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Coming soon — projects

10 Nov

A few years ago, I got a new furnace. When they installed it and removed the old cast-iron beauty that was in the basement, they broke a couple of tiles. The furnace guy (who I’ve known for ages) said his friend would come and fix the broken tiles. Earlier this year, the same furnace guy (Cosimo — he’s your guy in greater Springfield, Mass for furnace-related stuff) came and put in two new cute oil tanks to replace my dripping old one. He noticed his friend had never fixed the tiles, so the guy is coming today (I believe) to fix them. Here’s Jerome inspecting the before situation:

I’ve also gotten roped into agreed to open my house up for a Holiday Tour on December 5th. I’m taking that as the impetus to at least wallpaper this stairwell (see spackling done this morning) if not the hallway upstairs into which it opens:

I will be continuing the stripes. I just have to find one of those adjustable ladders that work on stairs.

And here’s a photo of Claudette practicing her chameleon-like camouflaging technique on her favorite couch:

You might have to look very hard to see her. She’s the big fluffy cat. But virtually indistinguishable from the couch — just much cuter!


Idle hands

28 Oct

So there I was, feeding the dog and basically minding my own business in the kitchen. I’m planning to re-paint the kitchen soon-ish. So I was kind of thinking about painting, and I noticed for the millionth time what appeared to be loose wallpaper. I thought I’d give it a little tug and see what condition the condition of the wall was in. Well… the whole strip came up and revealed not the damaged plaster that I had feared but un-sanded, un-finished bare drywall.

My assumption is this: the previous owners (who were very kind and elderly and [in my opinion] were often ripped off by less than professional workers) hired someone to fix up this one wall in the kitchen, and said someone did a crappy job and just threw up some wallpaper (or wall liner — I can’t remember if the room was painted or papered when I moved in) rather than finish the walls.

So this is actually good news for me. I was dreading that the curved exterior wall was going to need actual plaster repair, which I can do, but would rather not do. Because it’s hard. And messy. And I’m lazy, like the guys who drywalled it a dozen years ago. So when I do do that voodoo that you do so well — i.e. re-paint the kitchen — I’ll pull all this junk off, sand the drywall, maybe give it a skim coat, paint it, and then have a nice paint-able wall without all the wrinkles and buckles I’ve been looking at all these years.

Future projects

22 Jan

A few years ago, I stripped the entry doors to the living room and dining room. I ran out of steam when it came to the pocket doors and still haven’t gotten around to doing them. I hope that the summer of 2010 will be when it happens. I have plenty of time and steam right now, but can’t open the windows (due to below-freezing temps, snow, assorted other winter-related conditions).

But this side-by-side shot shows what the dining room door had looked like, and what the pocket door will look like when I get around to doing it. It’s such a big messy project, but the payoff is huge.

Dining room door (left); pocket door (right)

The other thing I’m considering in the dining room is painting the bottom part of the walls a darker color (the color of the little chair rail — a dark brown). It’s extremely light in that room in the mornings (town house, windows on two walls only, this side of the house gets sun until early afternoon), and very pleasant for breakfasts and brunches, but I do like a dark dining room at night and think it might look more “me” with the darker bottom paint. I’d welcome any input!

Powder room that roars

9 Sep

I’m not a good photographer, so please forgive the photos. I see so many photos of people’s homes on their own blogs that look tremendously crisp and amazing and professional. And then I try to do that at home and I get washed out colors from the flash, or a totally dark room with no flash… and forget about those crazy close ups other people do. Oh well!

Here are some mediocre photos of my quite fabulous powder room. This is on the ground floor (where the kitchen, home office, stripey hallway and door to the dirt-floor basement can be found). When I moved in in 2002, it was a full bath, with a pink-ish tub and shower where the washer and dryer now live. I believe it was all white (since everything in the house was all white when I bought it), but for some reason I have blocked it out of my mind.

My inspiration for this room was the brown pedestal sink ($50) and black granite floor tiles ($1.00 each) that I bought at my local Re-Store. (BTW, I’ve decide to post the costs of things, since I would want to know if I were reading this blog). Then I went brown on the walls. Brown paint, that is. And I thought I would do some sort of glazed finish. It was like sitting inside someone’s colon, and strangely unconducive to a bathroom.

So then I found some wallpaper… ooo la la — leopard and architectural froo fraas. I don’t remember the makers or the precise cost, but it was around $300. So I hired someone to do the wallpapering, which cost more than the wallpaper (around $400.) It was after that experience that I decided to learn how to wallpaper. 🙂

I wanted to hide the washer and dryer, and considered painting them in a camoflauging leopard pattern, but thought better of it and found some fabric to make drapes. I looked everywhere for a matching leopard fabric, and finally settled on this nice soft one (kind of furry, but not in a gross troll doll sort of way) at Jo-Ann’s fabric ($40.00 with a discount coupon). The ceiling curtain rod is from Ikea and cost maybe $5.00

Then I realized that the ceiling was incredibly plain (it was white — gasp!). I started wallpapering with leopard scraps, thinking I would easily buy another roll if/when I ran out. So of course I ran out and the paper was no longer available. Plan B: remove the paper, don’t bother cleaning up the glue, and paint it with gold paint resulting in an interestingly textured ceiling.


Stripey hallway — almost done!

26 Aug

Here are some views of the latest odds and ends I’ve done in the fabulous striped hallway. Got an INCREDIBLE rich teal blue silk velvet remnant at Osgood’s for $24.00 (!!!!), and have temporarily hung it with temporary clips on a rod with glass finials (Big Lots — $15.00). Also got a cool drape pulling rod (Big Lots, $5.00). Have to sew the drape up properly with hem and lining (I’m thinking shocking orange liner), and have settled on having the one drape only (since that’s all there was for the remnant and it was such a good deal).

Got a mirrored top for the table at ABC Glass ($35.00, custom cut — thank heavens I got the measurements right for once — I usually write the measurements down then mistrust what I’ve written and add a few inches to things for no reason), and will be getting same for top of armoire (in hopes of it reflecting some light into that very dark corner).

Cute little “PAID” stamp bank came from Savers (‘natch) for $3.99.

I went through FIVE paint colors and “custom blends” before I found the one that is up there now. It’s Pratt & Lambert’s “erica” (my name), so how could I resist? Plus, I like it.

Have to decide if I really want to hang the picture that’s leaning against the wall. But those are the last few things — oh, and the polka-dot lampshades. I ordered some from Lamps Plus. I hope I like them, because they were $10.00 each plus $15.00 shipping, so I’ll be out a pretty penny if I hate them and have to send them back….

Dining room — Winter 2006

21 Aug

I decided to re-do my dining room over the Christmas break of 2006. During the work, I came down with a terrible cold, but soldiered on and completed the papering and painting in about a week. The room was all white (as was everything). There had been a door on the wall opposite the fireplace that led into a small empty room (now the butler’s pantry). Having that door there made no wall large complete enough to hold a buffet (two windows on one wall, fireplace on another, and pocket doors to the living room on the third). So friends helped cover up that door (also made for much more room for cabinetry in the butler’s pantry, q.v.) in 2004 or 2005 (lost photo years, sadly).

The wall was very very bumpy where the door had been, and I knew that foil wallpaper would help disguise it. I got this fabulous wallpaper from ebay — it’s a Van Luit, Winterthur collection item. Gold foil with black and white partridges and other birds. I did a lincrusta-esque paper on the bottom, with a lincrusta chair rail. Painted the ceiling the same metallic gold (Ralph Lauren at Home Depot) as in the living room. White trim is also same from living room (also R.L. at the Depot).

Will post some more detailed/close up after photos soon.