Two Story Cottage

New Year, New Stripes

Dear Friends,

I’ve got a permanent case of the stripes.  Whether it is clothes, fabric, walls or even ceilings I’m smitten.  I’ve been a stripes girl for years- dating back as far as my high school wardrobe.  Just about every house I’ve lived in has been a victim in some capacity.   Why should this house be any different?




I did wait 20 long, painful months.  I’m glad I gave in and got out the painter’s tape.  My house feels happy now.  The graphic element helps define the space.  I sometimes felt like the family room was a walk-through or had a “blank” feeling to it but now I can feel all four corners.

I actually did stripes on the opposite wall (the window wall) as well.  Not pictured today but consider it a coming soon.  The colors are the original Antique White from Sherwin Williams and a new SW color from the HGTV Home collection called Curling Willow. It feels both taupe and gray depending on the light.

I’ve missed blogging.  January has been a month of playing catch-up.  Balancing my new job with everything else has been a lesson in efficiency and I’m finally finding my groove.  Reid missed almost a week of school with a nasty viral illness and we had a couple of snow/ice days but we have hit our stride after stumbling into the New Year.

Happy February!


Going Gray

Dear Friends,

This summer I started a collection of gray paint swatches. It started off innocently with a card or two but spiraled into a burning need for more, more, more.  I may have contracted a case of paint swatch perfectionism.  I’ve got every brand known to man and yet I couldn’t pull the trigger on any of them.

The victim in mind was the drywall around the fireplace.  Since painting the back of the bookcases, I knew that I needed an accent color to play nicely with the yellowy green.  The Timothy Straw was a bold choice so I needed the gray to blend but not scream “here I am.”

Well, Sherwin Williams recently had a big paint sale.  It turns out I’m suddenly very decisive when money is on the line. I settled on SW Analytical Gray because I liked the taupey tones it gave off.

Here is the before and after:



I think I like it.  It is subtle and does seem to complement the bookcases. I have other ideas of fun things besides drywall on the fireplace wall but I’m not there yet. Honestly, my ideal plan is to redo the fireplace altogether but that is so far down the list that I might as well enjoy the paint.

I spy a puzzle in the floor. Nope, I’m not about  to risk moving a zillion piece puzzle.

The obvious thing would be to paint the rest of the room in Analytical Gray but I’m keeping it Antique White for now.  I’d love to plank the walls with a white tongue and groove so I’m biding my time until that is a possibility.  Also, with an open floor plan it isn’t easy to paint one room without painting others.

I feel like painting that little old wall is a small thing that makes a big difference.  It feels much more finished which is a good feeling.

Details for the win.



Going Bold in the Family Room

Dear Friends,

August is here and the last few weeks have just flown by.  We spent a week at the beach and had a week of Vacation Bible School- both were equal parts fun and exhausting.  Teaching VBS reminded me to be extra thankful for those classroom teachers come fall. I’m finally catching my breath but school and all that comes with it is just around the corner.  We are squeezing what we can out of the rest of summer.

The kiddos are a getting a bit cranky as they do every August, although I’m not sure I’ll know grumpy until that first full week has stripped them down to their bare reserves.   Count me in there with them.

I got started on a project in the family room that has a cheerful feel and I’m a girl who likes a happy house.



The back of the family room bookcases is now Timothy Straw by Benjamin Moore.  It is a bold greenish-yellow color that had me at hello.   The fireplace wall needs paint or a treatment for sure.   I’ve been twirling that around in my mind for months.  It may get painted for now although I need to determine a color.  Maybe down the road I could do tongue and groove or shiplap.   Of course if that happens, I want to scale it down a bit and change the marble so we can see where that project would lead.



Summer is for pops of color and I’ve got that covered.  Luckily, I think that Timothy Straw will transition into fall just fine.  It is the rest of us I’m worried about.




New House: Paint Colors

Dear Friends,

One of the first things we did before moving into our new place was paint.  Or have it painted I should say.  Mr. C does not particularly enjoy painting and after all of the painting we did to sell our house, I was quite alright with hiring professionals.   Our paint guy, Oscar, was awesome so it all worked out.  He worked around us moving in and was flexible with our crazy schedule.  The kids still ask when Mr. Oscar is coming over which cracks me up.

For once in my life, I didn’t waffle too much on paint colors.  I had about 24 hours to decide and I somewhat blindly chose my palette without a single sample.  It is so unlike me that almost two months later I still question myself and where that decisiveness came from.  I blame it on May and all that we were dealing with.

So, without further adieu here is our palette:


            Top: Antique White

           Middle L to R:  Useful Gray, Sea Salt, Contented

           Bottom L to R: Waterscape, Oleander, Cloudless


Antique White: Foyer, Family Room, Kitchen, Upstairs & Downstairs Hall

Useful Gray: Master Bedroom

Sea Salt: Dining Room, future Study, Laundry, Butler’s Pantry, back Entry

Contented: Powder Room

Waterscape: Bonus Room

Oleander: Lacey’s Room

Cloudless: Reid’s Room

We chose all Sherwin Williams colors because the painter had an account there.  I could have matched Benjamin Moore colors but that makes me really antsy.  I feel like it doesn’t always work how you think it will.

Despite the hurried decision making, I’m very happy with the colors.  I wish I had photos full of empty, painted rooms but that isn’t how this move went.  Oscar was painting around piles and it was such chaos that the “after pictures” will have to come one at a time as we explore each room.

Sea Salt is the only repeat color from our old house besides Cloudless which had been on Reid’s ceiling.  I am so happy I went with Sea Salt again because it is a tried and true “yes” for me.

All of the Antique White is from the previous owners and I forgot how much I like that color.  It is a warm, simple white and although it may be builder-like,  I find it classic and comforting.

New paint immediately made the house ours and I’m so glad we did it!  I will remind you of the colors as we touch on each room of the house…









Nursery Paint Swatches

Dear Friends,

This weekend was just not mine when it came to technology.  My scheduled blog post for Friday never published and somehow disappeared into thin air.  Then that afternoon my iPhone went all black screen of death on me.  I spent half my weekend trying various recovery methods to no avail.  I got it back working once only to have it back on death’s door fifteen minutes later. Unfortunately, I lost a few pictures but I’m thankful I’ve been backing up monthly.

Our two year phone contract happened to come up last month so I am a little bit lucky on that front.  I just hope that they can get some of my stuff off!  I have really realized how dependent I’ve become on the phone – it is kind of a nice breather to be unreachable.

Enough with the 21st century problems – lets talk nursery swatches.  Baby niece’s room is ready for paint!  I can’t wait because then the real decorating can begin.  Emily has to decide what kind of green she really wants.  We said “mint” initially but she might prefer something a little softer.



My sister picked out all of the colors.  I’m just a sibling consultant.  🙂

Believe it or not, darkish cell phone pictures captured the most correct hue when looking at the colors.  My fancier camera was  getting prettier pictures but without as much accuracy.

The sea salt looks dark compared with the lighter greens.  Funny, because in my house it is so light but that is with a different color combo.


She also grabbed some Valspar swatches.  Three of the first four colors are shown in tiny squares below for comparison.

I don’t really think she can go too wrong when it comes to color.  The nursery will be primarily gray and a soft pink so any of these will complement that.  I’m more drawn to the colors with a coastal vibe but only because that is my natural style.

Andrew & Emily are hoping to paint next weekend.   She has a week to decide although I think she may already have a favorite.   That being said, do you have one that you like?  She would love to have your opinion and I would too!!



Adventures (or MisAdventures) in Deck Staining

Hi Everyone,

I’m Erin’s sister, Emily –  I’ve written a few posts before but it’s been a LONG time. Oops! Anyway, there are a lot of perks to being Erin’s  younger sister.  I’ll send her pictures of things I’m thinking of doing in my house to get her feedback. I even had her come over and style a bookshelf once. (I’m too left-brained for that.  My arrangements tend to look too stiff and orderly). As you know, Erin likes to move things around frequently, so I am often the recipient of items she no longer wants.  I’ll take pretty much anything – even if it goes into the garage attic for a future house (why yes, I do have a giant kitchen table and chairs stuffed up there…luckily, it’s a big attic).  There are a few disadvantages too; like being publicly pressured to have children.  Thanks for that.


My husband (Andrew) and I had a great deck installed at the end of the summer last year, and we were planning to stain it early this spring so we could enjoy it all summer long.  When Erin mentioned that Thompson’s offered her deck staining products, I jumped at the chance to use them.  We just needed two free weekends – one to clean the deck and one to stain it.  The only stipulation was that the stain had to have 48 rain-free hours prior to application.  We usually have summer drought problems around here, so no big deal right?

Enter the summer of rain and statistics like “second wettest June since 1895.”


We had one nice weekend in June and cleaned the deck.  We stowed the furniture in the garage and got to work with the Thompson’s WaterSeal 3 in 1 Wood Cleaner.  Since our deck was less than a year old, I wasn’t sure if we really needed a product like this, but Andrew and I were both surprised by the results.  And by how dirty the deck was…oops.

The cleaner was really easy to use.  We poured some into a bucket and rolled it in small, wet sections of the deck with a paint roller.  Then we let it sit for 10 minutes or so and rinsed it away.  Super easy, right?  We had a few spots where we needed to scrub a little bit, but that wasn’t a big deal and the stains either lightened up quite a bit or went away completely.

I was worried about keeping the cleaning solution off of our recently planted beds. By cleaning small areas of the deck at a time it was easy to control, however.  And it turns out I didn’t need to be so careful.  Thanks to Mother Nature, my backyard is basically now a marsh and my new azaleas have officially rotted to death.  Sad.

We were really happy with the final result – it just looked much brighter and new again.


With the deck prepped, we were set to begin staining the next weekend.  Wrong.  The weather forecast slowly changed and it rained.  And rained some more.  For weeks on end. Even if we had a nice Saturday we didn’t have the 48 hours of dryness prior.  So, my nice new deck furniture sat in my garage for two months until we finally had a Saturday in August that worked.

Or was supposed to work.

You see, I was getting desperate at this point.  We had a dry Thursday and Friday, and Saturday was supposed to be dry until the evening.  I figured that we could get up early and get everything done in time to allow the deck to dry for the two hour minimum before the rain started.  Not so much – it started raining at 11:30am.  And not just a light rain, but a pouring rain.  The deck was close, but not quite done at that point.  We had to abandon the project with  just a few boards incomplete, and I was really frustrated at this point.




The next day the rain stopped, the deck dried and we were able to get a good look at the damage.  It looked awful!  There was a small area that was messed up by the rain, but the parts that we did that dried looked bad too. I know now that we were staining the deck the way I would go about painting a room….which is not the way you are supposed to do it.  The correct way is to go section by section and stain small areas at a time.  But, we stained areas along the outer edge of the deck next to the house first and then stained in between the boards and then stained the top.  Apparently stain doesn’t dry all together like paint does.  So, we had a stripey, choppy, ugly deck.  Super…just what I’d been waiting all summer for.  Luckily, Andrew did the bench, sides and legs of the deck all at once, so those looked nice.  It was just the floor of the deck that was questionable.


We got lucky the next weekend with a dry Sunday and re-stained the floor of the deck.  It took an entire day,  but we were really meticulous this time.  Instead of staining a squared-off section at a time, we stained two or three boards and did the entire length of the deck.  One of us rolled the stain on and the other used the paint brush to smooth it out, get in the cracks, etc. It was worth the effort though – the deck looked much better after round 2.  Once we figured out the best way for us to stain, I found that the stain went on easily and we really liked the color.


The stain is Thompson’s Waterseal, waterproofing stain in desert brown.  It is semi-transparent.  It is also an all-in-one product.  No sealing necessary!  I like that it allows the wood grain to show but gives the deck a uniform, tinted look.


The only surprise is that the water seal aspect works ridiculously well.  After it rains, the water beads on top of the deck in some areas.   I’ve found that I can sweep it off if necessary, but I don’t really see myself doing that every time it rains.  I understand that it’s good that the water isn’t soaking into the wood though!  There is no question the product is working.

Now that it is nearing the end of August, the deck is finally back together and ready for use.  I got a couple of new pillows and repainted my flower pots to complete a fresh, new look.   I know Erin has a post planned to show off our deck makeover.  Stay tuned!


This review was in exchange for the product and all opinions are my own.


Chalkboard Coffee Table {Outdoor}

Dear Friends,

Today you can find me at The Handmade Home, with a mini-tutorial on creating a chalkboard coffee table.  This is my newest addition to the screened porch which is slowly coming together. I’m so excited to really use it this year!


Now, I just need a chair or two and I’ll be set.  Oh, and the porch needs one more scrub-down as does the rug.  Plants would be good also…

Okay, go find me over there!



Easy Barstool Update

Dear Friends,

The kitchen has evolved so much since we first bought our barstools.  In fact, I think they were our first purchase in this home.  I love my fancy pants pair from Ballard Designs; they create a nice transition from the family room to the kitchen.   The less expensive, metal barstools fit nicely because they are in a walk- through area.  I like that they actually slide under the bar.   Originally, the lighter metal seemed like the way to go but after all of the recent changes,  I knew they needed to go dark.


The stools became more noticeable with each change.  It no longer seemed like they were tied to anything.   I knew I was going to spray paint them at the first possible opportunity.  I just didn’t know I’d have to wait so long!


Who knew that spring was going to take forever and a day to arrive?  I thought I’d be able to do this weeks ago.  We finally got a 70 degree day so I made the best of it.  It was a little windy but I made it work.


I am a big fan of the Rustoleum hammered spray paint.  This was my first time using the black; I have used bronze more times than I can count.  The black isn’t too dark which was my fear.  The color came out even better than I imagined!


I used one of their trigger spray bottles which is worth the extra $$.  I did about three coats per stool total.  I might have gotten away with two if it hadn’t been so windy.

The minute they went back in the kitchen, I knew I’d made the right choice. Do you like the change?  Got any big spray paint plans this spring?


P.S.  If I got one thing out of this post, it is that I need to clean my pendant light shades!  The camera brings out the best & worst of things even when slightly out of focus. 🙂


Sneak Peek {Paint}

Dear Friends,
    I had planned on a little reveal post today but my MacBook decided to sabotage me.  I can’t complain as it has been a zero-issue computer but I might be forced to go to the Apple Store.  I shudder because every time I go to the mall it looks as if people have camped outside the place.   I’m trying a few things on my own first although I’m not a computer medic by any means.   Sigh!

On a happy note, we are moving right along on Reid’s room.  The paint is finished and I’ve got most of the furniture back in place.

This picture makes the gray look darker than it is.  I’ll make sure to take photos for the reveal post on a light-filled day.  Reid LOVES the blue ceiling and the orange stripe.  Anyone that comes into our home is now fair game for a personal room tour given by Reid.

I’m glad he loves it because the process has been painful.  I knew he would not like the disruption and I was pretty dead-on.  He likes his ducks in a row and furniture in the hall does not qualify.  That was one reason I waited to paint because I knew I wanted the process to be as streamlined as possible.
Well, wish we me luck with my computer.   I’m trying some updates and condensing storage.  Yawn.

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