Monday, April 27, 2015

A Visit to the Homestead

One of my professional organizations announced that our annual conference would be at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia this year. A friend and colleague has been on the conference planning committee for years and I'm on a sub-committee, so we were definitely going. We decided to check in early and explore on the Saturday before the conference, which started on a Sunday.

Our drive took just 90 minutes, but we felt like we were hours away from Charlottesville. Our room was charming and beautiful. It was the perfect place to relax.

This alcove was probably my favorite part of the room. I became sick a day into our stay and I wound up spending a little time on that pretty chaise.

Our view was beautiful and we often saw people walking up the drive to take a picture of the hotel from the top of the hill.

Our bathroom was pretty, though there wasn't much counter space. The walls were painted, but it was obvious that they had been wallpapered. The wallpaper glue was still on the walls (you can see it in the picture below if you look at the upper-right corner.

One of the most lovely traditions at the Homestead is tea time in the lobby, each day at 3 PM. The staff puts out platters of finger sandwiches, biscotti, and scones to go with hot and iced tea.

The event spaces were beautiful, some with impressive draperies, light fixtures, and art. The conference spaces were a big change from the chain hotels at which our conference is usually held.

Though our schedule was a bit too packed to take advantage of the spa during the day, we did take a look at that section of the resort and we used the indoor pool at night.

On our first night, we saw a wedding in the main ballroom, but we go to see the space up close later in our stay, as our conference social was held there.

A few more pictures of pretty spaces...

There were a few things that puzzled us. First, that the floor numbers skip floors 2-9 and 11. Our 14th floor room was actually just two stories above the ground.

There are massive doors that look original all over the hotel. We figured they must be fire doors.

Sadly, there is a lot of deferred maintenance evident on the property. There's a lot of wood rot, peeling paint, and wallpaper falling off the walls. The main public spaces are beautiful, but some of what we saw in hallways and stairways made us worry that Omni (which currently operates The Homestead) could use some more help with maintaining this historic property.

We were told that if we liked The Homestead, we have to get to The Greenbriar next. I would love that see the interiors and the famous bunker under that property. Maybe next year...
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Paint Obsessed (now in the kitchen)

I don't know why I keep flittering from one idea to the next these days, but after a couple days of contemplating painting the living room, I started thinking about painting the old and plain cabinets in our kitchen. One day, we'll do a full kitchen renovation, but that is way down the line. The kitchen functions. While it isn't pretty, it works.

The tricky piece of the puzzle is the granite the previous owner put in a few years ago. It is called Copper Sunset granite (the paperwork was in a design drawer) and it is pretty special.

I have debated painting the cabinets white or a gray that has some beige in it. I think white would make the counters scream out at you, so I started thinking about grays. At one point, I turned to the forums at Houzz for ideas and most suggested a gray that picks up on some flecks in the granite. One person said a minty green would counter (haha) the color nicely.

The green seemed a bit too out there, so I started looking at grays and beiges. 

Which led to the inevitable trip to the paint store to get samples. I ordered six samples and was certain one would emerge as the winner.

You know what happens when I can't decide on a color? I keep painting. And painting. I painted an entire side of one bank of cabinets with the sample paints.

Then I painted some uppers in the same colors to see how they looked in different lighting.

Marc had a clear favorite (the last color, BM Stone Harbor) and I thought two were solid contenders. The first color, BM Northern Lights, and the fourth, BM Plymouth Rock.

So I did another round of painting, at which point Marc decided he hated Stone Habor and liked Northern Cliffs. I liked Plymouth Rock.

So there was yet another round of painting.

And now we hated them both.

Just for the heck of it, I added a little section of some beiges that I had in the house - Manchester Tan and Maritime White. Then I painted a section in Simply White to see if white would look better compared to the grays.

Now I'm confused.

Tuesday night, I saw a kitchen on House of Turquoise with light blue/green cabinets and started wondering if that one person on Houzz was right...would the green work with the pink counters?

J. Bryant Boyd Design-Build design, photographed by Carlos Baron / via House of Turquoise
I've been playing with Benjamin Moore's website where you can virtually "paint" a room, but it isn't helping much. Once again, I'm stumped.
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Monday, April 13, 2015

A Filter Easy Update

It's been about a year since I first posted about signing on with the replacement HVAC filter service, Filter Easy. Our central air system required a huge filter that wasn't sold at the local hardware stores. On top of that, I was horrible about remembering to replace the filter every three months. With Filter Easy, a new filter arrives every three months so I can't forget and I don't have to track down the odd filter.

I unsubscribed from the service for a few months in the fall when we weren't running our air conditioner (the previous owner put in air conditioning, but no heat pump), but started up again when we replaced our HVAC in December.

We just did the first filter change with the new system.

The filter we pulled out was gross. I'm actually thrilled because the ones we replaced with the old system were never that dirty, which made me wonder about how efficient the system was running. This new unit seems to be moving the air well.

The Filter Easy folks sent a coupon code with this most recent shipment. Click here if you'd like to get $5 off shipping your first filter and use the code "HALF4FRIENDS" when you check out to get half off your first order.
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Would you paint multiple rooms the same color?

There was a time when I would find looking through my paint fan decks so entertaining. I loved putting together color combinations and palettes. Perhaps it's because my condo had an open floor plan and the majority of the place was painted one color. I think the condo only had four colors in it at the end - BM Smoke in the majority of the place, BM Secret in the kitchen, BM Quiet Moments in the bathroom, and BM Maritime White in the bedroom.

With about 15 rooms in the house, there are so many walls to paint. I thought I'd have so much fun picking colors. I guess I did...but after picking a couple, I keep thinking that I would love to paint more rooms with them. The living room would look great painted the same pale pink (BM Shell Pink) that I used in the front hall. But this house doesn't have an open floor plan like the condo. Does painting adjacent rooms the same color work?

Another option is to go neutral in the living room and pull my beloved pink into the space with fabric, like in this room by Anne Hepfer, which is painted with BM Ranchland.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Craigslist Alert for Early April

I used to post Craigslist alerts fairly regularly, but it was hard to find interesting things for a while, so I stopped. I took a look at the furniture and antique sections on a whim recently and saw quite a few interesting listings. If you like any of these, clicking on the image will take you right to the Craigslist post where you can get the seller's contact information.

This pair of new chairs came from Green Front, which caught my eye. It looks like they've never been used. For the price, you could pay to have them reupholstered and still spend less then you would for such pretty chairs at a better furniture store!

 These mantles look like they've been restored pretty nicely. I think the details are more interesting that most mantles you'd see at architectural salvage or thrift stores and the bonus is that there are already primed and ready for paint!

 I don't know if I could part with these if they were mine! I love the finish and the contracting color on the embellishments. They'd be great side-by-side in a bathroom.

These chairs might need a little TLC, but for $40, they are a great deal. The fabric seems sun-bleached...maybe it could be dyed?

The shape of this loveseat is interesting and the velvet looks like it's in pretty good condition. Light greens seem to be back this season, too.

It's hard to tell what color these are since the photo isn't great, but in light of the fact that there is a matching pair by Henredon and they are $165 makes me think you ignore the current fabric and spring for new upholstery.

Have you found anything good on Craigslist lately?
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shop Tour: Memories Antiques in Manassas

A few weeks ago, I visited the most unusual antique store. The exterior made me question if it was still in business, but some of the reviews I found online were adamant that this place was worth a look. It's called Memories Antiques and it's in Manassas, Virginia.

When I saw the door, I figured I'd do a lightening-face loop through a junk shop and be on my way.

Through those doors, there were some empty and near-empty stalls, but half of the building was taken up by Memories. Memories is full. of. stuff.

It isn't a super high-end antique shop, but it is by no means a junk shop. Everything at which I looked was in great condition and the prices were more than fair.

I had to laugh at finding these chairs in a back corner. I wrote about these chairs a few weeks ago!

Memories Antiques
inside the Bull Run Antique Center
7217 Centreville Road
Manassas, VA 20111

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