Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

House Design “Inspo”

August 14, 2021 So while we have been doing other things, our minds have been working in the background on ideas for designing the house. Certainly we’ve thought about it enough for a whole year, but not very specifically, as in what kinds of kitchen cabinets we want, and what our lighting will look like in the main room, or any room for that matter. Bob says he’ll leave it up to me, but that’s only because he is super busy and that presses the easy button. 🙂 Of course he will have opinions, don’t worry!!

We have been looking for an interior designer to work with us, with little luck. The ones recommended to us are either uber busy, prefer commercial accounts, prefer large jobs, or small jobs, or prefer “normal” houses, or … politely decline (as they run away screaming, no doubt!). My sister-in-law Jane (a designer) would be perfect in a heartbeat, but she is in San Diego and unable to travel to NH at this time, and we both agreed that although some projects could be done completely remotely, this probably isn’t one of them (although she will support)! So, in the end I went onto my LinkedIn account and changed my profile to “Designer”, and voila! I am our new house designer!! Haha. That was easy.

I’ve been sampling blogs and Instagram posts of designers, looking for things I like, and of course amassing many, many Pinterest boards. It is actually hard keeping organized between saving photos in my photos, on my desktop, insta and pinterest boards and so on – they are all in different places! Emily Henderson’s blog and AmberInteriors, provide several of the examples I am going to share here, as a start. Inspiration or “inspo” pics, mood boards, and all that…. I have a LOT to learn. Today, a high level overview of some of the things we are thinking…. So, think “mash up” here, there are bits of each photo that appeal to us, look similar in style or architecture to our house, or have ideas we think we can capture for our own…. (By the way, the featured photo for this post is an old shot of part of our future kitchen as a reminder – the aluminum ceiling and sunny windows – the sink will go under the left window.)

The Fireplace: Between the main room and the “media room” there is an 8 foot section of wall with open pass throughs on each side. A fireplace was originally planned to go here, and our idea is to make it a “see through” gas fireplace so it can be enjoyed from both rooms. The stone hearth and chimney wall would go all the way to the ceiling, and wrap around the back where we will put our TV over the fireplace. All of these photos are “square” traditional fireboxes, and we’ll want a rectangular linear one, but this is a start…

Main/Living Room: The idea is for the giant angled ceiling to be wood. Remember our original vision was for wood, stone and aluminum inside, to complement the natural light and nature views from the huge windows. L to R – The cove lighting around the edge of the ceiling is appealing. Wood ceiling, white or light walls, but no on the dark wood. Furniture groupings on area rugs, yes. Too much wood, too much like a cabin (wait, it is a cabin), but the dark painted vertical wood wall in the back maybe we can use somewhere, in the tower maybe?

Wood Kitchen: Do we want natural wood cabinets, or painted ones? We are keeping the aluminum ceiling, and don’t know what we’re doing for the floor… slate stone, tile, or wood? Or a combination? The floor is continuous and open around the living area and kitchen, and will be radiant heat throughout the main floor. Where will we placing the appliances in the kitchen? So many things to think about… L to R – A friend’s kitchen… their island integrates into a support post/pillar in the middle of the kitchen and ours does too, they have cut in the countertop a little around it. The wall oven and cabinet are also an “island” in the room, flanked by support posts, we have similar options for placing the refrigerator wall adjacent to a post – next to the stairs. The microwave on a shelf could work for us… there are so many windows in our kitchen (which we love) but that means not many options for wall cabinets, and placing appliances on the counter in front of windows is not that attractive….. (Maybe I need to include more photos of our current space to remind you again? That will have to wait till a different post!!) These cabinets are custom and although not a contemporary style that would fit our house per se, we love the natural grain of the maple. Hmmm, how can we make that work, and is maple the right species anyway?

Painted Kitchen: I am also attracted to green painted cabinets apparently. 🙂 Lots to look at here. Sinks – I don’t like the farmhouse style front – I want a very large single bowl stainless sink. One decision made! I like having the sink in front of the windows… definitely not in the island. Speaking of islands, I want to have seats on multiple sides of the island, which might mean posts on the ends, but that’s fine. Countertops – Light or white is in, and it does look good with painted cabinets, but we lean toward dark countertops in general…. hmmm. Range hood and range – not sure I like the boxy type of hood with cabinets surrounding… we will need to think about the open joist aluminum ceiling, what will look best, and not sure this is it…. I want a larger range and am thinking induction cooktop, because I have never cooked with gas, so there are many variables to consider here! Lighting – we have not thought a lot about lighting – there are a million choices! Does the popular round globe fit with our “look”? Do we even like it? Ack.

More Kitchen: These black pendant lights are stylistically more suitable, and we like black. We will probably stick to black or a silver metal accent (instead of gold) to coordinate with the aluminum, although touches of different metals can really look amazing. The stainless hood in the middle photo is appealing, also the gloss tiled wall with shelving… the wall shelves on the right would look good between our windows by the sink, it is a very similar arrangement, except our windows are much larger (but not a fan of the sink!) 🙂 Instead of dishes on the shelves, I can see plants and decorative pottery pieces, or art. Also not sure I like those subway tiles! Actually, come to think about it, I don’t like much about that kitchen except the shelf idea! Stools – I think we want backs to them, but we like low backs that stay below the height of the island counter top. Also, patterned floors? No. Just no.

Tower Thoughts: L to R – I love the window bench seat idea, and am going to use it in our office area above the kitchen. I want them to have flip up lids for storage under the seat cushions. So look at this tower photo – what are the chances I would find a photo so similar to ours? Visually take out the bed and look at the windows, the stair and railing arrangement, it is very much like our tower room, but smaller. Bob and I love the idea of a long bench seat along the east wall, with (not striped) cushions and pillows for hanging out, and storage for extra folding chairs etc. within the bench. Lastly, the library ladder is very cool, and I have no idea how we could use this idea… but we will need some kind of ladder to the hatch at the top!! 🙂

Random Stuff: “Floating the furniture” is a design idea that we will definitely use in the main room (creating a seating island of couch and chairs in the middle of a space, anchored by a rug, that is not physically connected to the walls). L to R – Here is a strange floating bedroom arrangement that I saved because we might use the wall with shelving idea in the huge open floor plan of the apartment, someday. But not for a bed! 🙂 The center pic from Emily Henderson is there for the window trim with white walls, and the simple styling of the colors, textures and space. “Styling” a space for photos is a true art form, but sometimes I wonder how closely related it is to how people actually live in their spaces! 🙂 We love the wood trim around the windows, and feel it would enhance our views. I also love the chair! The bookcase photo is here because I have a large collection of artifacts, masks, pottery and artwork from other countries and cultures that I will want to display, and we plan a few built in bookcases and display areas. However, I am actually disturbed (visually) by the strong diagonal lines in this bookcase! Don’t care for it AT all (sorry, Emily)!

So now you have some visuals to chew on as you follow along in our process. It took me a fair while to organize and compile this design post, because the inside of my mind is not only full, but a chaotic rat’s nest of competing ideas and information! I suspect it will only get worse before it gets better! LOL

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