When we first moved into our house, this was the view from the entry:
When Scott and I decided to buy this house in the Springs, we were still living in Cincinnati. He wasn't able to make the trip out to look for a house, but he trusted me to pick a good house in a good neighborhood. This is what I came up with. It is a good house and it is a great neighborhood, but it took some imagination to see what the house could become.
I have a good imagination. Scott's isn't so good, but (thank God) he trusted me. When he walked in and saw a house that was spectacularly maintained but not at all updated, he didn't freak out.
That might be reason #863 that I love my husband. He trusts me.
Anyway, in order to maintain the "integrity" of the original house, we lived with the brown cedar siding for a while. My mom has great decorating instincts and said, "Paint it glossy white!" but we took our time. We spent time living in the space, just being there, before we made any changes. We asked opinions from our family and even from at least one wood restoration "expert" to see if there was anything we could do to lighten up that cedar. More than one person recommended drywalling over it.
But in the end, it got a few coats of stainblocking primer and then some sage green paint (technically, the paint was Celery green from Restoration Hardware). Brown cedar, it turns out, was not our style.
And the cedar looked better (to us) after it was painted. But then there was the issue of that orange brick which contrasted heavily with the celery green cedar. My mom said, "Paint the brick glossy white!" but we wanted to go for a more subtle look first. So we got out a few different shades of paint and some drywall compound and gave it the look of used brick (which was actually my mom's second suggestion). We lightened up the mortar and whitewashed the bricks here and there until it looked random enough to pass as old used brick.
|This was about 4 days after giving birth to Callie. I'm pretty sure I fed her,|
got spit up on, and climbed right back up on the ladder to keep working. Nice.
|If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't leave this face for a minute, certainly not to |
faux paint brick. She was (is) too precious.
And, actually, the faux used brick wasn't terrible. I wish I had some better photos, but in this one at least you can see how it looked at Christmas. It looked okay.
But at some point, we decided that we were ready for the brick to be white. I am so thankful that Scott goes along with me on these whims -- even though he's the one who usually has to be at the top of the 22 foot ladder, he is willing to let these elements of our house evolve.
And so we went white. More stainblocking primer, three or four coats of white paint, and lots of patience.
Looking back, I think what forced the move to white was the artwork above the mantle. That painting was done by Brynn, my older daughter, when she was about four or five years old. I loved the colors and wanted it up in the house. I wanted it front and center. But the "used" brick on the fireplace competed with it and so the brick, all 22 x 6 feet of it, had to change.
The white brick surrounded by celery cedar held on for about five years before we decided to go grey last month. But, as we went grey on all the drywall, it seemed like a good time to make the full transition from brown cedar to glossy white, just like my mom had said we should on day one.
So maybe the moral of the story should be, "Listen to your mother and do as she says." If I had, I would have saved myself (and Scott) hours and hours of time standing on a ladder (and subsequent trips to the massage therapist and doctor to get his back re-aligned after time on said ladder).
I think, though, that part of discovering our style requires more than changing our house from one extreme to another without hitting any of the stops in between. Especially for a couple as young (and inexperienced) as Scott and I were when we moved in. We were 27? 26? That is awfully young to assume that we could know our style. Somehow my mom knew where we'd end up. She could see around that corner before we could. But the in between? That was part of our evolution.
|Now. This isn't the best angle for a shot anymore, but just for comparison's sake...|
|A better angle.|
And so here is where we are today. We're still making changes and the view from our entry is still evolving -- in fact we made some major changes just this week. I'll update you on those in the next few days. But for now we've hit a place that we're really happy with. It is bright and airy and getting more modern every day. It is a look I never would have predicted but it feels like home.