Archive for the ‘The Shack’ Category

Kitchen Finishing Touches

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Slowly the kitchen is progressing.  It looked like this on Friday:

kitchen 5Not far enough along for Kirk, but getting closer.  Most of the paper and plastic were removed so that we could use the oven, sink and trash compactor over the weekend.  Because it was raining Friday, the painters attempted spraying the doors inside.  They didn’t turn out very well and are being redone outside today.

Next up is finalizing stain colors for the wood tongue and groove walls.  They are a grey color and make the entire room seem dark.  I am hoping to apply a brighter white/beige, thinned-paint stain to lighten them up while allowing the wood texture to show through.  Previous attempts with custom tinted glazes were too green and dark.  My inspiration came from a pillow bought last year at Pottery Barn with the green of the lower cabinets and bright white of the upper cabinets and trim.  Frazee wouldn’t color match fabric so I attempted to find the color in their fan deck of color samples to match the background color of the pillow.

kitchen 6I narrowed it down to two from the myriad of choices and bought quarts in a flat finish.  Each sample was painted full strength onto a scrap of wood to check color.  The one on the left is slightly more yellow, so now we will try thinning the color on the right and putting it over a scrap of the grey panel.  Hope it works!

We also purchased the door and drawer hardware from Restoration Hardware.  I tried looking at Capitol Hardware in Santa Barbara and found some really nice options.  Unfortunately, they were WAY out of my budget.  I loved this:

kitchen 7but found something similar and then ordered clear glass knobs for all the upper cabinets.  Restoration Hardware doesn’t stock any to take home so I am waiting patiently for UPS to arrive with the goods.

I am also on the hunt for backsplashes.  I do love subway tile, but it seems like that is everywhere now.  I did love the harlequin, green and gold, Walker Zanger tile in my old kitchen, but want something lighter this time.   Most tile in Santa Barbara is too Spanish-looking for our 60′s ranch house.  The front-runner today is this:

kitchen 8Hopefully, after the cabinets are done I can bring the sample home to be sure.

This weekend there was an estate sale around the corner at a gorgeous house that was Tuscan in style.  The powder room had the most amazing tile which I am sure wouldn’t be approved by the family, but it was so gorgeous.

kitchen 9Even further off topic, there was a latticed water closet in the same house.  Not something I could use, but really beautiful.

kitchen 10The home is called Mirabella and you can google it to see the rest of the property.  I only bought two books about Tuscany, but it was fun to look at the house and all the people grabbing sheets and paintings.

Getting closer on our kitchen !  Can’t wait to unpack all of those boxes piled up around here and hopefully get rid of whatever doesn’t find a home.  Yeah right.


Guest Cottage

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The Shack came with a barn which houses two-horse stalls (currently  filled with holiday decorations and gardening tools), the shop (previously shown, as my yet to be tackled, New Year’s resolution) and a guest cottage (formerly known as the tack room).  Any horse lovers are surely cringing at our abject disregard for the true nature of the structure.  The boys once each had a pony at our Ojai house and let’s just say that horse rode off into the sunset.   They were fun while we had them , but our children always preferred sports to horses and all the requisite care they entail.  Enough about horses, let’s look at that guest cottage.

gc 11

Three hundred square foot apartments in New York City have been making the news lately and our cottage is probably even a bit smaller than that.  Somehow when we moved in I neglected to photograph our tiny space.  The Shack was owned and built by the same family we purchased it from.  The youngest son was living in the cottage and acted as the caretaker of the property when we took possession.  He was a bachelor and surfer dude, so the space was ready for a much needed overhaul.  We all did sleep out there in the beginning for at least a few weeks until the house was semi-habitable, all lined up in sleeping bags on the dank carpet.

The cottage has a small bathroom, miniscule kitchen and closet.  It had cute tongue and groove paneling which needed to be painted.  We also added simple trim to match the inside of the house.  All the walls were painted in a Linen satin finish.  Trim went semi-gloss in a true white.

gh 1

There once was a big metal slider that we changed out to a door with a glass panel to make more wall space.  This was a reStore purchase that was taken to Capitol Hardware and pre-hung before being installed.  Inexpensive waffle blinds, cut to our measurements from Home Depot were put on all the windows for privacy.

gc 2

We painted the louvered closet doors a crisp white and added new pulls. We also took out the smelly old shag carpeting and put down a wood grain laminate, lighter than the kitchen cabinets for contrast.  In the corner is a beautiful sink Spencer found at the reStore for the boys bathroom.  Just one more project to get to.

gc 5

We decided to rip out the kitchen and start from scratch as it had all seen better days and wasn’t really functional.   Stock cabinets, laminate counter tops, natural stone back splash, stainless sink and appliances helped to freshen it up.

gc 4

The bathroom got a minimal facelift with new toilet and fixtures.

gc 3

The outside had a concrete cut block patio which we chose to leave.  We did however take down the rotted, six-foot fence surrounding it. In its place we had a more open, redwood, lattice-type fence built with a small arbor at the entrance.

gc 6

Another arbor will be added over the door.  We ran out of the lumber and then I bought and stained some that was too small.  Oh well.  Honestly, it will get done, just as soon as that carpenter shows up again.

gc 7

Simple, low maintenance plantings were added to the courtyard.  A palm tree will grow to add nice character.  Just outside of the fence are two plum trees for a bit of screening from the area to become the orchard.

gc 8

We added  a flagstone path through the grass out front.  That process eliminated much of the grass so seed will be sown shortly.  See Bam photo-bombing?

gc 9

The last thing to go in was a set of concrete steps in the slope from the driveway.  The steps had been leading from the backyard to the shop, but we are going to have something a little nicer done with flagstone and rock on that side as they are viewed from the house and were off-balance with the shop door.

gc 10

There you have it, one mostly complete guest cottage.  Now all we need is a guest.


Where are we?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

For those of you keeping track of the earlier posts with projects which were unfinished, here is an update.




My favorite rock guy in the entire world came to quickly put in some concrete paver steps in a slope leading to the guest cottage.  While he was here we roughly measured out the orchard, which is approximately 100 x 150 feet.  I showed him my loose schematic of what I want and the inspiration pictures from the blog orchard post.

update 1There are lots of dreams and visions included which may or may not come to fruition.  After the measurements were taken, we decided to switch the bocce court perpendicular to where I had drawn it in and move it behind the vegetable beds and fountain to the top of the yard.  With a general layout established I can begin putting in fruit trees.  It’s a start, if however small.

I also found a few more pictures to use as inspiration from Houzz.

update 2I love that bocce court with the stone edging like the one we had put in on our driveway.    Definitely not so many boulders though.  Maybe a pergola, although in another decade probably.

I also found this on my computer but can’t recall where it was found.  Love the stone pillars and gate.  Just a dream…

update 3




The carpenter had a few hours and came last Friday, minutes before I ran off to yet another basketball game with Spencer.  When we got home the cabinets were mostly in, the counter tops aren’t matched up yet and none of the trim is up.  Not sure why they weren’t finished, but at least the hall isn’t so clogged.  Getting closer…

update 10




Instead of getting better, it has actually gotten worse as I picked up a rattan, glass-topped table and four chairs on coasters from the reStore when I got the shelves.  Nothing else has been tackled.  Heavy sigh of disappointment.

update 8




Next up were the plantings to fill the cleared beds.  Kirk has a client that sells big trees and we are supposed to go select something that won’t get too big but will be a little unusual.   I am waiting to choose the filler plants until I see the elusive trees installed.  I also keep going back and forth between boxwood edging and something looser with less maintenance required.   Here is a neighbors really fancy version with boxwood.  Thinking….

update 4




Tried some samples of deck paint we had lying around.  Haven’t gotten the thumbs up from Spenc so his headboard remains raw pine.

headboard 10




is being painted!!!!  That makes up for all of the above.

update 11


Kitchen Update

Friday, February 1st, 2013

The really exciting news is that the painters are tackling the kitchen!  I am beyond ecstatic as you might guess.  The kitchen had last been remodeled in the 80′s when we bought our house.  Pickled pine, blue tile with dark grout, a very popular blue linoleum and even space for two refrigerators.

update 5

The doors were switched to a Shaker style, the counter tops went Silestone, the bar stool area became shelves for cookbooks, the appliances are stainless, one refrigerator was eliminated, the floor is now wood, the ceiling is a bright white, paint will make the cabinets and tongue and groove paneling seem more modern, the massive television unit is gone and that area houses a dining table for ten.  It was meant to be a moderate facelift, but still has taken over a year to finish.

kitchen 4

I thought that most of my kitchen hadn’t yet been unpacked, just using the essentials.  Until I began to empty the cabinets and filled up the dining room table, Marlin’s room and then started putting things into the living room.  What is in those boxes still piled in the hall and game room?  How did this happen?

kitchen 3

Right now it looks like this:

update 6

Color selections have been made:

update 9

I took inspiration from a kitchen found on Houzz (probably).  Simple, clean and naturally green, but not ALL green.

update 7

The driveway is being used as a paint booth.

kitchen 1The lower doors and cabinets were primed dark grey in preparation for the green paint.

kitchen 2

In a week or so it should be close to finished.  Need to work on the stain for the paneling, choose door hardware, have the range hood vented through the attic and pick a backsplash.  Our last kitchen wasn’t done for two and a half years.  We are way ahead of schedule this time.  I am looking forward to finally unpacking all the boxes stacked around the house and really using the kitchen.  Makes all the dust a pleasure to endure.


Guest Bath Facelift

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

We have an extra room with a bath.  Modesty prevents me from photographing the entire room.  Currently it houses washer and dryer, daybeds, television with gaming equipment, Bowflex, treadmill, collection of homeless furniture, Stovesand family portrait from the 70′s, boxes of books and decorative dishes.  You get the picture, a catch-all for any manner of things we can’t decide where to house permanently.

It also has a bathroom which is currently used by Kirk and I as our 1960′s number is presently non-functional.  When we took possesion of the house it looked like this:

Guest Bath 1

At the time, this was the best of the three and a half baths, although not necessarily to my taste.  I am thinking it was done in the 80′s maybe?  The tile wasn’t in bad shape, the toilet worked and the oak cabinet was sturdy.  I almost never am initially drawn to blue, so I chose to focus on the accent colors of gold and rust.  First up was having the entire room sprayed a crisp white.  Then a 1 x 6 pine baseboard and trim was added to a room void of any embellishment.

Guest bath 2Since we live close to the beach, eight hooks were added to hang all of the beach towels that pile up when friends are over.  I found a rack at the Restoration Hardware Outlet to stack white towels on for the post beach showers.  It was a bit wider than the trim so little pieces were added to attach the rack.

guest bath 3A simple white mirror was ordered from Home Depot and fitted between the trim board for a built in look.  The room began to look very sterile in all white so I mixed a bit of the livingroom color into the paint for a subtle shade between the trim boards.  It looks so much warmer and it no longer feels like a virtual straight jacket.

guest bath 4New, inexpensive plumbing fixtures,  curtain rod hung at ceiling height, long waffle shower curtain, throw rug and painting all  helped to make the room more of this decade.

guest bath 5And to think it all started with this tile I was sure I couldn’t work with…

guest bath 6

A lot of lip stick and rouge to spruce it up.  Not sooo bad now!  On to the other two and a half.



Have Library Card?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

I haven’t written a post about my love of the reStore yet, but I LOVE to shop there.  I have picked up lots of cool things for our house.  That could be a post in and of itself, but this is about my latest find.  Recently, I stopped by to look for windows for a friend and found these instead….

library 1They had just come in, were in the parking lot and being haled on.

We have a very long hallway that is begging for shelves so I had one of the guys measure them to see if they would even fit.  They were measured at ten feet long by eight feet high.  It is hard to tell, but there are two sets of lower, doored cabinets and two of shelves made of cherry.  The price was right, if I took them that day,  so I headed home to measure the hall.

This was the hallway before we bought the house, complete with painted paneling and carpet.  The windows look out over a deck and the front yard and flood the room with natural light.  The hallway leads to the boys rooms off of the kitchen.

library 2Here it is from the other direction with the boys sceptically looking around.  This is also about the time that they named our new home The Shack.   The original plans have  it labeled as the “Play Hall.”  Since the boys are a bit too old to play in the house much, the 25 x 8 foot space is currently used to store boxes housing items for the yet to be finished kitchen.

library 3Shortly after moving in we drywalled the space, removed a door frame turned shelving unit, added wider door trim, evened out the ceiling lights, painted it up and added hardwood flooring.  Unfortunately, I never took a picture of it empty but it is much improved.

But back to the shelves, they would definitely fit on the wall behind Marlin.   So like the Beverly Hillbillies, we loaded up the truck (trailer) and off we went to pick them up.  I will spare you the details of getting them up over the deck stairs, under the mini-arbor and through the sliders, in the dark and drizzle, all without ruining shelves or home.  Nor re-live the dead arm, breaking back, panting parents, or silent girlfriend.  At long last they were in and tahdah….

library 4They WERE ten feet long and fit on that wall perfectly, BUT can you see that the shelves are very close to the ceiling height BEFORE being put on top of the lower cabinets?  Kirk got out the measuring tape and sure enough (though I fought him on it mightily) we have at least an extra foot.  In layman’s terms, they are way too tall.  I am not popular around here because they had to remain in the hall to prevent being ruined by the first winter to ever transcend upon Santa Barbara.

library 5It doesn’t look so bad from this angle, until you take into account Marlin’s bedroom and the boys bathroom lie at the opposite end of the hall.  Did I mention I am VERY UNPOPULAR around here?!!?  All is not lost however, the carpenter is coming Saturday to take off a foot or so, fit them together, add back the base and crown molding and hopefully restore my reputation.  If not I may be banned from the reStore for life.  Stay tuned…and wish me luck.




Happy New Year. Welcome 2013!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

I haven’t checked in to the blog for too long.  142 comments were waiting to be moderated.  Most were peddling shoes, handbags and coats.  Some came from Asia and even the Ukraine.  A few mentioned S@X.   I sent them all to Spam, save three which might be legitimate.  Thanks to those of you who do comment or at least check in on the progress at the Shack.  As for the other 142, well I have to figure out how to really send them to Spam for good.

The holidays passed by in a blur.  We celebrated Christmas Eve as usual with Kirk’s family.  Then we hosted Christmas for the first time at our house.  It became the Best, Weirdest Christmas Ever when my parents came down with the flu and stayed home.  We had brunch with far too much food.  I highly suggest The Contessa’s baked french toast.

New Year 1Then over the next few days the in-laws passed through to extend the celebrations.  When New Year’s Eve rolled around we continued to make merry with a family sleep-over and dinner.

new year 2We spent a lot of time on the road for basketball games.  Next we celebrated Marlin’s birthday for a few days running.  I was even lucky enough to be called in to work at Monica Ros after Spencer returned to school.  Finally the decorations came down and are awaiting their return to the barn.  I always feel like the house is open and airy after the holiday trappings are gone, as much as I love them while they are up.

Which brings me to the new year and the expected resolutions…I have never been very good at them.  Well, maybe I could tackle the shop in the coming months.

new year 3This is about a third of the shop.  We did attempt to organize it after it was freshly painted.  Lots of shelving was added from Home Depot.  Alas, there still remained too much to put away and when I walked in there it was so overwhelming that it never was finished.   After a year, I suppose it is time to tackle the mess.  We haven’t had many parties at the Shack, but the makings of one lie within those walls.

new year 4

I would like to add some kitchen cabinets to the windowed corner at the front and maybe even start painting again.  The old kitchen table needs to be donated and much needs going through to be thrown out.  Windows need to be washed.  A shade needs to be hung to cover the storage facing the yard.  Drawer pulls need to be installed on the cabinets in the tool area. One last big push could make this a useable area instead of a dumping ground.

Wish me luck, I may not come out for days once I get going.  Maybe this public humiliation was the push I needed.  What are your resolutions this year?  Do you still make them?  I could make many more, but I know my limits.








The next chapter…Santa Barbara

Friday, October 5th, 2012