Painting the Dollhouse Pink!

The Gingerbread Diaries

Not to give away the ending or anything…

You guys, the contractor has removed his sign from the front yard and his ladders from the back: guess he thinks he’s done! Actually, I think he’s done, too. I know I’m ready for him to be done and gone and all that but we still have the final HUD inspection today, someone coming to look at the dryer, and Lowes delivering our new dishwasher all this morning.

And, yes, our windows now open.

The last chore of the bank-sponsored renovations was the exterior painting.

Now, for kicks and giggles, let’s go back to December and refresh our memory of what the house looked like when we first saw it:


Cute but a bit rundown. And it looks like it was pink, when, in this photo after we closed and first spent the weekend at the house, you can more accurately see the color is a sort of dingy mauve (faded from a who-knows-when coat of terracotta-ish red, judging from the back porch):


And a few weeks ago it got a coat of primer and looked frighteningly white:

House Photos 052

Backing up a bit, it should be noted that the primer step? Almost didn’t happen.

We were never given any sort of adequate explanation of why they did what they did, but more than a week before the primer picture, above, happened, this happened:

Peeling, cracking, and bubbling--not to mention the rough surface underneath--is not what you want to see on freshly-painted wood siding!

Peeling, cracking, and bubbling–not to mention the rough surface underneath–is not what you want to see on freshly-painted wood siding!

The  brain trust that thought this was a good idea also, later, thought it was smart to paint both the front and back porch floors at the end of the day, so take what you will from that. Needless to say we called them on the shenanigans of putting down the first coat of paint without sufficiently preparing the surface, so then they spent a full week doing what should have been done in the first place: fully prepping the entire surface of the house.

But now it’s just as it should be:


Tadaa! (Please ignore the ramp on the front stairs, we’re keeping it only until we finish moving things in, then it’s going away to reveal the brick steps underneath.)

Selecting paint colors was a bit of an ordeal. At first I wanted the keep the house pink because that’s how I always saw it in my head. But Todd wasn’t feeling the pink so much (or so it seemed), so I went on the hunt for alternatives and some way to keep the pink but in a lesser capacity. The front-runner was actually a doll’s house image I found at Once Upon a Fairlyland:

Both Todd and I could agree on the theory of a light green home with pink and ivory accents, but finding a paint color combo in reality was proving a bit more difficult. We knew we wanted a lighter color as the darker hues (I thought) would work against keeping the house cool year-round but the greens we liked in swatches we learned would look too washed out once on the house. Add to that my desire to stick to the paint colors approved by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and I probably made things harder than they needed to be.

Finally I asked Todd if he really minded the idea of a pink house so much. Thankfully, he was okay with the peachier pinks (but not too orange), so we came up with this color combo:

My mock-up board of our paint colors

My mock-up board of our paint colors

From the Valspar/National Trust paint collaboration we chose:

  • 2001-6A Del Coronado Coastal Peach (main house color)
  • 2002-5A La Fonda Antique Red (inner window trim, other accents)
  • 5004-2C La Fonda Territory Green (eventual shutters, porch floors, other accents)

And, then, as a warm white for the trim and porch railings, CI203 Dogwood Petal.

When it’s all put together it reminds me of a rose bush, which is fitting as Thomasville is the Rose City (at least of Georgia). The inner trim of the windows painted a contrasting color was a detail I noticed in a lot of the Victorian home pictures I pinned while looking for inspiration (and eye candy… lots of eye candy) and I think it makes for a nice touch instead of just having the whole frame and trim white. Eventually, in addition to adding shutters (not super-common for Victorian homes but we can clearly see the fittings in the existing window frames so we’ll be reconstructing and installing them at some point) we’ll be using the green as well as the red to accent the gingerbread trim on the porch and in other areas yet to be determined.

But for now, we have our cotton-candy (so dubbed by one of our neighbors) pink house and we’re a few forms and a couple of co-signed checks away (*knock on wood*) from having this phase of the renovation done.

Now, if we could just find the time to unpack!

The Bloom Is Off The Rose

The Gingerbread Diaries

No, we’re not suffering from buyer’s remorse or anything like that, but this past weekend hit the back-and-forth wall and decided not to bother. The novelty is gone after two months of traipsing up to the Dollhouse to sleep on an air mattress in the living room* and get a few hours of work done before packing our things back up (and hiding what’s staying from the contractor’s crew**) and driving back to Tallahassee to try and accomplish something with the rest of our Saturday when, really, we’re just too tired from the back and forth to get much of anything done.

It made me tired just to type that out.

So we bailed this past weekend and didn’t go up to the Dollhouse. We slept in on Saturday. We relaxed. And we packed up the Library so we’ll be tripping our way around a cardboard jungle for the next 2 weeks or so.

This is maybe half of the library boxes...

This is maybe half of the library boxes…

Never underestimate how much space you save by storing on the vertical!

I left a total of two cookbooks unpacked: one is the Mug Recipes book I reviewed a while back that we may be cooking out of once the kitchen goods start heading box-ward. The other is a book I still need to review sometime soon. There’s a few tchotchkes still to wrap and pack, but otherwise the library/living room is done.

What order do you pack a house up? I’ve always done books first, kitchen last, with the other areas being packed by layer of necessity. Most moves also involve grabbing my clothes still on their hangers from the closet and just laying them across the backseat and filling the trunk with shoeboxes on a last trip, along with the computer in the passenger seat. I foresee this habit continuing with the upcoming move.

And when will that move happen? Good damn question.

We’re hoping for the 28th for a variety of reasons, the least of which being that it suits my record-keeping to move at the half-year point so we can have a clear demarcation for tax purposes: 50% Florida residents, 50% Georgia residents. It doesn’t hurt that Todd will have a good part of the following week off from work and it’s better to use that time settling in, clearing the Tallahassee house than still packing and waiting. Not to mention who wants to move on a holiday weekend if we have to push it a week, right?!

Of course, all that depends on the contractor finishing the painting. If the weather holds out, that could be end of this week/early next week, but there’s a chance of rain pretty much all this week so we’re at Mother Nature’s mercy right now. When I first started haunting weather reports last week, this week was supposed to be rainy and the following week clear, so we at least had that chance, right? But now next week is looking dicey, too, so who knows when the house will get painted at this rate.

Oh, how I'm glad we never really considered white as a color for the Dollhouse!

They did at least get the primer coat on and, well, let’s just say I’m so very glad we never even considered painting the house white for real.

Couldn’t we move in if that’s all they have left to do? Yes and no.

Yes, because we own the house and we can do pretty much whatever we want to it, including putting our belongings inside and taking up residence. No, because the current homeowner’s insurance is a rehab policy and is not intended for contents or occupancy.

Why don’t you change over the policy, then, you’re probably asking me. Because to get the best rate (or, hell, even options other than the state-sponsored coverage) the painting needs to be all-but done so that the insurance agent can take the required pictures to shop us around.

So we’re in limbo. As we’ve been for–oh, hey, in 2 days it’ll be 6 months from when we put in the original offer on the Dollhouse! And we’re still not done with this Catch-22 foolishness.

Just a few more weeks…

In the mean time, here’s what else is on our to-do lists before moving in:

  • Replace the downstairs bathtub faucet (waiting on special cone-shaped washer, on order, hopefully will arrive soon)
  • Have upstairs AC unit checked out/repaired (it’s not being super-efficient at the moment, so sleeping downstairs might just continue after we’ve moved in as it will be, you know, July and all)
  • Clean out supply-lines for downstairs bathroom faucets
  • Mow the back yard (that’s all Todd)
  • Clean the wood floors (I’m sure we’d love to refinish them before moving in, but with time growing short, a good cleaning will have to do for now; I have a feeling most will just need a hit with the orbital sander before being sealed, anyway, not a full belt sander treatment)
  • Wash down the kitchen and fixtures
  • Shop for a new dishwasher (there’s either no water supply to the current one or it’s just broken, and we’re betting on the latter)
  • Purchase and install water filters (local water tastes kinda bad, and we drink a lot of tap water)

*Why are we sleeping in the living room? Because at first the upstairs bath needed repair and I was a bit concerned about having to traipse downstairs in the middle of the night, not being used to a 2-story house and all.

**Why do we feel the need to hide our things from the work crew? After the roof went on we came up to the house to find someone had commandeered a brand new pair of work gloves Todd left on the table, ruining them in the process. Then I found one of the bath towels I’d brought up that first weekend had been removed from the shelf, used to wipe up something heinous and dark (the towel started off as a light-peach color) and gritty, and then was wadded up, wet, and left stashed in the hall closet. Charming right? They also used up every freaking paper product in the house and, well, we figured since they can’t police themselves, we will remove temptation!

Inspiration, Continuation, and Gustatation*

In The Studio, Just for Fun

*yup, that one’s made up, artistic liberties if you will!


It’s Friday, folks: we made it through another week and hopefully everyone rocked their week as well as I did mine! Granted, it may have started slow but we are finishing up with a bang. Let’s talk about the awesome that’s going on over here, and then I want to here about your awesome as well!

Have you ever heard of a Random Road Trip? Basically it’s where you grab your gear, get in the car, and head out with no destination in mind. Maybe you flip a coin to decide whether to go left or right, or you drive on way until you need to refill the tank. The only rule is that the journey is the destination.

I’ve never been brave enough (yet!) to try a random road trip myself, but sometimes when I’m working in the Abyss I find it’s cousin: art without a cause. You have no idea where you’re headed, and there’s a good chance you’re gonna run out of gas before you get somewhere recognizable, but  you keep on arting along until some end comes your way. That’s kinda how it felt to use Kiala Givehand’s Mixed Media Inspiration Deck to create an art journal page. The results of this experiment are now available over on (preview below).


detail shot of my art journal page…

I started with no plan, just those 8 cards, but I really love the way this page turned out. The main lesson I took away from it? Watercolors can cover a multitude of sins and marry the strangest bedfellows in the process. I really must get out the paints and brushes more often!

And speaking of painting, one of the things I accomplished behind-the-scenes this week was creating a sample board for the Gingerbread Dollhouse. Yes, it’s staying pink and hopefully the neighbors won’t revolt, but such is life and such is the direction we’re going!



More on what went into the color choices in a future Gingerbread Diaries update, but for now that’ll give you an idea (of course, with everyone’s monitors being different, who knows exactly what you’re seeing above, lol).

An opportunity arose this week which I just couldn’t dream of saying no to. A friend of mine is coming up on her first wedding anniversary and she wanted something special to gift her husband. A bit of batting ideas around among friends and she’s graciously let me be the the pen to her vision.


Sneak peak of a work-in-progress–just a corner of the sketch, here.

As much as I enjoy creating business-related illustrations, those intended as personal gifts are some of the most fun to work on because you get to know the subject or recipient even better, and that comes through in the work. Once it’s finished and been gifted I’ll be sure to share the finished artwork. It’ll also make a great piece for my portfolio (which is sorely in need of an update); if you want to talk about order a commission, feel free to click on the Hire Me or Contact links at the top of the page.

Finally, to answer my made-up word in the title, this week’s favorite food is the Brie Bites from Trader Joe’s. Little 2-3 bite-rounds of soft-ripened Brie that I can toss in my lunch bag in the morning and they’re perfectly softened in time for my mid-afternoon snack, currently being enjoyed with a Cara Cara orange.

This weekend I’m looking forward to seeing the house progress in person, continuing our search for the best Chinese food in Thomasville, and a belated Mother’s Day tradition of the local Parade of Homes tour and dinner out with Mom.

What have you been enjoying this week?