Monday, February 25, 2008

Someone had a worse Monday than me...

First, a progress report - then a story.

Progress has been slow with me taking it easy on the back, but we're moving forward. Ken has made excellent progress patching & fixing up the plaster in the hall, which was half in perfect shape, half in terrible shape. So we used our technique (from the Nash book, see booklist to the right) that we posted here to go from this:

to this:

And the walls are just about done. Some ceiling patching to do, just a bit of final sanding/filling on the trim (yes, the paint stripping is OVER! officially!), and then on to paint & stain. That's the home stretch.

So, what's the story? Well, today is Monday, and what a Monday it was. You know, one of those days when people call every time you step out of the office, when red tape for a tiny task turns into a huge process, and when you find out you do indeed have to work next week when you wanted to take a vacation.

BUT, our Monday blues were probably nothing compared to the woman we saw in the grocery store today. As usual, Ken scoped all the lines to see which one looked like the quickest checkout while I waited in a fairly short line, so we would be assured a quick checkout. He motioned to come over to his line, and when I got there, he was turned backwards to the checkout person, and was barely keeping in a laugh. I looked to see what was up, and there it was...the person in front of us (a woman wearing 'Rex-Kwan-Do' style pants and a puffy satin jacket - had loaded up on the conveyor the following items:
  • A 30-pack of Busch Light cans
  • A plush, red pillow shaped like lips (a-la the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers album cover) that said "Love Stinks" in embroidery across the front (try pulling THAT off in a bungalow!)
  • And she was waiting for the manager to get her 2 packs of Marlboro 100s.
Classic. What a grocery order (and image). We cracked up the whole time. I think she probably had a crappier day than us. As we watched her load her treasure into the trunk of a cab out front (face piercings glinting in the sun), suddenly Monday was over.

PS, some incredibly tacky chairs just came on the the Antiques Roadshow - is anybody seeing these chairs made out of steer horns & hide? Umm, wow! OK, who's going to be the first to tell me not to mess with Texas?

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Back in action

I'm feeling better, so it was time to make forward progress on something. (I'm not good at sitting around, in case you didn't notice). Luckily Ken is going to move the hallway project forward this weekend with some plastering, but everything I need to do in there is back-unfriendly. So, something gentler to do....some upholstery facelifts!

Ken gave me this gorgeous (but needing work) rocking chair a couple of birthdays ago...

It's not labeled or marked, but if anyone out there is an arts & crafts furniture aficionado, this looks like the same chair as show in American Bungalow, No. 48, Winter 2005, on p. 2 and on p. 78 - if anyone knows the designer/craftsman, I'd love to hear more.

Now, everyone LOVES the chair (guests go right to it automatically, and I recently found out Eddy sleeps in it all day. It was pretty funny, he forgot I was here with the sore back and I totally surprised him when I started giggling watching him clamber up into it). I love the leather seat, but it's pretty badly torn, and eventually when I get the chair redone, I'll get new leather - but not yet. And, the chair really needed a footstool for maximum comfort. So, I found this fairly ugly stool to go with the chair...

So now you're asking, why would one get this particular stool? It is pretty tacky looking, what with the fuzzy fabric and tassels and all. Well, there were at least 3 things I like about it: first, it's the right size & shape & style. Second, it has a stretcher partway down the legs, which I like the look of (so did Stickley) and which makes it sturdy. Third, it has a very charming inscription underneath, written on what look like parts of an old wooden crate that was used as the base for the upholstery:

You'll note a couple of cool things about the signature. It's dated Dec. 24, 1921. So that was XMas eve - so this was probably a Christmas gift, which of course makes it a bit magical. Second, the builders initials were GWB. Ahem, who else's initials are GWB? The guy who'll be out of office in less than a year? Couldn't resist that little tongue-in-cheek bit of humor. And finally, it seems to say "Age 14" under the initials - how cool is it that a 14-year-old made this on XMas eve in 1921? How many 14 year olds know how to make a mortise and tenon nowadays? Sold, for a bargain price even.

Off to get some fabric (one of the very few ventures out this week besides the chiropractor). It took way too long. How come when you're not looking for fabric, you see hundreds of awesome ones, but when you are there to buy, none are quite right? I wanted something with some more brown, but no dice. Since it was all half off, and since this is a temporary fix until I someday get both pieces redone in leather (mmm, leather...supple leather), I picked one with the right colors and that wouldn't stand out too much in the room. It was hard to tear myself away from a vivid red Morris-style huge print, but that would have been too much.

Pulled out all the tacks and tassels (looking better already, though the top is too low for the uprights)...

Side note: Isn't it amazing how much good you can do just by REMOVING CRAP? It's like in the movie The Birdcage: Don't add, just subtract. Good advice, and our general approach with the whole house.

And then I added a layer of foam to fix the somewhat out-of-proportion height of the top. Then cut the fabric & stapled it on. Et voila! Better than it was, that's for sure. I hope GWB digs it.

I wasn't planning on doing the chair but I had exactly enough fabric left to do it, so what the heck. I really love the leather - I think that phrase has been a key part of my vocab that since the 80s - but the two pieces really should be a bit more unified, especially since they have different finishes on the wood parts. Here they are together, lookin' fine for a $12 makeover:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One giant leap for Beaglekind

A beagle won the Westminster Dog Show, and Eddy is insisting that I give him props!

He is cute, though not as cute as Ed. I wonder if he snores as loudly as Eddy?

Congratulations, Uno!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Minor setback

And we mean setBACK. My back has some sort of a messed up ligament, according to the good ol' doctor. Not from anything specific, it's just irritated with any number of insults. So, I have to lay low for a while. And though the paint stripping is tantalizingly close to being done, no progress till I'm fixed (which should be soon now that we know what's up and have a doctor working on it all week!). However, Ken has fixed a large section of wall where the previous owner appeared to have just smeared some joint compound and maybe a tiny bit of paper across the partially broken out lath. Amazingly nobody had fallen through the totally un-structural wall, tumbling to their death down the chimney chase. Now it's a real wall! That's a before-after photo montage below. A bit of our fancy JC + sand trick to make it look like plaster, and we'll be ready to paint (oh, and then paint stripping too).

So, less progress working on house = more progress shopping for house, right? Those who can't do, shop. Fortunately, I had to be in Portland recently and stopped by the Portland Architectural Salvage, in their new location. The store is restorer's heaven. There are SO MANY drawers full of doorknobs, pulls, hinges, etc. AND a whole downstairs full of windows, moulding, railing, doors...I'm hyperventilating. Heather knew just what I was looking for and we quickly rounded up a mission-style doorknocker in antique brass that's small enough to fit on our front door. Score! It's missing its little strike plate, but having noticed that a lot of doorknockers are using clavos, it's off to Van Dykes to find the perfect decorative nail. By the way, free shipping right now from Van Dykes if you order >$25. And I get to raid my vintage baby food jar containing my fiercely-guarded stash of oval head vintage brass screws (from a variety of yard sales) to attach it to the door. Sweet!

Second, thank goodness for JC Penney, where you can still custom-order shades to 1/8th of an inch, including good old roller shades, the only kind I can deal with. I mean, what's with all the chains, strings, pulleys and what not? Roller shades=clean and easy. We got a cut-to-width one in sage green (it arrived within 48 hours of ordering, which was awesome) for $15 (it was on sale, it looks not to be now!), and it's light-filtering fabric so the hallway is very bright. I have vague recollections of going with mom to get roller shades and having them cut in the store, not sure which store but apparently the process stuck in my head! Now bear in mind that I HATE window treatments, so it's saying something when one makes me happy - heck, it's even saying something when one makes me not want to barf. Also sweet!

Third, in hopes of a better back soon, I got a couple of decent paintbrushes for cutting in in the hall. We totally trashed all our brushes in the kitchen project, with the gazillion things we had to paint, and because we used some strong paint types that weren't water soluble. They needed to go after the kitchen got done. Those paintbrushes can stare at me all week & be motivation.

OK, back to the heat pad. Don't worry Mom & Dad, it's no biggie and the doctors are taking good care!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


In a Google search for photos of "Bungalow Gardens", this little gem came up.

That's right folks, a vacation rental in the lovely Phuket region of Thailand. I'm ready to Phuket, how about you? I was going to strip some paint tonight, but Phuket. We have to measure our house for my landscaping class this weekend, but heck. Phuket. We are SO going there asap. Phuket!

Here's more info about Phuket, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Phuket (Thai: ภูเก็ต, IPA: [pʰu:ket]; formerly known as Tha-Laang or Talang) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phang Nga and Krabi, but as Phuket is an island there are no land boundaries. The island is served by Phuket International Airport, located in the north of the island.

What better place to Phuket all than an island. And there's an airport too, so you can Phucket and fly away.

And anyways, what the hell looks like a Bungalow Garden on this picture? Oh, I get it, it's a real bungalow (that the Arts & Crafts ones are named after), and it has a lovely garden where you can Phuket with a Mai Tai or whatever. Yum.

Oh, and it has a masseuse too, at a bargain price:
Garden Cottage has own traditional Thai Massage 8 Euro/hour.

We're definitely going to Phuket now.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stud finder for plaster & lath

We got one of the new stud finders that can search through plaster & lath and it finds metal (as well as electrical, copper, etc.) in the wall. So, much to our delight, it finds the nail lines along lath so you can locate a stud in old plaster & lath walls. Yay!

It's also fun to play with, and even finds titanium. Ken demonstrates: