strange enough the first piece went up the best and it was all down hill from there
Bernie filled in the holes and gaps with paintable caulk
 I put 3-4 coats of BM's Chantilly Lace in high gloss on the trim
 Voila! Crisply painted trim and deep gray purple walls.
...stay tuned, the bed and headboard are on order, the light is installed, and the doors are back on



March 26, 2011

My Garmin Made Me Do It

I got a few hours one Sunday during my two weeks in Virginia to check out the small town I was staying (unfortunately I thought I would stop in at work for 2 hours but ended up working until Midnight). Wytheville, VA has probably seen some better days...but it did have a glimmer of some old greatness despite being in the middle of nowhere.

I saw some good...the historical district
I saw some bad...run down houses and the jail
Then I took a wrong turn...

Officer, my Garmin told me to! Is that an acceptable defense? I've heard urban legends about people driving off the road and into a lake because their GPS told them too. I laughed and thought, what dumb sheep. But I can definitely see making a bad decision when Garmin is shouting at you to "TURN LEFT!!!" He got stuck in some vicious rapid fire loop the other day repeating over and over "MAKE A U TURN!!!!" until I finally had to shut it off. I say "He" because I actually had to switch my Garmin's voice to a man because the woman was just such an effin nag!

Anyway, back to my story...I'm in middle-of-nowhere doing a little sight seeing when I get on a road to nowhere and no place to turn around. No problem, Garmin tells me to turn right and I'm going to loop around and get right back on the road in the other direction in two shakes of a lambs tail. All seems to be okay. Then the road gets smaller...

and smaller...
this is when I should have told Garmin he was off his rocker
then gravel two track with a gate
baaaahhhhhhhh I have become the sheep
blindly following Garmin
then I come up on a run down farm...oh shit
these folks don't take kindly to trespassers
I high tailed it out of there and a nosey neighbor was openly watching me the entire time, back down the mountain around the bend to the main road and back to town. I'm pretty sure they had the fuzz keeping a watch out for the red Impala that was not only creeping around town taking pictures of houses (see above) but then she tried to break into old Jimmy's farm. What if she had knocked over that board that was holding up his old barn? They'll be talking about me all week. In my defense...the Garmin told me to do it. baaahhhhhhhh

March 25, 2011

Bernie's Room Update - Paint

This ex-baby room had a shade of pink that wasn't bright, yet somehow it glowed pink onto every surface in the room. This is a small room with only one window that faces due East so most of the time it is very dark.
I didn't realize starting with the bedding as our jumping off point (I'm gagging at myself for even using that phrase, if you hear me mention pops of color just slap me hard) would prove such a difficult challenge. We looked at blues/greens/grays/gray-greens but none of them were just right.
Here are five of the samples we tried, there were more on other walls. The dark ones were sooooo dark. The gray-greens read reeeeaaaallly green or brown. It was hard to see anything with the pink glow.
I only liked the bottom two which looked a lot like the colors from our dining room (BM's Mount Saint Anne) and parlor (BM's Beach Glass). An all blue house is a tough one to pull off so back to the drawing board.
Luckily I read a blog post on purple rooms and to my surprise, I like purple! And holy crap so did Bernie! Let the sampling begin...again! (read here for the details). I did a quick coat of white to cut down on the pink glow followed by two coats of paint.
Martha Stewart's purple agate was the winner - it went on scary dark
Nothing to worry about, the color is awesome! 
 We color matched M's swatch and used Behr's Premium Plus Ultra paint in eggshell
Stay tuned...

March 24, 2011

Mid-life Crisis #27

A few times a year I have a mini mid-life crisis. Like I need to find something meaningful to do with my life. Run a non-profit. Become an artist (is that a choice?). Sommelier, restaurant owner, personal trainer, decorator...you get the picture. Usually it happens when work isn't going so well (like now) or when I spend a lot of time alone in my head. Like when I'm on a flight looking through magazines or reading a book - gathering up inspiration and big ideas page by page. I had one of those flights on Monday on my way to San Francisco, reading shelter mags and listening to Adele's new album. I think this melancholy was fueled mainly by Adele's songs  but all of my travel and stress at work didn't help any. My insides tell me to Run. Hide. Change. Find Something New.

Back to Adele - what a talent! Man that sista has soul. But she sounds so so sad. I've listened to albums like this before, over and over and over. They lull me in with their melancholy and bring me down without me realizing. What a gift to be able to sing like that. So much life for such a young woman. It kills me that I see her sing with all her talent yet still I think, she would be so beautiful if only....if only she lost weight she would be drop dead gorg. If only I didn't live in a glass house. I'm sure the same has been said of me. Why do we judge people so freely? This song reminds me of the day Bernie left college for Colorado and I was still in school. No goodbye.
I start to wonder if I'm headed in the wrong direction (in life, not on the plane, duh). I wonder if the money is worth it. I wonder why we can't all do something we are passionate about? Why passion doesn't always pay the mortgage. And a day later as I was wondering whether or not to even write about this I read through my ever-growing blog roll and figured these couldn't be coincidences.

Centsational Girl "The Dangers of Risk Taking" - lawyer turned mom and professional design blogger

Bernie's Uncle David who chose to enter the Peace Corps and spend a few years in Tonga instead of retiring. What an adventure he has entered! He inspires me.

And we have some actors in the family that inspire us with Lady Gaga parodies and an incredible t.v. pilot. But what impresses me most is not how impossibly cool they are but what a loving family they have created amongst the craziness of L.A.

Don't worry, this isn't some public cry for help. I'm fine. Just busier than I'd care to be. Gone more than my husband cares for I'm sure. But things are looking up, for a few days anyway. I'm headed home on Friday and the sun has escaped the cold San Francisco rain for the briefest of moments. Happy Friday everyone.

March 20, 2011

Bernie's Room Update - Demo

If you need to catch up, see previous posts here. Demo on our second guest room, aka Bernie's dressing room, started about a year ago after I bought a piece of crown moulding and a duvet cover. We decided to remodel the Pink Room and Bernie jumped right on removing the old crown moulding and there the room sat - a big giant mess with paint samples on every wall for the better part of a year.
Motivation picked up again late last year with the possibility of some house guests and we started sanding, stripping, patching, sanding, removing trim, sanding. Well, Bernie started doing all of those things. (I was waiting for my part - paint). It was a crazy dusty mess that left a powder on the whole house. Plaster walls. Lead paint. Original window that didn't work. 10 coats of paint on the trim. Painted hardware. Typical stuff in a super old home. It took a crazy amount of work for such a small space.
Drop cloth down, Frog tape in place and ready for paint!
stay tuned...


March 16, 2011

Before and After

These aren't the best pictures but since they were taken exactly a year apart I thought I would post...these were taken during restaurant week while we were out with our friends Carolina and Jim. I've lost about 25+lbs - yeah me! Ignore the fact that I look a foot taller than Bernie...

before
after
although after the week I've had I'm probably going to have to work to get back to that 25lb loss!

March 14, 2011

Now I've Seen Everything...

I'm sure you've seen this slogan on walls all over the shelter magazines and while I actually kind of like the look it is so over used that I've come to hate it. But on my bandaids? I might have to cut myself just to snicker every time I catch a glance of it. I could used one of these after the week I've had.

March 13, 2011

This week I got nothing!

Last week I was on a major blog role talking paint and fabrics and egg&dart and this week I'm stuck in Siberia working 14+ hour days since Monday. And getting up super early on the east coast makes it even harder since I live on mountain time. I don't want to talk about work here, but basically I had a huge problem on one of my jobs this week and what made it harder than most problems I deal with is that for most of the week this is what I was dealing with:

1. we didn't know what caused the problem
2. we didn't know how extensive the damage was
3. we didn't know how to fix it
4. we didn't know how long it would take to get it fixed
5. we didn't know how to prevent it from happening again
6. I had two lines down and the clock was ticking

Usually when an issue comes up, no matter how major, I can answer all of those questions and work through the resolution. This week we just had to take it one day at a time, hour by hour until we got a handle on it. I became an investigative reporter while all my guys got to work around the clock and 6 long days later I think I figured out what happened. It's boring shit that I won't bother explaining. We've got temporary fixes in place and are working today to make those permanent. We got one line running in about a day and a half and the other in 2.5 days. It's never a good thing when every expert you talk to says this was The largest "catastrophic failure" anyone who knows this stuff has ever seen in their careers, ever. It was in essence, The Perfect Storm. Man am I lucky! And to top things off we got a last minute notice that the most powerful woman in the world would be touring this particular plant on Tuesday. Fabulous. Anyway, enough about that, we've got a handle on it.

March 7, 2011

Painted Hardware Made New

I don't remember who first sent me a link to this blog but I do remember spending a weekend reading every single post. An old house like ours, a design aesthetic like mine, and the lady knew how to get paint off hardware. Swoon. To quote one of Brooklyn Limestone's weekly features, go ahead and "Steal this idea." But I'm really borrowing so proper credit goes to Brooklyn Limestone for helping to restore our Denver Square. 

here is what I started with - hardware from Bernie's room with decades of paint
get a junk pot, throw in some baking soda and set to simmer for 30+ minutes
the water turns brown and funky
set out a bunch of paper towels, get an old toothbrush, tongs and a Leatherman for cleaning out the little cracks and crevices
pull out one piece at a time and clean it off, the paint just falls off
 when I first saw the door plates I thought, uhhh-ohhhh, they are so tarnished I've ruined them
I mentioned it to Bernie one morning and 10 minutes later he came back with this
 just a little metal polish and everything is good as new and ready to take on another 100 years of patina
I just love the egg & dart that are on all our door plates
Thanks Brooklyn Limestone!!!





March 5, 2011

Left or Right? Parlor Fabrics

I just can't decide...

Our lovely and patient designer Jamie Foley has been bringing me fabrics for about a year now and we finally picked a chair fabric. A lovely ikat to put on these Craigslist bad boys which will be flanking the fireplace.
 our couch is a shiny silvery color which reads fairly dark
the wall color is a gray/blue but may change
 So, here is my quandary...
for accessories like pillows and curtains and an ottoman should I go with
...a monochromatic scheme of blues, grays, and cremes or...
 ...add in some greens and yellows?
we have this piece of stained glass on the large parlor window
 directly across from the parlor window is the china cabinet in the dining room
I painted the inside a citron color last year
I had my head wrapped around the greens and yellows but Jamie suggested the monochromatic look would be more timeless and she is right about that. I like both. For once I don't feel strongly either way. If Bernie didn't care I would choose the monochromatic look but he likes the green/yellow. 

What do you think???

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