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Bathroom Makeover: Part 2
Feb 28th, 2010 by

The medicine cabinet, sconces and sink will be replaced.

The medicine cabinet, sconces and sink will be replaced.

The wallpaper is off the walls and after living with sample boards painted various shades of green, brown and white we’ve decided to take everyone’s advice and paint the walls white.

Our RootsLiving friends didn’t like the shades of green we picked at all (I think this was partly due to the fact that the colors of the paint sample boards and tile did not render correctly online).  Our friend Marie commented that this being a “Micheli project” she doubted we’d go with her suggestion to paint the walls an eggshell white. (She knows we tend to like adding color to our rooms.)

I also posted the photos on HGTV’s “Rate My Space” site and everyone there also agreed that white was our best choice.

The paint we picked is made by Old Village Paint, called “Corner Cupboard Yellowish White.” Despite the name, the color is very much an antique white with only barely a trace of yellow undertones. It’s in the “Colonial Williamsburg Buttermilk” collection. I’ve used their paint before and it’s perfect for an old house: old-fashioned shades and the matte finish does a pretty good job covering up nicks in old plaster. I plan on keeping it simple and painting the trim the same color too.

Here are some photos of the vanity, medicine cabinet and wall scones we’re considering using. Let us know what you think.

Here’s the vanity:

And here’s the medicine cabinet that would hang over it:

Since the vanity doesn't come with a matching medicine cabinet, we thought choosing an all-mirror cabinet would solve the problem of trying to match the cherry finish.

Since the vanity doesn't come with a matching medicine cabinet, we thought choosing an all-mirror cabinet would solve the problem of trying to match the cherry finish.

And here’s the scones that would hang on both sides of the large mirror medicine cabinet:

This colonial revival style light has an historical style dating from 1917-1927. We chose an amber colored shade to match the tile color.

This colonial revival style light has an historical style dating from 1917-1927. We chose an amber colored shade to match the tile color.

And oh, yes, here’s the ceiling fixutre we’re considering too:

This classic style dates from 1912-1922. The finish is the same as the sconces: polished nickel.

This classic style dates from 1912-1922. The finish is the same as the sconces: polished nickel.

So are we crazy? Do you think this will work? Do you have a better idea? Please let us know what you think. This is a group project and so we’re open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!

See Bath Makeover, Part 1.

Old House Design Tip: Keep It (the lighting) Real
Jul 16th, 2009 by

This early electric style sconce provides great task lighting in the RootsLiving kitchen.

This early electric style sconce provides great task lighting in the RootsLiving kitchen.

When we were remodeling our 161-year-old kitchen, we wanted to keep as much of the old world charm as possible without sacrificing the modern conveniences.

So we picked out a very large and deep white porcelain farmer’s sink. We had custom cabinets built to match the original douglas fir cabinets in our adjoining butler’s pantry. And we decided to refurbish an original jelly cabinet rather than ripping it out even though that would have opened up the space more and given us more options for counter space and work flow.

The original douglas fir cabinets in the butler's pantry were an inspiration for the new kitchen cabinets that were made to look old.

The original douglas fir cabinets in the butler's pantry were an inspiration for the new kitchen cabinets that were made to look old.

But one thing I wasn’t willing to sacrifice was good lighting. I vowed my days of stumbling around the countertops in the shadows cast from a lighting fixture in the center of the ceiling were over. So I started to sketch out where I thought it made the most sense to install recessed lights.

My wife, Patricia, pointed out that recessed lights were a modern convenience and would probably look out of place. She asked if there was another answer. And a lightbulb went off in my head: how about period sconces instead?

This sconce is called "Oregon City" and sells for $209.

This sconce is called "Oregon City" and sells for $209.

I had already bought some period sconces from a company called, Rejuvenation, for a bathroom makeover and was happy with the quality and service. So I started looking through their online catalogue, which is organized in several different ways, including by time period. It wasn’t easy and was time-consuming, but I did have fun following these steps:

  • I first looked at sconces that were in styles in keeping with the period of my home.
  • After finding a few sconces I liked, I carefully checked their dimensions to make sure they would fit the scale of the room. When you look at light fixtures online or in a catalogue it’s often hard to determine their actual size and you want to be sure the light won’t be too big or too small for the room.
  • I then looked at all the available glass shade options. Changing shades can change the entire appearance of a sconce.
  • And finally, I made sure that the four sconces (with three different styles) I chose to hang over the kitchen counters worked well together.

Note: The most important thing to keep in mind is to choose lights that you like the most and fit in with the style of your room. Don’t be locked into picking a lighting fixture just because it was the style at the time your house was built.

The lights work great, provide task lighting just where I need it,  and work as good as any recessed lights but with lots more style and integrity.

(Photos by Mark Micheli)

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