Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everybody!  All the little trick-or-treaters have collected their stash and the doorbells have stopped ringing in this neighborhood.  I'm in Savannah this evening and I can't resist showing you the cutest little ballerina--Charlotte, my granddaughter:

Her big sister, two year old Ella, was "Seating Booty" (aka Sleeping Beauty).  Ella is a big fan of Sleeping Beauty ever since our visit to Disney World this summer.


Kristen, my daughter, was dressed in hospital scrubs as her costume, and her husband, James, is dressed in scrubs because he just got home from working at the hospital.  They took the girls to a few homes tonight including to Gary and Eleanor's house.  

Eleanor aka Aunt Eleanor is dressed to the nines for Halloween.

 She said that her tights gave new meaning to the term "spider veins".  Lol!  

Hope you and yours had a fun evening.  I'll be back tomorrow with some more of the Coral Cottage restoration.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Feeling Blue-sy--Choosing Paint for the Coral Cottage

It is nearing time to install kitchen cabinets in the Coral Cottage kitchen.  Up until this time I have been planning to paint all of the walls white so the small rooms would feel larger.  But at the last minute I have had second thoughts.

We have ordered white kitchen cabinets and much of the decor features white furniture.  So I decided we would need a little color on the walls--nothing super dark--just a little soft color.  Jane Coslick, my design consultant, is particularly gifted in choosing paint colors so we met at the house and chose a beautiful watery blue that is in the same family as some of the other elements already selected to use in the house.

We chose a Sherwin Williams color called Buoyant Blue. Its number is SW 6483 and you can view it on the Sherwin Williams website here.   Here is a color swatch for your viewing pleasure:

It is just a wisp of color but I think it will add something as a backdrop for the white--especially the coral chandelier that gave the house its name--you can read about it here.

Choosing paint is always the thing that freaks me out--it can look so different on the walls than in the tiny swatch. I felt much braver and confident with Jane's help.  What about you?  How do you feel about selecting paint colors?  Please leave your comments and helpful tips...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Concrete Ideas for The Coral Cottage!

Do you have lots of time and patience? Yes?  Then maybe you should renovate a beach cottage!  The Coral Cottage is a cement structure--both the outside and the inside walls are cement block, a great insulator but not so beautiful (at least to me).  

Here are some "before" pictures of the kitchen:

Do you see the covered electrical wiring coming down the wall to the stove?  Here's a different view showing the cement floors.  I love the old stove.  We decided to keep it and paint it if it is in good working condition.

First step was to empty out the kitchen.  Next we rewired to add grounded outlets, washer and dryer connections and to bring it all up to code--in fact the whole house was rewired.  So want to see how we covered the cement walls?  Horton Remodeling put up strips of 
2" by 2" wood like this:

After all of the wiring and plumbing work was completed, insulation was added and finally walls.  At each step there was a city inspector who had to sign off to give permission to move forward.  I really wanted to use wood beaded board for the walls and  ceilings but the budget and the 50% Rule prevailed (see this post for an explanation) and we went with drywall instead.

Here is the drywall with the first coat of mud to cover over and smooth the taped seams...

This process of wood strips, rewiring, and plumbing repairs (when applicable) was followed throughout the house.  Next week I will show you how the kitchen looks with new cabinets.  It is starting to shape up!  I'm glad I didn't have to live in the house through this reno project.  Have you ever lived in a house while renovations were going on?  What was it like? Let me see your feedback--your comments make my day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Coral Cottage Gets a Facial!

Don't you love how you feel when you put on your best outfit and you know you look good?  Appearance isn't the most important thing but looking our best certainly can help our sense of Jane Coslick and I decided early on that The Coral Cottage should be painted.

Here is a "Before" picture of the little cottage as it was when we bought it--a cement structure that looked a little tired:

And here she is with a fresh coat of paint thanks to Horton Remodeling.  Note the coral colored front door.  Just wait until we finish with the trim and shutters! 

 I would be a little nervous about how bright the colors are if I had not already seen some of Jane's other projects.  Jane has been involved with many Tybee cottage renovations and she is a genius with color schemes.  She kindly allowed me to share some of the pictures from her website--if you want to see more just click on the names of each cottage. Here are a few of her other projects:

Fish Camp Before

Fish Camp After

Key Lime Parrot Before

Key Lime Parrot After
Key Lime Closeup

Amazing Grace Before

Amazing Grace After

These cottages certainly are looking good and I can't wait to see The Coral Cottage when she is finished--in the meantime I think she already is feeling better :)  What do you think?  Does your appearance ever impact how you feel?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Adding Some Pzazz

Last week I introduced you to The Coral Cottage and told you how we found it and how we named it.  Our first task in the restoration project was to empty the cottageWe were able to save much of the furniture and give it a facelift.  Henry and our brother-in-law Gary loaded our truck and we brought it home where my friend Loretta and I worked on sanding and painting.

Here is my favorite piece, a sweet little dresser we found in one of the bedrooms:

I looked at several DIY tips on Pinterest and decided that first we would fill a few gouges with wood putty and then sand the entire piece with a medium grit sandpaper followed by cleaning off the dust with a tack cloth.

Next the entire piece was primed with Zinsser Cover Stain primer--the one with the gold label.  After it dried, we sanded again with a medium grit sandpaper to eliminate brushstrokes.  We followed with another coat of primer, drying, and sanding with a finer grit sandpaper.  The objective was for the surface to feel very smooth to the touch--no ridges.

Here's the dresser after priming...

Then came the fun!  Loretta, using a really good brush, painted the piece with Sherwin Williams Duration interior acrylic semi-gloss paint--two coats of SW 6119 Antique White.  She allowed the first coat to dry for several hours before applying the next coat.

The next day I marked off a chevron pattern with painter's tape that is for delicate jobs.  Then I painted the chevron stripes with Sherwin Williams SW 6485 Raindrop.  

I found the perfect knobs half price at Hobby Lobby--they're always half price there!  I couldn't decide between the crystal knobs and the blue ones--so I used both!  Blue on the top two drawers and crystal on the chevron drawers so they wouldn't distract from the painted pattern.

Here's the finished dresser!

Updated February 2013
(I have not been compensated for using any of the products mentioned--I am just sharing my project.) 

Have you refinished or painted any furniture lately?  Have any tips to share?

Friday, October 19, 2012

What's In A Name?

After looking at The Coral Cottage in yesterday's post you may wonder how in the world it inspired that name?!  Well, I thought the old girl could use some glamour after her many years of service (so could I for that matter) so when I saw this chandelier from Ballard Designs catalog I decided to splurge:

It wasn't an outrageous splurge--I couldn't afford outrageous thanks to FEMA's 50% Rule but this is a knockoff of a more expensive coral chandelier and I was very happy with it.

What is the 50% Rule?  In order to qualify for flood insurance when your home is below the flood elevation you must go to the only provider of that insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  They want to limit their liability so homeowners are only allowed to spend 50% of the current value of the structure (land is not included in the valuation) to improve their homes every 5 years. We wanted to put a tin roof on our house but we couldn't quite squeeze it into the budget--so it will have to wait until 2017!  There is a very diligent local overseer at Tybee and she "put the fear in me" :)  There have been lots of wants that we had to pass on but I do have my beloved coral chandelier!

My plan is to introduce the coral theme through art and the color coral--I can just picture it!  And we are getting closer to making the dream a reality--won't be long now.  Stay tuned and see how it all unfolds.

I just added the widget that will allow people to follow this blog.  It should be on this page to the right.  I hope it works properly and I would be honored to have you follow along as we bring the Coral Cottage to completion.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Introducing The Coral Cottage

While we wait on things to begin with our little cottage that was moved, I'd like to introduce you to The Coral Cottage.  In January my husband and I were looking at Tybee Island for a fixer-upper that we could rent to vacationers who need some Tybee Time (and perhaps use for ourselves one day--we need Tybee Time too).  We rode up and down the island many weekends looking at For Sale signs, looking at properties, etc. 

One day we noticed a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard of this home:

The house was unoccupied so we got out of our car and walked all around the house.  Here is the view from the backyard:

We loved the neighborhood and location on the island so we gave the owner a call.  He was a very nice man whose father had built the house with his own hands.  His family had used the house to escape the heat in Savannah during the dog days of summer in the years before air-conditioning.  They created many wonderful memories at the cottage but all the children who grew up there had now grown older and moved away.  The owner hoped that once again the little cottage could be filled with new children enjoying a fun holiday.  So we arranged to go back and take a little tour of the inside.

Living Room

Sun Porch with Dining Room


There were also two bedrooms and one bathroom.  I loved it--especially the sun porch.  It needed work but I could just imagine this little cottage all spruced up and ready for a new life. So we bought it!  It has been a lot of work and a lot to learn but it has been rewarding.  I have had a good team in Horton Remodeling and Jane Coslick--I will show you what has been happening in some upcoming posts.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Moving Experience

I can remember packing for trips with small children years ago--I felt like I was taking the house with me.  This week I literally did take the house with me!  My husband and I moved a little beach house in need of TLC to a new location on our lot at Tybee Island.  It was quite a spectacle complete with police escort and lots of curious onlookers.

 A few days before the move, Braswell Brothers House Movers Inc. came to the site to unhook the utilities from the building and remove the chimney bricks.

Introducing Ned and Hugh Braswell...

Steel beams were placed under the buildings (our house has two parts) to support them.

On moving day the little house went first to the lot which the crew had prepared.

Next came the main house which, being deep, was quite tricky to get safely turned 
and lined up.

We cheered as they straightened it and headed down the street!

It was backed onto the lot...

...and finessed into place next to the little house.

This is Anthony Sapone from Catskill Builders who will be our general contractor.  It will be fun to watch the progress!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our Tybee Cottage Is On the Move!

How exciting--my very first post!  My husband Henry and I have been remodeling a couple of cottages at Tybee Island to rent.  All spring and summer I have been driving to the beach, not to swim and sun, but to work on the cottages with Jane Coslick, our design consultant and project manager.

Recently, Jane was asked to find someone who would be willing to take another old cottage in need of TLC, move it to another lot, and love it back to life.   Henry and I thought it over and asked if that someone could be us.  We were thrilled to buy the cottage for a dollar and today was moving day!

This is a picture of the cottage on its previous lot:

This is the lot we purchased...we love all the trees and it is next to the park:

And here is a picture of our little cottage moving down the road to its new home:

In my next post I will show you more pictures of moving day once I have time to sort through them.  Oh it's so delightful to have a little cottage at the beach.  We have a long way to go before it is ready to live in...can't wait to get started!