Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On The Backside of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is over, and it's nice to finally be on the backside of that terrible storm.  We are safe and our house is safe.  Miraculously, all of our trees stayed strong.  Some of our neighbors weren't as lucky and are dealing with more serious storm damage.  But all in all, I think we dodged a bullet.  We were prepared for this storm (especially after dealing with the emotional roller coaster of Irene last year).  I stocked up on water, flashlights, and non-perishable food.  Over the summer, Dave installed a sump pump and rerouted our gutters.  As a result, we never had a drop of water in the basement (yay!).  Our power went out on Monday and thankfully came back on last night.  We are so grateful for power! 
from CBS3 here in Philadelphia
On Monday night, the eye of the storm passed over southen New Jersey and then over Philadelphia.  The screen shot above was posted on CBS Philly's facebook page.  Pretty crazy, isn't it? 
Instagram shot of a neighbors uprooted tree...  this is sadly, one of many around here.

Last night, the brigade of clean up trucks coming into town.  There must have been 6 or 7 in this line up, one after another.


If you live on the East Coast, I hope that you made it through with minimal damage (and that your power was quickly restored!).  My heart goes out to the residents of New Jersey and New York who suffered such tremendous loss.  Please donate to The Red Cross to help those who need assistance.  You can donate HERE.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thom's Lake House (second edition)

I'm calling this post, "Thom's Lake House (second edition)" because this is the second time I've posted about a Skaneateles Lake house, owned and designed by Thom Filicia.  The first time we visited this topic, was back in 2009.  That house was stunning, and perfectly livable, while still feeling tailored and polished and preppy (my favorite combination).  Thom's newest Skaneateles acquisition is also amaaaaazing and is featured on the cover of House Beautiful this month.  I am a huge fan of Thom Filicia and think that he has a tremendous perspective on interior design. 

I'm devouring every photo of this home-- check out my favorites...

This room is crazy-- love the wallpaper, mix of pattern and color, excellent upholstery fabrics, modern furniture, cushy seats, etc, etc, etc.

Hello, navy linen upholstered walls!!  And, Thom's stunning dining chairs that he's designed for Vanguard Furniture.
Rope railing and seagrass runner-- perfect for a lake house.

I've seen Thom use Phillip Jeffries wallcoverings in many of his designs.  I suspect that this woven paper is from that collection (maybe it's this one?).
Love those walls, that ceiling, and the black barn-style door.  Also, I really like how Thom mixes colors and patterns, but everything remains within a similar tone.  It's good.
dogs & a lake view


Insanity.  I'm liking this modern group (and would never guess that this shot was from a lake house, would you?).  That terrific console is one of Thom's designs for Vanguard.

Panelled ceiling, wallpapered walls, black doors and windows.  Incredibly chic mix of color.  Love the modern furniture and different wood finishes (plus, that pop of red).


So much to see in this room.  The chairs are to die for.  Of course, he designed them.
boat dock and fire pit!
I bought Thom's book, Thom Filicia Style, back in 2009.  And over the years, I've referred to it repeatedly for inspiration and fresh ideas.  As a result, the cover is partially ripped and it's full of dogeared pages and blue post-it notes (not joking).  Now, I am SO EXCITED to see that he has a NEW book coming out next month.  We can buy it here.  
(I must have it.)

To see more pictures from the House Beautiful feature, click HERE.
Also, a note to House Beautiful:  Thank you for bringing happiness to my life and filling my heart with joy.  The newest issue does not disappoint.  I love every feature, and every single article.  Keep it up.  :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our New Carriage House

We have a carriage house folks.  Can you believe it?  I still find myself surprised when I look at the backyard.  It's there!!  Our Amish crew arrived last Monday, and the building was completed on Wednesday.  They pre-fabricated the first story in their Chester County warehouse.  It was delivered in two pieces and the rest of the building was built/assembled on site.  Watching them put the pieces together was mesmerizing, and I snapped LOTS of pictures.  If you follow me on Instagram (@kellyrobson), you've already seen a few of these photos.  But, here's a play-by-play of last week's momentous build.  :)

Day 1:

It's 1:30pm and the truck arrives...

The first floor of our carriage house, separated in two pieces, on the back of a big rig (my jaw dropped when I saw this).
Each piece was wheeled in place onto our concrete foundation (!!!).
One half down, another to go.
Here comes part 2.
Now, they're lining the two parts together.  The mule looks like this up close (the entire machine was specifically designed for these types of Amish builds).  It was very fun to watch.
Day 2:
7:30am - a team of four Amish men arrive to build the second story.
Within a couple of hours, we had a roofline.


Progress on the backside.
Around lunchtime, our dormers were built,

And, by the end of the day, there was tar paper on the roof.


Day 3:
The guys worked all day, installing the roof shingles, hanging gutters, finishing electrical work, etc.  It was truly amazing to watch it all come together.

Benjamin Moore "Gray Owl" is the color we chose for the exterior.  The bucket also makes a nifty step stool when installing some electrical work.  :)

Our new lanterns, ready to be hung.  These fixtures are made by World Imports (the Sutton Collection) and we ordered the largest size possible, which measured 21.5" high. 

This is what the carriage house looks like today:
It's finished! 
*We still haven't selected a light fixture over the side door.  We'll find something soon, I hope.

We chose insulated carriage-style garage doors with an extra foot of height (just in case we ever want to park a monster truck inside).  The handles are functional and I love the way the hardware looks from the house.

our new cupola, with a cast iron eagle weathervane.
 new lanterns.
The shed dormer allows for SO MUCH head room on the second floor, we had to include it in the design.  Since it doesn't totally relate to the architectural style of our home, this dormer faces the backside of the property.  So, you can't see it from the house.  I like that.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but there is a TON of space on this level.  We're so excited to set up a workspace for Dave near the back.  :)

Here is the second story.  This room is massive, measuring the entire footprint of the garage itself (24' x 28').  Right now, we'll use it for storage space.  But someday, we'll insulate it and drywall.  I would love to make it an office...  or, a play room.  Or, a separate guest house.  :)
so much space!
(love the head room provided by our new hipped dormers)
 a note about our builders:
We hired Stoltzfus Structures to build our carriage house, and our entire experience with them was TREMENDOUS.  Located in nearby Chester County, Pennsylvania, this family-run Amish builder specializes in pre-fab and custom-designed garages, carriage houses, barns, pool houses, and sheds (they also build cabanas, gazebos, and chicken coops!).  I can't say enough about these people.  We first met with Jonathan in February.  Dave and I were in the "research" phase of this project, and had narrowed it down to a small handful of potential builders.  After we toured the facility and experienced the professionalism and warmth of the staff, we immediately knew that we wanted to work with them.  Over the next several months, we exchanged a few emails with Jonathan, keeping him updated on our schedule.  We never felt pressured.  When we finally felt ready to begin the project this summer, we worked with him to customize our design.  He was so extremely professional, friendly, and easy to work with (even with our last minute changes to the front elevation!). 
Like I mentioned above, the carpenters at Stoltzfus Structures built half of our building off-site, in their Chester County workshop.  The carriage house was installed in modular units and then the rest of the building was built on site.  The crew that showed up to our house was AWESOME.  These guys worked from morning til night, they were friendly and courteous (some of the finest young men you'd ever hope to meet).  Dave and I are truly thrilled with the end result and hope to work with Stoltzfus Structures on future projects (pool house anyone?!).
If you are considering a build like this (garage, carriage house, pool house, whatever!), I highly recommend Stoltzfus.  Even though they're based in Eastern Pennsylvania, they work with customers all across the country (and just recently finished a project in California!).  I feel like I need to disclose that Stoltzfus is not paying me to write this, nor did they discount our project-- I am just so honestly THRILLED with the service, I want you to benefit as well!  Ask for Jonathan and tell him that Kelly sent you.  ;)
So, our carriage house is complete!  What do you guys think?  If you have any questions about our experience, please feel free to email me personally or you can leave a comment at the end of this post.  Thanks so much for following along with this project, dear readers!  It's been so fun relaying ideas with you and sharing updates on the blog.  Now, I look forward to starting our NEXT home project and sharing all of the progress here with you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Halloween Decor!


We've added some chic Halloween decor to the store this week.  Do you decorate your home for the spooky holiday??  I do.  And these pieces are really great.  I'm personally in love with those Iron Eagle Lanterns-- they're amazing!!  I want two of them, flanking my front porch.  Boo!


Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Carriage House Update: Specs

I can't even believe I'm typing this, but our carriage house build starts on MONDAY.  As in, six days from today.  We've been saving and planning for so long, it's immensely gratifying to know that in one short week, we will have a new structure in the backyard.  We are working with an Amish builder in the area (more on them later), who will deliver part of the carriage house in pre-fabricated pieces (think "WIDE LOAD" down the Pennsylvania Turnpike).  The rest of the structure will be built on site.  In eager anticipation of the upcoming build, I thought I would share some of the design specifications with you today...


We've decided to paint the building a warm shade of pale gray.  I wanted something more gray-tan, Dave wanted a color that felt more gray-silver.  In the end, we chose Benjamin Moore's "Gray Owl" OC-52, which in my opinion is the best shade of gray-tan (haha).  The trim will be painted in a bright white, and the shutters and side door will be black-- both paint colors will be provided by the builder.  After a great debate over roofing materials, we decided to go with architectural shingles in a classic black.  We had once considered using slate shingles (or faux slate), since that's what our home originally had in the 1890s.  But, the EXTREMELY high price tag made us take a closer look.  We came to the conclusion that architectural shingles are just fine for us (however, if you have faux slate shingles, please share your review in the comments!  I'm dying to know how they hold up).

We will be building hipped dormers, rather than the gable dormers, and we're still thrilled with this impulsive decision.  Each one will hold two windows, so there should be lots of light on the second floor (should we decide to convert it into a guest house someday).  We will be building a small cupola because we just have to have one of those.  And, while we're at it, let's install a weather vane with an eagle on it, mmmkay? :)

In terms of lighting, I looked high and low for the perfectly affordable large square lantern.  The lanterns add so much interest to the front elevation of the carriage house, it was important that we selected something good.  This guy is perfect:

I love the square silhouette and dark finish.  The scale is good, measuring almost 22" high by 12" wide.  I'm not sure how much I love that seedy glass, but I'm going for it anyway.  In addition to three of these lanterns, we'll also be installing something simple over the side door.  I found this fixture at and I kind of love it...
180-Degree Outdoor Motion-Sensing Wall Lantern-HB48017MP-237 at The Home Depot
Dave and I haven't officially agreed on this piece yet, but I think it could be perfect. It's simple enough and the best part is that it's MOTION SENSING. Love that. Also, it's cheap.  What do ya think?

UPDATE:  We definitely will NOT be selecting this light fixture.  Thanks to your wonderful comments (and poor reviews of this product!), we can see that we'll need to select something else.  Bummer.
Finally, to dress up the entry, we'll be flanking the garage doors with three large square black planters (positioned under each lantern).  I like this option from Grandin Road...
We've also considered building our own planters, or buying something like this and painting it.  Another good option would be to go with a fiberglass "zinc look-a-like".  Or, zinc itself.  We'll see.  That won't happen right away.

Six more days...

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