Archive | July, 2010

New blog background

28 Jul

What do you think of this new style for the blog? It’s called “wood” from WordPress. I kind of like it. Change is good! Is the font too small to read? Not sure how to make it bigger.

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Door: the final frontier

28 Jul

The last piece of the bathroom renovation is to strip, stain, and paint various pieces of the door. And possibly cut it a bit. I started the paint stripping yesterday and it is a piece of cake, cake walk, walk in the park, easy as pie, etc. etc. compared to the beadboard. I’m planning to follow my patented paint removal method: step one — heat gun and scraper, step two — heat gun and scraper again (for varnish, casein paint, etc.), step three — peelaway 7, step four — sand paper.

I’m planning to strip the inside part of the door thoroughly and stain it to match the wood in the bathroom, and am just going to give the exterior/hallway facing side a good sand and paint it black (all the doors in the hallways will eventually be black). Am debating about removing the hinges and giving them a good polish.

In unrelated news (but near the door, outside) — what big tomato plants I have! I planted two $1.99 tomato plants in May (bought at Ocean State Job Lots, of all places) and they’re monsters! Honestly, they’re about five feet tall each and look like a hedge. And they’re producing tomatoes like crazy — the first one I had was kind of mealy, but the rest have been splendid. Such a nice treat to have a warm tomato off the vine!

Mirror in the bathroom, I just can’t stop it

26 Jul

The glass man came (AA Glass, Inc. Bloomfield, CT and Springfield, MA) and did step one of the mirror installation. It looks pretty darn fabulous. He has to come back with some special black caulk to finish the edges, and he had to special order the shelf that will sit on those old brackets (which had been in the bathroom above the old sink, under the plastic medicine cabinet, covered in white paint, and sans shelf). So he’s hoping to come in a week or so to finish it up. It makes such a difference compared to that big gaping hole — and what a great solution for that space, I am extremely pleased, though the giant life-sized version (i’m pretty giant sized these days) is a bit disconcerting. I may give myself quite a fright coming out of the bath. And now I have “Mirror in the Bathroom” stuck in my hand. Every Saturday you see me window shopping….

Escutcheon discovery

26 Jul

There was this gas pipe underneath the old wall fixture, next to the door that is becoming a mirror, in the bathroom (who swallowed a fly). I kept forgetting to knock the old paint off it (my method for removing 140 years of paint from metal is to hit it with a hammer, then do the finer work with a chisel and razor blades). So I remembered today. I gave it a couple of good whacks and found — much to my delight — that it’s a very decorative brass fixture with a charming (though slightly dented due to method above) brass escutcheon! I’ve been trying to be as delicate as I can be (which is not very) in removing the rest of the paint. What a happy urban archeological find! Yay house!

Wallpaper success!

26 Jul

Oh, the wallpaper is GORGEOUS. Slightly delicate and rippy in some places, but all overcome and just splendid!

I’m going to have to use a real camera to take photos of the bathroom when it’s all done (this week!) as the transformation is rather incredible.

Wallpaper going up

24 Jul

For years, I had planned to hang the lovely Honeybee wallpaper, by Candace Wheeler, in the bathroom. I knew I couldn’t afford it in the near future, so was saving up for it, and planned to live with the distressed walls until I could afford the paper.

My good friend Liz (rodent expert, dog whisperer, sprain diagnoser, etc. etc.) had some wallpaper she’d gotten from ebay years ago and had planned to use in a bathroom in her old house (across the street), but had later found a different paper that she preferred. She asked me to take a look at the paper, and my immediate thought was, “Stick with the Bees!”, but in the end, the paper was very nice and totally free.

She did a little research and found that it’s a Thomas Strahan paper (though not one listed as currently in production on his web site). It has pretty big flowers — poppies or chrysanthemums or zinnias or some such — on a black and gold field with vines and other flowery shapes. It’s very pretty, and extremely dark.

The paper is o.l.d. I installed Van Luit wall panels (mural) in my bedroom that were printed in 1969 and they were in better shape than this paper. So it could be pre-1970s or post-1970s but in kind of bad shape. Very delicate, and I’m a moose, so I’ve torn it in a few places.

It’s also got an interesting “double wide” match, which I think it technically called a 1/3 drop match, because it takes three strips to line the pattern up. I learned this, of course, the hard way. But I do believe I have plenty of paper to finish the room. The paper is unpasted and untrimmed (which is great on old uneven walls, as it gives a lot of room for play in the matching).

I plan to finish installation tomorrow!

Royal Tennenbaums Inspiration?

24 Jul

Just read this fascinating article about house, home, sense of self, family, historic preservation, communal living, art, and heating a big old house.

It reminded me a whole lot of the Royal Tennenbaums — another house-family set up that continues to intrigue me.