Dear Miss Cote de Texas: Railings and Brick

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Today’s question comes from Jennifer – who doesn’t say where she lives, but it looks like it’s somewhere up north maybe?  Not sure!

Jennifer writes:

 

Dear Miss Cote de Texas:  My husband and I recently moved. We left our "forever home" which was a "fixer-upper" when my husband got transferred out of state and we have purchased another "forever" house that is also a "fixer-upper." For now, we are tackling necessities, the pretties later. The home is brick and sat vacant for over two years. There are two exterior balconies that both need to be redone as the roofing material on the floor is not suitable – it’s leaking, and causing rot issues. In the next few weeks, we will begin redoing both balconies. We plan to replace the "rolled roofing material" with slate flooring (seen below - I hope!). Eventually we'll replace the porch flooring and the screened in porch (to the right) with the same slate for a unified composition. 

But, the big question is regarding the balcony railings. The wrought iron railing on the front and all the wood railing on the right side will be coming down. Our contractor has offered to clean up the wrought iron, repaint it, and put it back just like it is, and also to rebuild the white railing (to the right), or to replace all of it. We think we are in favor of replacing all of it. However, this is one of those things that I want to do right the first time and not look back with regret - which is why I so deeply value your opinion and would be SO, SO, SO grateful for your help! Do we do both railings the same and unify the look? Should they be kept different? I'd much prefer iron to wood for maintenance sake. We just want to do it right the first time.  We pay cash as we can, so the progress will be slow going, but steady. We hope to be here for the long haul. The house has great bones and is loaded with potential!

Miss Cote de Texas, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help us!!! We would be so grateful!

 

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Dear Jennifer:

My first thoughts are wow – what a beautiful house!  I love old houses, they have such a charm that is lacking from most new houses – they are so much quieter for one, because the walls are more solid, as are the doors.  I love the room sizes and ceiling heights and how all the rooms don’t open up onto each other as much as they do in new construction.  And I love all the romantic nooks and crannies that are found in old houses such as yours. 

Now, onto your problem.  I must say, as you know, I am not an architect, so take my suggestions for what they are worth (not much!)  You might want to think about making an appointment with an architect to get a learned opinion.  It would probably be worth it in the long run. 

But, in the meantime, here are my ideas.  My first immediate thought is that I do think the two railings should be the same.  The house isn’t quite symmetrical, so if the railings were different, I think that would play up the asymmetrical look.  The iron railing that is there now seems a bit ornate.  I would research railings that are more simple in design.  The railing you sent me looks a bit French and a bit contemporary.  I don’t think I would use that exact one, search for one with more classic lines.

 

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This is the railing you sent me – but I’m not sure I would go with this railing.  It doesn’t seem to match your house’s style.  This would be more suited to a French design, not a Georgian brick house.

Now, after saying that you should do both railings the same – I looked at houses where there were two different railings, and I can see that could be the correct choice here also:

 

 

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This is the back of a house – but notice how similar to your house this is with the porch and the wood columns.  The wood railing above seems to make the two floors more cohesive in design.  Notice how the wood column is repeated on the first and second floor – they seem to flow into each other.   And notice, on the far left there is also a iron railing mixed in.  The mixture of the wood and iron railings here seem attractive and interesting.

 

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In this Tudor styled house, there is a brick balcony along with an iron one.  The point is – would two different railings on your house be interesting or distracting?

 

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Here, this house shows an upper wood balcony. 

 

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Now, here is a red bricked Georgian showing a similar design to yours.  To me, the black railing seems harsh.  If the rails were a softer gray color and the trim color was closer in shade to the railings, it would look so much better.

 

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Your house:  If you found a simple iron railing, and installed it in both places – but painted the columns on the right side the same color as the railing, it would blend in and be pleasing to the eye.  But I think there is something else you should consider before making the final decision.  The red brick!

I kept looking at your house, trying to decide if this was MY house, what would I do?  In the end, I decided I would make both railings the same.  As long as the iron design is kept simple, it will look good on the right – and on the left, too. 

But, the main thing I’m thinking you should do, and what I would do immediately if this was my house – would be to paint your red brick and get new shutters or at least paint them!  I think this will make a huge difference – and it could even make a difference in your decision between an iron railing or an iron and wood railing.

More ideas would be to build out a room over the two sides – or at least on the right side.  And – add new gutters and landscaping which would be long term goals.  I think I would close in those columns next to the front door and add fabulous gas lanterns on both sides of the entry.   Here are some pictures to give you ideas:

 

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This red brick house was painted cream – and notice the iron work!  Painted to blend in without sticking out.   This house is beautiful – love the pale celadon colored shutters. 

 

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Note: here is the slate Jennifer wants to use on the balcony floors. If she did use this – she could pick out the paint colors from the slate – the shutters could be a darker celadon and the brick could be a soft, light gray or pure ivory – exactly as shown in the above house.

 

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Painted brick, copper gutters, gas lanterns, and the iron work is painted to match the gray shutters.  Another beauty! 

 

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Painted brick, although it’s a little too yellow/creamy.  But notice the left side with the wood railing.  It looks like a room was added on the top of the sunporch of this house – exactly what you could one day!   These colors are not great – the green shades look dated with the yellow/cream brick.  IMO!

 

 

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Pretty, pretty painted brick – very true cream without yellow.  The shutters are just a bit darker.  Notice the grill work – painted the same color as the brick.  I love this look.

 

 

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Two identical houses in the same neighborhood, except one is painted brick.  Look how much fresher the house on the left looks.

 

 

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Painted taupe brick with a moss green shutter.  Very pretty.

 

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This house was updated with paint and great landscaping.  The copper awnings really add so much to the house.  Notice the bottom windows were traded out for French doors.  Lanterns.  Beautiful!

 

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Another painted brick house with new black shutters.  This wood railing above the front door looks nice in ivory.  And notice they mixed the iron railings on the railing with the wood balcony.

 

 

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Taupe painted brick with black shutters, lantern.

 

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Cream brick – shutters were removed and new French doors now replace the bottom windows.  Pretty driveway gate on the right side.

 

 

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Painted a light gray.  Notice the landscape here – I love the curved line of clipped box and the plain Versailles wood planters.  Very simple, but elegant!

 

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One last house – again, the landscaping is elegant – just groundcover and small box.  Pretty painted brick with a great lantern.  I especially love the old brick sidewalk with the steps and welcoming planter boxes!

 

 

Jennifer, thanks for sending in your question!  I hope this gives you some ideas.  Be sure to read the comments as the readers will have lots of great ideas too!!!

 

To enter a question to Dear Miss Cote de Texas – just email me at mrballbox329@aol.com

 

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And finally, did you hear that Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin just bought the Veranda House that Windsor Smith designed?!!  What a lucky girl to be living there!!

 

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I wonder who will be the designer – or will she do it herself?  I love the entry – pictured here, a long wide room with gray and white stone checkerboard floor. 

 

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And the best room - the gorgeous kitchen. Maybe one of the prettiest ever!!

 

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And looking the other way – the walls in the kitchen are either white marble or subway tile!

The great 360 tour of the house is still up – catch it before they take it down for good – HERE.

 

A JEWELRY GIVEAWAY ON COTE DE TEXAS!!!

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Today, Cote de Texas sponsor Karen Sugarman Designs is offering a fabulous giveaway.  And it all has to do with Elizabeth Taylor! Yes! Elizabeth Taylor.  But let’s start at the beginning of the story – there’s always a story.  Karen Sugarman designs one of a kind, couture jewelry – with a twist.  She’s been a long time sponsor on Cote de Texas – and I am a huge fan of her work.  I think it’s so gorgeous – and unique.  Here’s a necklace I have from Karen:

 

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It’s a beautiful piece made of freshwater pearls and stones.  I think it’s stunning.  I love my necklace so much that for Christmas, Ben and I got one for our sister-in-law:

 

 

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Shannon’s necklace is similar to this one – it’s like mine, but with darker red stones that go better with her coloring.  Beautiful, right?

 

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This antique watch on a necklace caught my eye on Karen’s web site.  I love the way she styles her designs – with d├ęcor items, like these antique books.

 

 

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I’ve always adored this one with shells and a beautiful cameo.  It would be so pretty in the summer!

 

Besides necklaces, Karen makes earrings and bracelets and she specializes in jewelry for brides.  Most of her work is custom and one of a kind.  All the pieces she has previously made for clients are shown on the web site for inspiration when designing your own piece. 

 

Recently Karen contacted me with great news about one of her new designs – her necklace was going to be in a movie!  It’s an interesting story she tells – all about Elizabeth Taylor:

 

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Elizabeth Taylor’s famous diamond ring, auctioned off at Christie’s.

 

Recently, Christie’s auctioned off the famed jewelry collection of the late actress Elizabeth Taylor.  Taylor had a love of expensive stones that was shared by her husband, actor Richard Burton.  He gifted her with stunning pieces that over time were worth a king’s ransom.  The auction took place late last year and is said to have broken all records – the final total was more than $137 million.   Three of the biggest items were gifts from Burton:  the Taj Mahal diamond (a 40th birthday gift) and the 33.19 carat diamond ring – shown above.  The pearl and diamond necklace “La Peregrina” – sold for $11.8.  Burton paid only $37,000. for it.  Amazing. 

 

 

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Just a few of her famous diamonds.  The diamond necklace was sold in 1978 to fund a hospital in Africa.  She is wearing the diamond ring, which it is said, she wore every single day.

 

 

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Not all the jewelry auctioned at Christie’s was made of diamonds.  This necklace received a lot of press because of its uniqueness and provenance and its chic look.  Called the Opera Token Necklace, this was a gift from the famous costume designer Edith Head.  Made of antique ivory opera tokens from the 18th and 19th century, the necklace was valued at $1,500 to $2,000 but was auctioned at $314,500.00!!   The tokens are made of ivory and encircled in gold.  

One person who was enraptured by the token necklace was sponsor Karen Sugarman.  She wasn’t alone – other jewelers were looking for ways to recreate this stunner – but Karen really surpassed them all with her own design:

 

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Karen Sugarman’s own Ivory Opera Token Necklace!!

AND…here is the necklace Karen is now offering for sale! DYING!!! I want one sooo badly!!  DROOL!!!!  The really neat thing about this necklace is the buyer can customize the tokens to reflect their love of operas, ballets and symphonies. The original necklace and Karen’s design features 13 tokens, BUT you can order as few as 1 token, 3 or more – (odd numbers only.)   These scrimshaw tokens are made of pre-ban ivory and are hand lettered.

 

The back of the necklace shows the seat and box numbers.

 

 

You can choose from one, three, or more tokens – 13 is the maximum.  I wonder if you could order this in a bracelet size?  It would make such a cute charm bracelet too.

 

 

Karen made this special necklace for her mother in law for Mother’s Day.  It was customized with her beloved Boston Symphony Orchestra on it.

Now, the story gets even more exciting for Karen! 

Her husband’s cousin is directing the Lifetime Movie “Liz and Dick” starring Lindsey Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor and Grant Bowler as Richard Burton.  Since Karen had just completed the famous Elizabeth Taylor Ivory Token Necklace, the director showed it to the Costume Designer, Salvador Perez who chose to put it in the movie!   Karen was told there were 66 costume changes in the movie, so, it’s always possible the necklace will end up on the cutting room floor but – Karen is thrilled just for the chance.

 

 

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Liz and Dick is being filmed now, and here is Lindsey Lohan dressed up as Elizabeth.  The resemblance is striking for a red haired girl with freckles!  She really has channeled the actress.

 

 

Here, the two stars of Liz and Dick recreate a famous photograph of the two lovers.  Lohan really looks exactly like Elizabeth here!

 

 

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Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell head over heels in love while filming the movie Cleopatra.  Both were married to others and their romance was a major Hollywood scandal.  The movie Liz and Dick will recreate their passionate affair. 

 

 

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This photograph taken of the couple kissing was what alerted the world to their love affair.  Today, few stories match this one for the paparazzi storm it created.

 

 

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The couple were madly in love and unable to stay apart, despite both being married to others.  Eventually they wed and their marriage lasted 10 years, but broke up due to Burton’s alcoholism.  They reconciled a year later and married again - which lasted only one year.  After their second divorce, Burton was quoted as saying:  'If I live to be a hundred, I'll always love that woman.'   So romantic!!!   He doted on Elizabeth, buying her the famous jewels and even a yacht, The Kalizma – named after their three daughters – Richard’s Kate, Elizabeth’s Liza, and Maria, the adopted daughter of Richard and Elizabeth. 

 

 

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Here in the movie Liz and Dick, Lohan recreates famous scenes aboard the Kalizma.

 

 

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Filming is taking place on this yacht – a look alike of the vintage Kalizma. 

 

 

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Here, the actors act out a heated argument on the movie set of the Kalizma.

 

 

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The actual yacht – the Kalizma, a beautiful vintage boat built in 1907.  Gorgeous.  Can you imagine owning this????     Burton bought it mainly so that they could bring their dogs to Europe and not have to worry about the strict quarantine laws.  Today, the yacht has been renovated and looks different with an additional center story added.

 

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The lovers sailing on the Kalizma.

 

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The boat was later sold to a billionaire who spent three years renovating it.

 

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Look at the portals on the left.   The wood is incredible.

 

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Dining Room, before the renovation.

 

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Notice the carved wood at the back corners.

 

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Charming porcelain sink in this cabin.  Notice the carved headboard.

 

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Before the latest renovation.

 

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Today, the Kalizma is known as My Kalizma and has been totally updated and restored.   There is even a hot tub on the boat.

 

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Same dining room chairs. 

 

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That carpet????  Oh well.  My Kalizma is available for rent – but you have to be Oprah to afford it!  Still, I love the romance of the vintage yacht and I can’t wait to see “Liz and Dick” to see how they portray the inside of the cabins.

 

 

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I tried to find a picture of Lohan in costume wearing the Karen Sugarman’s Ivory Opera Token necklace, but no luck yet.   There are only a few photographs of Lohan in costume that have been released, so hopefully she’ll be wearing it one scene.

 

Hellebores Necklace (Flora Collection) - Freshwater Pearls, Prasiolite, Kyanite and Quartz with Green Tourmaline Crystal Pendant

Another necklace from Karen Sugarman Designs web site.

 

In honor of Karen's stunning new Ivory Token necklace, Karen Sugarman is offering a giveaway for Cote de Texas readers!

GIVEAWAY:

The giveaway is a $250 gift certificate for use of any item on her web site or towards a custom design piece.  In order to enter – you  must first go to Karen Sugarman Design’s web site – look around and come back here to comment and tell me what your favorite piece is.  Be sure to look under the Past Jewelry Designs to see even more pictures of custom pieces.  The web site is HERE.

Besides leaving the comment of your favorite design, if you are a member of Facebook, please visit her Facebook page and “Like” it.  HERE.

 

The contest runs until Friday night at 11:59 pm. 

Remember – to enter: visit the Karen Sugarman web site and leave a comment telling me your favorite design.  And “Like” her Facebook page.  That’s it!

Good luck!!!!

A huge thank you to Karen for this most generous giveaway.

Now I’m going to go BEG Ben to buy me that Ivory Token necklace!!!!!  He probably won’t!!