Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Funky, spooky pix

Hey all - the other night was the closest the moon will be this year, it's the hunter's moon, and it was awesome here up north. After walking the dog, and fueled by a couple of beers, we decided it would be cool to take pictures of the moon and the house. So we got the camera and ran the battery out taking pix with every possible camera setting. Note: beers + manual settings on camera = not the least shaky camera-holding ability in the world. (Later found out that my camera charger is missing, so these will be the last pictures until I find it or get a new one. Which is sad because we just put up a bunch of kitchen trim. Oh well, you'll just have to use your imaginations.)

Anyways, here are two of the better ones:

On this second one, note that all of the lights inside and outside the house are energy-efficient CFLs, which are really great for energy conservation. And cheap to run. And cool-burning, so you don't have to worry about the house burning down (as long as you have newer wiring, right?). May we point out that they do NOT give off a cold blue light if you pick your paint colors properly? Our house glows with a warm tone, and it looks fab. Just remember to RECYCLE your fluorescent bulbs properly - they contain mercury, which should NOT, repeat, should NOT be put in the trash.

Speaking of spooky, tomorrow is Halloween, which is amazingly huge in our neighborhood. The porch is great for distributing (and eating) candy, and we'll try to squeeze a photo or two out of the poor camera, and get you some details.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New acquisitions

It's birthday season, which means new stuff. Plus we've had some successful trips to the antique store circuit. Here's an update on what's new, mostly kitchen but some elsewhere.

First, an unexpected purchase - we had wanted a proper arts & crafts style sideboard for the dining room, but it seemed a pipe dream because even the 'needing lots of work' ones were out of our miniscule price range. Then one day, at a local favorite shop - there it was. The perfect buffet. Good style, nice size, great finish, almost all original - so the price was right. Someone had already stripped the paint and re-finished it to the dark oak it probably was, so no paint stripping (always a plus). They also replace a small piece of the door that must have been damaged? Sadly also removing one of the old locks, but oh well. The worst thing they did was to put all new, totally inappropriate hardware on, including screwing new overlay hinges right to the faces of the doors. Argh - nasty! These little imperfections increased our bartering power, and we got it for a song. The mirror - all original to the piece - is stamped 1908 on the back, and beveled, and in great shape. It has a neat label on the back noting that they used some patented toilet hinges (!) to keep the top fastened to the base. Very cool. And we promptly ordered proper hardware from Lee Valley and an ebay seller making reproductions. What a difference hardware makes, once again. Love it!

Then as a gift we received the awesome 2007 edition Teco vase on top of the sideboard - they're making them again! Check it out at: http://www.prairie-arts.com/teco.html. Perfect on the buffet. I'm working on embroidering a runner, since I couldnt' find one I liked. Good winter project.

Then, on a birthday road trip, I headed out to our favorite salvage place, which we always seem to miss before they close for winter. Amazingly, they had oak cabinet doors in just the size we need for the over-microwave cabinet. We just needed one, and at $16, I didn't even haggle. They also had a vase for $2 that turns out to be a Jonathan Adler "Abacus" (in Jade), it has a chip but who cares - it looks great on our high kitchen shelf. Amazingly, I remembered the name from an American Bungalow article pointing out someone's interesting pottery grouping. Always a sucker for midcentury modern, I must have committed it to memory. Score!
(I love how the photo below says 'DONE' on the wall. I didn't even notice till I just downloaded the pictures. I don't remember what we were noting - maybe electrical? Now that wall is definitely NOT done and needs beadboard. Also, note to self, we realized NEVER EVER to use sharpie to write notes on walls. Silly us. Takes extra paint to cover sharpie.)

Our downtown antique shop (the one with coffee and pastries!) had their anniversary sale, so we took the easy road and bought (as opposed to built) a corner shelf for the desk area. Its victorian/possible Eastlake, but simple and handmade for those styles, and it looks fab.

And finally - poppies. Went to Mainely Pottery and browsed for a while, and found this great tile which pretty much finished out the desk area in the kitchen. Love it, and it's locally made.

That's it for acquisitions - the budget is gone and birthdays are over. Now we're back to painting trim and finishing out the kitchen details.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kitchen shelves: check!

We finished the kitchen shelves & put our dishes & other kitchen stuff away today. The dining room is officially free of kitchen stuff! Here's a shot of the shelf brackets (see post below about the shelf design):

... and here are the finished shelves, almost full of stuff. There's now an additional basket on the left, bottom to hold the travel mugs, which there's just no rational way to store. Basket seems to work great so far.

What a difference having everything back within arm's reach. And the dishes - oh, how we missed eating off real plates!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday find: the comforting sound of silence

OK, we're trying out two things here - first, this Friday Find thing that's a Houseblogger initiative. Read about it here.

Second, our first attempt to upload a video. You tube, here we come! (just kidding, we have our hands full as it is).

So, here's the story of this clock in the video.

We found it at a local antique store (I know, not in the house but we've blogged plenty about house finds). They were using it in the coffee shop part of the store, and I guess it was time to sell it. It was right up front, staring at us as if it needed a new home, and it was only $18 (that's oddly the price we've paid for a lot of items. Seems to be a lucky number). And they said it worked because they'd been using it. It had me at 'hello' anyways - it's red! Our kitchen remodel plans were just waiting for a cool clock like this to take center stage.

Two cool things about the old clock (which appears to be from the 50s, and all original).

1. If the power goes out, it has a mechanical device in it that causes a red piece of paper (?) to spin around and so when you get home and think the times looks screwy, you know there was a power outage because there's a red dot at the top of the face. Way cool. Who needs little red light bulbs, anyways?

2. The clock makes an amazingly comforting chugging sound when it's plugged in. You can hear the gears working - nice, steady, and even. Sometimes it seems louder, sometimes softer, but if you get home from work early, all the windows are shut because it just got a bit of fall chill in the air, and it's dead silent at home, you can hear the comforting 'i think i can' of the clock from anywhere in the kitchen (or adjacent rooms). Also, when you first come downstairs for the weekend coffee and few minutes before you start doing things, there's the clock, chugging away in the silence, making just enough white noise to keep your brain quiet for a few minutes. We love this clock!

If you sit quietly, I hope you can hear it in the video.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Building open shelving for the kitchen

Long time, no blog. Suffice to say, we've been busy. But we're back in action & still plugging away at the kitchen shelves. Which led us to recall that when we started planning the shelves, we couldn't find any info telling us how to do it. I'm sure pro carpenters know, be we didn't. We deduced how it might be done from the many photos we have of open shelves in bungalows. A key component of our design is that we wanted the brackets to be spaced evenly, not at the sometimes random places where studs are. So the following illustration shows our design, that works with that constraint. Enjoy! Comments welcome...

1. After cutting and sanding everything, you need to notch the brackets to fit the cleat.

2. Pilot drill and screw the brackets onto the cleat. Note – things are upside down and backwards at this point.

3. At this point, we painted the bracket-cleat assemblies and the shelves.

4. Here’s where this starts making sense: because the brackets are acting as braces against the wall, they don’t necessarily have to be screwed to the wall. So you didn’t have to make sure you were spacing them out to match existing studs – you could space them evenly.

So now you need to attach the cleat part of the assembly to the studs at the height you want – you have to be sure to hit studs if you want the shelves to stay attached! You can also screw through the brackets into the wall if you think you need to.

5. Last step: screw the shelf down to the cleat-bracket assembly. Then just fill all your screw holes, touch up with paint, and you’re done.