painting questions answered

Our house from our neighbors backyard.

Good morning.  I'm laying in bed with the laptop and after 11 days straight of prepping and painting my body is really feeling it.  My tendinitis is screaming for relief.  It's so hard to not use your right arm and so I'm paying the price.  But anyway I thought while laying here enjoying this slow morning, I'd answer all the questions you guys have about the painting and the color.  First off lets start start with my inspiration ideas...

Way back on my Garden Tour trip to England, when I first laid my eyes on this gorgeous office addition that Ashley Hicks made to the family home, The Grove, it took my breath away. If you have a few minutes and want to transport yourself back to England, click here. It was a long, freezing cold wet day and it was getting close to dusk but when we rounded the corner and saw this I lit up.  I was walking with Faux Fuschia  and Romy and said, "That's it, I'm painting my house black."  That was 2 years ago and in the interim I have flirted with white and pink but I'm so glad I stuck to my original inspiration.

This is a house I found on Pinterest and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it is painted Black Bean Soup too. This is really close to what ours is now.  I adore it.

When I showed these pictures to Dave at Redlands Paint, he said, "You realize these are not pure black houses right?"  I didn't.  He recommended the Black Bean Soup right away and we took a test pot home and loved it.  He was right.  A pure black house would be a bit too harsh for me.

Lots of you are wondering if the floor is painted or if it's a rug.  It's paint.  I painted it several years ago and would like to change the paint and pattern, but am not sure what I want.  Besides I have bigger fish to fry right now (getting the house painted!) so that can wait.

Also my dear friend from Australia, Pammie has asked if us American's really do use our porches. For me the answer is a most definite yes.  This little porch gets used almost daily.  It's perfectly situated to watch the sunrise.  On cold winter mornings I'll bundle up in my comforter too.  During the spring and summer we almost always eat lunch here. Almost all my neighbors use their porches too.  So you may want to ring in on that in the comments.  And speaking of neighbors, so far no one has complained but I'm not sure they have noticed.  We are somewhat tucked back off the street so it may take some time.  But the walkers who have passed by have shouted out their compliments so that's been exciting to hear their reactions.  So far so good!

my friend, GSL wanted to know how many man-hours we have into it so far.  Larry estimates between the two of us, somewhere around 50ish.  We are still not finished but probably will be in 2 or 3 days.  The hardest parts are done.  And by hardest parts I mean the shingles.  As you can see in the above photo, each shingle has to be brushed on each side, top and bottom.  It's tedious work for sure.  Larry has worked tirelessly in the prep and painting.  The prep involved scraping, sanding and a good wash.

My job has been to paint everything low and keep us well fed and hydrated.

Also, there was a question or two about the cost of the paint.  I thought we were going to come in at around $300 total but yesterday I went back to the paint store and got another gallon of the Black Bean and one more gallon of Simply White for the trim.  If you buy 5 gallons at a time the price is significantly discounted.  Individual gallons cost a lot more.  So in the end it will cost almost $400 for supplies.  Which is still a great savings.  Plus, to be honest, it's been really good for us to do a big project like this again as a team.  It's been good for our marriage. :)

In a few days the roses will be open and I'll take some pictures of the house as it relates to the garden now.  See you soon and have a peaceful Sunday.  x  


porch update

I was planning on posting today about the actual task of painting an old shingled house but instead am jumping to show you the completed porch.  Painting shingles has to be one of the most tedious jobs if you are not spraying the house, which we are not.  We are pretty much brushing the entire house!  But I'll save that boring stuff for another day.  Today the porch is done and I like it...a lot.

Some of you mentioned in the comments that this new color (Black Bean Soup) really connects the outside of the house with the inside and you are right.  It feels so much better to me.

A few blue and white plates and pillows placed feels good too.

I absolutely will share the painting process with you in case you are thinking about painting your own house.  The lowest estimate we got was $3000 to have the house professionally painted.  So far we've spent $250 on paint and supplies.  We will probably need one more can of white trim but that should do it.  So well worth the effort!

Take care and have a beautiful weekend...x



Good morning and happy Sunday to you.  What a lovely break it has been.  Over a month of very limited computer use has been wonderful.  I think because I did not grow up with computers or social media letting go of it felt good.  I also have a bad case of tendinitis in my right elbow so staying off the computer has helped that too.  But anyway I'm back and thought I'd fill you in on what's going on around here.  A few days ago I found this beautiful nest in my yard.  It had been blown out of the tree and was resting on the lawn.  I've been collecting abandoned nests for years.  Each one is a study of beauty and function. They remind me of our own homes and how we work to make them comfortable, safe and pretty.

My friend L who lives in San Diego sent me this photo yesterday of a nest that was built right into a wreath she had hanging on her front door.  Gorgeous!

M gave me this Camelia plant when we moved here.

We've been feathering our nest so to speak, as the exterior painting has begun.  Are you shocked by the color choice? I kind of am. What happened to white and pink?  I have no idea.  We decided on Benjamin Moore's Black Bean Soup and that was that. It's actually their paint/stain and is covering the red really well.  In the shade it reads as black but in the direct sun you see more brown.  We've been going out and painting for about 2-3 hours a day and we are making our way to the front.  In fact today we will be painting the front and so the neighbors will see and that's going to be interesting because they LOVE the red and are going to be shocked. So I have that to look forward to today. Yikes!

Have a really good one. x



Hey guys I'm going to be taking a bit of a internet break.  I realize that I am spending way too much time in front of this screen and would like to just set it aside for a bit.  Take care and be good. xo


won't be buying this...

The other day I had about 20 minutes to kill before picking L up from the airport.  I popped into one of my favorite antique stores and came upon this.  It's as if the universe knows I'm trying to stop shopping.  I've been looking for this for years and it took everything I had to walk away from it. How great would this be with white towels stacked on it in a bathroom?  It would not fit in either of my bathrooms though.  How about as a teacart stacked with pretty plates, scones and fresh flowers in a garden scene with beautifully set tables?  Or a bar set-up at a swanky party - which I never have.  See how my mind works? Do I need it?  No.  Do I want it? Uh huh.  Needs vs wants is what it boils down to when I need to save money.  I could justify this very easily.  My anniversary is in a few weeks, Valentine's day is around the corner...blah, blah, blah. I won't be buying this...but someone should.  x


i live for beauty and elegance

I think this post has the makings of a rambler but I will try my best to make some sense.  The other day M sent me this article about an older gentleman, Sam Fuller who has been living in a historical hotel in downtown Los Angeles for the last 40 years.  He, along with a few other residents have restored the hotel to its former beauty and now that the area is being gentrified the new owners of the hotel have evicted him. It is a heartbreaking story but at the same time a lovely testament to his life and the beautiful way he has chosen to live it.  He says he lives for beauty and elegance and those words make my heart swell with happiness.  And while I know that things cannot make us happy, there is something to be said for immersing yourself in beauty.  Take a moment to read and see what I mean.

That being said...I've been on a bit of a beautifying streak around here.  You know my house is small (970 sq ft) and you know I have a tiny basement that measures about 10 x 6 feet.  But there is also storage under the house.  It's just a dirt floor and kinda scary down there but over the years Alex has a sneaky habit of storing things under there.  The other day I went poking around and found this...

Someone on Instagram said she looks like Edith from Downton Abbey.  She does.  The colors in this painting are beautiful.

And there is this desk that we used at his wedding for guests to sign in at.

It's old, was filthy and cost him $5 and for now it's upstairs getting some use.  The other little table is on the other side of the room now.  You can see the place is looking a little different but I'm thrilled that these items are being put to use. Well not the nude, she's still down there but the desk and this mirror that he had given me a few years ago that I had forgotten about...

That mirror is super old and weighs about 50 lbs.

See what I mean?  I've been busy moving and rearranging and it has been fun.  I've also spent more money already this year on things for the house than I did the entire last year.  See that leopard coat up there, yep...another estate sale find (60's, perfect condition $30) that I need like a hole in the head. I'm weak and it's hard to walk away from such beautiful things.  So I'm swearing off shopping for awhile, a long while. I'm going to really focus on what I've got, use what I have and re-focus my attention to paying down my mortgage and doing some repairs around here.  My reason for sharing all this is that I really want to stay transparent and keep myself honest. How long can I go without shopping?  I have no idea but I'd like to journal about it here if that is ok with you.


most cherished objects #1

One of the ways that helps me stay focused on saving money rather than spending it, is to be grateful for the things I already have.  As you know, I really do love all 2nd hand shopping but even that can get out of hand. So I thought I'd create a little series called Most Cherished Objects to help me focus on the abundance in my life.  So the list will be in no particular order, just things that I love for one reason or another. Simple everyday objects that bring me joy.

First up is a set of teacups that I bought on the second day of an estate sale.  I had seen them the first day for $50 which was out of the question, but now it was late in the day.  I asked the gentleman the price and he said $5.  So they came home with me and I've used them every single day since.  They are fine and delicate and are an important part of my morning. I'd say there is a certain elegance about them.  Because of their beauty I'm never really tempted to buy anything to replace them.  I've even used them here to serve soup in.

What do you think?  Do your cherished objects help you feel content?
Have a lovely weekend. x


corner of my world

4th year re-blooming orchid!

I want to say sorry for the fact that I'm using my phone now for pictures for this blog.  My real camera will not hold a charge so this is what I'm resorting to. I will say it is about 400x easier than my other camera though.  Otherwise everything else around here is alright.

I'm over a month into being sugar free and still feel good.  Melinda and I are shocked at how much sugar is hidden in products these days. Apparently there are 600,000 grocery products available to us and 80% have added sugar.

Someone in the comments recommended I watch the documentary about sugar called Fed Up.  It really pissed me off so I guess it did its job.  It's on instant watch Netflix.  If you want to be shocked and pissed too, watch it. Here is the trailer.

So that's what's happening in my corner of the world.  What about you?  What corner are you from and what's going on there?  Fill me in. x


2014 clothing acquisitions

The label has thrived on Pierre Balmain’s principles of simplicity, luxury and timeless elegance.  

Since this blog is my journal of sorts, I wanted to list my 2014 clothing acquisitions because I really want to keep track of my spending and also, to keep me in check for this year.  I say acquisitions because there are a couple of things that were given to me as gifts.  Nevertheless, they count as important parts of my wardrobe.  I'd say 2014 was a great year clothing-wise because I seem to have found myself...well fashion-wise that is.  Let's not get carried away Janet.

This coat.  It is one of the very best things I've ever found 2nd hand.  I found it in the dead of summer and didn't hesitate for a moment to purchase it.  Not cheap but considering the quality, not that expensive either.  I had to wait 6 months to wear it but it fits perfectly and is a forever piece.  $100

This Emerson Caftan.  I really still love this and it fits in perfectly with my forever wardrobe idea as an aging woman floating around in comfort. $40

This bird dress.  Given to me by Eshakti.  I am looking forward to wearing the daylights out of this come spring and summer.  I love that almost all of their dresses come with pockets.

This top.  Miu Miu, Christmas present from Alex and B.  Cannot wait to wear this too!

Vintage Mustard Cardigan.  I purchased this at the Pasadena City Swapmeet.  It seems to go with everything I own too. $10.

This top by Cynthia Rowley.  Purchased at Marshalls for my trip to Hawaii.  Love it because it is lightweight cotton and looks great with jeans.  $15

This maxi dress, made by Michael Kors $39 and this carry-on, Target $20. Both purchased for Hawaii.  Am probably going to sell the maxi dress on eBay soon.

This top free from Eshakti. Their sales drive me crazy but the company has such a great service with their semi-custom clothing and wide range of sizes.  The actual garments are very, very well-made and the fabrics are wonderful as well.  

This silk maxi.  I was so thrilled the day I bought it and now I'm like what was I thinking?  It's gorgeous, don't get me wrong but I really don't have much occasion to wear a silk maxi.  I don't regret it but it's borderline.  $50

This blouse.  I really love this vintage floral blouse.  I've worn it with my herringbone jacket a few times and it has such great possibilities.  $5

I bought these kitten heels on Saturday at the Goodwill for $6.  I'm including them here because I think they'd go great with the above blouse and that miu-miu top.

Total (including kitten heels) $285. 
*ooops forgot about the vintage sequin top $20
and 2 pair of jeans for the GW $6 ea = $12
Total $317

So that's it.  Honestly, I thought I had spent less, so laying it all out like this is good for me.  Thanks for reading and all your great comments.  A girl and her blog could not ask for more generous readers.  x


chinoisiere chic

Every once in awhile a dress comes along that takes my breath away. The above dress does that.  I love anything and everything chinoisiere.  Does this dress even know how awesome it is?  I can see this in the Spring/Summer and I can see it in the fall with a brown cardigan and at Christmastime with a red cardigan.  I'm sorry if you are right at the start of a no shopping resolution but I have to share this.  eshakti has released their new spring line and they have some very pretty things. So if you are new to their site and would like, you can use this referral link and get a $35 discount on anything from their Spring line. Remember they have ready-to-wear and also custom sizing from 0-36w. This link is only good for new shoppers though.  Damn.