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The danger of fixing one thing up…

22 May

… is that all the other stuff around it looks shabby.

I’m finding my living room sort of dark and gloomy now that the adjoining dining room is bright and carpeted. So I’m thinking of re-arranging some existing furniture (heavy lifting anyone?) and painting the walls a light blush color. I’m eyeballing Martha Stewart’s “Nasturtium Pink” which looks (from the 1 cm square sample in her color book) to be a dusky pink with just a bit of orange. I wonder what painting over the dark red walls will do to it? Undoubtedly it will require a gazillion coats.

Here are some images of the color: (the office, not the dining room)



Happy chair

5 Sep

Ever since I got rid of that enormous sectional couch in the living room (parlor, PARLOR), I’ve been on the lookout for a chair. While the new-to-me leather couch is very comfortable, it would be nice for guests to sit somewhere. I looked high and I looked low. I bid $25 on a chair on ebay and lost by a buck. Finally, yesterday, I found a lovely green velvet chair at Savers for…. $14.99. I thought it was also half-price, but no such luck. The chair is very popular with quadrupeds and bipeds alike. That big bleached-out area where one rests one’s head is much less pronounced in person. Previous owner must have been a bottle blonde! It’s quite lovely, quite sturdy, and quite comfy, and just the right size — the room feels complete now, and not cramped.

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Claudette (aka Braveheart) was the first to leap up on the new chair and have a wash and a nap. Jerome and Skunkie were napping on the couch together and the flash of the camera must have awakened Skunkie from her deep sleep, so as soon as Claudette decamped, she climbed up on the new chair. Not one to be left alone, Jerome soon explored the back of the chair, but quickly got bored and left Skunkie there to sleep in peace (with her cleverly elevated snout, easing her megaesophagus).

Done, done, and done

28 Aug

Pocket doors — done. Phew! What a difference it makes to have them nicely and neatly wood again instead of that hideous white paint. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might have been in a lovely wooden state prior to the previous owner (who was a realtor) putting the house up for sale — I think she may have had a “paint it white” frenzy to prepare it for sale. Sigh. Best not to even think about that.

The important thing is that they’re done; they look great, and I can cross that off my project list (this gives me immense satisfaction). And here’s how the two rooms look with the doors open, and in case we’ve forgotten…. here’s where we started:

Pocket doors — finished on living room side (yay!)

27 Aug

So here’s my proven Gudenov paint removal method for doors:

1) Scrape off as much as possible with a heat gun and metal putty knife
2) Use Peel-Away 7 to remove remaining paint and varnish — this is especially helpful on molding and curvy carvy bits.
3) Wipe everything down with mineral spirits, using steel wool
3.5) If you’re really nit-picky, you can also wipe down with denatured alcohol
4) Use dental picks and sand paper to get up any other resistant areas
5) Give up on getting the corners of molding totally clear of paint

I’ve tried so many different methods, but that seems to be the best — fastest, least amount of muscle power, and with dramatic results.

I’ve now put one coat of stain and one coat of wipe-on poly on the living room side, and I think that’s how they’re going to stay. When they’re totally dry (next weekend), I’ll polish them with Burt’s Furniture Polish.

And now, to the dining room!

Pocket doors round two

25 Aug

I remembered why I was dreading doing these. The dust, ugh. It gets everywhere, including up my snout, even though I’m wearing a mask. I look like I have a deep mahogany tan, too. It’s such a mess. But the end is nigh.

I gave up on these doors last fall (early November) when I ran out of personal steam and also needed to turn on the steam heat. I’ve been working like a dog all summer (not my dog, whose idea of work is choosing which couch she’ll sleep upon, but like a busy dog, maybe one that works on a farm or teaches English), but have this week off-ish. I did prep work yesterday (napping was involved), but have been uncharacteristically industrious today, completing the final sanding of the dining room side of the doors. This just as the power sander bit the dust, as it were.

So am going to explore chemical stripper in the basement for the parlor/living room side of the doors. It’s too much for my feeble arms to sand by hand without the electric sanding guy. I’m hoping to get them both in their barest state today and start the staining process tomorrow. I’d like them done by September 1. They look pretty fab, if I do say so myself. And they’re going to be AMAZING once they’re all stained and sealed.

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Little tiny project

23 Aug

I have a stereo cabinet in the living room that has great sentimental value to me. It was my parents’ and I can remember pulling record albums out to play and sing along to when I was a kid. The records are gone, the record player is gone, but the little blue cabinet remains.

In an attempt to bring it up to 20th century standards (21st would be al di la’ for me), I knocked some of the album separators out and put my CD holder in there. It was sort of unsightly. I kept thinking I’d put a curtain in there, but never got around to it…. until today.

Got some great marked-down fabric at Osgood’s ($6.00), a piece of fabulous pom-pom fringe — without which no project should be — ($6.00 with more left over for cat toys), a wooden dowel and two cup hooks ($1.98), so let’s call it $15.00 with tax and driving time. It took about half an hour to drill the holes, get the cat to press the wrinkles out, do the sewing and hot glue gun the pom-poms to the top. Et voila’ — a rather elegant way to hide my unsightly (and protruding) CDs. Yay!!!

You may note that there is a big empty area in the living room. I’ve got my eyes peeled for an inexpensive (ideally, free) chair that I can reupholster in a wonderful flamestitch fabric upon which I have my eye on ebay. Nature hates a vacuum.

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Couch coup, too

11 Aug

I found another fabulous couch on Craigslist. Oh, Craigslist, I love you and your wonderful finds!

This is a leather couch circa 1958 from the now-defunct but once famous (and unknown to me) Paine’s Furniture of Boston. The fellow I bought it from said it had been his parents’ couch and the kids were forbidden to jump on it upon pain of banishment. It’s in remarkable condition for its age, and is sooooooo comfortable. Like the Henrendon one, this quality couch makes its superiority known upon first sit.

It’s an olivish-brownish color, but the flash and the dark living room make it hard to get a true color. I got rid of the microfiber sectional I’d had in there, and the room feels ten times bigger. Moved some rugs around too.

The couch gets the “Good Skunksleeping Seal of Approval” (TM).