Tuesday, March 25, 2008


"Nobody does oaky anymore", said a woman quoted in last month's This Old House magazine. She was commenting on how fantastic it was to be surrounded by the warm wood tones she had recently brought out in her nice craftsman home. I hear that! We've become addicted to 'oaky', probably a common addiction with all you other bungalow-ers out there.

So we couldn't resist this giant, glass-door enclosed, display cabinet type thingy when we saw it a year or more ago at a local antique shop that was going out of business (actually, consolidating into the new one across the river). We got a deal on it at the closeout sale, thinking we might use it in the kitchen, but we were really just obsessed with the pretty gorgeous ray & flake we saw in the more than 1" thick boards.

Well, it sat it in the basement, waiting its turn, and though it didn't end up in the kitchen, we recently realized it would be great in the hallway - so we started a-fixin' it up.

The back is made up of antique crate boards, which are no flimsy things - these are at least 1/2" thick boards! And there are great old ads on the back - what the heck was an 'Apollo Chocolate'?! Sounds like something I need to try.

We cleaned it up, put in some handy concealed roto hinges (see leevalley.com) in place of the cut off nails they used as pins, and added this gorgeous brass latch given to us by our friend Heather - which is absolutely perfect on it, and covers an old hole in the door. Thanks Heather!!!

Later I'll put up a fabric backdrop and we'll figure out some shelves. But it's just so nice to have 'oaky' to look at every day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

RIP, you've served us well

What is there to say? The heat gun gave out in the midst of stripping the last 5 boards in the hall. Among his great triumphs were the living room, dining room (including built-in), kitchen, two bathrooms, and most of the hallway. He even went on a trip to try some trip in a 1700s house. He didn't talk about it much, so I guess what happens in the colonial stays in the colonial. I guess thinking about all that work on the second story proved too much for him. In the words of Ned Flanders, 'God speed, little doodle'. We'll always remember your contributions, worth so much more than the $25 we paid for you.

And we have a Lowe's in town now, so we used the opportunity to make a run there and buy a new heat gun (so shiny and clean!). It's exactly 6 minutes from the house (~5 miles) and there's only 1 traffic light, so it beats HD in the convenience department. It's a bit too new and clean for me though - I like a dirty old hardware store best. Plywood floor preferable, teeny drawers full of hardware a must. Thus we usually shop the locals, unless they don't have something (like heat guns).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

More work, less blogging!

We're a bit delayed in posting, but we got a ton of work done on the hallway over the last week. And you're not the boss of me, anyways :) We had a couple days off PLUS an unexpected weekend with no plans, so we had nice long chunks of time to finish the plaster, prep all the trim, paint, stain, and oil - and voila - we are almost done - yes DONE - with the hallway. We have some trim to create and we're literally finished with it. So - here's the update - with before & after photos.

Let's see - where to begin - there are 2 major sections, the stairway (part of the living room) and the upstairs hall. The project turned out to be bigger than we perhaps thought (a LOT of wall area!), but it was so incredibly inexpensive compared to that pesky kitchen. I think we probably only spent like $100, just on paint and some supplies like rags & gloves. Now that we have an arsenal of tools & supplies, things just keep getting cheaper & cheaper. Thank goodness!

So, stairway. Here's the before, when we were thinking of buying the house (what did we see in it, again? Sometimes I can't believe we saw through the vinyl and green brain rug. Also, isn't it a tripping hazard to put a chair in front of the stairs?)

Here's how it sat for about 2-1/2 years, between the living room and now.

We didn't entirely realize how much it was detracting from the living room until 2 days ago, when it looked like this (note open drawer with take out menus, obviously it was a long day & required food delivery!):

Major changes happened at the top of the stairs, where the door to an old closet used to be. The closet is now our shower, and the door is now downstairs, the door to our half bath.

So, just wall now - but a looker nonetheless.

And going upstairs, this was a huge difference. Before, evil wallpaper and green brain carpet:

The hallway is so bright now, and clean! The poor upstairs part has been used a staging area for the bathroom, tile storage and cutting, ripped apart for wiring, and home base for insulation. Thus, it was in pretty rough shape with an array of patches and problems:

Time to bring it back to a nice, open space, like this:

And that's all for this week - more next week, when we take a stab at some of those last details...