Home Front: Refinishing Furniture, Front Door Colors, and Furniture Delivery Fees

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Annie Groer and Jura Koncius
Washington Post Home Staff
Thursday, April 17, 2008; 11:00 AM

Every week, the Washington Post Home staff talks about various ways to improve your home. Find out about new home trends, upcoming antique shows and a variety of how-to help.

Staff writers Annie Groer and Jura Koncius take on all things home related.

The transcript follows.

You may also browse an archive of previous Home Front discussions.

____________________

Vienna, Va.: I just wanted to compliment the Home section on House Calls today. Another great job - home runs two weeks in a row!

washingtonpost.com: House Calls: Big Plans, Small Bathroom (Post Home Section, April 17)

Jura Koncius: We thank you and we will tell Kat.

_______________________

Annie Groer: Talk about Spring Has Sprung!!! Yippee. And before we get to paint and decorating dilemmas, I need your input.

Have any of you in the DC area -- Washington Post circulation area -- put off a renovation or addition because it was so difficult to find a contractor, only to find in the past few months that the housing crash has made a lot of companies and contractors way more available, eager and even affordable. If you've recently started a project under those circumstances (one person said last year no one wanted to discuss anything under $100,000 but last month found someone to do a $15,000 bathroom job) please, please email me ... groera@washpost.com We're talking roofers, landscapers, painters, the whole gamut.

Thanks.

And now for the fun stuff...

_______________________

Silver Spring: Thanks for taking my question. This is about coffee tables: In a room with somewhat darker colors (red Oriental rugs, older print-upholstered furniture, dark wood trim), would a marble-topped table just look like a great big white thing or would it brighten the room a bit? Or would it be better to get a glass/metal table? I like the functionality of marble -- it doesn't show dust or get scratched up like glass does, plus it doesn't look as much like porch furniture -- but can't decide. We have so many different wood finishes around that I'd like to avoid yet another one in a coffee table.

Annie Groer: Go for glass/metal. Your instinct about a white floating island was pretty close. And get some coasters to avoid scratches.

_______________________

Durham, N.C.: The house calls today was interesting... nice to see what could be done with such a small space. But the designer didn't leave room for the owners to store so much as a toothbrush! Those tiny pedestal sinks seem okay for guest bathrooms, but leave something to be desired for main bathroom usage.

washingtonpost.com: House Calls: Big Plans, Small Bathroom (Post Home Section, April 17)

Jura Koncius: Another opinion.

_______________________

Vienna, Va.: Good morning! I am wondering about reupholstering vs. buying new. the piece is an oversized ottoman in like-new condition, but has hunter green plaid upholstery. I need a taupe or cream color, in a canvas or tweed. The ottoman is 36 inches long, 25 inches deep and 19 inches high. Do you have any idea what I could expect to pay to have a pro do it? I can get a new ottoman for around $400, but I like the idea of re-use. Thanks!

Annie Groer: I like re-use too. Check out G Street Fabrics - They sell denim twill in lots of colors for under $15 a yard. Ask about labor. And ask when their next 40% off sale on labor is coming. (You have to use their fabric). If any of you have reupholstering experience and a favorite craftsperson, please share the name.

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: ADVISORY TO READERS: We realize there may be problems in the discussion page updating. Please try holding down the Control button and hitting Refresh on your individual computers. That should temporarily help. We are working on the problem.

_______________________

Chevy Chase: Hi, submitting just before the chat in the hopes of getting maximum response from this knowledgeable group!

I am redoing a small (not table size) kitchen, just gutting and replacing everything, not tearing down any walls or moving anything around. Does anyone have experience, good or bad, with Ikea kitchens? If anyone has done one, how do I even go about starting, and how do I find someone who can properly install everything?? Thanks -- this chat has been so helpful in the last nine months since I bought a new house!!

Annie Groer: Congrats on the new house. I installed Ikea cabinets in my very small kitchen -- they are MDF white laminate clad in stainless steel; some doors are stainless but a few cabinets have frosted glass so I don't feel like I'm in a submarine. If you bring the exact dimensions to them, they can do a computer assisted layout. They also have a list of contractors (know that unless you are handy enough to assemble these cabinets, which can be tricky) you will pay a fair amount for labor on this part, as well as installation.

Chatters? Ikea kitchen experience?

_______________________

Boston, Mass.: I am from the South and love the look of monograms! So personal and stylish. I am hoping to put my monogram on my shower curtain, but the only place I see that sort of thing is at Ballard Designs, and I am not crazy about the smallish design that they only offer. Do you have any online or brick-and-mortar resources for this sort of thing? Thank you! Love, love your chats!!

Jura Koncius: You are in luck! We also love gorgeous, big monograms. In the new Georgetown DC Design House that opens this Saturday for a three week run (check out today's HOME section)there are fabulous monograms in both Dana Tydings and Kelley Proxmire's rooms. They were both done by Susan Steele Embroidery, 301 765-0966. I see you are in Boston, but perhaps you can communicate with her about your needs. Does anyone know of a great online monogram source? For more info on the show house go to www.dcdesignhouse.com.

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: What We Saw at the Show House (Post Home Section, April 17)

Jura Koncius: Oh, here is the Show House article. Thanks Elizabeth!!!

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Dear decorating Divas, I need advice on what color to paint my front door, the house is a redwood stained contemporary. It is currently painted green but I don't think this works.

Annie Groer: Duron has a really great steely gray-green called Roycroft Pewter and a very dark, almost black green called Rookwood Shutter Green. Both would be terrific.

_______________________

Tysons Corner: Submitting early... thanks! Where in the NoVa area would I be able to find a place to make creative custom area rugs? I'm looking for something distinctive and more transitional than I've been able to find on my own - -not your typical border rugs, but something swirly and "carved." Any suggestions? Thank you!

Jura Koncius: Have you tried Farsh? 710 Jefferson St. in Alexandria. 703-548-8884

_______________________

Baltimore: I'm in the middle of re-doing my bedroom in lavender, light blue, and white with dark wood furnishings. I have a chandelier in the room already but the glass shades on it are not very becoming. Other than trying to make some fabric ones myself, where else could I go to change out the shades for something else that goes with the room? I'm trying to keep it sedate and comfortable...

Annie Groer: If you've got a Great Indoors near you, the high-end version of Sears, check out their lighting department. Or go to the website for this very fab NY store, Just Shades.

www.justshadesny.com

_______________________

Show House Returns!!: I can't wait to go to the show house in Georgetown. Something Washington has been missing since 2006. There is nothing like a show house to get fresh design ideas.

washingtonpost.com: What We Saw at the Show House (Post Home Section, April 17)

Jura Koncius: We agree!

_______________________

Shepherdstown, W.Va.: Good morning! I queried you a few weeks ago about the "perfect color" for porch ceilings. You recommended BM Crystal Springs Blue, and it is indeed perfect -- even "sublime." I also want to give a shameless plug to the Shepherdstown Back Alley Garden Tour and Tea, on June 14-15, where this porch and garden, and many others, will be on view. Thanks again for your good advice!

Jura Koncius: Love that! Would love to be there as that is an adorable town.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Hi Ladies,

Has either of you ever heard of Softview fabric Venetian blinds? If so, do you know anything about the quality? Thanks.

Jura Koncius: No. Sorry. Does anyone out there have experience with these?

_______________________

DeLand, Florida: In a house where living room opens into dining room opens into family room through a series of arches, all walls are white. At end of the view is a beautiful floor to ceiling stone fireplace centered in wall. I would like to use color on walls surrounding fireplace. How deep could tone be in paint? Fireplace is Pa. river stone, gray with blue and tan.

Annie Groer: Oooh, I do love DeLand, though I haven't been in ages...Go pale blue gray, but you may want to test a few shades on poster board (in daylight and natural light) to see which one makes the stone pop the most intensely without weighing down that end of the room. Sounds like a nice accent treatment.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: I just had my grandmother's 60+ year-old four poster bedroom set shipped up from Georgia. The furniture has been in a house that is not temperature controlled most of the time. Drawers are stuck and the veneer is peeling away from the wood in places and needs touching up in others. Who should I call for repairs (preferably in my home)? Also, where are the best places to shop for mattress/bed spring sets?

Jura Koncius: You could try furnituremedic.com. They fixed some veneer on a chest my husband inherited and polished up the finish. It looks great.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: In previous chats you've suggested Provence Creme by Benjamin Moore. I'm trying to find a soft, elegant yellow to use in my living room and bedroom. Furniture is dark, Asian transition style, northern exposures. Would this color work well? It's been tough finding a good yellow. Thank you.

Annie Groer: Yes, in a north-facing room, Provence Creme would appear luminous. Go for it.

_______________________

Natural Fiber Rugs: Can you explain the differences between jute, seagrass, and sisal rugs for inside use? I've Googled but I'm not getting great information. Is one softer than the other? More durable? More appropriate for inside use? I have purchased a house with all hardwood floors and I need to buy some rugs a.s.a.p.

Thanks - love the chats.

Jura Koncius: These natural fiber rugs continue to be popular because of the texture they add to rooms and the fact that they are reasonably priced compared to wool.

Designer Barry Dixon only uses seagrass as it's a lot softer and nicer underfoot than sisal, in his opinion. Jute rugs are usually priced under sisal and seagrass and may not last as long.

_______________________

Fairfax, Va.: Hi there -- I am wondering if the fees I am paying for furniture delivery are as outrageous as they seem? Two chairs from Pottery Barn, totaling $1600, cost $130 for "delivery." Okay. But then there is also a $159 "shipping" fee. Seems that an item arrives at your house either via delivery or via shipping, but not both. I feel as though I am getting double-charged here, although it is all spelled out in the catalog fine print. Is this common? It amounts to nearly 20% of the purchase price (before taxes). Why should this be?

Jura Koncius: Shipping charges are mounting because of the cost of gasoline and other factors that jack up the cost of getting a large piece of furniture to your house. I agree it sounds like double dipping. I would definitely lodge a complaint and see where you get!

_______________________

Ikea cabinets : I found a cabinet installer under the Skilled Trade section of Craigslist. He charged me $450 for installing 16 cabinets, did it on a Saturday.

Jura Koncius: Fab. Thanks.

_______________________

Fort Washington, Md.: Paint question (of course): I love Audubon Russet from BM, but do you think that would be too dark in a windowless, but all white, bathroom? And if so, could you recommend an alternate? I'm thinking maybe Pumpkin Patch or Sweet n Sour. Thanks

Annie Groer: It could work with all those large, white fixtures. Very cozy.

_______________________

DC: Can I put in a plug for a website to which I have become addicted, but have no affiliation (darn!). I am HOOKED on apartmenttherapy.com, which recently added a DC blogger to its NY, SF, Chicago team. The site is updated all the time, and also has a sister site re-nest.com, which focuses on green living. One of the new DC bloggers put up a post about a consignment store literally a mile from my house (where I've lived for nine years), which I had never heard of!!

Jura Koncius: Could you share the name of that consignment store with us please...

_______________________

IKEA Kitchen: I had a similar remodel, replacing cabinets and appliances, and went with IKEA. I got one of the higher end sets and love the look. I hired one of the contractors they recommended- they came in, did the design, and completed the job fairly quickly (The majority within a week). There were a few hiccups, and some details aren't perfect, but I figure that's what comes with the price. All in all, I spent about $4000 on cabinets and countertops, $3000 on new appliances and about $3000 in labor for a brand new kitchen around $10,000. Just double and triple check the measurements and design at every stage to avoid any problems.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

_______________________

Alexandria Va.: Hi ladies... I have a second home (modified Cape Cod) on the Eastern Shore, built in 1953. I am having the downstairs hardwoods refinished, wood floors installed over the vinyl kitchen floor, exposing and refinishing the hardwood floors in an upstairs bedroom that is used as an office, and removing the carpet from the stairs and refinishing them too. I mentioned this to a friend who thought I was going "hardwood overboard". Only 3 of the 4 bedrooms upstairs and the TV/family room downstairs will still be wall to wall carpet. I LOVE the look of wood floors and feel they add to the the bottom line value of the house - your thoughts?

Jura Koncius: I would say you are correct.

_______________________

Bethesda, Md.: At what height should bedside wall lamps be hung? I have a tall headboard and small bedside tables due to limited space. Therefore, I want to mount wall hung lamps on each side of the bed -- most likely something that's swing-arm so they can be pulled out for reading. Where do I hang them? High, so that the lampshade's top is even with the top of the headboard, or in the middle, between the top of the headboard and the nightstand?

Annie Groer: In a place that works best for you for reading...that is the point, no? Not too close to your face. Have someone hold one in place while you look at it from afar and also give the lamp a reading-in-bed test. It will probably come a few inches below your very tall head board.

_______________________

Re: Bathroom vanities: My husband and I have now successfully retrofitted a 3 drawer solid wood dresser (from Goodwill) into a bath vanity with a drop in sink, and a small two door solid wood cabinet (old fashioned louver doors, found at an auction) with a sit-on-top sink. We used new hardware (brushed nickel) and they both turned out really great! We used primer then white oil-based paint to better resist the moisture. One warning--the dresser apparently had a shellac-based finish so the first primer we used caused it to bubble, which meant it all had to be sanded off. So my only word of advice is to make sure you have the right primer for the existing finish. Good luck!

Annie Groer: Excellent - We had this discussion about re-purposing cabinetry recently, and we love when people make it work.

Good tip about the finish.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: For the person covering the ottoman -- M and K Upholstery in Gaithersburg 301-670-0325 does a fabulous job at a fraction of the cost of Calico Corners, G Street, etc. They have done several pieces for me over the years; in fact, they're doing a wing chair right now! I recommend them highly.

Jura Koncius: Love knowing this. Thanks.

_______________________

RE: designer didn't leave room for the owners to store so much as a toothbrush! : I know, I noticed that too. Those pedestal sinks are so pretty, but I'd only put one in a powder room. In a bathroom I'm going to use a lot, I'd prefer to have under sink storage for extra t.p., my blow dryer, cleaning supplies. Maybe there's room for a medicine cabinet on the wall by the entry that we can't see. If so, you could put your toothbrushes out of sight there.

Jura Koncius: I love pedestal sinks too but you are right

_______________________

Falls Church, Va.: Hi - What is that new Tysons Design Expo out on Leesburg Pike past the auto dealers? Is it for "the trade" or regular folks? Does it sell things or is it a design center?

Annie Groer: Design Expo is the higher-end, more decor-driven arm of Home Depot and it's for regular folks; everything from firepits and outdoor rugs to barware and kitchen appliances.

Check prices carefully, though. You may be able to find the exact same item slightly cheaper at Home Depot.

_______________________

Entry door: Good morning! I have a red brick house with dark green shutters and storm door framed with a wood border (about 1 foot wide on each side, with a top cornice) painted white (and to be repainted). What color do you suggest for the entry door, which is currently red but needs repainting?

Thanks!

Annie Groer: If you like the red, repaint that color. If not, how about a dark green slightly lighter than the shutters?

_______________________

Bethesda, Md.: I inherited a lovely old dark mahogany bedroom set from my Wisconsin grandparents, and would like to paint the bedroom walls a soft pinkish lilac shade to keep the upper Midwest theme. (The walls are currently pink, but it's an oddly flat, gummy color - blech.) Any recommendations?

Jura Koncius: I don't know about "pinkish lilac". I really love the color Wild Bayberry from the Lowe's Martha Stewart collection for Valspar. Sugar Egg Pink is also nice.

_______________________

Leesburg, Va.: I just read the article on steam cleaning, which reminded me that my bedroom/stairs carpet is in need of cleaning. Any recommendations for carpet cleaners in northern Va.? Many thanks for all the great info. you provide each week!

washingtonpost.com: A Housekeeping Marvel, or Just a Lot of Hot Air? (Post Home Section, April 17)

Jura Koncius: Annie and I live in DC so will you Northern Virginia people chime in on this?

_______________________

Moorestown, New Jersey: What can a person do with a pink and white bathroom without spending buckets of money? I have a mauve/pink tub and potty. There is white vanity with a Corian top and sink. The floor and the walls, mid-way up, are white tile. That leaves the ceiling and the rest of the walls for a color that will soften the glaring pink. Please rescue this color-challenged bathroom.

Annie Groer: You can go with a very soft gray (I once had a bathroom with Pepto-Bismol pink tub, toilet and sink, with yellow and blue floor tiles. Try Dutch Boy's Glacier Melt or Frozen Wilderness. Add gray towels, a shower curtain with pink, white and gray in it and you'll be in business.

_______________________

re: Have someone hold one in place while you look at it from afar : Also, while your friend is holding the lamp in the test spot, sit on the bed and reach up to turn it off. You don't want that motion to be too awkward every night.

Annie Groer: Brilliant.

_______________________

Mini Shades: If I picture what they're talking about, I've seen them at Michael's.

Annie Groer: Terrific. You all rock.

_______________________

Bethesda, Md.: Do you know where I can get a broken wood chair fixed?

Jura Koncius: Yes. American Hardwoods, 9160 Brookville Rd., Silver Spring, Md. 301 588-0363.

_______________________

Alexandria Va.: Can you please suggest a paint color for a green-gray paint for the exterior of a house? Would you prefer black or dark green shutters? Thanx!! I never miss a chat.

Jura Koncius: I'm on a Martha kick today, after all she was in DC this week. What about her Valspar Lowe's color Fishing Hole? I think black shutters would be my preference.

_______________________

Greenbelt, Md.: I would love it if you would do a story on inherited furniture that is perhaps not in the best shape. When to do a complete refinish, the difference between refinish and restore, what woods are more valuable than others, resources, can you really fix up a 100-year-old wooden chair and put it back into everyday use -- that kind of stuff. Not a story about antiques, but about those of use trying to decide what's worth hanging onto from Grandma and how to put it to best use.

Jura Koncius: This is a great idea. I will pass it on to the editors. We all have stuff like that hanging around.

_______________________

What goes with Barn Red in the kitchen?: Good morning smart ladies! I see a lot of barn red furniture and accessories for the kitchen and I really like the look. What wall color would complement those colors? fyi - I have painted white cabinets, and white appliances that I could switch too.

Annie Groer: There's a color that's generically called jadeite green, the color of 1940s diner/cafeteria/reformatory plates, mugs and bowls that Martha Stewart (who else) revived in the '90s. It looks great with red. Sherwin Williams' Jocular Green is pretty close.

Going in a totally different direction, think latte, with the SW color called, what else?, Latte.

_______________________

Delivery fees: I ordered a West Elm sofa and asked them to waive the "shipping fee" since I was already paying a "delivery fee." I think the shipping fee was an additional 70 bucks. They did it, but I don't know if they would do it again if I bought something else!!

Jura Koncius: In this economy with furniture stores facing declining sales, it doesn't hurt to ask!

_______________________

pinkish lilac: I painted my bedroom walls Behr "Malt" and it is a pinkish lilac. At least on my walls, it is!

Jura Koncius: You are right. It is pinkish lilac!

_______________________

Philadelphia, Pa.: What kind of shades/blinds are in style? I have a short, wide window set high in my family room wall. It's really three casement windows across. There is a cellular shade across all three windows, but that doesn't give much flexibility, and I'd like a little privacy during the day. My husband wants three sets of wooden slatted blinds. Are those dated? Are white blinds better or worse? (The room has a light tile floor, so it's kind of beachy looking). Thanks!

Annie Groer: I vote with Hubby. And try to go as light with those slats as the floor for that seamless beachy look. You could always do plantation shutters, but they tend to be pricier.

_______________________

DC consignment store: It's Finial's Antiques, on Livingston St, near Chevy Chase Circle.

Jura Koncius: Oh yes. That isn't really a consignment store, although they may take a few things on consignment. They sell old things they take a fancy too and sometimes refinish or paint. It's a wonderful source. 3813 Livingston St. NW. And if you go there, also go to Periwinkle a few doors down which has adorable hostess gifts, candy and stationery.

_______________________

Hardwood: I have 100% hardwood floor exposed in my townhouse. Even the basement is laminated wood.

Looks better and easier to clean up after two fluffy Himalayan cats and a 3 year old toddler.

Annie Groer: Great, thanks. And it looks so warm and rich.

_______________________

Chicago, Ill.: Regarding possible story on inherited furniture - love it! I just pulled the paint out of my hair from refinishing my mom's old bookcase headboard from the 60s for the second time (it's also been dark wood). Great lines, great functionality - and now in a crisp white to match modern elements of the room.

Jura Koncius: Good for you!

_______________________

no space for a toothbrush: We have a pedestal sink in our bathroom but the room is large enough to have shelving for towels, cosmetics, etc. This shelving is floor to ceiling and works and looks great. We even have small paintings in the thing. There are also ornamental boxes filled with medicines and a large basket full of odds and ends to prevent clutter and make for easy cleaning. Just ideas. Shelving doesn't have to take up too much space and could be used in a smaller room.

Love the chats!

Annie Groer: Thanks. We love them too.

_______________________

Furniture shipping charges...: I know they seem outrageous, but try pricing them yourself, and you're in for serious sticker shock. I bought a great piece on eBay, arranged for a shipper to deliver it from Manhattan -- cost about $350 to get it here, the piece itself was $200. I specifically asked, why does it only cost $100 (or so) from Pottery Barn -- they said, they have a "bulk" discount rate. So, while some costs are exorbitant, after that experience I don't balk too much anymore. Even local store delivery charges are about $75 -- and they only have to come a few miles!

Jura Koncius: Good story.

_______________________

Akron, Ohio: I'm buying a house that needs a lot of cosmetic work on the inside. The current paint colors are very bright (orange, purple, red, etc) and the floors need updating. I also plan to eventually update the kitchen and bathrooms. Each of these projects will be completed over time as I have the money. I'm wondering if I should make a plan for all the new paint colors and flooring now to make sure the look is cohesive, and then just tackle each room as I have the money, or if I could get away with choosing colors for each room as I go to allow for new inspiration later. Any thoughts for how I go about the somewhat daunting task of redecorating an entire house? Thanks!

Annie Groer: There is an old Army expression that I will clean up for this family-friendly chat. It's called the Six Ps - Prior Planning Prevents P--- Poor Performance. So yes, figure out a color scheme, materials, style of furniture (of course it doesn't have to be matchy-matchy, eclectic is good) to prevent a haphazard look. It will make the whole project go more smoothly. But if you find, a year or so down the road, a fabulous piece of fabric or wallpaper or a sofa, noodle with your design. Don't lock yourself in. And good luck.

_______________________

Picking a shade of yellow: Wanted to chime in about choosing a shade of yellow. I have ported around the same shade to different apartments and now houses, for about 10 years. It was a dead on match to some Le Creuset pans I had... it's a butternut squash yellow, and I've had it in sunny rooms, in more shaded rooms, floor to ceiling, chair rail to ceiling, etc. I had lived with and loved the pot so long that I knew I'd love it no matter the hue it took on... in fact, it's been interesting to see how it changes! I now do the same thing with key pieces of clothing I love -- after all, even though that's of course smaller than a wall, I see that clothing in different lighting situations, too.

Cheers.

Annie Groer: And the name and brand of the color would be????? No fair bragging about a great hue without sharing.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Good morning,

Can you recommend a paint color for an interior home office that gets very little natural light? The wood furniture is maple, so anything in the peach family is out. I would also prefer to stay away from yellows and golds. The office is sandwiched between a sunroom and a hallway. The sunroom will be painted in BM creamy orange or soft pumpkin and the hallway is C2 moxie. I prefer BM or C2 colors but SW is ok too.

Jura Koncius: What about C2's Gimlet. It's a sort of pale grayish green. Conducive for work.

_______________________

Millersville, Md.: Design Divas,

I'm looking for suggestions on a front door color. The front of our home is a mix of weathered looking brick and weathered Wedgwood-colored siding. The trim is white. I was thinking maybe a dark blue, somewhere between a navy and royal.

Annie Groer: Check out Farrow and Ball's Pitch Blue or Drawing Room Blue.

_______________________

D.C.: Please, can you recommend a paint color (prefer BM or Duron) for my bedroom? Furniture is walnut with brushed steel, headboard is light cream, bedding is seafoam and white. I was thinking a pale gray lavender, but don't want anything too feminine and am very open to suggestions. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: This is a big day for lilac and lavender...Since I have the C2 fandeck out, Iris is a lovely lavender. Mario Buatta loves Benjamin Moore's Misty Lilac.

_______________________

Richmond, Va.: The marble coffee table in the already dark and heavy living room makes me think of Coco Chanel's advice that when you think you're ready to go, take off one piece of jewelry. That heavy marble would be the one piece too many towards a heavy Victorian feel. Just replacing that with a light glass table is enough to keep it from tipping the scales into your gramma's Victorian room.

Jura Koncius: So right.

_______________________

Fairfax, Va.: Hello ladies, we are eying a single family house and the only thing we dislike about it is the lack of an outside entrance to the basement. The top portion of the basement is above ground and I have seen similar basements with a walk-up(walk-out) entrance. My question is can we put an entrance in and how much may that cost?

Annie Groer: Cost depends on topography. Digging out a yard can be very costly, especially if access to the back is really limited and the Bobcat or other excavator has to be brought in by crane...Then there is the issue of bashing out part of the basement wall for an exit, which you'd probably want to be six or eight feet wide to bring in lots of light.

_______________________

Pinky-lilac: For the person wanting a pinky lilac, what about Benjamin Moore's Bunny Nose Pink 2074-60 or Passion Pink 2075-60?

Annie Groer: Thanks...Bunny Nose??? I want to be paid to name colors.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I know they are not in season, but I am looking for some "Christmas" lights with a white wire and white lights. Do you know where I could buy some? I don't have a car so, online or Metro or Metro bus accessible please. Thank you!

Jura Koncius: Hmmm. We could not think of a Christmas store in our area that is open all year! Can you put up a plea on a list serve or Craigslist for someone who might have some extras left over from last Christmas?

_______________________

I need advice on what color to paint my front door, the house is a redwood stained contemporary: What about a light pinky earthy terra cotta?

Annie Groer: Again with the Farrow and Ball (pricey paint, small quantity)...Porphyry Pink (which is way darker than pink, or Setting Plaster.

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: Sometimes those "Christmas" lights come out again over the summer as porch and deck decorations. Try World Market, Target, etc in their outdoor decorating sections. - Elizabeth

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: good ideas.

_______________________

Ithaca, N.Y.: Annie/Jura - I need help with an outdoor paint color. We have a 2-story house on a wooded lot. The siding is a khaki/beige with white trim and black shutters. I'm thinking of a green for the double front doors but having trouble picking a specific color. thanks - I really enjoy the chats each week!

Annie Groer: Doors. Doors. Doors. What gives? Maybe the ice-pack is finally melting in the North Country. Check out the earlier Ben Moore suggestions for greens or turn to our buddy Ralph Lauren's Water Lilies or Dark Forest.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Hi,

I will be purchasing horizontal wood and fabric blinds for my windows very soon. These will be the only window treatments. Should I match the color of the blinds to the color of the trim around the frames (white)?

Annie Groer: That would look nice and finished.

_______________________

Arlington, Va. : Do you have any experience with Blinds to Go?

Annie Groer: We don't. You all? Post quickly...

_______________________

Richmond: (submitting early cuz I'll be in a meeting). Can anyone recommend great location to get sturdy covers for Butterfly chairs? The new ones made for the foldable teens' chairs do not fit the old 50s vintage classic iron chairs. And they really need sturdy duck with doublestitching. Outside they only last but so long and I can't find the last place I got a good one from anymore.

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Yes!!! Go to www.circa50.com. They have a number of sizes of these covers to fit many different versions of this iconic chair!!!

_______________________

Christmas Lights: try www.bronners.com

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: super

_______________________

Bathroom storage: I redid my small master bath with a pedestal sink, and then purchased an inexpensive (under $100) white cabinet to hang over the john for TP, extra soap and shampoo, etc. The recessed medicine cabinet holds toiletries, toothbrushes, etc. Towels, alas, must be stored in the bedroom closet. But the pedestal sink makes the room much more open.

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Good points. Thanks.

_______________________

Chevy Chase, D.C.: We're about to paint the exterior of our 1913 home. Do you know of any color consultants -- especially historic colors -- who work in DC? I'm aware of a few historic home consultants who live in other parts of the country and will work with you long distance, using photos. However don't you think it's important for the person to see your home in its actual setting, with differing light, times of day, etc?

Annie Groer: Try Colors by Zoe (Zoe Kyriacos) in Takoma Park, home of all those divine Victorian "painted lady" houses. She's an architectural color consultant -- 301-270-0167.

And, to toot my own horn, I've got a story running in the April 20 Sunday Magazine on some unusual exterior paint jobs, my own old house included.

_______________________

Furniture shipping fees: If it's something small enough to fit in your car and you can move it yourself, C and B and PB will both ship things to their stores for free. Wouldn't help with a sofa, of course, but great for end tables, etc.

Annie Groer: Great tip.

_______________________

Chicago, Ill.: I'm moving in with a friend, and we don't want to buy a lot of new furniture, but don't our living to appear like it's been thrown together. How (or can) we merge metal/glass occasionals, dark wood cabinetry and kitchen table with other pieces?

Annie Groer: Jura and I are answering jointly this last question...First discuss which of the pieces you each own is really important to you. It would also help to bring in a friend whose taste you admire to act as a neutral referee. If something doesn't work in the living room, try it in your bedroom. And go to the paint store together to bring home a bunch of chips that work for both of you.

Hope this helps. Happy room-mating.

_______________________

Below-grade basement entrances: Be Very Careful! Pay close attention to the drainage around the area first. Remember the 2 days of very heavy rain the summer before last? Can you picture your exterior stairwell with water pouring down the stairs looking like Great Falls, 4 feet of water in the stairwell and water squirting through your basement door?

Annie Groer: Yikes!!! Great point.

_______________________

Stevensville, Md.: Eastern Shore second house person - try Stevensville Antiques in downtown Stevensville. They have very reasonably priced Antiques and retro home decor. I think you could find a number of second home items there.

Annie Groer: Terrific.

_______________________

Furniture Shipping: Yes, the local PB told me to order what I wanted through the store and then have the store deliver it. I think they also said it would make a return so much easier.

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: thanks

_______________________

"Christmas" lights with a white wire and white lights. : http://www.christmaslights.com has them. I'm thinking about getting some to put above my kitchen cabinets (out of sight) to provide some light up there.

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: neat!

_______________________

Annie Groer: Great chat, you all. Don't forget to email

groera@washpost.com about your recession renovations, where you finally could get a contractor.

Back to you next week.

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity