After receiving so many questions regarding sources and 'how to's' on social media, email, and here on the blog, I thought I'd try to tackle the majority of them here in a post - so if you had a question you sent I hope I've covered it (and let me know if I haven't!). I'm going to post a separate how-to on all of the millwork and paneling in our project this week, so please pop by if you had questions on that.
Q: What is the source for the entry mirror?
A: It's actually this one from Ballard Designs, the price fit my budget and it's the perfect Louis-style shape. The funny thing about buying online though - it looked SO much more gold in the photo. When it arrived it was a much darker antique brass and it blended in too closely to my burled dresser's finish. It wasn't the pop of gold I was looking for:
(baby Marcus had to check out the new hardware on the dresser of course)
A: Walls throughout (even in the kitchen) are Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace. A very fresh white that does not have a yellow undertone, it's actually a bit of a blue-ish undertone but somehow without being too cold, which is why I love it. Where ever there are panels, crown, & baseboard the finish is satin (also called pearl). On the walls it's eggshell, which lets the trim shine in contrast even though it's all the same white. Kitchen cupboards are the same white and close to a satin finish but in a melamine paint that handles wear and tear and wipe downs so fantastically.
Interior doors are all painted Sherwin Williams Black Magic which is just a tiny bit of a softer off-black (also in a satin finish), and the exterior door is Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (a much deeper true black) in high gloss, all doors were sprayed.
Q: Is the floor a pain to level when you are changing from 2 or more types of flooring with transitions between them (ie. between tile or linoleum and hardwood) to one continuous floor throughout?
A: The truth is that there are many things that can be DIY'ed, but this is one thing that is better left to the pros! I think that if a space has the right flooring and the right walls, everything else is easy, so getting it right was very important to us. We hired a professional company to raise the sunken room and a separate company to install the floors. I wanted near-perfection here ... to the point that I probably drove the poor installers crazy, I said NO floor transitions allowed - I wanted tile and wood to meet flush without anything in between them! It's these little details that count ...
Q: Where/how did you get your cabinet doors custom cut to the right size, and for that price?
A: This was probably the most frequently asked question! Many of you were shocked that we were able to get such a low price per door front (approx $40 CA). The way to do it in my humble opinion, is to go to an actual cabinet maker, or kitchen store. Not a big-box store. You won't be able to get a custom fit for your door size requirements from a big box store. Measure 3x to make sure you have all your sizes correct. I even watched YouTube videos on how to make sure I was measuring properly. At a cabinet store you will be able to select and customize your profile, material, and sizes needed. For us, we needed to stick to good ol' oak in order to still have the same grain as our boxes that we were not replacing.
(If you are in the Vancouver area, we used a wonderful local company named Delta Door. Highly recommended).
A: In our last home we DIY'ed and painted the cupboards on our own. This time around we paid to have them sprayed. Now that I've experienced both, here's my take: If you have grain like I do with oak wood, paint it yourself if you need to save your money - the painted appearance is not that big of a difference! If you have smooth cabinets (ie. MDF and the like) get them professionally sprayed and the difference will be worth the money.
Q: What kind of counter tops did you have installed?
A: We actually went for a combo here. My initial thought was, let's be practical and do a pure white quartz on the perimeter and splurge for a nice little chunk of Carrara marble on the island. Less to worry about with the larger portion being more stain-resistant, right? BUT so far I have more marks showing up on our quartz than I do on our marble. We did not buy a high-end brand mind you, it's TCE and it's likely lower grade stuff. Sure, quartz does not easily stain but what we have been finding is that pots and pans and metal against quartz scuffs and creates dark markings. We've even had one pan leave what looks like rust marks! I've read all the possible tricks out there and I find that Windex and Vim cream can help some of the marks but not all.
If you asked what I'd choose today, I think I'd say marble all around and just get it re-finished one day when you can afford it. At the very least my advice would be to choose a quartz with some grey spots or veining to disguise any continuing imperfections.
Q: How did you create the canvas Chinoiserie painting?
A: No magic tricks on this one unfortunately, I stayed up WAY past my bed time for a couple of weeks (as I had to wait for baby to go to bed each night before I could start painting). I bought a large canvas that fit the wall I wanted to fill (you can get a better feel for the scale with me in the photo!), and I actually mixed the grey color I wanted by combining several shades of acrylic paint, and rolled it onto the canvas to get a smooth backdrop. I then waited until it was completely dry (several days) and drew my branches on with sharpie pen, using several chinoiserie panels and wallpapers as inspiration as I drew. I painted the finer details with oil paint (yes - you can layer oil on top of acrylic!). I used an inexpensive canvas frame from an art store that you assemble yourself to give it a finished look.
A: All hardware was purchased through Lee Valley Tools, and I selected this traditional handle, this hexagonal knob, and this pull. For the dresser in the entry way I purchased this antique-style brass pull, and the front door got this lion head knocker.