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and the winning door color is….

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A few weeks ago we asked you to help us decide a color to paint our door. The results were pretty divided, with Bergamont Orange in the slight lead to a more traditional red and a bright yellow-orange. We were torn. So we took a step back and looked deep into our hearts and tried a few more samples, including a punchy orange-red called Top Tomato. As soon as we saw it on our door we knew it was the one. In our mind’s eye, we always imagined a “tomato red” door, but were worried it’d look too Fourth-of-July-ish all the time. We got over the fear and went for it. We love the results, though it certainly is bright! Hope you do, too. Thanks for all the amazing feedback; it pushed to look more and follow our guts. You guys rock.

See more info on our ongoing cottage renovation here.

From our partners

help! what color should we paint our front door?

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For those of you who have been following the renovation of our upstate cottage, you know that we chose a paint color for our little place on the Hudson a long time ago. We went with a dark, greyish blue called Evening Dove by Benjamin Moore. Though we love it, it turned out to be a little more blue than we had anticipated, especially in the bright sunlight in the middle of day. Originally, we had it all figured out in our minds. The house would be dark-grey blue and we’d paint the door a cherry tomato. But now that we’ve fast forwarded six months into the future and have been living with our Evening Dove house, cherry tomato may be a bit much. Our house would end up looking like it was constantly stuck in the 4th-of-July mode. So that leaves us with a conundrum — what color should we paint the door!? Perhaps you can help us decide.

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As you can see from the above the picture, we’re still considering a red, but we’re leaning towards a darker red. The one on the far right is called Morocco Red from Behr. But we asked some visiting friends their opinion, and they suggested we consider an orange. We tested two colors, also from Behr. The top light color is Tiki Torch. The darker orange is Bergamot orange.

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This photo was taken a little later in the day, so you can see how the light effects the color.

Which color gets your vote? Or is there one we are not considering that we should Tell us in the comments below!

Moroccan Red?

Tiki Torch

Bergamot Orange

From our partners

pipe shelf project: how we made an industrial modern desk space

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Our 18-month long, unplanned renovation of our little river cottage is nearly complete. I am so excited to start sharing some of the final details with you. One new addition that we are especially happy with is a pipe-and-wood book shelf that Chad built in a little nook by the back deck doors — the area formerly known as our dining room. This is a look that admittedly is crazy trendy at the moment.  Two shops we love, Watson’s Cabinet in Hudson, NJ and Salvage Style in Maplewood, NJ, have pipe shelves that they use to display their lovely wares, and inspired us greatly.

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Here’s Chad’s step-by-step.

1. Plan the space.
First measure the space and spend some time online looking at various designs.  There are a whole lot of ways to build shelves and you might like one style over another style out there. I chose to make the desk area more open by putting the support pipe in the back, closer to the wall.  One link that I found really useful was this one from Beneath My Heart.

2. Buy the parts.
Iron pipe can be purchased at your local Home Depot or Lowes and it comes in a few different diameters.  You can also buy galvanized steel rather than iron, but it costs almost twice as much. Instead, I chose to use 1/2 inch pipe and spray painted it silver to give it a galvanized steel look.

When you are selecting the pieces of pipe, make sure you choose all the same diameter (it comes in 3/4s or 1/2 inch). I also discovered that Lowes sells the pieces individually wrapped in a plastic baggie, while Home Depot sticks the price tag directly on the pipe which was nearly impossible to remove. Go to Lowes to save yourself a step there!

After making sure you have the right diameter, choose the lengths you want.It all depends on how much space you want between your shelves. I chose a 12-inch height.  Under the shelves, the support is made up of an elbow and a tee and 6-inch pipe. If you want deeper shelves, you may need longer length pipes.  I decided to use 12 inch wide pine and stain it.

Here are some links to parts I bought. (Here’s another hit: Save your receipts!)

Floor flange 1/2 inch

90 degree elbows

1/2 tee

12 inch pipe , 1/2 wide

3. Measure them out on the floor.
Once you get all the parts, you’ll want to measure out your plan on the floor. I started by sketching out what a wanted to build on a piece of paper and tried to think of it as a Lego project, making sure I had all the parts that would fit together.

4. Spray paint the parts.
Do this before you put everything together. This is optional, depending on the look you want. I sprayed paint about 2-3 coats on the metal parts.

5. Start attach to the pipes to the wall and floor.
Attaching your first pipe to a wall can be tricky.  You want to make sure that you are screwing the floor flanges into a stud and not just the drywall.  Since I knew exactly where I wanted each support to go, I had to attach a 4-inch wide board to the wall and use it as my anchor for the supports.

Basically, the board is drilled to the studs and now I can put the supports anywhere I want on the board. Make sure it is level.

6. Prepare to add the wood shelves.
Put on a pair of gloves because little threads from the end of the pipes can cut your fingers when you are screwing them together. When you place the first pieces down, it’s important to use a level and long shelf board to make sure its level both left to right and back to front. If the first  pieces are not level, your whole shelf unit will be wonky. You can tighten or loosen the parts, but don’t depend on that. If your floor is uneven, you may need to put something under the footers to balance.

7. Final touches
I coated the desk and shelves with Polyurethane before putting them together.

When you are ready to apply the shelves, be mindful of where you place them on the pipe.  Measure them first, and carefully drill holes where you want the vertical pipes to pass through. Be mindful of where you want to shelves to rest on the 90 degree elbow supports.

 

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See more of our cottage renovation, here, including a slab-wood counter top for the kitchen, and how we chose our exterior paint color.

From our partners

this adorable duck family makes me think twice about garden statues

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As rule I shy away from “garden decor.” Who needs things whirling, whizzing and peeking out from your shrubbery? (Though I admit to having a soft spot for garden gnomes, it’s true.) This adorable family of ducks at Uncommon Goods is just charming enough to almost change my mind. They’re made from recycled plastic and filled with clay and newspaper and are quite durable. Momma duck is $35 and each of the little ones is $28 — but wouldn’t it be tragic to break up a family? See uncommongoods.com for more details.

From our partners

cottage renovation: turning a slab of wood into a countertop

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When last we left off on our upstate cottage renovation, we had just purchased two pieces of slab wood to use as a counter in the kitchen. A lot has happened since then! The kitchen is complete and we have much to show off. But first, here’s the tale of how to turn a slab of wood into a countertop that will last and last, by Chad.

One of the reasons I didn’t want to do a butcher block countertop, even though we loved the look of them, is because of a conversation I had with our contractor. When I told him we were thinking about going that route he looked and me and said; “I’ll do whatever you want but I recommend you don’t do a butcher block countertop.” He went on to explain that although it looks great when first installed, time will not be kind to a wood countertop. He said he is constantly called upon to fix water damage around sink and facets.

With that in mind we decided to compromise and do only the peninsula in wood.

After picking out a gorgeous piece of wood and having it cut to size (making sure the “live edge”  was preserved), I did a lot of tests with different stains on a scrap piece.

The stains I tried really brought out the natural wood grain, but the wood itself is loaded with natural cracks, grooves and knots. All of those details looked interesting, but I wondered about the practicality of it as a kitchen surface.  I was also worried that a matte wood surface might not flow with the slick granite countertop beside it.

“I’d epoxy it,” our contractor Eric said.

My only experience with epoxied wood tables is what I’ve seen in theme restaurants — you know the kind: a bottle cap collection embedded in the thick clear coating on a tabletop like bugs trapped under an inch of amber. Coating it with epoxy was a hard sell; all of the stains I tried were so beautiful but the fact was that this piece of wood was going to be a kitchen surface. One coffee ring or spilled glass of wine and our beautiful planned wood would be ruined.

After watching a few YouTube videos on how to epoxy tables I became convinced this was a project I could handle.

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You can pick it up epoxy at Home Depot or Lowes in the paint department . It is sold in a box which contains two bottles, one is the hardener and one is the resin. There are detailed instructions on how much to use depending on the square footage of your table. Ours is roughly 3ft x 6ft and the directions called for about 3-4 quarts.

Step One: Prepare The Wood: The first step is prepare the wood for application. I had to flip it over and work on the underside of the countertop. I filled all the cracks and anything that looked like a hole with Bondo brand Body Filler. This sealed anything that would have caused the epoxy from simply dripping through the countertop in spots. I was surprised at how many cracks there were. Once it was dry and sanded, the counter top was ready to be flipped again.

Luckily, our floors are still covered in paper and thin plywood to keep them protected during construction, but as an added measure I also covered the entire working space on the floor with plastic. I placed the wood on two saw horses and leveled it. This is important because epoxy is self leveling as it dries. If the countertop is not level the epoxy would not be a consistent thickness.

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Step Two: Mix The Epoxy  The next, step is mixing the epoxy, and it is the most important part of the project. Improper mixing will cause soft or tacky spots in the surface. First, I separated the containers of hardener and resin, so I would not confuse the two. Be sure to wear safety glasses and rubber gloves. This stuff is hard to wash off and you don’t want to accidentally get any in your eyes. Make sure you are wearing shoes that you don’t care about because it will drip.

Take a look at the instructions and see how long they recommend to mix the two parts before you start pouring. Mine recommended 12 minutes. After putting on my safety glasses and gloves I poured three bottles of Resin into a new, clean pail. Then I poured all three Resin containers in and began to stir with a clean painting stir stick for 12 minutes.

Step Three: Pour The Mix Onto The Surface  Next, I poured the epoxy onto the table right down the middle. It has the consistency of maple syrup and stinks. You want to make sure the room temperature is at least 75 degrees so it will set up and cure properly. Using a paint brush I smoothed it out over the table and it dripped naturally over the sides. (Make sure you don’t use a cheap brush that will lose hair fibers in the epoxy.)

Step Four: Get Rid of Air Bubbles What surprised me at this point were how many bubbles there were in the maple syrup like epoxy, not just from stirring but also bubbles that were rising up from air pockets in the hundreds of tiny cracks in the wood.

To get rid of them I used a straw to blow directly on the bubble and pop it. The epoxy around it fills it in and I moved on to look another bubble. It took about an hour for the epoxy to set up to the point that blowing on a bubble would cause a dent on the countertop.  So I left it to cure.
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Step Five: Let It Cure The directions say to let it cure for 12 hours before applying another coat. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do about the bubbles and air craters that appeared from overnight. I took an orbital sander and sanded it smooth with 400 grit sandpaper. Wiping it clean with acetate and a clean rag.

Step Six: Apply Second Coat Now the table was pit marked with craters and also had a foggy appearance to it from the sanding which I didn’t like because I couldn’t see the wood grain clearly. I decided to do another coat of epoxy. This time I would be more diligent about finding bubbles with my straw. I walked around the table for about an hour as it set up. and I couldn’t see any bubbles. But the next day there were 3 small ones right in the middle. Those bubbles would wreak havoc with my OCD if I left them so I decided to do one more coat. This time if was perfect, like a smooth sheet of ice once it set up.

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Step Seven: Clean The Edges  After this was all done, there were a ton of stalactite drips that had formed on the underside of the counter. I used an orbital sander to remove those, but was careful not to sand the top

Step Eight: Wait To Marvel At Your Work It will not be fully cured for 14 days, so be sure not leave objects on the surface until then.

The end results, as you can see from the photos above, are pretty gorgeous. The grain shines through and the wood is smooth to touch, and safe for coffee cups and wine glasses alike. Phew!

 Want to see more about our cottage renovation? You can follow our progress here.

From our partners