Meet John, the Painter

IMG_8134 (600x800) I’ve been delaying this post, because I’d hoped to show you some of the rooms. Before and after photos and all that. But all the rooms are still works in progress, and now I’m sitting in the dining room (my temporary office and kitchen), listening to ridiculously loud noises coming from what used to be our kitchen and family room. The demolition has started. But it is nevertheless time to introduce you to John, the painter.

John’s father Nick immigrated to Detroit from Greece in the late 1950s. Nick started the company in 1965 and fifteen years later, John and his brother took over the business. He says it’s the only job he’s ever had (working for the company in various capacities). And what do you like most about it?, I asked. He loves everything about it; he doesn’t feel the need or the want to do anything else. And he’s gotten to work for a lot of influential people.

IMG_8135 (600x800)You can tell John feels a lot of pride for his company. I asked what sets Nick Karoustos apart from other paining companies and John emphasized that it’s a family-owned and operated business, and that they do not sub-contract their workers (which is one of the reasons we hired). They provide healthcare and benefits to their employees, “which provides longevity and stability,” he added.

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The window coverings came down and stayed down (though we did keep one set for the guestroom).

And trends? People are going more neutral (see, we’re on trend. I knew it). He doesn’t see too many faux finishes anymore. And wallpaper is coming back (HA. You knew that one was coming, right?).

John declined a photo. (But if he comes back to paint the new kitchen, I’ll try again!).

The house looks great with the new paint. The color in the dining room is the perfect shade of green. And you’ve already seen the white living room (which again, is by no means finished. We need to decide which painting to put above the fireplace, for example. And you know all about that rug.)

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I do like that they have plants. We need indoor plants.

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From the photos, it doesn’t look like a huge color difference, but the lighter walls really brighten up the room (literally and figuratively).

The girls’ light grey rooms are great. Here’s one of the bedrooms.

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Before.

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After. (And see, wouldn’t the zebra rug look great in here?)

But the entryway is very……blah. It’s my one paint regret. With some new decor (eventually a console table and a lamp instead of a bench), I think it will be a lot more exciting. Win some, lose some.

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BO-ring. Until we spruce it up.

The designer friend I hired did ask if I like wallpaper (DO I!) and suggested putting wallpaper in the entryway only (near the front door, where I’m standing to take the photo), which would make a statement and add some interest. I thought it was a great idea and as soon as we can make it happen (after Christmas?), you’ll be hearing about it.

 

 

House-Hunting in Grosse Pointe

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I have a confession to make. We’ve actually already bought a house (no, not the one above, sadly). BUT we haven’t closed on it yet, so I don’t want to jinx anything by posting much about it. I will tell you that when we first saw the house, we nixed it off the list. But more about all that later.

When it comes to describing homes in Grosse Pointe, the words “formal,” “traditional” and “decorative” are at the top of the list. If you want a mansion, there’s one waiting for you here in Grosse Pointe. All these beauties below (and the one above) are on the market right now…

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Our needs (and budget) don’t call for a mansion or anything close. Just wanted to give you an idea of the larger homes in the area. Most of the larger estates line the waterfront, with a view of the beautiful Lake St. Clair, but many can also be found inland.

Moving on. Many of the homes currently for sale were last updated in the 60s, 70s or 80s, so the interiors leave much to be desired. At least by me. Although we have seen some homes that were recently updated and they also seemed to be heavy and ornate for my taste (we’re not in Northern California anymore, that’s for sure).

Some trends I’ve found:

1) Pool Tables. Grosse Pointers love them a game of pool, apparently. Usually the pool table is found in the basement or a wood-paneled room (which is another big trend – lots and lots of wood. The darker the better.).

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2) Grosse Pointers also love roosters in the kitchen.

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3) And stone fireplaces. (and maroon leather couches. That one came up a few times, too.)

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4) Matchy-matchy. Especially matching curtains to other pieces of furniture (bedspreads, chairs, couches).

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5) Telling stories on the walls. With paint.

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6) Wallpaper. I don’t think I saw one wallpapered room my entire 18 years in San Francisco. Here, it’s everywhere, in every house. Maybe just one room, maybe the entryway and hey, maybe on the ceiling because why not? I have to say that the whole concept of wallpaper is growing on me and I’m actually considering redecorating the new downstairs bathroom with some funky wallpaper (what is happening to me?).

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7) General over-the-top-ness. Let’s put down three Persian rugs in the sitting room! On top of each other! Or, wherever are we going to put our hundreds of wine glasses? I know! Let’s build an entire room for them. Made of dark wood, of course.

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8) Black toilets. And sinks. And bathtubs.

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9) The “I hired a designer” look. And by “I hired a designer” I mean, “I hired a Grosse Pointe designer.” Though I am sort of loving the pink chairs. Loving.

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10)  One of the trends I think is great is that many of the family rooms or dens here have built in bars. Useful and fun.

homes.bar (518x376)Many of the photos above were taken from homes we didn’t see, but some were taken from homes we did walk through and put on our shortlist (and one of the photos is from our new house!). House-hunting in Grosse Pointe has been a fun adventure (house buying, that’s a different story). It’s much harder to picture a house as your own when it’s not cleaned up and staged, but I’m glad they don’t bother with that here. I love looking through a home and seeing how it’s been lived in. How it was loved. (And sometimes how it was neglected).

There’s something surreal about walking into a stranger’s home. All their things, just out there. What bedspread they picked out, what kind of clothes they wear, which photographs they have on their mantel, what kind of pasta sauce they use. House-hunting has given me some insight into the people of Grosse Pointe (said as if they are aliens). Some are conservative and uptight, some are showy and want to be seen, some are laid back and comfortable, some are fun and eccentric, and some are busy and frazzled. I hope our new home will be a true reflection of who we are, too. Funky downstairs bathroom wallpaper and all.

*All photos taken from Trulia.com.