Archive | April, 2010

Green fatigue

30 Apr

To whom it may concern:
(cc: LonnyMag et al.)

I am so sick of interior design stuff that’s featured as “green” or “eco” or what-the-hell-ever. No more jute! No more articles about low-voc paint! No more wasted glossy pages (printed with soy ink) of energy star dishwashers! BASTA!!!!

I daresay that we all know all there is to know about sustainable wood bowls made by indigenous people whose island is about to be reclaimed by the sea. Can you stop with the preaching and simply give us some nice photos of rooms and stuff we didn’t know we wanted until we saw it?

A little slice of old New York

26 Apr

I went to NYC for the day on Saturday. Thanks to the Icelandic volcano, I saw the Magna Carta at the Morgan, along with a reproduction of the hours of Catherine of Cleves; David Mamet’s “Race” which left me with lots to think about; brushed past the naked people at MoMA to visit the Henri Cartier-Bresson show; and stumbled upon a very colorful Sikh Day parade.

But the only thing I took a phone-photo of was this:

Old water tower on building

Old water tower on building

A very old wooden water tower on top of a building. I believe this is the type of thing that lived on top of my house once upon a time feeding water to bath and kitchen. It’s rather fascinating to see such an old contraption (made of wood no less) that has survived the vagaries of time, weather, and fashion in the Big Apple. It’s on Fifth Ave near 33rd St.

Demonic possession

26 Apr

So there I was, happily finishing the first round of sanding the beadboard in my bathroom… ready to clean things up, put things away for a bit, and live a life free of power tools and lead-filled dust. And then I thought I’d have a go at the window sill. The paint was so lumpy, I thought to myself, “Self, just take the paint off the sill. It will look so nice without those lumps.” So I did.

Then I looked at the window itself and thought, “Self, that paint is in bad shape. Let’s see what the wood’s like underneath it.” So I did.

Then, as if possessed by a devil — or possibly with my brain function greatly diminished by intense lead paint poisoning — my hand and the heat gun in it made its way over to the window frame. Oh yes, I thought to myself, “Self — don’t bleeepin’ do it! It’s too much work! STOP!” But…. I did it.

So now I’m committed to removing all the paint around the window, which will likely lead to the same around the real door and the door to nowhere. Why didn’t I leave well enough alone? I blame some sort of devil. Blasted devil!

But the wood will look LOVELY once it’s all sanded and repainted. I found detail I never knew existed under all those layers of paint.

Project without end.

More wood photos

19 Apr

It was very easy to remove the radiator — just two twists with the trusty plumbing wrench. I had hoped to finish the wood stripping and sanding this weekend, but the peel away in the grooves is still to wet to sand, so maybe tomorrow.

The wood looks fabulous. I think there is more of this wide beadboard behind some narrower beadboard behind the sink. If so, I’ll be curious to see if it’s in good condition. Fingers crossed….

The plan is going according to plan!

17 Apr

Ha! as the Car Talk guys say. I had a workman in today who said I could indeed move the mysterious slab of beadboard that was installed in the doorway to nowhere and use it to replace the junky wall and patch up some beadboard gaps.

This workman happens to be a fellow I met though Craigslist (I have a great love of CL — I’m working five part-time jobs at the mo’ ALL of which I found on CL). He was selling an antique brass bridge mixer faucet, 11 3/4″ spread, for which I had been searching high und low, and I picked it up quite happily at his house. As we were chatting, it came out that he was working for a contractor and was laid off but doing jobs on the side. He and his family live in an old house and I saw that he’d done a lot of work around the place himself, so I asked him to give me a quote on my bathroom job (with his old faucet). Luckily for him, he’s found a job (a good sign for the rest of us, I hope), but is still doing side jobs. So he measured things up today and is going to get back to me with a quote.

I have the last batch of Peel Away 7 doing its magic on the mysterious beadboard in the doorway to nowhere right now. I hope to finish the sanding tomorrow and lay on some linseed oil and MOP THE FLOOR — it’s soooooo gross on that floor right now.

I took some photos, but my phone (which is currently serving as my camera) needs charging before I post them. I’m so glad I can have the real wood glow in there. 🙂

Plan 5.3

15 Apr

I really don’t want to paint the wood in the bathroom. It’s sooooo beautiful. So I am going to try to remove a large piece of it that was inexplicably placed inside a non-used door frame in the bathroom and substitute it for the destroyed piece. Vediamo.

In other bathroom renovation news, my inability to predict the cost of services continues apace. Had one “handyman” (unlicensed, from Craigslist) come to give a quote for some pretty basic stuff — $1600. I was thinking no way it would cost over $1000. Sometimes I wonder if people give me high quotes b/c they think my big fancy house means I’m rich (not to mention my naturally aristocratic mien). But here I was, covered in sawdust, wearing my Eric Cartman as Beefcake tee shirt and holey, paint-splattered sweatpants, limping around in my aircast for the sprained ankle, and in a room with ripped up vinyl flooring and huge cracks in the walls — no sign of elegance, and the price was still crazy high. Sigh….

So I’m going to *try* to install the tin ceiling myself, patch the plaster (have done this plenty of times before), and move around the beadboard. Found an off-license plumber who can do the rough plumbing for around $150, and now I “just” need to find a handyman who can do the tiling and un-hooking then re-hooking of the plumbing fixtures for maybe five hundred bucks. Hope springs eternal in the heart of me.


6 Apr

I’m giving up on restoring the wood in my bathroom. I spent about six years a week working on this one section, and it’s just so damaged that there’s no way to make the wood look good. Boo hoo. I really wanted the gorgeous amber glow of this wood to envelop me as I bathed, but there we are.

The new plan is to finish sanding the wood to paint-able levels (MUCH less work), and paint it a nice gray with blush walls and ceiling.

I’m trying to find a handyman to do much of the work, because I’m kind of over the whole thing. But I still ain’t got the funds to do it, so we’ll just see what happens next.