Waiting for Perfect
Today’s column is my very first prequel. My upcoming Home and Garden centerpiece will feature a renovation of a home on Napa’s Historic Landmark Registry. It’s a Dutch Colonial Revival built in 1907. This two-year long project weathered many challenges including out-of-state homeowners, a re-engineered foundation, leveling of floors, and oh, a global pandemic. But the homeowners and I enthusiastically agree that these challenges were well-worth meeting and well-worth the long wait.
You will see through accompanying photos that our selection of materials created a charming and appealing home that connects the past with the present. Each room has its own personality yet blends with its adjacent spaces. For example, each has a distinctive and patterned wallpaper, decorative floor tile, and/or bold wall color. (Well, one room has a bold wall: the mustard-gold laundry room.) There’s an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary furnishings throughout which makes the home fresh and updated while still respecting its age and architecture.
Why am I telling you about a future column instead of publishing it now? The truth is, architect, Paul Kelley, Devine Construction Company, Heritage Painting, and yours truly were able to navigate through 15 long months of Covid restrictions without any out-of-the-ordinary blips. Every bit of the 2,300 square foot house, inside and out, was upgraded, updated, and in the case of four rooms, renovated. Overall, this project flowed fairly smoothly regardless of the pandemic. But in design and construction, there is always a glitch.
In the scheme of things, ours was a tiny one by way of a fabric backorder. Just two yards for one, small guest bath window shade. More times than not, fabric is in stock no matter the vendor. If not, we’re given a lead time that we either accept or reselect in favor of an available fabric. We chose to wait. But because mills had been closed for months, their orders had become backed up and bogged down. We were notified of, and accepted, an extended due date. We were notified once again and then a third time. Why did we wait it out? After all, it was just for a bathroom upstairs that would rarely be seen. We waited because it was perfect.
The color palette of the house is navy blue, medium gray, and white with matte brass hardware and fixtures. It was crucial that this palette be consistent throughout because of the wide variety of colors and patterns in the wallpapers, fabrics and tile. Even so, I was craving one more color (more than mustard-gold) and the upstairs bath was the ideal place to add it. It only took two nudges for my clients to agree. That color would be fresh-cut lawn green.
We used it to paint the custom-built vanity and the back panel of the open-shelved cabinet. By the way, we did not add a door to this cabinet for three reasons: it would have made this already-small space feel smaller, it would bump into the entry door unless that door was closed, and it would have prevented us from using more green to the room.
We also covered the walls above the white, tiled wainscot in green and white wallpaper with a lattice-like pattern. We were going for a garden ambiance – one of cabbage roses, camellias and hydrangeas that you might see in downtown Napa neighborhoods. Our much-anticipated fabric was a cotton print of large blue and white hydrangeas with leaves that matched our green, all on a navy-blue background.
Alas, it arrived, was made into a window shade, and installed just last week.