That Old Black Magic Has Me In Its Spell

We Greg are is painting all our interior doors black

at my request, of course.

Here he is, intently looking for every perceived “flaw”

on our bedroom closet doors:


Oh, dear.

My mad painting skills aren’t up to his high standards,

so I just let him do it.


First, imagine the 2 of us at the paint store,

with me insisting that yes, I want black,

+ yes, I want semi-gloss.

cat fight

Please.  Are we not all on board here?

Just go to Pinterest + search “black interior doors”

if you need to be persuaded.

Or just look at this before + after of our front door:



We’re using yet more Pittsburgh Paint.

It’s Black Magic, which is actually the darkest of dark grays,

here, at the bottom of this strip o’ grays:


Not so coincidentally,

those living room walls are Flagstone,

which is the lightest, top shade on the same strip.


Hint: that’s how I make sure my colors complement each other,

repeating shades of paint from the same strip.

We all do that, right?

But back to Black Magic.

When I say gray, even though it looks black, here’s proof:


There is our Black Magic on the left,

with an generic, inky black on the right.

See the (viva la!) difference?

And please!  Notice how nicely it “plays along”

with our “black” (but really dark gray) kitchen floor tile:



Meanwhile, let’s see some more black doors.

Here is the pocket door

 between our bedroom + the main bath:


Disclaimer: that vanity needs more traditional pulls,

which is on my to-do list to find + order.  Stay tuned.


Our vintage-style medicine cabinet,

which I love, was just hung:


Here ’tis, from Home Depot,

the Zenith Early American @ only $119!

medicine cabinet home depot

Aaaaaand, let’s have yet 2 more look-sees into that bathroom.

It’s a vintage cabinet, which G.O. found at an antique store!


Talk about a lack of mad painting skills . . .

. . . the black’s been sprayed on very badly,

with all sorts of pesky runs, etc.


To do: sand it, paint it white

+ of course, stencil a big, fat red cross on the door!

Okay, okay — just 1 more quickie look-see.

Our beautiful bathroom’s really naughty BEFORE!

Are words necessary here?  I think not!

I KNOW!!??





Yesterday I shared this photo

+ my big plans for the Dutch colonial’s dining room:


My goal is to make a combination dining room + home office space.

My inspiration is this family room + home office

in designer Allison Kandler’s wonderful California home:

alison kandler office-family room from above

Instead of having a wall of custom cabinets,

we will use my vintage postal sorter:

postal sorter,

It will fit nicely on the wall opposite our bay + dining table.

This view is from that bay:



Yes, that cast iron urn + its pedestal are pretty awesome!


As is the vintage-style U.S. map,

which I happen to sell in my booth space.

Did we know about this?


My biz, named RedBird Vintage Home,

 is inside a very cool antiques store,

True North in Morris, Illinois.

Check us out!


Progress continues at the Dutch colonial!

One day this past weekend,

I insisted that we haul our dining room table + chairs

over to our new dining room:


Man, that table is HEAVY!

I love it, though.

Its lumber came from an old factory in Manchester, England.

Isn’t that a cool story?


I thought so.

But wait.  It looks a little sad, all by itself, don’t you think?

Here ’tis, all staged + pretty, inside our current house:

autumn in the dining room

Check out our art ledges!

G.O. made them from an old door frame

+ bent the iron brackets himself!

autumn in the dining room with toni

Man, I really miss that Pottery Barn rug!

dining room number 2

I just think a room looks unfinished without a rug.


So.  You might be asking,

“Why isn’t your dining table in the center of the dining room,

where it’s supposed to go!?”

Funny story: G.O. asked the same thing!

surprised boy

I just said “trust me” + kept moving.

cat fight

Here’s my plan.

The dining table sits semi-inside the bay on one side . . .


. . . + on the opposite side, this:

postal sorter

Yes!  It’s my beloved postal sorter

from my old retail store, Heart in Hand!

 We are currently using it as a media center

+ display piece in our living room.

I am thinking possibly a home office in our Dutch colonial.

Stay tuned!


Even though I’ve not blogged about it,

progress at the Dutch colonial has been fast + almost furious!

  Remember this day when we retrieved some old lumber

from our neighbor’s garage tear down?


My plans for said-same:

A faux beam spanning the ceiling between our kitchen + dining room.


DSC06998 DSC06999



YUMM-O (at the beam, not so much for my photo!)


YUMM-O (at that vintage sign of mine — once again, not my photo!)

* * *

Sorry about that — we had a torrential rain storm this afternoon,

which made the lighting less than favorable for photos.

There’s more progress to share,

but I’ll save all that for another time with new + improved photos.

Here’s just a sneak peek:


Stay tuned!


Brass Is Back!

Sometimes I can’t make up my mind.

When this happens, I just call it a day, already,

after wich, I procrastinate like crazy.

This can’t be good, you think.

  • * * *

But wait.  There are these:


Yes, it’s true — I’ve finally jumped aboard the brass-is-back train!

I have big plans for these vintage beauties

in our Dutch colonial kitchen.

  • * * *

But wait, you say.

Didn’t you already select red glass pulls in your kitchen?

Congratulations!  You’ve been paying attention!

Here they are . . .

.cabinet hardware -- red glass

 . . . already up + ’em on all the white cabs in our kitchen:


I love them!

* * *

But wait.

What will happen to those antique brass pulls?



Yes, we do have an oak kitchen island.

I chose it to complement all the natural woodwork in our Dutch colonial.


It looks good, alright, but aren’t there 4 drawers that need pulls?

Yes, they do, but which pulls?


surprised boy

So.  I dealt with this issue by putting it on the back burner, as one does.

Until maybe 4 days ago.

. . . when I had this light bulb moment:


  Vintage brass + warm oak wood tones = perfect!

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

I was inspired by a new (to us) set of old wooden drawers from the flea market.





As is his way, poor G.O. did not immediately love this idea,

but he did agree to play along by holding a pull on its proposed drawer front.



Okay.  Now I am going to need to add some additional antique brass into our home!

I’m thinking of over-the-sink light fixtures.

Stay tuned.

Window Sash Musings


First thing yesterday a.m., as we often do, the dogs + we went for a short hike.

Here are the girls, en route:


Chloe, at left, + Dory in the back of “Daddy’s” Ranchero.

On the way home, we had a little cruise around town,

which is just another way of saying

 Kay’s looking at + passing judgement on houses.

 Yesterday’s cruise was especially exciting for me.

Check this out:


So, they pretty much had me at that siding + all that trim work.

But what is so over-the-top awesome that I would be so enthusiastic?  you ask?

Here’s a hint: the black window sashes:


People.  I shan’t lie — I am obsessed with colored window sashes.

Back at home, I headed to Pinterest, to search for more

because I wanted to blog + share with the class:

sashes black with teal siding

It’s like eyeliner for a house!

That works indoors, well.

window sashes red

BH + G


window sashes black inside bathroom bh+g

BH + G

window sashes green house bhg

window sashes -- grey house with black

urban cottage blog

Black isn’t the only window sash color that I love.

Here we have maybe my favorite:

window sashed -- red

BH + G

OMiGosh!  RED RULES, does it not?

In case you’re not on board, here’s more!

I blogged about this:

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #1

Designer Karin Blake’s Malibu home

If I am so obsessed,

you are probably asking if we, too, have colored sashes at the Dutch colonial.


Oops.  No.

Sadly, the black or the red versions of our windows were over our budget.


We really love them, though.

They’re vinyls from Andersen, + I blogged about them, here:


That sash, while vinyl, sits on the outside of the windowpanes,

which gives it the illusion of being original to our house.


So.  I really want to know.

Do you love to cruise around + admire/dislike houses in your town?

What’s the best one you’ve seen this summer?

My Love Of The Interior Shutters

This just in:

much progress has been made at the Dutch colonial!

Its wonderful, original woodwork has finally been restored!

Have a look-see for yourselves.


That is the view from our dining room,

looking through our pocket doors into the living room.

Here are the dining room’s beautiful windows:



Hell-O gorgeous, am-I-right?

But wait.

How on earth could I cover any of that with window treatments?

I couldn’t!

So here’s what I want (lower half of the window only):

Faux wood shutters from JC Penney.


Notice that, in this version, there are 4 panels per window.

This style is what I like to call old school,  

 + wouldn’t that be perfect for our vintage Dutch colonial?

But wait.

I always fear that old school might actually be the dreaded GRANNY!

In fact, when I showed the shutters to G.O.,

even he said something about their being too Seventies!

surprised boy

Ha ha ha!  What!!??

So.  Here’s why I blog (today, anyway):

 I need your votes, re: the old school shutters . . .


. . . versus something a little more now, like this:

shutters 2 panel


I have to admit that I’m loving the what’s-happening-now version!


shutters 2 panel

Either way, they’re really not that expensive,

+ the Penney’s window lady will come out to your house,

with samples + everything!

I need to make time to call JC Penney today!

But wait.

 If you would give me your opinion, which shutter style has your vote?

OLD SCHOOL, yay or nay?


Or would you prefer the What’s-Happening-NOW version?

shutters 2 panel

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Disclaimer: Actually, I’d prefer the old schools,

as they would be age appropriate for our Dutch colonial

(unlike how I dress ** — HAA!)

**  See ME, rocking the 10-year-old boy “look”.

Stay tuned!


Hello, Gorgeous Woodwork!

Who loves a good before + after story?


With that in mind, here are a couple befores of our dining room:



It’s all pretty much squalor, but let’s focus on the woodwork, shall we?


What woodwork? — you ask?

It’s just hiding under all that bad beige paint.

But wait.


Bye bye, beige!

Yes, our woodwork has been painstakingly stripped + refinished.

Isn’t it gorgeous?


Those walls are sadly still in mid-re-do mode, but never fear.

They’ll soon be painted the same pale gray as in our kitchen,

Thin Ice by Pittsburgh Paint.


If you look closely, you can see that the ceiling’s sporting

the same pale blue as is our living room, here:


You can see that we’re using the same colors throughout the house,

for that all-important continuity.

 Now for one more look at that beautiful woodwork

at the junction of dining room + kitchen.


Living Room Woodwork + Paint

Long time no blog!

Our summer project has been restoring the Dutch colonial’s original woodwork.


The minute all the living room’s woodwork was up + running,

 I insisted that we paint!

As you can see, the ceiling is the palest of blues,

+ the picture/crown molding is white.

After some debate, our walls are Flagstone gray by Pittsburgh Paint.


Initially, I wanted to go fairly dark + dramatic.

However, I settled on a medium dark,

because I thought it would work better with all my “stuff”.

  • * * *

Let’s have a look-see at some of it, shall we?

First up, my awesome vintage sorter will be the room’s focal point:


That thing rules, doesn’t it?

One of my former art students/friend found it for me,

+ I paid a mere $50 for it in the early 90’s!

It was perfect for my late, great retail store, Heart-in-Hand!

  • * * *

Update to now — I cannot wait to get that thing in place

+ start filling it with my books + things!

Here’s the wall where we’ll place it:


  • Opposite from that wall is the front door:


It+ all the other interior doors are going to be a very dark gray,

which looks like black.

Next, this angled wall is where we’ll have our television:


The jury’s still out

(which is just a fancy way of saying I can’t make up my mind),

but we might use our bow-front pine dresser for the TV:


I have plans to try + “hide” the TV with a gallery wall,

like this one from Pottery Barn:

gray dark tv and artwork pottery barn

Finally, here is our living room’s south-facing window bay:



Our existing navy couch will fit nicely there.

Oh, + that rug has obviously made the trip from our current home, too.

We’ll discuss all this later, so stay tuned!

Kitchen Tile — Up + Running!

Look at our kitchen back splash!


We love it!


If you read my recent post about the view from our kitchen window,

here ’tis:


Hi, nice neighbors!

Meanwhile, it’s time to order the light fixtures

for the wall above those windows.


Here’s my choice — the Logan sconce from Ballard Designs:

light fixture for kitchen

Red, please!

* * *

But back to the tile.

I chose it because the glaze looks like it was done by hand — so pretty!


Best of all, it’s crackled, which I couldn’t love more!

This adds a lot of vintage style, in my opinion,

+ makes those tiles look as if they could have been original to our house!


Oh, + that pretty but pesky grout left a few traces on the tiles, but no worries.

These can + will be removed later today.

Meanwhile, one more look:


Next up: a DIY range hood project!

Stay tuned!

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