Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is there an FA?

Furniture Anonymous. I need it.

I'm apparently on my mid-winter furniture bender. I go months without doing any ebay or craigslist searches for "mission oak", and manage to stick to "just looking" at the antique stores, and then - bam! - I'm off the wagon. I just can't help it - maybe it's the whole cabin fever thing, looking at the same old stuff all the time. What is my epitaph going to say, "Here lies Sarah, who had way too many chairs"? Eek.

I think it started, this year, when we decided to move some things around to freshen up the living room. Then Ken thought we needed a side table (we lost one in the move). Enter this $16 beauty - solid oak. It needs refinishing - I can put that off till summer. We plan to get a round tile to fill in where an ashtray probably originally was.

Then I had to reupholster the footstool (last post). Here it is, with the right fabric on it, finally.

The rocking chair is next - we've had it for a long time, but I'm finally getting off my butt and writing in to American Bungalow's "Perspective on Antiques" column - which I've been meaning to do since 2006, when I saw a very similar chair in their pages. Procrastinator!

And now tonight - after an all-day meeting, I had to decompress with some shopping, so I went to one of my favorite shops and found this (mostly) solid oak mini-desk (I'm not entirely convinced that the top is solid, but the legs certainly are):

It folds, somehow, but the back stretcher is a bit confusing to me. How do I fold the legs when the stretcher connects them? Weird. A question for later, when I certainly end up stripping the paint off. Ahh - paint stripping - now that's a summer obsession.

Anyways, the more I look at this table, the more I like it - which is always a good sign. And, of course, it was not expensive - so I can justify my addiction, right? You agree with me, right?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Giving the people what they want

Last weekend my brother and his partner were up visiting. Brave souls, coming to Maine in winter. And they were punished for it - with a snowstorm on their way home. We had a great time nonetheless - us girls drank plenty of wine and the company was great!

You know how when people come over you suddenly realize all the inadequacies of all your home furnishings? Well, I noticed (and noted, aloud) that the old footstool was really needing some work.

I wondered (again, aloud) whether I should re-cane it or re-upholster. "It needs some cushion", my bro noted. So, re-upholsery it is. Sorry about the tender calves, Dave!

Today we took it mostly apart, gingerly pulled out the no-longer needed cane supports, and began the re-assembly. The problem was, Henry was extremely put out all day about it - you see, this is HIS fireside stool most of the time. And he was not happy about its disassembly. He kept checking on it and sitting on all the various parts as we worked. Oh, Henry.

We got it glued back up and added a plywood top, then I upholstered it with a bunch of remnant stuffings and battings from other chair projects. Sweet! I didn't have the right finish fabric, so here it's just a burlap liner fabric until I get to the fabric store.

Good enough for Henry for now, though. The world is right again!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Of note...

From the folks at Modern Bungalow:

Author and columnist Bruce Johnson, who is also the Director of the National Arts & Crafts conference at the Grove Park Inn (Asheville, NC), has launched a brand new web site. The site is new, but it's off to a great start and will contain a ton of useful info and references for collectors and fans of the Arts & Crafts era. Check it out at:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Most annoying project EVER!

Where to begin.

We finished the upstairs bathroom a couple of years ago. It's fabulous and we love it. But we didn't like the look of the cover over the vent fan and it didn't fit properly. After a couple of feeble attempts to find a nice, antique-looking register cover or something, we gave up. And we made the fatal mistake of saying, "someday we'll do something better up there. This (sawed-off plastic hideous thing) is good enough for now".

As you might remember, we've been hacking away at our punch list, and the time came to replace the cover. Also, Ken innocently noted one day that there seemed to be a draft coming in when the fan was off - despite there being an external hood, it gets damn cold here and there is, indeed, a tiny draft.

So he temporarily binder-clipped a piece of (not color-coordinated, by the way) fabric over the sawed-off plastic hideous cover.

Mind you, I am about 8" shorter than he is, so anytime I wanted to take a shower and he wasn't home, I had to jam all kinds of headbands and random items in there on my tippie-toes to try to tent the fabric so I could turn the fan (and light!) on.

Yup, enough of that.

Finding no local source of teak*, I ordered (online) a nice piece of teak plywood and strips of 1/2"x2" teak from which to fashion a little door that we thought we could put over the sawed-off hideous cover when not in use. The teak arrived last week, and I got to work. (We're using teak because the floor and other accessories are teak or teak-esque, plus it's insanely weatherproof.)

I mustered all the skill from a couple of DIY picture framing sessions at the frame shop (and called on Ken to help with cutting a groove in the rails), and put together the lovely little door. Got some stainless hinges and headed upstairs (with the new scaffold - it's great!) to install it.

Not so fast. So, the thing didn't fit over the sawed-off hideous plastic cover. One late-night trip to the store later, I had a brand new round, smaller metal cover. We sawed (cleanly) the very top off, to make it fit the ceiling, and the teak cover still didn't fit. Sawed more off - now it fit, but wouldn't open. Argh.

Two days later - back to the store and I found a compact, flat rectangular vent cover and - it fit! Except the hole that attaches it in the center needed to move a little bit. So I drilled that out.

And - half an hour ago and three vent covers

(plus a lot of lost patience) later, voila! A teak cover with a handy-dandy handle that short people can reach, that opens up when you're ready to take a shower and closes to prevent drafts in between.

Now that was a challenging punch list item. Glad the freakin' list is almost done (for now - it's never really done, is it?).

* The funny teak story - so I went to a big box store - I'll let you guess which one - and after looking around the hardwoods section and not finding any teak (not that I expected any), I headed to the flooring department. My thought was that if they were going to have any teak whatsoever, it might be a strip of floor I could snag.
Me: "Do you have any teak flooring?"
Associate: "Any what?"
Me: "Teak wood, you know, teak?"
Associate: "Never heard of it."
Me: "What!? Teak, T-E-A-K, you know, like they use on boats? And floors? Teak?"
Associate: "No, I've never heard of it."
Me: "Wow. Thanks...(mumbles as she walks out of the store, bewildered)".

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sale item alert: could have used this before!

I was shopping the post-holiday online sales and happened across this little bit of heaven - it's a scaffold with a tray for just a shade over $23. The extra shipping stinks, but it's still CHEAP.

And it's perfect because we cleaned the basement (again) yesterday, and I began to get some good visualization going about what we're going to do down there. And it involves painting the underside of the sub-floorboards, which would be a very, very sucky job without a scaffold like this.

That's what we consider a sign - we're on the right track with the basement plans. Now we just need to accumulate all the parts...