Thursday, October 29, 2015

Exterior Progress: Paint and Landscape

 This week has been all about landscape--my favorite part of the remodel.
 That's because it is my own design and I get to see my vision come to fruition.

On Monday, 40 white roses, 3 Italian Cypresses, 100 boxwoods and 20 climbing ficus were delivered.
We couldn't plant yet because we had to wait for Tuesday's delivery of 14 olive trees!

 Bright and early on Tuesday morning, literally before sunrise, they arrived!

For the front and side of the house, six Swan Hill multi-branch olive trees were laid out for planting.

 I chose Swan Hill trees because they are non-fruit bearing and disease resistant.
They will be perfect for the San Francisco Marina which gets its share of fog.

 Inside the courtyard, I chose standard Swan Hill trees.  
That means that they grow from a single trunk and can be placed right against the wall.

 As soon as the trees were planted, Martin began planting the boxwood hedge which will border everything.

 What a difference!
Notice the exterior paint is finished too?

 The painters worked non-stop the week before to get it done, knowing the landscape was scheduled to be installed this week.

 The exterior stucco is Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray.
The white is a custom match to the new windows and I outlined the interior mullions in black.

 Copper downspouts also were installed prior to planting.
They will patina to a dark copper in a few weeks.

 This morning, I met Martin to finalize the planting.
The three Italian Cypress will punctuate the corner of the house and white Iceberg roses will fill in everywhere else.

 That may seem like a lot of roses, but I feel that to introduce too many different plants in such a small area would create visual chaos.  
Besides, white roses are kind of my signature!

 Finally, the entry is looking like I envisioned.
The copper lights were installed as well, even though they aren't electrified yet.

 The courtyard is looking pretty dramatic with the tall standard trees.
The small plants beneath are "freeway ficus" which eventually will adhere to the wall and create a living green wall behind the trees.  

The trees will eventually be trimmed after they adapt to their new home.
I have plans for a fountain, both in the entry and the courtyard.
It's beginning to look like a home!

This week has been so much fun, not only because I got to play in the dirt, but also have met so many wonderful neighbors who have been so encouraging and complimentary about the remodel.

We can't wait to move in!

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Modern Barstool With A French Twist

The barstools have given me a lot to consider.  I didn't want them to be another fabric that had to coordinate with the kitchen club chairs and drapes, but I wanted to avoid leather too, as there is a fair share of leather already in the house.
The truth is, barstools have always been a challenge because there isn't much to choose from.
I even wrote a post several years ago called "Barstools--The Good, The Bad And the Ugly."
But I digress...
 Last week, I went to Serena and Lily on Sacramento Street to order the two upholstered club chairs for the kitchen and noticed these stools.  At first I dismissed them because they are so modern, but then I had an aha moment!

Looking at the woven abaca pattern, I noticed that these were the colors that I've been working with throughout the house.

Tobacco or camel, black and white.
I followed my gut and placed an order for three, just in time to get the 20% discount!
They arrived in two days and now I'm kind of freaking out as they are such a departure from my typical traditional look.  I do think that they will provide a much needed contemporary vibe and also go with that natural, organic theme that includes grasscloth, a few rattan pieces and woven shades.
They also go great with the upholstered kitchen club chairs which I will share later...
Your thoughts?

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Monday, October 19, 2015

I Heart My New Countertops!

 I've been dreaming of soapstone countertops for years!
Should have put them in our old house and I cannot even remember why I didn't, but whatever, my dream came true Saturday!

 We were out of town, so my contractor texted me these photos.
He was worried about veining here and there, but after seeing them this morning, I can say that they are absolutely perfect!

 That big vein to the right of the sink?
I love it!

 The island is just a big ole hunk of soapstone!

I'm glad I didn't opt for the bigger edge.
Notice how the fabricator matched the veins...

 I envision many family gatherings and dinner parties in this kitchen.
There will be plenty of room to congregate here!

Here's where the three counter stools will live.
I actually bought them last week and they were delivered on Saturday too.
Talk about fast.  
Stay tuned...

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Herringbone For Days!

 This is the parquet floor that was original to the house, circa 1935.
It was in the entry, the living room and the dining room.  

 I can't imagine how this floor was installed 80 years ago because to duplicate it today would be crazy ridiculous, both price-wise and labor-wise.

 I planned on keeping the floors, but ended up covering them up with plywood to further strengthen the house in the event of an earthquake.
My contractors highly recommended it and assured me that we would make the new floors even better than the old ones.

I have been pretty skeptical of that all along!
 Better than those gorgeous parquet floors in the oval dining room?   I mean, how would we make the new floors awesome in here?

Herringbone was the answer, but only in the dining room.
It would be too expensive to put it in the living room and entry too.
But then we found herringbone floor that is already pre-cut, making the installation almost easy!

We compromised in the dining room and eliminated a border...

...and just installed herringbone right up to the walls.

The living room got a border though... did the entry.
For the rest of the house, we used random plank boards in 5 inch widths.

That is until we discovered that we had just enough herringbone left over to do the master bedroom!
Decisions, decisions...

At first I was uncertain if herringbone should even be in the master, but then I realized that the leftover was like a gift.  I never would have considered herringbone for the master considering we were only going to do it in the dining room at first.
Now that the floors have been installed, they will be sanded and two coats of stain will be applied.
Then they will be covered up until the whole house is painted inside.
The final coat will be applied just before we move in.
Now all I have to do is decide on the color!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Up On The Roof

 My contractors promised me that they would have the roof deck finished for me in time for Fleet Week.
They called in James and his crew to assemble the ipe deck, which is suspended above the roof material on adjustable pods. 

I love this material!  It resembles teak, but is much more dense.  
I'm not going to maintain the color, but rather let it patina to a dark gray.

 The iron railing will get a coat of black paint, as will the new spiral staircase leading up to the deck.
I plan to use long, low planters with tall plants to create privacy all along the walls.

 I can't wait to furnish the deck!  I will use my existing black outdoor wicker sofa and chairs after a fresh coat of paint.  

I'm looking for a new tent pavilion also for the summer months like this one from Pottery Barn.
Alas, it's discontinued!

Next year, we plan to have a party on the roof for the Blue Angels air show.
So I have a whole year to furnish and landscape the deck!

Coming up, my next post will be all about the hardwood floors...
I'm on a roll!
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Olive Trees For Days!

Yesterday, Mr. A and I headed north to Sonoma to a very special place to hand select olive trees which will be the backbone of the landscaping for our new house.

We chose larger trees, but not too large.  I wanted them to look like they were always there.
There will be six multi-branch trees between the house and the street...

...and 8 standards in the courtyard.
Even though the standards are planted in huge boxes, their roots can be shaved down to fit in the narrow planting bed between the new brick patio and the stucco wall, providing privacy from the apartment building looming down on us next door.

It took forever for the brick to be finished, just because my mason put off the job for months.
Now that it's finished, the stucco can be painted and then I get to landscape!

 My inspiration for the courtyard has always been the Restoration Hardware courtyard at the San Francisco Design Center.
I plan to grow ficus on the wall, just like above and also add a mirror for reflection.

A bubbling fountain is also a must!  So you see, there is some progress!
However, after our vacation, we came home to the reality that we probably won't be spending Christmas in the new house.
My reaction?  Go "underground!"
At least on the blog.  
I've since come to terms and am keeping an open mind that just maybe the house will be finished by the first of December.

This is the longest I've ever gone without blogging since I started Vignette Design in November, six years ago.
Hopefully, I can get my blog mojo back.

Stay tuned for my next post:  The rooftop deck....
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