I’m over both the cold weather and my remodel! What is up with this dreary weather? Here in California we have had some extreme cold weather and though it’s nothing compared to the polar vortex, we even had snow this week in our town of Los Gatos, see above. So far this has been the darkest, wettest and coldest (god the wind chill!) winter I can remember in a long time. I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Long Winter.. Okay a bit of an exaggeration, but what a good book to reread about now don’t you think?
Speaking of reading I just finished the best book, A Well Behaved Woman based on the life of Alva Vanderbilt. I highly recommend it- such a good read about a woman who was ahead of her time. Inspiration and escape are really helpful during these cold months.
Two other discoveries- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which I am streaming an episode of every night and oat milk lattes from Cafe Dio in Los Gatos or Manresa Bread – the new one in Campbell has some great breakfast and lunch. I cannot believe how good they are and I think oat milk is best substitute to milk yet. Though I should be drinking water. Tennis has been cancelled so much and that is my thing. Comfort food and soups are all I want now.
I’m just about ready to be out of our rental too. The rental house is nice, but cold. I feel like the heater is running non-stop. I’m either freezing or dried out like a piece of jerky. Interior doors have swollen and do not close – and my smoke alarms have been going off because of the extreme humidity. I found black mold in one of the bathrooms. This is not normal at all here as we are usually very dry in winter! Today I woke with a sore throat and I haven’t had a cold in some years. Hopefully it’ll all be worth it for this…
Framing is done, roof is ready to go on and windows and skylights will finally go in this week if weather permits. I’m excited for the framed Marvin windows as they are modern and thin profile. I think they will give it some architectural style to a house with otherwise simple elements.
Mike my builder, has been great about walking through each bit of the house and pointing out what works or what might be a better idea. What’s on paper doesn’t always make sense once you begin to walk through it. Because of Mike a few things have been tweaked to be even better and more open. He also made sure I got all of the skylights I wanted even when they were a challenge with the wonky roofline of our old home. Those skylights are going to make a huge difference in that house and I put them almost everywhere I could- baths, hallways, the kitchen and the mud room/ laundry. Yay for light.
What am missing right about now is our gas fireplace insert we use so much. In the new house that will be the focus of the main living area. I ordered mine, a classic style from Town & Country. It’s quite pretty with a light herringbone brick background an invisible screen and logs that are hard to tell they are not real. I think they are called the chateau set. (Closest I’m going to get to owning one.) That really seems worth spending money on as we used our previous one almost every single day the past 5 winters. We barely used the heater when it was on. In California you cannot remodel or build a new house with a wood burning fireplace. I am totally a gas insert convert and would never go back and they are so much better for the air and your own lungs.
Right now all the decisions which are supposed to be the fun part are driving me bonkers. It’s been so long since I began this process that I have changed my mind on things. I dream at night about faucets and cabinet colors and knobs and tile. The darn stone place where I chose my slabs last summer lost my master bath slab I paid for. Thankfully they still had my kitchen ones. Apparently buying still doesn’t guarantee it is yours? Another issue and the fact that my roofline is so odd they have to figure out how to vent the stove in a special way.. We will see how it all comes out…
In both bathrooms I chose a tile that looks and feels amazingly like a quality wood. I was hesitant to do that as I also have real wood throughout the house, but I think we can make the transition look fine. What I like about these tiles is they are not only a bit rustic, but they feel good underfoot and have a bit of traction which is good for bathrooms. The boys bath which has the darker wood looking tile, will have a rock floor in their shower which looks like something from Hawaii and is called Island Stone. Their shower walls are a rustic looking tile in a creamy color, and I chose dark fittings. The counters are a man made quartzite brand is called Vadara. I am not sure about the cabinet color in there yet.
My bath has the similar wood tile, but mine will be cut and placed in a herringbone or chevron pattern which I think will be pretty with the tub on top. Photos I am using for the bath inspiration below..Tub is Victoria & Albert IOS which is made for smaller spaces. It’s under a big new window by the garden.
I did meet with my cabinet guy and I have to choose colors for the kitchen and baths- and the mud/laundry room. I am thinking of doing the mud room/laundry/pool bath floor a fun tile. This one is kind of cool.
I do think there are almost too many choices out there. Don’t get me started on the home trends.. Greys, the blues, all white, the black and gold… All I know is I want a California look that is not too grey or too of the moment.
With all the trends it can be counter-productive to look at too much. You can mess with your own vision and ideas. The most current ideas are on Instagram as people are constantly posting new projects. You can find a lot with hashtags and following people who are into design. That said, it also can also be a never ending cycle of the same popular looks shared a zillion times. Pinterest is the same- a very circuitous system of the same photos over and over. Houzz too. It’s the same with the political stuff… The more you like one look, the more these websites send you the same, so it’s hard to see outside the style bubble you might be in.
Another clue something is too trendy is look on the MLS to homes for sale. The newly remodeled ones or flips are often a good guide on what NOT to do… So many look the same and often seem staged by someone who went through HomeGoods and bought every turquoise vase, horse print and sprinkled it with fluffy and sequin pillows. There is too much gold, black, white, farmhouse, shiplap walls, lantern lights and on and on. Still, some of those elements are good on their own, just not all together! I am trying to look outside my bubble. Personally I dig this Canadian House & Home magazine and subscribe to it.
I also like design books and blogs from the U.K. and abroad where people seem to appreciate less perfection, more individuality! We here in America covet catalog and model home looks way too much. I’m a fan of having a house of unique things and those can’t necessarily be bought, but come from your family, tag sales and then maybe adding in some new pieces that you will love forever. That is what I hope to do at the new place.
I am using my grandparents 1965 modern home as my guide. Their home in Willow Glen had clean lines, lots of light, big windows and beautiful materials. It had some limestone interior walls, but was overall simple and warm with pops of color and a cool atrium. What sticks in my mind from that house is the creamsicle colored door, a long, curved, low peach covered couch, a velvet ottoman, a hidden corner library, mid-tone wood furniture and light walls, with a few pops of gold and dark brown. Everything looked good in it, especially my grandmother’s copious plants and trees. It was modern, yet warm and I think a very California home.
So anyone else going through this?What have you all done for remodeling choices? It sounds like it’s a fun part, but the angst about making the right choices is killing me. I am learning as I go so I appreciate tips and advice from you all who have been there. Thanks for coming along in this with me!
Oh Kim I know this feeling so well and the time spent agonizing over all the choices. However once it’s all complete it’s so worth it. Also, make choices you love. The only regrets I have are things I asked other people about. Should have gone with my choice! 😉
Hi Kim, oh, Canadian House and Home is one of my favourite magazines! I also like Living Etc. from the UK – I think you’re very wise to look at a wide range of magazines. Having said that – I do not envy you the task of making all those decisions. We have moved many, many times over our marriage and each time looked for a house that we could be fairly certain of selling quickly by the time the next move came around. I can’t imagine designing a home from scratch, so I have no tips or tricks..
I love the simple lines of your house facade and your grandparents’ house too, from what I can see of it. I also love the tile choices you have made – it looks like you are on the right track, although I do understand how daunting it must be. You must be second guessing yourself a lot, but keep your vision in mind and I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end!
Kim thank you so much for this update it was so fun to read! I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how the remodel has been going. As you know I went through this 4 years ago, we were right in the thick of it during February 2015, in the final stretch, back living in the house but with an incomplete kitchen. I stuck to my colour palette and I’m not sorry I did, the hardwood throughout and the creamy taupe marble in the bathrooms and kitchen. At the time the grey everything was becoming popular but I don’t think that suits our climate here in Canada, it’s so dreadful cold here we meed interior warmth! The gas fireplace we put in our family room was the best decision ever, and it’s on constantly during the winter. One thing I did that I regret was to let the painters paint out my pale blue and pale aqua ceilings in the living and dining rooms, though granted it’s something I can easily fix by having them repainted, which I’ll likely get to this year. (I’m just at the stage now where I’m touching up paint and doing some re-decorating, now that we’re approaching five years). The thing about the ceilings is that it was a bit of personality that benefits a house, I think you do see more of that in the British mags etc. you’re so right!
I love the colours you’ve chosen, California has so much light and I love that you’re going with it, with the skylights etc. Your tub is going to be fabulous. I love too that you’re so inspired by your grandparents house, it sounds like it was amazing.
Please keep updating us, it’s great to read about it!
Take care too it sounds like you’ve had miserable weather, the black mould situation is not good, please look after yourself. You’ll be ecstatic to move back home. I hope the construction goes quickly now!
Your new home will be beautiful! Your personal touch will be just right. We are living parallel lives right now! – loved the book and we’re watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel each night trying to catch up!
LA CONTESSA says
THAT CLOSET GAL is going to be MY NEIGHBOR!
I agree with YOU about the HOMEGOODS IDEA!!!!!!
CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!
YOU know where I stand on a HOUSE as YOU have been here………..RELICS and things YOU LOVE!
LOOKING GOOD The photos I have seen!
!HOW MANY MORE MONTHS?
YOU CAN DO IT!
Think I will read THAT BOOK UP TOP TOO THANKS!!!!!!!!
HANG IN THERE!!!!!!
JUST DONT GET A DIVORCE over the LIGHT SWITCHES!!!!!!!!!
I highly recommend Maria Killam’s blog Colour Me Happy for help with figuring out finishes and paint colors. She is the best in the business, in my opinion.
Kim, your home is going to be wonderful!! I love your update, so many decisions to be made and I can’t wait to see more! Like I mentioned we are going to be redoing our floors and can’t decide about carpet upstairs or wood/laminate (yes, i’m still stuck lol) I am thinking of hiring a decorator just to help me with colors etc. I know what you mean about catalog/magazine homes. We recently visited a new friends home last weekend and while it was beautiful, it had absolutely no personal touches. There were just a couple of photos in the whole house and this house was HUGE! The few items they had in the house were things that you can get in Homegoods like the live love laugh plaques etc. and there were just a couple of those. If you walked in the house, you would not be able to guess what the inhabitants liked. It looked like a home staged for sale. XOXO Kel