Friday, February 24, 2012

A Dirty Filty Estate Sale

I have been making an effort to stay away from thrift stores and other places that might tempt me to accumulate more neat stuff.  Why?  Why would I do that?  Well the fact is, I have my house on the market and it is getting difficult to find places to stash my loot and not look like a hoarder.  But I subscribe to a feed that tells me about estate sales being held within a 60 mile radius.  I rarely travel very far for a sale with the price of gas and all.  However, there was one today that was within a few miles of home and I couldn't tell myself, NO!

It was in a 4000 square foot three story building.  Nothing was priced .  It was one of those..."make a pile and we'll quote you a price.  The bigger the pile the better the price."    In fact, that is exactly how they advertised it so I knew the rules before I left home.  Optimist that I am, I was convinced that meant I could make a huge pile and get it really cheap.

Stuff was helter skelter.  It was filthy dirty and the place was a maze of rooms with some floors a few steps lower that the room next to it.  I did not even go to the basement.  I'm pretty curious but this time I got over it real fast.

My pile started with the pictures you see here.  I separated these after I got home.  They were entangled and I thought they were all a part of one item.  What exactly that item was, I wasn't sure although I had some idea.

Obviously they would need some repair to be of any service.  Not sure what I can do with these.

Five pieces in all.  Probably useless but I can always figure out something to do with the rings.

These you are seeing exactly as they came home with me.  They did clean up nicely.  Notice that the labels are slightly different for the same product.  The prices on the lids read 59 cents and 63 cents so I suppose they updated the label along the line.  Prices didn't jump by $1 in one shot like they do now.  I think the handles are what sold me.

I can't justify buying these except to say I got caught up in the moment.

These will probably be the item of the soon as a good idea hits me.

These measure 18" inches in diameter.

In case you can't tell these glass saucers are for a ceiling light fixture.  There were no parts with them but I thought they were pretty and I should be able to make them work.  One has a crack but I took it anyway since that's how they were selling things.  These were a unit and don't even try to argue with that.

As I was driving home I remembered there was something in one of the rooms that I had intended to go back and look at when my hands were not full.  It was folded up and behind  some other things.  I stopped for my coffee and thought about it for a couple swigs before I headed back.  

This is what I took home with me.  It stands 6 1/2 feet high.

It is covered with, not one, but two layers of contact paper.

 It will take some doing to remove because it is coming off in very tiny pieces...wouldn't you know.  However, I think the metal inserts are going to be stunning when painted some gorgeous color.

Here is a closeup of the pattern in the metal.

And a close up shot of the layers of contact paper

I saved this for last because I don't really know what it is .  It is made of metal and has a little glass knob in the center.  I'm hoping someone can tell me what it was for or how it was used.

There are actually two of them and who can pass up a pair of anything?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Exterior Painting

I'm a big fan of color and I'm not afraid to use it on walls, furniture, lamps, chandeliers, floors, you name it.  That's all on the inside of the house.  On the outside I'm much more conservative.  And the reasons for that are what I'd like to talk about today.

This is not a post on color theory or what works and what doesn't based on research done with color.  There are a great deal of books on that subject.    I just want to talk about  being a sensitive neighbor and getting professional help when choosing a exterior color scheme...unless, of course, you are very confident in your ability to choose wisely.   

There are those people who do a great job choosing a paint scheme for the outside of their building. 

And there are those who could use a little direction.

I'll be the first to say, it's not an easy task.  There is much to consider when  choosing colors for the outside that make it so different from choosing for the interior spaces. On the inside you have fabrics on furniture and windows to bounce the color around the room and balance the effect.  On the outside the paint does not often get much help. I'm going to be talking about brick homes here because that is the material used on most of the homes in my area.  The first item to consider is the color of the brick.

In some instances there are two colors of brick to consider as well as the color of the mortor.  Although this is a very tasteful grouping of paint colors, it does not work as well as it might have had there been a connection to one of the colors in the bricks.  Instead of using the creamy yellow, a grayish taupe would have connected to the lower bricks and a charcoal accent would have helped to bring the darker colors of the lower bricks up higher on the house making the two colors of brick work together.  It would also have connected the roof of the porch to the base.  

Sometimes glazed bricks or tiles are used on buildings along with the regular bricks.   I took this photo as a positive example of considering the tile when choosing the paint.  Unfortunately my photo colors are not as accurate as the real thing.  In reality the greenish yellow looks much closer to the yellow tile.  The black accent strip, although subtle, does play an important role in creating a cohesive color scheme.

 Another element to consider is the color of the roofing material.  This is especially important if the roof plays a big visual role as it does with this mansard roof.  The owner made a wise choice  to trim the windows with the mint green  color of the roof.  The charcoal trim color grounded the paleness of the green and the red of the bricks complements the green as well.  This looks crisp and well balanced.

This is another good example of taking into account the colors on the roof.  Here  the little floral in the roof pattern allowed the painter to use the colors of the roof as the theme for the entire facade.

Although these are rather delicate colors for an exterior, they hold their own because  of the numerous opportunities to repeat them across the the front of the building.

Even the glass in the large windows seems to be tinted in a pale green which adds to the cohesiveness of the color scheme.

City living often means being quite cozy with your neighbors in that sometimes multiple families live in one building. If these units are individually owned there is not much control over what colors are used.

I think a little coordinating would be nice.  But I understand that isn't always an option.

Sometimes neighbors share identical architecture as in identical porches.

And  those identical porches can take on very different appearances. (This was taken on Mardi Gras weekend so leave the banner out of the scheme.)   What bothers me most about this paint choice is that it in  no way relates to the doors.  The yellow connects to nothing else and I don't undertand why the need for the beige when there is is already white which happens to look good with the gray.

There are a few colors that should be reserved for Easter eggs.  Ok, ok, there are some doors that lend themselves to a variety of color and rather gaudy ones at that.  Those are referred to as the Painted Ladies and I'm behind that look 100% as long as it is orchestrated well.  That takes delicate balance of hues, value and saturation.  (There are some great definitions of those terms here: )
 I wish I had a good example of these two colors to show you but I don't.  I will keep looking.

One color by itself has a tough time looking like an integral part of the facade especially if it is this bold.

Even if it connects to decorative tiles, it is sometimes just too much of one thing.

If that one inch square paint swatch looked fabulous and you decide as you start painting that's it's just too much, do what the sign says and STOP!  Wasting  a gallon of paint is far better than coming home every day to a color you hate. This is probably a moot point here, but again, that one color on everything is not a good idea.

I am a big fan of pink and green together but neon on the exterior ...what can I say.  I suppose some people love it.  I just think it could have been toned down a bit.

This is the top of the same house.  The orange isn't helping it for me.

Here we have a similar looking house with a bold color combination.

There is either some touch up painting taking place or the color scheme is changing.  Although the yellow is bold there isn't so much of it that it knocks your socks off.

But if they are going the direction I think they are going with this, it will definately let the beautiful brick detail over the door and windows take center stage.

I am not a fan of painting brick for this reason.

However there are sometimes very good reasons for doing just that.  If there was  poor patching done to the bricks it might be the only way to hide the mess.   This small house with symmetrical window placement and shutters  adapts well to painted brick.  The window frames are painted orange with brown sashes, the shutters red, and the the window sills brown.  The bricks are painted a light green.  I  like to use three to five colors depending on how intricate the trimwork is and how well it lends itself to multiple colors.

Retail establishments are meant to stand out.  They need to be noticed.  So a little carnival atmosphere is perfectly ok.  It can still be tasteful as is this storefront.  Repeating the colors of the awnings was accomplished with spectacular results.

The colors are well balanced and the scheme is carried to the side of the building for continuity.  Very well done.

It is way easier to critique colors after they are on the surface.  So is there some magic formula for choosing color combinations  in advance?  Yes and No.  Color is tricky in that it behaves differently depending on the colors around it and how the light is hitting it at different times of the day.  Choosing colors well is part experience and part color knowledge.  It is also a talent.  Some people are better at it than others.

Harmony is what we are looking for in the end.  The eye needs to be pleased with how the parts are arranged.  Order and balance are important to achieve this.

Too boring and the eye is not engaged.

Too chaotic and harmony is lost again.

Harmony is defined as dynamic equilibrium.  Extreme unity creates under stimulation.  Extreme complexity creates over stimulation.

Finding that middle ground is fun for some torture for others.     
Well done color combinations are often a mix of several lively colors and...

other times simple and subdued.  What makes them pleasing is how well they work with each other and with the fixed elements already in place.

When choosing an interior color it is easy enough to paint a large foamcore sample  and live with it a few days  to see how it  works in different lighting.  That is a little more complicated on the outside. If possible it is best to try your choices on a section of the trim.  Even if you have hired a professional to choose the colors, it is still a good idea to test them before commiting to  painting the entire house.

Let me leave you with this color fact.  Seven to eight percent of human males are relatively or completely deficient in color vision.  So this could be one of those times when your husband's opinion might not be too useful.