Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Color in My Head


I don't know if you can exactly call it smokey eggplant, but I do know that of the ten or so samples that I tried, none of them was quite right. I'm THAT picky. So I took the two closest, which each lacked a bit of the other, and made my own mixture, with just a dash of a third color. Then I tried it on the house, and once satisfied, painted a swatch of cardboard to take to Home Depot for matching. While I was there, I tried to find a matching sample, but couldn't. Not sure what this says about my control issues. But I'm incredibly happy with the outcome.

(Disclaimer: monitor colors may vary. Sigh.)

But I should go back a bit.

North Carolina has been really lovely this fall. Now that I've intentionally backed off my workload a bit, due to back problems, we've been taking some more time to enjoy it. We went to the state fair with my parents, sister, and bro-in-law, for a little local flavor, fried foods, and wild rides.

(Perfect score!)

And we had a great Halloween right here in own own neighborhood. It was great to see a gaggle of kids and adults come together for trick-or-treating for probably the first time in many years, since the neighborhood has been getting safer. A lot of work was put into making it a great night. Matt and I spent the day going door-to-door with neighbors Natalie, her baby Madeline, and Leslie, handing out balloons for participating houses, and making sure everyone knew about the festivities and had candy to give out. We barely had time to get dressed ourselves, but threw together some makeshift costumes.

After that, we spent a long weekend in Portland, OR, with one of my best friends, Meredith.

Portland, as we knew it would, gave us a great sense of several elements that Durham is missing, but could, with a lot of effort and investment, someday have. It will never be as big and urban as Portland... but it gave me a lot of hope for the direction Durham is going in - denser, more bike- and pedestrian-friendly, more progressive and tightly-knit.

When we got back, we collected Cleveland from the farm. He loves being out there with my parents and has lots of room to run around... but he's always especially cuddly when he comes back.

India has started her landscaping project on our front yard. It will take a while for the plants to reach their mature size, but I'm in love with the plan she did, and it's so nice to have a softer, more organic look to our wonky hill. These pictures are from before they actually went in the ground.

We've been steadily organizing the inside of the house, too, trying to figure out where everything wants to go, and how to keep it that way. I'm loving the winter light that's starting to pour in the kitchen windows.

And, finally, the house painting, which commenced Nov. 14. We hired Jose Vera, who's done some excellent work for my parents, as well as James. Jose works with his two sons, and they've all been doing an awesome job.

(The above photo gives a nice view of some of India's landscaping.)

These photos, of course, are already out of date, as the team is outside now, working away. Another post is in order as soon as the trim is finished.

UPDATE: Here are some end-of-day photos of the house. All that's left is some touch-ups on the cream color, and then the red accents. Can't wait to see that pop of color!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cleanliness: It's Next to Godliness.

Today Matt and I spent a few rare hours cleaning - you know, the kind of stuff most responsible people do every week, more or less, but which we had let go for far, far too long - embarrassingly long, folks. Recently, when I was lying on the floor stretching my back, I rolled my head to the side, and the dust gathered on the floor was like a foreign, desert landscape. Between my traveling 2/3 of the time, and Matt being back in school... it just fell far further down the list of priorities than we ever should have let it.

But it felt great to have a clean space again. Unfortunately I had to hit the road almost as soon as we were done for another shoot, but here are a few quick shots from this afternoon's serenity post-cleaning:

The throw pillows were an Etsy find on Matt's part.

We are trying out the idea of a dining "nook". This corner of the living room tends to get wasted otherwise. We may eventually put a woodstove here. Or a piano. We have very different priorities sometimes. :) I'll leave you to guess who wants which.

We are clearly in sore need of some art; we have yet to dig what we own out from the chaos of our "back room" i.e. "enclosed porch" i.e. "future master bathroom". In my eagerly-anticipated upcoming month off, I'll spend some time looking through some of my photos to print and frame, too.

We desperately need to paint the outside of the house SOON. If you live in Durham or Chapel Hill, and you know us, even vaguely... be prepared to get an invitation to a caulking/painting party very soon. You will be thanked with the requisite beer (or soda) and pizza.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shake the Frame Indeed

'Cause it's not going anywhere... not with the solid handiwork of Woody Osborne and his talented crew. Here is a little teaser for a hopefully-very-soon-to-come post on the near-completion of our home's siding. For the first time, I can squint my eyes and actually imagine how, someday soon, this might actually be an attractive house. I cannot wait.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Imaginary Colors

First thing's first: Where did we leave you last? I think it was around here:

Ever since Barrio left the country in March, you could say we've been fairly paralyzed in terms of work. We hadn't even taken down the ladders propped against the left side of the house that he was using to put up siding - it's a bit of a miracle that they weren't stolen. We refocused on some other parts of our lives. Work for me, a new internship for Matt. Life went on. We celebrated with neighbors on the Fourth of July:

...and enjoyed a second visit from our friends Asher and Diana:

Check out Matt's frisbee moves!

Last month, however, we reached our one-year anniversary of living in Durham. Ironically, the date itself - July 27 - found me right back in Boston, doing a photo shoot and visiting wonderful old friends. I've been thinking a lot about the way the last year has unfolded, and where our lives are now in Durham. I never seem to find the time to get centered enough, still enough, to actually sit down and expound on it all in writing, though, so instead I think it's important that I focus my energy, and my little window of time between shoots, on catching you up a bit. Continuing the process of documenting.

The great news: we've hired a new contractor! Woody and his team started a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing they did was remove all the rest of the vinyl siding we hadn't attended to yet. Here's our house, naked for the first time since who knows when, all its many and mysterious flaws exposed to the world:

Slowly but surely, the crew has been getting siding up, and replacing the last of our crappy old windows with the new four-over-ones.

Duke Energy came by and took down the huge sweet gum that was interfering with their lines between Jennifer's house and ours. We didn't really mind - except that they left all the stumps and debris for us to enjoy removing.

Lately, finally... we've been experimenting with colors. Here was our first attempt with some Home Depot samples:

Which weren't what I had in my head, and after enough neighbors asked, "you're painting the house gray?" (not at all the name of the color in my head), we made another run for samples:

Yeah, it's weird: the color scheme in my head, one I've been dreaming about for months if not years, involves the happy marriage of a deep, smoky eggplant (not too gray, not too purple), and a bright, straight-up red (kind of like the folding chair in the photo above). But I can't seem to find this perfect smoky eggplant - or maybe it just doesn't exist. The current contenders are much closer... right now, of the colors above, we're (well, I'm) leaning towards the one in the middle. But still looking.

Below: Jennifer, Una (canine), Eleni, and Keelee stop by on a walk.

And Lisa stops by to enjoy our color neurosis.

And I'm proud to introduce the newest member of our family... at least the process involved what I imagine to be the complication of adopting a child... our new couch.

Also known as Cleveland's New Seat.

I don't have a great photo (and it's hard to tell by this one), but we repainted the hallway. The lemony yellow and mustardy yellow combo just wasn't working for me. Now we have a banana-yellow on top, and a medium/light gray underneath. I'll get a photo soon.

So here we are. August is pretty much shot for me as far as time in town to photograph and blog - after this very busy Durham week, I'm off again for more travels for work. Which is part of why having a contractor we trust is soooo wonderful. Come September, I hope the siding project will be completely done, and maybe the house will be painted. If we're lucky, the back deck will be underway, and perhaps we'll even have the start of a fall garden in front, maybe some clearing in back.

Stay tuned, friends... you've been with us this long.