Andrea wrote us the other day looking for some advice, and instead of us emailing her back I figured this might be a fun one for our readers to help with as well.
"My partner is buying a lake house. There is a lot of room for improvement and I'm very excited about making my ideas come through. But there will be very little cash after the closing, so we might be doing some of it ourselves.
The house is very dark because of ceilings and walls are covered with dark stained pecky cypress. So I thought about either sanding it back to the natural color or white wash them. I know to white wash I'll have to take the finish off, which might be very tiring. I think sanding is going to be very painful, even with an electric sanding machine. I heard of corn cob blasting, but I don't know if that can be used for interiors. We plan to rip out the carpets, redo the floors, take off the wall paper, etc.
But what makes me sad is the kitchen. Although the sellers put good money on it having top appliances, new cabinets and countertop, the colors feel horrible to me. We cannot have new counter tops at the moment and I'm just unsure on how I'm going to neutralize the horrible corian bluish green countertops. I thought at first, about staining the cabinets in red and placing a backsplash with little mosaic glass tiles in white and light aqua blue. Then I thought it would be better do reverse for white cabinets and red mosaic glass tiles.
What I'm going for is a overall natural look with lots of wood, but on the lighter side. I hate darkness give by dark browns and red browns. It makes me feel sick. I was hoping you would have some suggestions about these issues. These pics were taken by me. The house is in Ringwood, NJ."
Andrea, the house is AMAZING!!! It has a ton of potential. I am very excited to hear you are getting rid of the carpets (YUCK). I have a couple of suggestions for you, and hopefully our readers will have a few as well for you to mull over.
I LOVE painting wood white when the colour/effect isn't so hot as it is. This lake house would look like a DREAM, IMHO, if all the walls were painted white and whatever wood flooring you chose was painted white as well (white-washing would be great too but would be ALOOOOOOT of work). It would add so much more of a modern feel to the existing rustic look. I'd leave all the beams and railing as is. I think the stone fireplace would look great against white. As for the kitchen, I would paint out the cabinets white. To me red works on glossy flat-faced cabinets for an ultra-modern feel. I don't think red would suit the existing style of the doors. If there is any way you could remove the trim along the tops of the cabinets, because they are huge and break up the space alot, or replace them with something smaller. Also, the trim over the windows could go too. If you must keep the existing countertop (perhaps you could look into a laminate or butcherblock though, might be affordable), then I would select a tile that has that colour in it - like a mosaic of blues/greens, so the countertop makes a bit of sense and blends in. The appliances are incredible - you are so lucky to get to save money there.
That's enough rambling for me. Andrea, I hope you and your partner have fun with it and if anyone has some suggestions, comments are always welcome.