Open Sesame, Part Two

Decisions, decisions … our contractor wants our final selections on the doors and fiber cement siding next week. Since my last post, I’ve pretty much scrapped my plans for the projecting door surrounds I posted earlier and have reverted to going with some sort of typical New England colonial/Georgian/Federal door surround. I also THINK I may have settled on a new color – James Hardie fiber cement siding in “Evening Blue.”

Again, a reminder of what our house currently looks like (click for larger version):

We’ll be keeping the existing shutters. One of them fell off in a recent windstorm and is sitting in our garage right now.

In a nutshell, here are my current questions & concerns:
1. What kind of door surround would look best on our house? I’ve been told it’s best to have our contractor build it from scratch rather than going with a Fypon kit. I would like something that looks solid and correctly designed. It would be nice if the cornice projected a bit, as it currently does – I’ve seen a lot of historical homes in Portsmouth with this. It would be neat to have small corbels appear to support this cornice in some way, but I haven’t seen much precedent for this other than the photo I snapped in Newburyport (see below). Our budget is not particularly big for this door surround (not including the door) – $2,000 – $3,000 materials & Labor. Our granite stoop is 8′ wide.

2. What can we do about that little window over the entry? I think it look rather odd and out of place. The window straddles two closets for the upstairs front bedrooms – in fact, the dividing wall between the two closests appears to be molded right into the center of those glass bricks! So putting in an equal sized window to the other two is out of the question. One idea I had was to board up the current one and trim it out to look like a larger window with two closed shutters. I’ve even thought of putting a real window there but boarding it up behind it with a black background!

3. What kind of window header treatment for the two ganged windows can we install to add some more interest to the front of the house?

4. How wide should our corner trim be? We’d like to add a water table, too.

5. I like the look of dentil trim around the subfascia of the house. Would this be appropriate on our home? There’s not much room between our upper windows and the roof.

6. The door I’ve chosen is most definitely a Craftsman style door, but I really like it. I would go with a more typical 6-panel, no-glass door if we had sidelites or a transom. We have very little room to add sidelites (and zero room for a transom), so we probably won’t be doing that.


Here’s a door surround I came across in Newburyport the other day. This is a home that was only built a few years ago, but fits in nicely with the historical neighborhood in which it’s located (click for larger versions):

… and the window headers:

I also thought this door surround was pretty cool with the brackets supporting the cornice, though I’m not sure how “architecturally correct” it is:

Soooo … here are some of my current Google Sketchup / Kerkythea mockups of my house with various color and door surround options:

James Hardie “Evening Blue” with some sort of off-white, cream-colored trim (which REALLY makes me regret our white vinyl replacement windows!!!!):

… with a shuttered fake window over the entry:

… close-up of entry:

… with a triangular pediment:

And other color options:
James Hardie “Harris Cream”:

… I love yellow, but I think I prefer it in smaller doses.

Certainteed Weatherboards “Olive”:

As far as color schemes go, I’d really like the trim (and gutters) to be painted an off-white color as opposed to pure “Azek white.” However, with those vinyl windows, I’m not sure how bad it will look to trim them out in another color. How I wish I could turn back time and go with new construction windows at the same time as re-siding the house! I love the look of black windows with off-white trim.

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Hello Internets!

Well, it sure has been a long time since I posted much less visited my own blog! A lot has happened since my last post, namely this:

This is our son, Nicholas. He was born on September 30. His birth weight was 7 pounds, 11 ounces and his height was 19.5 inches. At 8 weeks, he’s around 12 pounds and at least 21.5 inches so he’s growing well! So far, those who told me it would be easier the second time around were right … breastfeeding is so much easier now that I know what I’m doing. Also, I’m not the hyper-anxious mother I was three years ago. On the other hand, taking care of a wild toddler AND a newborn presents challenges I’m not sure I could ever have been prepared for!

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Neat toddler shoes

I’m such a sucker for vintage-looking toddler clothes and shoes. I ‘d love to get these red “London” boots for Julianna from Livie and Luca.


Julianna’s room on – vote for us!

I’ve entered a few pictures of Julianna’s playroom in’s nursery colors contest. Check it out and vote for us! The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes are a crib, toddler bed and children’s table with 2 chairs, respectively, from Argington furniture.

Here’s my first photo:

I am, of course, proud of the room but I think I also have an advantage in the fact that I may have a little more experience with photography than the other entrants. It’s amazing how much better a room looks when you put the camera on a tripod and only allow natural light (no overhead lighting, no flash on camera).

I think this room is a testament to how much color can compensate for a limited budget. The only items that were bought especially for the nursery are the IKEA Malm dressers and the Wal-Mart rocker – everything else came from other rooms in the house. The most expensive item in this room is the rocker, which was only around $150! I discovered I needed a good, comfortable rocker when Julianna was born and I began nursing with c-section pain. The second priciest item is the Eames (actually, it’s a 1960s knockoff from a company called Krueger) chair, which I picked up on eBay. The chrome legs were rusted and peeling, so I recovered them with black duct tape. You can’t tell unless you get up close. The 1950s turquoise ottoman was my grandmother’s and it’s been in my family for a loooong time. Andrew gave me the blue lamps as a birthday present a few years ago – they’re from the Crate & Barrel outlet in Kittery, ME. The curtains and floor lamp are from IKEA.

The artwork above the “Eames” chair is by Charley Harper (very trendy right now). Sitting on the chair is Andrew’s old teddy bear, “Mici Macko” (Winnie the Pooh in Hungarian) and my old Paddington Bear. The white children’s rocker was a gift from my grandparents to me when I was born.

The striped bins are a Pottery Barn purchase from a few years back. The orange leather-covered box was a Christmas gift from my mom – I think it’s from TJ Maxx. The artwork is all mine – I created the silhouettes from vintage postcard photos, except for the dog image – that’s actually our dog, Bingo. We had some old frames laying around and I decided to paint them with Benjamin Moore Color Samples. I created the artwork, painted the frames and designed this arrangement rather quickly and explicitly for this contest. When I find the time, I’ll tweak the colors in the artwork a little more to my liking.

Thanks for looking!


Mad as hell

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Julianna Marie, born December 7, 2007

Introducing our daughter, Julianna Marie:

Born at 12:33 PM on December 7, 2007 via c-section.
Weight: 10 pounds, 4 ounces
Height: 21.5 inches

We returned home from the hospital on Tuesday. We’re all doing well … very, VERY sleep deprived – mostly because we can’t stop marveling at our darling little daughter. I’ll post more details later.

Andrew, Julianna and me in the operating room minutes after her birth:


More nursery ideas

I’ve been working out color schemes and furniture arrangements in Google Sketchup. I think I’ve finally settled on a light, bright green for the walls with some brown and a few splashes of pink. I’m considering Benjamin Moore’s “apple green,” “fresh cut grass” and “limelight.” I realize the art display is a bit excessive, but it’s just a grouping I downloaded from the Sketchup library (they’re IKEA frames). Our actual crib is IKEA’s “Gulliver,” not “Hensvik” as shown in these images. The bedding is the Dots pattern from Dwell. We’ve already bought the brown leather-upholstered Poang chair and footstool from IKEA, as well as the Malm 3-drawer dresser.

Nursery with “Apple Green” walls:

Nursery with “Fresh Cut Grass” walls:

Nursery with “Limelight” walls:


Cool bentwood rocker

This Thonet knockoff rocker would look great in the nursery, but alas, the company doesn’t recommend using it while holding a baby due to its deep, low seat. I saw this in a nursery feature in the most recent “FitPregnancy” magazine. The decorator had painted it a pretty kelly green color.

From, $149.

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Baby update

It’s been a LONG time since I posted. I was busy working at a summer music camp for kids and have barely been able to peruse all my favorite blogs in the meantime.

Here is an ultrasound video clip from our 22-week ultrasound on July 31 showing our daughter sucking her thumb! You can see her hand move to her mouth, but then her arm fades out of view and you can see her tongue moving back and forth in her mouth. The cheesy music is courtesy of the ultrasound office (we paid for this – Sneak Peek Ultrasound in Londonderry, NH).

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Never EVER confuse these two products …

… or you will end up with this:

Since Friday, we’ve been battling our dishwasher and the never-ending production of suds each time we run a cycle. I Googled “suds” and “dishwasher,” trying to diagnose the problem and concluded that some liquid hand soap must have found its way onto a dish or bowl in the first cycle on Friday. However, after removing all the dishes, using salt, ice cubes and vegetable oil to dissolve the suds, the dishwasher was still producing suds. So last night I popped open the rinse agent dispenser and noticed a few bubbles in it. It then occurred to me that Andrew, when refilling the rinse agent last week (Friday!), must have accidentally placed Dawn instead of Jet Dry into the dispenser. Sure enough, when I asked him, he realized his mistake. I called Bosch’s customer service line and was told to continue to run the dishwasher to try and run out the Dawn. Yeesh. I hate hand washing dishes in the meantime.


Our IKEA Arild sofa

A lot of people find this site by Googling “IKEA Arild sofa,” so I thought I’d post a photo of our sofa in its natural habitat:

It’ll be moved to our larger living room later this week when we get our new IKEA sofa, the “Sater,” which will replace the Arild in our TV room.


Sarah Jessica Parker’s kitchen

This floor looks like VCT to me, but I doubt it is:

From Elle Decor, October issue

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Our fixture selections

Andrew and I ordered our fixtures for the bathroom this past Saturday from the Hydro-Therapy bath showroom in Boston:

Shower (includes walls, glass and base):
Maax “Kubic Square” 32 x 32 x 70 corner shower
Installation guide (pdf)

Duravit “Happy D” handrinse basin – 19 3/4″ x 9 13/16″

Jado Borma single lever

Duravit “Starck 3″ with 12″ rough, US version

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Kitchen – oven side, revised 12/8


The backsplash is “Devon Blend” from

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