Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Building Materials

Ok, I've gotten a little off topic, so I'm going to get back to how we created this cottage.
I spent months researching the details for our house. We finally decided we wanted stucco walls, a steep roof, "stone" floors, a limestone surround for the front door, black iron hardware, chimney pots, some exposed stone, true divided-light casement windows, and a hidden door somewhere. We wanted the cottage to look like it had evolved over the centuries just like a real English cottage.
Every great idea had to be translated into readily available American materials. And none of it was easy. It seemed like most suppliers had only what everyone else was using and that usually meant Mediterranean. The stucco was easy, but we had to have a custom color mixed. We chose a 10/12 pitch for the roof and selected an asphalt shingle that mimicked a red pantile roof. We knew we'd never be able to afford real limestone floor stones, so we selected a 16" tile with the color and variations of limestone. After living with this tile for many years I can honestly say I love it. It looks pretty close to limestone and it hides dirt like crazy. We found black iron door hardware advertised in English Home magazine and had it shipped from Architectural Ironmongery in England. We were surprised to find chimney pots right here in California and easily selected three different styles to look like they'd been installed at different times. Luckily faux stone is popular in California now and we had lots to chose from there. The windows also were easy to find even though we had to give an arm and a leg for them. We also decided to add lintels over the windows on the gable ends and a "stone" door surround. The lintels are pieces of Canamould mitered and faux painted. The door surround and date stone are truly one of a kind because hubby made the whole thing from urethane foam. It has the density of wood, but is impervious to water and rot. After it was installed I faux painted it to look old and lichen-covered. In England a date stone was commonly placed over the front door. It usually included the couple's initials. Our does indeed include our initials and instead of the date our house was built, ours has our address. I just love the authentic look it all adds to the front of the house.
And the hidden door that we wanted? We framed it in, but later sheet rocked right over it, so it REALLY is well hidden. Much later we did sort of end up with another hidden door which I'll show you sometime. In the end we were very satisfied with our selections and feel they do convey the true sense of an English Cottage. What do you think?

1 comment:

Martha said...

Oh. My. God.

What are you doin' to me here, Laura???

You know, I have a job now? How am I supposed to work when I need to read your blog, huh??

I'm totally fascinated by your blog. I'm starting from the beginning, so you're going to get all sorts comments on your long-ago posts.

You are terribly talented - I can't believe that model you made of your house!