Living Color with Exterior Paint Inspiration

Did y’all know that Living Coral is Pantone’s 2019 color of the year? How fun is that?! It’s such a happy bright color and I have a special attachment to it.

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When I first bought Berrybrier, the house was looking seriously rough. The newer aluminum exterior, wood interior windows were a positive note though. But they were green…

You can’t really paint aluminum windows. Well I’m sure you could, but these were in good shape and the factory finish would undoubtably hold up longer than anything else. I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and eventually settled on painting the house a coral color! After a good long painting process the house finally was painted and the transformation just made me ecstatic!

The color is happy and the green windows look great! I absolutely love it. Honestly, now I don’t even think about it all that much. I come home and it makes me smile every time, but I don’t dwell on thinking about the color. Until recently, when I stumbled upon my old Pinterest board with tons and tons of inspiration pictures of coral colored houses! Are you ready to be inspired? I linked to as many of these as I could, but let me know if you know the source of any of these images and I’ll update the links properly.

First up is this cutie with it’s adorable rounded roof line. If this was a dormer, it would be an eye brow dormer, since it’s the entire roof, I’m not sure what it’s called, but I am OBSESSED. With that kind of charm, painting this house a corally pink with white trim is just a given.

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Then there’s this blushing beauty. This coal house is just a drop of coral in a pool of white and I am HERE FOR IT. Stunning. Lovely. Charming. Amazing. And is that a lilac bush next to it? I mean, this is good people!

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Not all coral houses are sided! Look at this lovely little stucco cottage. Tall and skinny, just like I like ’em! I adore those shaped topiaries and boxwoods out front too. Not sure if this is in Europe, but it’s definitely giving off some European vibes!

This house looks very Southern to me and I just can’t get over the black trim details. Black and white and pink could go totally wrong, but not here. The person who chose these paint colors knew what they were doing! Plus is that an oval vent at the top of the house? Who knew a house vent could be so cute!!

This next home has a special place in my heart for sure! I mean LOOK AT THAT TRIM WORK. THOSE DETAILS!! It’s like a lace veil over a blushing bride’s face. Was that the most overly cutesy metaphor ever? Possibly. But I’m okay with it; this house is 100% worth it. I just can’t get over all that trim. It’s a gingerbread house and someone actually lives here!

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Don’t worry, we’re not done with gorgeous trim details. No one does details like the Victorians. And just look at this beauty here. The house, the car, the photo… just everything here is adult cotton candy or crack. Pick your poison. Either way it’s amazing. I’ll take one of both. The house and the car, I mean. 😉

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And then there’s this guy. The world’s most cheery entry. It’s just… SO FREAKING CUTE. And calm. And reassuring. And happy. Are you smiling? I’m smiling! This place is adorable.

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More Southern charm here again. More black shutters. Who needs paint colors? Because this is it – just color match to this. I love that the color of the white trim is just ever so creamy and allows this to feel a tad less like your goth little sister. Plus, I am all about these rocking chairs. I want one. I want three actually. I adore rocking chairs so much!

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Another charmer from the late 1800s/early 1900s. Look at those arched windows. Clearly if you have arched windows, it’s time to paint your house a cirak color. The photo quality makes the trim on this little sweetie a bit yellow in tone but looking at the porch posts I think it’s actually a bit more white. My favorite part? A tie between the slightly darker coral painted stairs and those gorgeous stained wood double doors. Or maybe it’s the detailing on the porch railing balusters. I don’t know! It’s all too good!

This one, this one. This one really has my heart. It looks like a house you find in the medieval neighborhoods of some of the oldest cities in Germany! Those window boxes, those flowers. All of that is just amazing. Look how the house ties into the grade of the hill too. Those details are just so charming! And look how it wraps the street around the corner too! AND THAT TURRET DORMER!! I will quit my job and move into that dormer tomorrow. Pretty please?!

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Ivy covered coral houses? I bring you guys the good stuff. Do ivy covered houses remind anyone else of Madeline? This one has a lot going for it too. That arched window above the porch and entry doors. Those porch columns. That ivy again. I love it. And look at that little white bench nestled in the bushes out front. I want to sit there and read a book, not just any book: Madeline!

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This one reminds me a lot of Berrybrier because the details of the architecture are most similar. It’s a early 1900s folk house with simple details. And it’s freaking cute! This house makes me want to add little decorative moldings above the windows here at Berrybrier. It’s a small detail, but it just adds so much!

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Okay, are you out-pinked? I might be out-pinked. That was a lot of coral colored houses! Are you inspired to go bold and try something interesting? I have seen about twenty thousand million hundred beige and grey houses and I am ready to see some color out there. So hop to and make it happen! Go bold with coral or navy or teal or red or green or literally anything that’s not greige okay?! Okay, I love you, thank you bye!

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Priming and Painting the New Bathroom

Happy 2019 y’all! I’m so excited for this new year and I definitely have quite a few goals for the year! I’m hoping to get this blog caught up to the current renovation stages over the next few months and then dig into some fun new stuff. I definitely want to hear more from those of you who read this blog too! Let me know who you are by commenting on this post! Or share with friends and family who might be tackling similar projects. I’d love to continue to grow the readership of this blog so I can continue to put more effort into posting for you guys. And trust me I have a lot to show you!

When we last left the bathroom it was looking like this with a newly tiled and grouted floor and fully drywalled walls! This felt like a huge amount of progress considering just a few weeks earlier it had been gutted down to the studs.

Well after finishing the floors, I laid rosin paper over them to protect them and taped and mudded all the drywall and now it was ready for paint! Finally, finally, finally, this room was looking good and I was *this* close to being able to shower at my own house again! I knew I wanted to do a dark green color for this space and it had been one of those early on decisions I made for this room. I’d even included the paint color in this original design palette I made for the space. Benjamin Moore’s Forest Floor 1498 is bold, dark, and delicious!

I picked up primer and paint from my local Benjamin Moore store: Dick’s Color Center in central Portland. I used my favorite no-VOC, indoor/outdoor primer for the ceiling: Zinsser’s Bulls Eye Zero.

But Dick’s recommended a different primer for the walls which I could color tint to match my paint selection. This stuff had more water protection (good for a steamy bathroom!) and by tinting in a dark color, I’d have fewer coats to paint on top. Insl – X Aqua Lock primer is not no VOC so I wore a mask while painting to avoid the fumes.

I’m no stranger to painting, so this project was a nice and relaxing change of pace from many of the other things that I’d been doing for the first time at Berrybrier. I started by priming the whole ceiling and while that dried, I took out my brush and started cutting in the primer on the walls. I usually just cut in by hand without taping because I find that taping takes forever and I have a steady enough hand. On a priming layer, the steady hand barely matters since I will all be covered with paint anyways. Boy, was it so fun to coat over the bare drywall and see the space really come together!

I did decide to tape off the brand new shower surround though since I would need crisp clean lines there and I threw some trash bags over the showerhead and shower water valves the plumber had installed after the permit was finalized. I did not want to get paint on those newly install fixtures!

There were lots of other fixtures that were not installed yet (like the medicine cabinet and light fixtures) which allowed me to roll right over the edges of the drywall without fussing with cutting around anything. Not having any lighting installed meant I was still using my work light as the only source of illumination in the space which creates some weird lighting!

I also waited to install all my trim work so I could continue rolling to the lower part of the wall and around the windows, thus avoiding cutting in at the trim. Cutting in takes way longer than rolling so it was nice to save that time. I did leave the drywall exposed in those spots rather than painting what was about to be covered.

I also didn’t put too much attention into get perfect paint lines where the walls met the ceiling since I still had to paint the ceiling. That helped speed things along too.

When it was time to get out the roller for the primer, boy did the room feel like it was really truly a bathroom again! The tinted primer was SO similar to the paint color, just more matte and slightly cooler in tone. It was actually really pretty! Conveniently the room was so small I was able to roll up the walls as far as I could reach through the entire room and then do the bit above the shower before moving my ladder to the center of room to roll the top 8″ inches of the remaining space. Nice to be able to do that whole top bit without moving the ladder!

Here it is fully primed and OH MY GOD, ARE YOU EXCITED?! BECAUSE I AM EXCITED!! This room was looking damn fine and this cool green hue was helping me forget the previous magenta pink color real fast! Thank god for that! Below you can see a peek of some of the old wallpaper that was in this space in the space where my future medicine cabinet would be installed too. Isn’t that fun? No idea why it’s applied to the back of the lathe and plaster of my bedroom wall though; any ideas?

While my primed walls were drying, I took out my measuring tape and began to determine cuts for the baseboards in this room. I was prepared for my usual method of measure five times and cutting three. I wanted to do some gnarly baseboards in this space that would look more original to the 1909 house. As far as I can tell the only original trimwork at Berrybrier is the baseboards in the upstairs room which can’t even be original since the upstairs was converted from an attic to living space sometime in the early 1900s. However, the rest of the house sports trim from the 1960s or 2000s so the upstairs bedrooms example is better than anything else!

I nabbed this shot from the upstairs back bedroom with my iPhone and then headed to Woodcrafters, a local woodworking store hoping to match the profile or find something similar. I was doubtful I’d find an exact match and I knew I’d never get the same look of many many years and layers of paint, but I hoped for something similar that would at least envoke the same tone. These baseboards are made of three pieces: 1×8″ flat stock with a 2″ decorative moulding on top and a quarter inch shoe base at the bottom. These were all old mouldings too and the sizing of each board was exact whereas now a 1×8 is actually 3/4″ by 7-1/4″. I was fine using modern boards, because I sure don’t have the cash to buy exact replicas! I based the trim around the door on the window trim which I was reusing, replicating the 5″ flat stock at the sides with a 6″ flat stock header.

I ended up deciding to skip the shoe base in the bathroom because I really didn’t feel like dealing with yet another surface to wipe down and clean in that room. I found a similar trim piece to the decorative moulding at wood crafters and picked up some 1×8 flat stock as well. I took all my measurements for the room and then went to cut my trim only to discover my chop saw only cuts about 6.5″ bevel cuts leaving me to hand saw the other 3/4″ on all my boards. UGH. But with such a small room, there weren’t many cuts so I knocked it all out in less than an hour. I dry fit all the pieces and then placed them on top of all the boxes of bathroom stuff (light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, toilet, etc) that were all stacked in my kitchen and began priming them.

My kitchen looked like a chaotic crazy mess at this point, especially considering the crazy town, half-sanded floor disaster. All the boxes did create a convenient work surface though! You can see below I painted the flat stock and the trim piece for one short wall section. Once the decorative moulding is placed on the flat stock, caulked, and painted, you’d hardly know they weren’t one larger piece!

Now a lot of trim is MDF these days, but I really prefer to use finger jointed pine for painted trim since a) it holds up better to water, b) isn’t a bunch of sawdust held together with toxic glue, and c) has less toxins and off gassing. It’s easy to paint tim when it’s not on the wall like this too. No worries about getting paint anywhere! Just have to remember to paint your boards in the direction they’ll be laid in the space: vertically or horizontally.

It was nice to be able to ping back and forth from the trim to the walls and ceiling while they dried. This project happened in early December 2017, so dry time was a little slow in the winter cold humidity. I prefer painting in Spring and Autumn on warm days that aren’t too hot so you can start your second coat of paint just an hour after the first coat is done since things dry more quickly!

I always use the same type of paint: Benjamin Moore’s Natura. It’s the best paint on the market. It’s no-VOC with no-VOC paint pigments and it’s formaldehyde free as well. It has next to no fumes and goes on super smoothly. The darker paints are a bit thinner than the light colored paints, but both are easy to apply. It’s NOT CHEAP. But it’s worth it to me.

The first coat of paint went in on top of the primer in the bathroom and it was SO HARD to see what had been painted and what was still to come because the colors were so similar. I ended up applying two coats of paint and after that looking at wall sheen to see any spots I missed and need to touch up. The first coat looked a little rough, but it was so exciting to see the full transformation come together!

I actually taped off the ceiling for the first time to see if that would help get crisp lines in this room since I wasn’t planning to do any crown moulding. In the end I actually think it did more harm than good. I ended up going back to touch up a lot of it afterward where leaks had happened or layers of sections of tape didn’t line up right and the line jumped.

When the whole room finished the second coat it was such an amazing feeling. This room had been such an adventure from the start and each set felt so BIG and DRAMATIC. Every time I finished something I felt like jumping for joy and I couldn’t stop smiling. I think one of my favorite things about DIY is the obvious progress you see with each step as things improve and look better and better!

Soon enough the room was painted and I was able to slip in a couple of light fixtures. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY I COULD FINALLY SHOWER AT MY HOUSE AGAIN! I demo’ed the bathroom in late October and now it was mid December and I could finally live and sleep at my house again. I was ECSTATIC!

That was nothing with out trimwork though! My trim boards had all been primed and had one coat of paint. They were ready to be installed! I borrowed Erik’s – my neighbor – nail gun and some of his nails and got to work. The nail set he let me use was great because it came with three sizes. I was able to use the 2″ brad nails on my flat stock and the 1-1/4″ nails for the decorative moulding piece. If I’d used quarterround in here I’d have used the 3/4″ nails for that.

This was actually my first time using a nail gun and I was really nervous. Especially after Erik told me he once had nailed his hand with a framing nail gun. Thanks for that helpful tidbit of information! In the end the nail gun was SUPER easy to use and I loved it! It became my second favorite tool after drum sanders (which will always be first since they saved my kitchen floors!). Just line up the board where it needs to go and nail it in. I aimed for the floor plate and the studs where I could, but lightweight trim holds fine to drywall too!

After that? A WHOLE LOT OF CAULKING. Now I could make a lot of jokes about caulk, because, well, obviously it’s hilarious. But I actually really hate caulking. It’s one of my least favorite DIYs, which is unfortunate because I have had to do SO MUCH CAULKING at this house!

It was difficult to get into the space between the window trim and the shower wall to caulk so I ended up finding a good trick. I bought a small amount of flexible tubing and a tiny clamp for a few bucks and clamped the tubing to the end of the caulk bottle like so.

This allowed me to get into this tight spot much more easily. Also I apparently make very intense faces while caulking. You can see how the caulk filled the clear tube, but the flexibility of the tube allowed me to get the caulk right at where the trim met the wall.

Then it was just a matter of wiping the excess caulk with a wet finger (the part I hate the most since it’s messy). I used to bring a small container of water around to do this, but have since learned that it’s much much easier and neater to use a wet sponge to wipe the excess caulk. So, ignore this technique I’m showing and go get yourself a sponge! Also yeah, I did bring a plant into this bathroom at this phase to make it look pretty mid-renovation! Also I hung my old shower curtain up temporarily, since this bathroom was finally useable again. That was a HUGE step!

Installing the baseboards did mean pulling up the rosin paper and see the room really come together for the first time though and that was exciting enough to counter balance the hell that is caulking! I caulked all the seams as well as where the tile met the floor for maximum water resistance. I took this shot with my iPhone after I’d caulked most of the trimwork. Yowza! It was looking good in here!

Up close you could see a whole lot of caulk and spackle filled holes though. Not great. Luckily, a quick coat of paint was all it would need to make it all come together.

It’s just amazing what a coat of paint does isn’t it?! Crisp, clean, and complete.

I’m going to leave you there today, but this room is SO CLOSE to done! At this point, all I had left was installing plumbing fixtures and lighting and the medicine cabinet. And then – just the fun stuff: final styling and decorations!

Have you ever gut renovated a bathroom yourself? How did that process go for you? Was each stage an exciting next step or were you headsdown waiting for the finish line? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear more too about what you’d like to see more of this year or what kind of posts you like to read. Do you want me to get into more nitty gritty details on DIYing or do you want to see more styling posts about quick and simple things? Or do you not really know and maybe just want to say hi? Love you guys, thanks for reading! Here’s to 2019

It’s PIIIIINKKK!!! My house is painted pink!!!

I give up on trying to call this color coral, it’s absolutely pink and it’s ALL OVER MY HOUSE! That’s right, y’all, Berrybrier is finally painted! It’s been a journey – a rough journey – to get here and I’m so glad to show you this today! My house finally looks like a home, like someone loves it! Remember what it was like when I bought the property? Partially blue with a white corner and lots of flaking paint, it hadn’t been updated in 30 years. I saw a very similar picture to this on the listing and instantly knew this place was my house, my future home. It’s a good thing I’m totally crazy, because normal people don’t fall in love with exteriors like this!

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After a disastrous painting journey and a failed complaint to the CCB (they referred me to small claims court, which I wasn’t ready to endure), I finally found a painter and now the house is complete! After almost a year of looking like a hot mess, the new paint is just like the first bite of birthday cake. I’m giddy about it!

Berrybrier | Fall House 2017

A new roof, a dormer, new paint, and this place is starting to transform. The color is bold, but I adore it. California born and raised, winter is always a bit hard for me. I miss greenery and color as the cold and rain stretch through April in Portland. When I was trying to decide which color to paint the house and which color would work best with the green aluminum windows, I knew the most important thing I wanted was to come home and smile. I wanted something that would stand out in the fog of grey that tends to descend over Portland in October and give me a little sight of oopfh! And boy did I get it!

Berrybrier | Final Paint.jpg

Now every time I arrive home, it’s hard not to grin. Even on the greyest day, this house stands out! I know this is a bit intense for a lot of people out there, but for me, I’m happy to make a splash. And the neighbors are just grateful that it’s painted and done! The house looks like I always imagined it would, happy and bright! The color brings out the character of the house and now even the little dormer looks like it always belonged!

Berrybrier | Painted Side.jpg

You probably noticed above that I didn’t end up painting the garage… the garage is a whole other project. The longer I live here (it’s been over a year!) the more I realize is wrong with the garage. It’s leaking and needs a roof; of the 3 additions on it, at least two need to be knocked down; and it needs new siding on at least one side. I’m chipping away at it, but it’s a long ways away from painting! But that’s next year’s (… or the year after’s) project. In the meantime I’m just going to get all googly-eyed about the house! It is just such an amazing improvement!

Berrybrier | New Paint

The front porch used to be a bit sad looking with faded & dirty blue paint, string lights plugged into an outlet above the door, moss creeping up the steps, and dual handrails slapped together. There was a lattice panel on the porch and the original 4×4 post looked a bit dinky compared to the rest of the architecture of the house.

Berrybrier | Original Porch

I still want to paint the steps and install a new railing, but again, one project at a time! I’m just happy with how this is looking now! The lattice fell victim to an evening of frustration at DIY and now the porch is sided, prepped for a future bench I want to build under the existing mailbox. I installed a new light fixture which I picked up from Lowe’s for under $20. I will probably switch it out of something a bit bigger down the line, but for now it’s a great improvement. I put one of those new dusk-to-dawn light bulbs in and it’s just amazing. I leave for work in the mornings at 6:42am and it’s often still really dark out. I love being able to leave the porch light on and not stress about wasting electricity all day, since it turns off on its own as soon as it gets light outside! The other big change was the front porch post. See how chunky and substantial it is? SO MUCH BETTER!

Berrybrier | Painted Front Porch

My painter had a friend who did small carpentry project like this and thank goodness, because I have too many projects. Although I think I could have done this easily myself, it came down to timing and I didn’t get it done in time. So I sent the guy this crazy marked up picture and $250 later I had a new post! I try to do as much as possible myself, but there’s also a threshold to the time I have to dedicate to all the projects. Hiring this out made sure it happened before the painting was complete.

Berrybrier | Porch Post .jpg

The back of the house has been a truly huge transformation. The old roof was peeling off a bit and the hobnob back stairs led straight into the garage. The kitchen was dark and dreary due to the light blocked by the falling-down porch roof.

Berrybrier | Exterior Back Original

The back garden is still a mess, but this view is much improved!! Removing the back porch and exposing the original concrete steps was one of the best free ideas! The new roof did wonders to spruce up things, but a fresh couple coats of paint on the flaking exposed siding really did the trick! I do need to pick up some porch and floor paint and give the steps a nice prep and painting, but I’m debating jackhammering off the top step, so I’m waiting to paint. Yup, just another project to add to the list. For now, plopping a couple of new plants in some pots I already owned dressed things up. I also replaced the door with a old half-lite door my neighbor Erik found for me on craigslist.

Berrybrier | Exterior Back

Overall, I’m so happy with this before and after! It’s hands down the biggest transformation at Berrybrier and one of the most important! I’m so excited to come how to this everyday and I’m sure the neighbors are psyched to see this change! I’m just obsessed with how much lighter and brighter it is here now.

Berrybrier | Before and After Paint.jpg

In case anyone else wants to paint their house pink, the main color is Sherwin Williams 6324 Mellow Coral, the white trim color is SW 7012 Creamy, and the grey-brown foundation (which I almost didn’t paint!) is SW 7048 Urbane Bronze. I’d highly recommend them all if you want a fun colored house that packs a punch! Despite the struggle to get here, in the end I’m just so happy this place is complete!