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Curtains!

11 Nov

Today was supposed to be a day of major transformations. I had a handyman coming by who was going to install the rest of that striped wallpaper on the downstairs stairwell, install a tin ceiling in the guest bathroom, and wire up the closet -> kitchenette in the guest sitting room. We’d had a date set earlier (in October), but the tin ceiling panels hadn’t arrived by then. We’d be in touch via email and phone. I was sure he’d show. He didn’t. Sigh. So back to the drawing board with finding someone.

In the meantime, I worked on sewing up some drapes for the guest sitting room. I found a very charming P. Kaufmann fabric at Osgood’s (greatest fabric store in New England, if not beyond). It features elephants and viney things and is a heavy cotton velvet. It looks pre-aged. Just the thing. Unfortunately, I under-estimated the amount of blackout fabric I’d need, so I have to go back to get more and sew up one more short central panel.

Summer curtains.

Summer curtains.

Fabric and liner from Osgood's

Fabric and liner from Osgood’s

First panel up. Inspector Walter.

First panel up. Inspector Walter.

Fabric next to wall. Cute!

Fabric next to wall. Cute!

Trying to show the (mostly) finished work.

Trying to show the (mostly) finished work.

At least I managed to get some things done, since I arranged to work from home today to be here for the no-show handyman.

Guest Sitting Room Closet + Future Kitchenette

6 Jul

Had an uncharacteristic burst of energy this morning — fueled by iced coffee and A.C. Produce‘s amazing Tiramisu. Sometime soon (or later than soon), this will become a little kitchenette space for my AirBnB guests. There’s a water hook-up in there, and I’m pretty sure there’s a drain under the floor, but it might be lead (yeah, really). I don’t think it would be a major undertaking to put a sink in there, but I’m leaning towards just moving the microwave and fridge in there and letting people get water from the bathroom. Guests stay for such a short time that going to get water down the hall doesn’t seem like a major imposition.

Water hook-up.

Water hook-up.

Shelf and hooks galore.

Shelf and hooks galore.

Drawer of built-in dresser.

Drawer of built-in dresser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There's still some removing to do.

There’s still some removing to do.

Built-in and nice (real) linoleum on top.

Built-in and nice (real) linoleum on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the closet looks empty, I basically just dragged the contents into the sitting room and piled some up in the “box room” (attic-type space). The energy burst didn’t last all that long, but there’s always tomorrow. Gotta take it slow on these hot days.

Anyway, here are some views of the 1973 Springfield Daily News that was lining one of the drawers.

Does your toupee smell?

Does your toupee smell?

1973 Newspaper from drawer

1973 Newspaper from drawer

Cartoon about the Middle East during the 1973 gas crisis

Cartoon about the Middle East during the 1973 gas crisis

The Summer of Closets has begun!

4 Jul

I’m on a limited budget this summer and am saving to try to get some storm windows installed this Fall, so I’ve decided that the interior work I can do this season is closets. There are six closets or closet-like spaces that need some attention and there’s no time like the present to do this budget-friendly work. So I started today (also because it’s a million degrees outside and it’s much nicer to be inside in the a/c than outside sweltering).

This was the guest room closet:

White walls and shelf

White walls and shelf

Cracked and junky walls

Cracked and junky walls

White walls, brown floor, Claudette is disgusted.

White walls, brown floor, Claudette is disgusted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fine, but it was pretty low-end, and clearly a neglected guest room type closet. Well, I rent my guest room out on AirBnB, so I wanted it to be a little nicer for my guests. So in keeping with the low budget theme, I rounded up the leftover paint from the ceiling (which happened to be named Baby Turtle, of all things) and got to work, under the watchful eyes of Claudette.

 

Claudette inspecting closet

Claudette inspecting closet

Closet being painted.

Closet being painted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do. I also took out a remnant of the dining room carpet and cut it to fit the floor. It looks really nice and it feels nice to walk on. The whole thing took about three hours, and it looks fantastic in there now. It’s a very nice closet, instead of an icky guest room closet.

Nicely painted, carpeted closet.

Nicely painted, carpeted closet.

Another view of the completed closet.

Another view of the completed closet.

Long view of completed closet with carpeted floor.

Long view of completed closet with carpeted floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up for this space — I need to get a threshold, a full-length mirror, some nice wooden hangers, a shade for the exposed bulb, and a fancier pull chain. And that will mean the guest bedroom will be 100% (or 150%) complete. And that will be the only room in the house that doesn’t contain some pending project that I never quite get around to doing. Janks! Well, provided I actually get the stuff listed above…

Next up in the world of closets is this monstrosity:

Guest sitting room closet

Guest sitting room closet

Guest sitting room closet close up of horror

Guest sitting room closet close up of horror

Air B+B — who knew!

5 May

I saw a link to Air B+B in an Apartment Therapy post back in March. I had never heard of it before, but thought it seemed pretty cool. I’ve been a host with US Servas for several years (an international home stay group), but hardly ever get any visitors. I love being a hostess, and I’ve really enjoyed being a host and a traveler with Servas, so I thought I’d sign up to Air B+B and see what happened. (Another difference is that I pay to be a host with Servas and get no fee from travellers, but with Air B+B, people actually pay to stay in my house — crazy!).

I got an inquiry the SAME DAY I signed up, and have had people staying with me every weekend since I joined. I’ve got someone coming soon to stay for a week while she shops at Brimfield, and I have a gal staying for nearly the whole month of June while she works on installing an art project at the Springfield Museums (next to my house). It is soooo cool! I’ve met some great people and have already made over $500. It’s crazy! I never would have thought people would pay to stay in my house!

So now I’m contemplating taking out a home equity loan to finish the house renovations quickly. I would really like to put in a guest bathroom and I think if I had things finished up, I could charge a little more (though I really don’t want to gouge people — I charge $35 a night right now, which is about what I would pay to stay in some stranger’s house and share a bath), AND this is taxable income, so I think I can write off many home improvements as business expenses. I need to talk to a tax advisor and see exactly what the deal is.

It’s just astonishing. So dear readers, if you ever want to come and stay with me and the animals, here’s my listing: http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/385702

Little project in guest room

2 Oct

The closet in my guest room doubles as a sewing center. In addition to the sewing machine and notions, there’s a bunch of fabric, off-season curtains, and slipcovers in there. And the a/c for that room.

I don’t get tons of guests, but when I do have a guest, I’d like them to be able to hang up their clothes. So I finally got around to tidying up the closet.

I found a piece of “wood” at Re-Store that fit across the closet (with a little re-engineering) as a shelf, and repurposed some plastic containers. I still have to attach the curtain rod (forgot to bring up screws and then lost interest…), but pretty soon, guests will be able to hang up their clothes, should they so desire.

Claudette’s help was invaluable in this project.

Free sink — hooray!

4 Feb

I picked up a very nice (and surprisingly heavy…) wall-mount sink today from a fellow Freecycler. It’s an American Standard and came with the faucet and hoses and stuff. Yay! Freegan bathroom fixture number two (unfortunate choice of words). Picked up a loo last month, now I “just” need a tub or shower tray — perhaps that will be March’s freegan find?

Free loo!

27 Jan

I have made a big commitment to living frugally in order to finish the home renovations and then set out on traveling the world.

To those ends, I’ve vowed to attempt to install a new guest bathroom and a little kitchenette in the guest sitting room for $1500 total. Thusly, I need to get as much free stuff as possible.

First step — a free toilet. An Episcopalian toilet for free, no less. Found it on Craigslist, it had been decommissioned from a local rectory. Picked it up with the help of Liz, my trusty companion on crazy adventures, and we hauled it up to the top floor where it will one day flush contentedly.

Am now searching for a free sink and bath/shower (fiberglass would be nice, as Liz has refused to help me carry a cast iron tub to the fourth floor. I can’t blame her).