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.
Fabric and liner from Osgood’s
First panel up. Inspector Walter.
Fabric next to wall. Cute!
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.
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.
Shelf and hooks galore.
Drawer of built-in dresser.
There’s still some removing to do.
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?
1973 Newspaper from drawer
Cartoon about the Middle East during the 1973 gas crisis
On Sunday, I opened up two floors of my house for a fundraiser Holiday Home Tour for the Springfield Preservation Trust. This was the reason I was furiously painting and cleaning for the past fortnight or so. I had alternating feelings of panic (I don’t have enough decorations! Everyone’s going to think my hallways are ghastly) and resignation (eh, ornaments shornaments, halls, schmalls).
In the end, all was well (as it always is, as Julian of Norwich was fond of saying). The people on the tour were extremely nice and appreciative of our (there were six homes on the tour) opening our places up. When the president of the Trust came by, I said to him “Well, this is the understated version of Christmas decor,” (mind you, dear reader, this is the most my house has EVER been done up for Christmas and I borrowed quite a few decorations). He replied, “Well, it’s a continuum of ornament on this tour.” Ha ha! Some of the places had a chicken in every pot and a tree in every room. I love my crooked old tree and my vintage ornaments, and it’s a delight to have a clean house and a freshly painted kitchen, so I’m considering the tour a win-win.
Front door: wreaths, ribbons, and garlands
Living room: Tree and nativity
Dining room: Ornaments on twigs (a big hit with tourgoers)
Kitchen: little tiny tree, vintage stockings
Coat closet: two golden deers
Entry way: faux and real flowers, tiny little deer
Office: twinkly lights and peacock ornamentation
I did the final bit of heat gun paint stripping to the pocket doors today, and cleaned ’em up and put ’em back in the wall. I have to say that they slide in their pockets much more easily now that all that paint is off ’em. They must have been precision manufactured and didn’t allow for those extra millimeters of space (Springfield, Mass, of course, was the center of precision manufacturing and machining back in the 19th century b/c of all the talent that came from the Armory).
I’m not going to sand them this year. I will look forward to that project once heating season is over (April 1, 2011, barring sub-zero April days). So it’s all cleaned up and nice and tidy in the living room (parlor — must call it parlor), and dining room. And it’s waaaaarrrrmmmm. How nice to have heat! It was getting ridiculously cold in here.
I’d like to note that I’m typing this post wearing my new bi-focals. I picked them up today. The youth at the opticians advised me not to do “anything crazy like rushing up stairs” while my aged eyes get accustomed to them. I’m looking forward to the moment (youth says in a week or so) when the blurry line between the two realms of near and distant vision disappears.
I have decided that I will now answer “over 40” to the question of my age for the rest of my life. I like to think that I look young for my age right now (though the bi-focals will just kill that foolish notion). I keep hearing the optometrist saying “well, you’re over 40 now, and your eyes are turning into marbles. There’s no avoiding reading glasses. Your eyes will just continue to decline.” On behalf of me and my marbles, thanks. So now, “over 40” may elicit the odd surprised reaction. But as time goes on, when I’m really extremely over 40 (God willing), it may elicit the odd bemused reaction (say, when I’m 80). It’s a long pay-off for a joke, but what else have I got to do?
While the electricians were busy installing the new lights and taking down the mammoth front hall chandelier (that I need to bring to be re-wired and give a proper cleaning to), I was busy heat-gunning the last section of pocket door.
Last door heat gunned.
I still have to do the second round on the bottom, but tomorrow’s another day.
Here’s the chandelier awaiting re-wiring:
And this is the spacial hole left behind:
But the inspiration I had was to fish out the super heavy duty curtains I’d made several years ago for the downstairs front door (out of school uniform fabric that cost about 99 cents a yard on sale at the late lamented Hancock Fabrics) and use them in the kitchen. The orange velvet wasn’t working for me, and after spending all that money on the electricians and new eyeglasses, I didn’t fancy buying a bunch of fabric and insulation and making new drapes.
I think these plaid blue ones have a nice Yankee feel to them, and they’ll look quite dapper indeed with the black ceiling that is to come. I felt absence of draft as soon as I put them up. Three cheers for the brain restoration powers of varnish fumes — hip hip.. gaaarrarra…………
This represents four hours of work with the heat gun and scraper:
Still to come: all over sanding and chemical stripper for the molding — about two more hours of work time and at least 30-60 minutes of wait time while the chemical does its thing. Plus if I’m going to be good about it, another round of sanding.
So I’m going to call it eight hours of removal per side of each door, making it 32 hours of removal, plus a couple hours total of staining and oiling or polyeurathaning. 35 total? So if one were to pay a skilled professional, one might want to think about the time involved. Though a skilled pro might have all sorts of other tricks and techniques to make it go a lot faster.
And how much paint was removed in those four hours of heat gun stripping? Voici:
It doesn’t seem like much in the photo, but it seems like a LOT here on the ground. Well gang, there ain’t no stoppin’ me now. I’m on the move. I’m going to get the rest of the heat gun work done on Friday and Saturday and Sunday’s going to be my big sand-a-thon and stripeze-fun house (it’s also Halloween).
And then…. they’ll be so close to done. It’s taken me almost nine years, but I’m finally tackling them. woohoo.
It was warm today. I didn’t feel like doing the paper-work type things I need to do. So despite (maybe not despite, maybe due to) a little fever I’ve had for a few days, I decided to start in on the paint removal from the pocket doors in the living room.
This is about an hour and a half’s work:
I’m hoping to (at least) finish the heat gun portion of that one door today. Aiming to have them both heat-gunned by the end of the day on Saturday, and then go out and get a better sander with a better dust collecting mechanism on Sunday and sand ’em up for Halloween. We’ll see.