Reno Plan #24. Seriously.

I never thought that adding on to our existing house could be such a pain. Lesson learned.

Well…after 24 different addition plans (drawn by yours truly) I think we MAY have a keeper. (Insert fireworks and Hallelujah chorus.)

I have always said that I am my worst client.  Add Brendan to that and I want to fire us.  My vision on paper is always easy to love, but not quite as easy to afford. Oops.

I have drawn the addition finished, unfinished, huge, not quite as huge, moving the kitchen, renovating the current kitchen, Master Up, Master Down, Laundry Up, Laundry Down, the list goes on..and on…and on. It has been my biggest headache to date and I literally had to walk away from the project for a few weeks to have enough time to “put my big girl panties on” and give up some of my “must haves” and realize that what is most important is creating a functional space for our family to grow in (size, not number) without going crazy with square footage and foundation.

What we need:

An extra bedroom and bath.  Two boys sharing with Harper forever will make her insane.  Completely insane.

A laundry ROOM.  If I have to do laundry, I want room to spread out (and an alcohol fridge to make it more enjoyable.)

A new kitchen.  I have appliances.  I need the cabinets to put them into. We also want this kitchen to open to our family room.  We plan according to football parties and this seems necessary (I have even put the fridge closet to the couch for Brendan.)

A pantry. If I am going to actually cook, I am tired of having all of our food fall on my head every time I open our tiny pantry.

 

What we thought we had to have (but didn’t):

A Master Bed/Bath on the main.  In order to cut foundation costs, we realized that it is more important to us to have a new kitchen that is open to the family room than a Master Bed/Bath on the main floor.  While we will probably regret this decision down the road, something had to give for my sanity and I really don’t mind our living/sleeping spaces being completely separate.

A bathroom for each child. I wanted this, Brendan didn’t.  He wins….for once.

So, after drawing, and drawing and knowing a target sq footage to stay within in order to meet our budget, I have created a plan that works for us.

I am BARELY over the sq footage (I deserve a medal for this one) and I think we can make it work.  I am going to cut material costs elsewhere and already owning our appliances give a little flex in the kitchen budget.  Yay for that!

Check out the plans and tell me what you think.  The new rooms will be shown in red text.

Positive feedback only please unless you want me to lose my mind. Seriously.

 

 

 

Our Magic Treehouse

Porter and Harper were introduced to “The Magic Treehouse” series this past Christmas.  If you are not familiar with these books I highly recommend reading them.  No kids required.

Since starting the books, the talk of a “magic treehouse” of their very own has been very prevalent in our household.  I mean come on, these are the kids of a designer. At 5 and 7 they can space plan better than most adults, understand color, know flooring materials and actually can conceptualize whatever it is they want to create.  You will find sketches throughout our house and big ideas are always on the horizon.

Even though we are still in a “house holding pattern” I thought it would be fun to think outside of the adult box this morning round the troops and have a little treehouse dreaminng session.

There are tons of treehouse options out there.  A few of my favorite spots to look are www.danielswoodland.com  and www.barbarabutler.com.  The both offer prebuilt and custom versions of treehouses and they are pretty fantastic! You can also find plans, kits and lots of other things to get you started.  The options are endless and the inspiration is amazing!

Here’s the objective:

To create a space that can be shared by all three kids. A place where they can let their imaginations soar that isn’t specific to one gender.

The challenges:

Porter loves Harry Potter, Star Wars and anything “boyish.” His ideal treehouse is rustic, rough, filled with books and hidden doors.  Harper’s ideal treehouse is pink.  A castle with a tower, lace curtains and tiny flowers throughout. Harry’s ideal treehouse is whatever is most dangerous.

Creating a winning combination:

Here’s my plan.  I think I will keep everything rustic but add pops of color with fabric banners, painted window trim, outdoor rugs (World Market has some amazing choices right now) and make it a place that sparks imagination with worldly objects.  Simple furniture  (this will probably require an IKEA run) is a must and comfy beanbag chairs or poufs will be a cool spot for an afternoon read. I love the thought of maps covering the walls and hope I can be diligent enough to add photos of the kids enjoying their space on a cork board that can also serve as a place for found “treasures.”

All kids need snacks so maybe a small kitchen type area will be needed and filled with durable camping plateware.  Modified Jelly Jars will make unique lights and paper lanterns will add fun light in the evenings. Book cases will hold reading materials, art supplies and board games for a rainy day.

I have always imagined a supply bucket that could be raised and lowered with a rope and a big “Kids Only” sign to warn off any unwanted parents. Maybe an outdoor deck with an adirondack chair or two so that they can enjoy their own version of a front “kiddie cocktail.”

The kids have spent the morning with me finding inspiration in the designs below.  We have seen the impressive and the possible.  They are each designing away as I type so we will see what we can figure out in the end!

Glam…meet Farmhouse Chic.

In my previous post I mentioned that if we were ever to actually build our dream home, I would like to create a “farmhouse glam” style.

Well…there is no such design term (until now) but I did find some really amazing “farmhouse chic” rooms to inspire us!

Why I love “farmhouse chic:”

My grandparent lived in a little yellow farmhouse.  Built by my great-grandparents, lived in by my grandparents and now owned by my father.  My grandparents were beyond amazing.  They practically gave up their retirement to chase a slightly wild, highly imaginative and completely spoiled little girl so that my mother and father could work from the time I was six weeks old.  Yikes!

I look back on my childhood and realize it was truly magical.  Their property always seems to bring that magic back to me.  It felt free there.  I felt free there.  It was the kind of place that you immediately took off your shoes, sat on the front porch and wanted to just watch and enjoy life.

My grandmother grew lilies and people would travel from all over to take a peek.  She and my grandfather grew acres and acres of garden and there was always something to do.  You would spend hours on the porch, enjoy eating the fruits of your daily labor for every meal and watching the fireflies each night.

Canning jars served as vases for fresh cut flowers, windows were open each night for air, doors were never locked, TVs were for weather forecasts, and “Sunday dinner” was a feast worthy of Thanksgiving week after week.

My grandfather loved to build things and we spent hours upon hours designing playhouses, doll furniture and just about anything else I could come up with.  My first design project was my bedroom at their house.  We found a twin bed in the barn that once belonged to my great-grandmother along with a few other furniture pieces, purchased paint from the local hardware store and transformed a “storage” space in the house into my own private bedroom.  The walls were a pale lavender and my bedding was white with pink flowers.  I found old paintings of farm scenes that my great grandmother once hung  for my walls and white lace sheers for the windows.

Big oak trees that I thought must have been standing since the beginning of time blocked the hot summer sun and I never grew tired of listening to stories from their childhood.

 

So I guess you can say  “farmhouse chic” is just as much of a memory or state of mind as it is a design trend to me.  It makes me remember days that I wished would never end and a lifestyle that I want to relive.  Simple times and simple style.  Minimal color, nothing pretentious.  Light, airy, easy and GLAMOROUS?  I think so.

It is easy to add glamour in a space.  A little sparkle from a light fixture, a modern lamp, a funky pattern, a bright color.  Something old, something new, something over-the-top, something subdued. Minimal glam accents can make a big difference  and will add that special touch to a simple style.

Just don’t be afraid to have the best of both worlds.

Dreaming of a house…

Update: Still on hold with our home addition. Nothing new.  Talking about money is depressing…etc…etc..etc

Now..to move on.

Brendan and I rarely completely agree on things 100 percent.  We are both Taurus which only seems to make a difference when we feel strongly about something. Ok…so it makes a difference a lot.

We are also complete opposites.  Brendan thinks in numbers and logic and I think in colors and shapes.  It typically all balances out and even though we each know that the other person  tunes out the details of our day, we continue with the stories anyway because honestly, we like to hear ourselves talk.

So three years ago when Brendan and I started to consider building a house and began the process of looking at house plans..the fact that we each fell in love with a house plan (like REALLY in love) is pretty amazing.  And blog worthy.

I feel like I should have written that day in my  kids (nonexistent) baby books or something.  “The day Mommy and Daddy agreed on something without persuading the other person.”  Amazing.

So what made this house “click” for us?  It is really because at the end of the day Brendan and I may have different ways of imaging the decor of the space (he prefers to think of Auburn prints, football helmets, etc and I prefer trending designs, crisp color and nothing childproof) we both want the same things in the end as far as layout, architectural style and overall “look.”

The plan:

The plan was a Southern Living idea house in 2003.  It is a  “Coastal Carolina” farmhouse with expansive porches and large windows.  The color scheme is white with a blue(ish) gray shutter.  Simple, airy, and inviting with a touch of historical beauty.  A perfect “new house” match for a couple who enjoys their 100 plus year old house and practically spends all of our afternoons/evening on the front porch.

We all know I love white.  I swear by this color over and over and over.  That’s what makes the color scheme of this house so beautiful.  It is white inside and out. Simple and clean with accents of color and attention to the details that give it a historical feel.

This house also has an abundance of windows which flood the space with sunlight (at least in my imaginary version) and the large front wrapping porches provide additional covered living space outdoors.

The interior of this house is “wide open.” You enter into a large foyer that has flanking living/dining rooms.  The space can be expanded even further by utilizing the front porch for large parties.  We all know that the Stinson family loves a good party. The kitchen opens to a more private family room large enough to gather but cozy enough to bring your family together for movie and game night. We especially loved the flooring that they selected and the wide fireplace mantels.  I imagine the kitchen in white and my color scheme would be less “beach cottage”  and more “farmhouse glam.”  Hmmm…I wonder if that is a design phrase yet.

We BOTH agreed that we would have to rework the upstairs (the space seems “weird” to both of us) but our bedrooms have always been the least of our worries.  We live in our house and sleep in our bedrooms.  Therefore, planning our living space is much more important to both of us.

So why haven’t we built this dream home?  It is because it deserves a particular lot.  We imagine it on a farm or in a meadow.  Not in the middle of the city.

Would we consider giving up the city for this house?  Maybe…..


My idea of coping…

So while in the process of drawing plan after plan for the renovation only to realize that my budget and my ideas don’t quite match..I have decided to do a “things I love” post to cheer myself up.

Even though I am not a culinary genius…I do live by the thought that the kitchen is the heart of a home.  Even if you only use the microwave to heat up takeout in that kitchen.

Brendan surprised me with a whole new kitchen of appliances a few weeks ago.  I think he may be trying to tell me something.  I am STOKED and can’t wait to put them in place.  Not so stoked about the cooking requirements that came with this little gift.  I am sure there will be a bet going around Highland Park about how many time I actually use them if anyone wants to get on board.

I love the look of industrial appliances and Kenmore created a line that has the look of high end appliances without the hefty price tag.  I love the knobs and the slide in cooktop.  Now if only I can convince Brendan that I need a new fridge…

While Brendan fantasizes about me cooking…I fantasize about my cabinets, countertops, knobs, lighting, dishes, etc.  I have put together an idea board of some of my favorite looks.  Drool along with me and then give me your opinion.  I am kind of set on white, white and more white.  I chose to believe that it WILL be a functional choice for three kids.

Ok.  I feel better.  Now back to the “drawing board.”

Kenmore Pro Convection Double Oven (that doesn’t only cook on broil):

Kenmore Pro 6 Burner Gas Slide-In Cooktop:

Kenmore Pro Dishwasher:

Kenmore Pro Fridge (that I NEED):

White Kitchen Inspiration:

A porch (almost) worthy of my amazing mother!

My mother is amazing.  Really. She is.

She is always there to rescue me from any childcare situation, takes me shopping to cheer me up, brings dinner (and attempts to hit all of my allergies and intolerances), gave me incredible genes that make me not so worried about aging and is brave enough to watch three kids under 7 (and 1 month) by herself.  See…I told you she is amazing.

So when she came to me for design help, I had to put my “A-Game” on and create something worthy of her and to show her how much I appreciate all that she does.

The room and details:

Dee, as she was lovingly named by my three children, has a fabulous screened-in porch off of the back of her house.  She spends lots of time there entertaining, having coffee and swinging with whichever grandchild can convince her to swing.  These days, it is usually Harris.

Dee is a Southern girl to the core.  She appreciates the ability (and necessity) to have an outdoor living space and enjoys watering flowers, playing in the dirt (with adorable gardening gloves, of course) and enjoying an evening meal of fresh veggies under the protection of screens and ceiling fans. She loves candles and ambiance.  Bright colors and pattern.  She loves interest and a good conversation piece, and I was going to give her everything.

The existing furniture consisted of a white wicker settee, two chairs and swing.  A “re-purposed” and repainted armoire serves as a media cabinet and a large side table was painted black and used to create a perfectly sized coffee table.  A former bistro set came apart to create a side table large enough to  service both the chair and settee  and the bistro chairs could add extra seating for larger parties.  Dee brought a round metal and glass table from inside out and hoped we could create an intimate dining space for summer meals and she has refinished and painted two metal chairs that once belonged to my great-grandmother (Harris) an amazing shade of coral.

Dee purchased new settee and chair cushions from Pier 1 last year so we needed to find a way to work with them.  They are a muted shade of teal and fortunately for me, they are still sold at Pier 1 this season.

So one Thursday shopping day (yes we have those almost every week) we set out to find some inspiration for her new back porch.  Dee loves yellow.  Right away, when we walked into World Market, we were greeted by vibrant yellow throw pillows and I knew we were going to hit the jackpot.  For those of you who do not have a World Market close by, get online and shop immediately.  They have great accessories, textiles AND furniture and the pricing is fantastic.  They are also always offering 10% (sometimes more) coupons so you can typically save more than the store price. We saw tons of potential in the cushions and accessories in World Market and my brain immediately started spinning.

We decided (becuase we ran out of time and had to pick Harris up from school) that I would come home and create a design board because Dee was concerned that they vibrant pillows might not work with the current seat cushions.

I know that shopping with me when I have a vision and you don’t really see it can be hard.  I really do.  It works perfectly in my mind and I can see every detail down to the color of candles that I plan on using.  Because my mom is so awesome and I knew she was overwhelmed with the amount of ideas I had, I offered to shop for everything, deliver it to Scottsboro (where she had two of three kids AGAIN last weekend) and setup her room.  The stipulations were that she had to trust me and that she couldn’t give an opinion on the room until it was finished.  That’s like designer 101.

With my design board in hand I set out to shop before a day of soccer began.  I knew I wanted to surprise my mom with two elements and they turned out to be the hardest to find/make.

Element of Mother’s Day Surprise 1: With the pillows that she loved from World Market, I wanted to add a touch of European coast to this space.  In my layout of the room, I realized that she would have a wall that could be a perfect spot to add art work.  I wanted something with lots of the colors from the space (teal, yellow, coral, etc) but wanted her to sit at her table and imagine that she was somewhere else.  Somewhere fabulous.

Element of Mother’s Day Surprise 2: I wanted to give her a piece of our house.  Literally.  I still have a few old windows from the restoration in our basement and wanted to hang a window over the settee to create a  “room.”  This was easy enough to shop for, but I am pretty sure Brendan’s arm is still sore from the amount of scraping it required him to do.

So, the merchandise came from World Market, Pier 1, Homegoods and Target.  A mix and match day of shopping that only required a few hours of time and a lot of patience dealing with Gunbarrel Road on a Saturday.

The purchases:

1. Textiles. I mixed and matched a vibrant solid yellow with a floral pattern and yellow lattice.  The cushions on the dining chairs are an antique white and I chose a solid jute rug (on clearance at HomeGoods!)

2. Dining Area.  We selected surprisingly comfy rounded back metal chairs to coordinate with the current metal table.  We found plates that coordinated with the floral pillows, solid yellow round placemats, durable acrylic drinkware and yellow linen napkins with jute-wrapped napkin rings.

3. Accessories. I chose two white lamp bases with a yellow lamp shade and coral burlap lamp shade.  Recycled glass candle holders for the dining table, a tall recycled glass vase with natural branches,  vibrant glass candle holders in  multiple colors, a votive chandelier for the living space, colorful flowers in yellow pots and Dee’s favorite, paper lanterns in coordinating floral and solid colors.

4. Art.  I finally found a piece of art that would be perfect for her wall and really gave the impression that you were looking out on a beautiful vacation spot. The window cleaned up nicely and we used chain to hang it between two ferns (which I lowered to eye level) to create a cozy living space.

After a few hours of setup, it was time for Dee to see the final product.  She was excited, thrilled and ready to enjoy it.  Exactly what I had hoped for!

There is a certain feeling that designers get when their clients see their space for the first time. You are proud, relieved and a little sad it is over. In all of the design work that I have done, I have to say that nothing has ever made me happier than knowing that I created a space that my amazing mother loves and will enjoy.  It has even passed the “girlfriend back porch cocktail test!” She deserves it because she is the best mom ever! Really.

The design board:

The Dining Area:

Great-Granny’s Chairs:

Dee’s Swing:

The Space:

The Living Area

The Window:

The Lanterns:

A bigger kid, little kid room.

So while I “patiently” wait for the new addition to begin..I decided to take on a small design re-do project in the house.

When I first moved Porter and Harper into the same bedroom, they were barely 5 and almost 4. Now that they are barely 7 and almost 6, I started to realize that they room wasn’t quite as age appropriate as it could be and DEFINITELY not as functional.

Taking a look around, I saw Harper’s adorable pink kitchen which had been collecting dust for a while and the white table and chairs where many tea parties were hosted had become a hazard for Harry’s daily climbing obsession.

After a chat with a surprisingly mature Harper, I had the “ok” to remove these space hindering pieces and create a more “7 and almost 6 year old friendly space!”

The problems.

1) The dresser. I moved this dresser into the closet when I was 7 months pregnant with Harris to create a space for Harper’s Kitchen set. There just wasn’t enough space for everything in the room and I decided it would be ok in the closet. After getting tired of fighting through the chaos of the closet to get to ANYTHING and realizing that the kids needed a spot to put their growing book collection, moving the dresser back into the bedroom (with more “gender neutral knobs”) was the best solution. It would free up enough space for two small book cases in the closet and the daily search for underwear and matching socks wouldn’t be quite as stressful.

2) The bedding. I painted the bedroom a boy and girl friendly yellow and found a navy stripe and pink polka dot duvets to dress their matching white cottage beds. I also allowed (against my better judgement) them to put their favorite stuffed animals on their beds and added personal touches with Porter’s airplane collection and Harper’s requested paper flowers in pink hanging from the ceiling. A roughly painted “P” and “H” gave ownership to their spaces as well as a few prized possessions on floating shelves. Cute right? It was. But it was cute in a “little kid” way. Porter is over stuffed animals and Harper is over polka dots. Not only did they need a new look…I needed something easier to make every morning. Have you ever seen a kid sleep? My kids sleep upside down, at the foot of the bed, wrapped in their duvet. I literally have to completely take the bed apart every morning just to make it again (unless the sheets and duvet are already in the floor.) I wanted quilts that would make my mornings a little easier.

3) Art. Since the kids are sharing a space (and can actually read the signs) I decided this was the perfect time to dress the walls with “By Order of the Management” signage! Super cute, colorful and INFORMATIVE!

4) The clutter. Porter is into Legos and Harper is into Barbie. With the table and chairs in the middle of the room, the kids had no where to play with their new favorite toys. It was time to create an open space in the middle of the room for them to spread out the toys!

Ok. So after evaluating the issues, I started early one Monday morning organizing, de-cluttering and rearranging the room. After 10 hours of hard work, I ended up with a clean, organized and well pulled together space for ALL of their toys and books (and a dresser actually in the bedroom!)

Tuesday I headed to Dalton to go “storage building shopping.” I had a purple quilt that had been used in a Mohawk vignette that I pulled for Harper’s bed along with a few lamps and accessories. A quick trip to Target and I found a coordinating quilt to Harper’s in Navy (Porter’s favorite color and a mere $29 for the SET) and enough frames to create my wall of “Orders.”

A soft white shag rug from The Maples Rug Outlet in Scottsboro, more colorful paper flowers hanging from the ceiling, fun sheets to give the space personality, “No Boys allows and “No girls allowed” posters over each bed for “ownership”, a few already owned toss pillows and photos from a recent shoot with Aunt Kelley and the room is completed for under $250! For now anyway….

Before:




After:




Still Missing in Coordinating (to their) bedding colors:

Changes…Always Changes.

                          Image

So after all the stress, drama and planning…we have decided to stay put in our  current home.  I know, I know.  I never stick with a decision, I change my mind every time the wind blows, etc, etc. It’s all true people.  This is the fun (and frustrating) part of being a creative mind.  I can see things a million different ways.  I can imagine our life here, there and a thousand other places in between.  It’s a gift and a curse really.  Just ask my husband.

 

So in order to stay put some things have to happen.  First, I need some storage.  I am tired of hiding toys under beds, changing my closet every 1/2 season and spending time in the attic weekly searching for something I thought I didn’t need.  Not to mention the two large storage buildings that we have are ridiculous.  

 

Next, we need an extra bedroom.  My mom has been sweet enough not to complain about sleeping on the couch for the past 5 years when she visits but I am ready to offer her (and other guests) a real bed.  I also think that even though P and H do a great job of sharing a room right now, it is going to be a short lived victory. 

Want to guess what my least favorite household chore is?  It isn’t cleaning bathrooms (I actually love the smell of bleach,) it isn’t dusting or mopping…it is…LAUNDRY.  I HATE laundry.  I hate separating it, washing it, folding it and putting it away.  HATE IT. Maybe this is because my current laundry room is cramped, narrow and I have to maneuver through a 1/2 bath to get there.  I am not sure, but I do know that having a larger room with space for everything (including the over-flo beer fridge) will make me a little less miserable.  Especially if alcohol is that close by. 

 

So those are three “key” things that need to happen.  Oh…and one other thing.  I have a family of five…and my kitchen appliances don’t work.  The oven only cooks on broil and the microwave works only on “pizza reheat.”  Now while I have modified my minimal cooking skills to fit these specific instructions, it would be nice to actually have more options when it comes to feeding the family (that don’t involve a call to a restaurant.)  So my sweet (and suggestive) husband surprised me with all new appliances!  Exciting right?  Unfortunately, they do not work/fit in our current kitchen (oh shucks) so we will need a NEW kitchen (this is where I start dreaming about white, white, and white!!!) 

 

So that’s four “must haves” that we cannot live without.  Now….how to turn an early 1900s Victorian into a modern day family home with storage, space and an open floorplan…..  Fortunately, I have lots of ideas.  

 

 

“French Country Farmhouse”

So I have a “new” (to us) term for the style of home I want to build. I am going to blend the French Country Manor with a Traditional Farmhouse.

I know, I know…the term “French Country Farmhouse” is already a staple but this will be a different version.

In case you didn’t already know, I like clean lines, minimal accents and rarely use a loud pattern. I love white, beige and gray and color makes me antsy and nervous. I don’t do ruffles and I don’t do checks or florals. Flea-market finds are not my thing and I prefer the smell of new to the smell of old. In fact, most antiques make my head hurt and cause me to sneeze constantly.

Therefore, my version of the “French Country Farmhouse” will be more modern and have a hint of glam. I mean come on! Can you even actually imagine me IN the country OR a farmhouse? My ideas of “fresh produce” is Publix and if I could get away with it my grass AND my flowers would be fake in the front yard.

So we will incorporate the colors and accents that I love with my French Manor inspirations and the elevation and character details that a farmhouse has to offer.

I have found a particular elevation that makes me giddy and it is shown below. I see us in a house like this. I really do. It looks inviting and charming and has a certain southern essence that makes me comfortable. I am sure we will make changes (even though surprisingly the elevation will work well with our floor plan after a few minor changes to each) but at the end of the day I could come home to this house and be perfectly content.

Paint Color Complex

Paint color is where I really struggle. I can visualize this house down to the accessories on my dining table at least 100 different ways (and OF COURSE my future Christmas decorations.) I change my mind from day to day and make mental adjustments as necessary. Unfortunately, the cost to change a decorative object is FAR LESS than the cost to repaint an entire house. See my problem?

I don’t do well with the thought of being “stuck.” I like to be able to change things freely as I feel necessary (I got this quality from my sweet momma who annually changes at least one room in her house) but I also know that the paint colors I choose will be on this house for the longterm so I want to make the right decision.

Here are my thoughts.

I love gray/white/creams. I KNOW FOR A FACT that my main house color will be one of these. Easy right? Not so much. If you have ever looked in those color families you will know that there are thousands of choices in each family. It all can change depending on your accents colors and you can end up with pink instead of white or green instead of gray or yellow instead of cream. As much as I love pink, I am pretty sure both Brendan and I (not to mention our new neighbors) would cringe every time we saw our house painted that color. Forever. Therefore, I must be precise with my paint selection and cautious of the undertones.

My first board features light gray with blue/gray accent colors. I love this color combo and think that it will mix well with a stacked stone that we talk about later. I also think that it would be beautiful with a dark (black undertone) stain on the front door. It gives me more of a “Neo-Traditional” feel than a “French Manor” but I am ok with that. Most importantly, I can see this color combo paired with live greenery and deep red (almost wine) ribbon at Christmas. A safe traditional choice.

Next I have focused on a cool gray color scheme. This particular board makes me think of Seaside/Rosemary Beach Cottages. Maybe I would have the same relaxation as I have at the beach every day if this were my color scheme? Didn’t think so either. I love cool tones and this is similar to my “comfort color zone.” I do have some concern that it will not blend well in a neighborhood full of earth tones but who knows. Paired with stone and dark stain for the front door and natural stone it may be a nice addition and something different! For this scheme I may be tempted to go outside of the traditional box of Christmas Decor and use an artificial white wreath and bright ribbon…maybe pink or coral? Or maybe white on white or white with silver?

The third board features warm gray tones. This color scheme would blend beautifully with the existing homes and gives a nice blend of the grays that I love while maintaining a natural element. The main house color has a nice balance between cream and gray and I LOVE the wrought iron for a nice traditional balance. I think with this I would use a deep brown stain for the front door to add additional warmth. I would also try to find a stone with some red and brown mixes and possibly a little green. Same for the brick. My Christmas decorations would be live greenery with red berries and red ribbon. I also see Christmas trees with red and gold balls flanking the front doors.

My final board features a true French Country blend of colors. A light creamy-gray paired with an almost tonal trim color and a “barely different” green for the shutters. It would be light, airy and beautiful. I would use a “washed” gray stain for the front door or possible a deep brown stain for contrast. Maybe even a red stain? My brick will be washed white with gray/green undertones and my stone would feature a lot of gray. I think I would use natural branches for Christmas Decoration with Berries in lieu of ribbon. A true French Country Christmas!

Weigh-in on your thoughts! Maybe there should be a prize for the best suggestions. I know…whoever gives the best advise will join me for my first glass of wine on my new porch!

*All Paint Colors Featured are Benjamin Moore in case you are inspired to grab a gallon and make a change!*

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