Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Renovation Update #7 - Baseboard Back

Well, all good things must come to an end and sadly, I could not get Cheryl to do another post for me this week, but she will come back after she finishes up her spring "to do" list.  I want to thank you all for making her feel welcome here on my blog.  Cheryl, I am humbly in your debt for giving my readers something more interesting to read about than paint drying for the last several weeks.  You are a dear friend and I thank you from the bottom of my paint splattered heart!
Speaking of paint drying....
We made a decision to put new baseboard and trim in the house.  I opted for pre-primed pine trim because I just can't look at another can of primer.  Of course, I still had to paint that trim white.  All 700 feet of it.  Two coats.  Ugh.  But, there is an easy way to do it and I'm happy to share it with you.
Set up 4 saw horses (2 left and 2 right) in the biggest space you have.  Stack your trim on one open end.  Pick up one 14 foot piece of trim and walk it to the end and paint it.  Now you are working in a U-shaped area in between your saw horses and your painted boards.
Repeat, repeat, repeat for hours.  Reverse the process for the second coat.  Until you've painted 700 ft. of baseboard and trim, two coats.  Repeat until it's dark and you have a serious case of baseboard back from bending over that trim and reaching left and right as far as you can.  Baseboard back will help you forget about your roller shoulders and your ladder legs that you developed from painting all of those rooms and ceilings.
I got my counter tops installed and my sink and faucet put in....
I tried really hard to find a faucet that was a little more low-profile and wouldn't stick way up into that pass-through.  I still am not loving that pass through.  Do you think I ever will?
The sink is the original one.  I just polished it up a little with some Barkeepers Friend.  It did an amazing job.  My friend Suzan, at Simply Suzan (who is not a barkeeper) just did a post about polishing stainless with baby oil.  I haven't tried it yet, but I will.  You can read about it HERE
Also this week, I bit the bullet and made a final decision on my kitchen wall tile. 
I went with white subway tile and some marble trim tile.  It will be put up next week.  My floors go in Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and I cannot wait!
Well, that's pretty much the update for this week.  I'm off to St. Louis today with my aunt for a doctor's appointment, lunch and a trip to Penzeys Spices.  I love that store! 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheryl Butts In: Pt. 4 - Hope SPRINGs Eternal

"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation. 
----Sinclair Lewis

At the risk of sounding cliché, I am celebrating the (almost) arrival of spring.  

I know that you in the southern climes will begin to post your fabulous first-buds-of-spring photos very soon, and I wanted to offer up my experiences also.  So, this Sunday morning I dressed up the dog and we strolled about the neighborhood, capturing the images that sum up the wonderful phenomena that is ‘almost spring’. 

This is the flower bed that runs alongside my front sidewalk.  Isn’t it beautiful?
The grass has that brownish tone that can only be accomplished by being suffocated with the weight of snow for at least 700 days.  Maybe 800. 
This is my view as I maneuver the dog along the welcoming sidewalks:

And this is the view after locating that last piece of remaining black ice on said sidewalk:

But we found many delights, just awaiting our admiration.  The river, before the leaves block our view: 

Graffiti art:

This unit just waiting for the first actual warm (translation:  above 40°F) day to peel back its roof and take a day trip to the local wineries:

My front porch is getting a makeover next weekend, to remove the winter sentiments that were so lovingly placed there in early December, before we became Winter Zombies.

I will finally be able to put these away:
(Danni isn’t the only one with hoseable shoes. These actually need a good hosing.)

It’s not to say that during winter we are zombies every single day.   The best party I ever attended was held at an “ice fishing festival”, in a beer tent, in Michigan, in January.  
I purchased the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy in the fall to occupy us on that ‘quiet winter day’.  I did not experience a ‘quiet winter day’, those are fictional in my world.  However, we did get this built, to facilitate the absolutely necessary new semi-ginormous tv:

Fact:  most professionally built entertainment centers hold an extraordinary amount of VHS tapes, DVD’s, and CD’s. It all gets so comfy and tucked away that it is not until you build one with more visible storage options that all those forms of media must be reviewed for purging.  I can tell you with absolute honesty that a half dozen of my ‘quiet winter days’ were spent sorting through all of that to determine what got the boot.  Ex-haus-ting.
The first warm days of the year spark a natural response in pets to DROP ALL YOUR FUR, RIGHT NOW!  I will be spending a lot of time with the Dyson in the coming weeks.  Like their human counterparts, pets get cranky from their winter incarceration.   Today’s view, around the water cooler:
(That ain’t a display of tolerance.) 
It’s only a matter of weeks until I can enjoy a vision like this in my backyard:

My hat is off to Danni, my hostess, who spent most of her winter doing manual labor to make a house into a home.  Rock on, Danni & Sam (and, of course, Suzan & John in Montreal as well as Andi and Phil in Illinois).  Thanks again for letting me share.  




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Renovation Update #6 - Ladder Legs and Roller Shoulders

My deadline has come and gone, so I just made myself a new one.  My friend Judy is coming on the 10th of April and if I have nothing else but  a couple of beds and a coffee maker in this house, we're staying there.  
So, some good stuff happened this week and I'm a happy girl.  I got my utility sink in the 1/2 bath.  I know I will use the heck out of this.  It's considered a mini utility tub, but it holds a 5 gal. bucket.  Why did I stick it in the 1/2 bath instead of the laundry room?  I have other plans for the extra space in the laundry room and I figure only Sam and I will use this bathroom that is just off of the garage.  Jacob is enamored with the pullout sprayer and has aimed it at me several times with a devilish twinkle in his eye.   
Most of my lighting is in...which makes painting much easier.  Sam and I both find it increasingly frustrating that you cannot paint out a shadow.  My pendant over the sink is my favorite and it may be the saving grace of that pass-through that I still don't love.

You'll be happy to know that I got that horrid peach paint re-tinted to the shade of tannish/beige that I wanted.  I painted an accent wall in a color that is kind of a brownish rust that I love...but more on that another time.
I was surprised that many of you didn't know you could get paint re-tinted.  In fact, you can even get old paint re-tinted.  Mark (yes, I'm on a first name basis with my paint guy) even told me to bring in any leftover paint and he would re-tint it to whatever color I desired.  Music to a crafters ears!  Keep in mind...a dark color cannot be tinted lighter.  A good paint guy can show you the possibilities.
The vanity in the master bath is primed and ready for paint as soon as the tile backsplash gets grouted.  Sam picked out the mirror and the lighting all by himself.  I think he did a great job.  Maybe next time I'll take a picture with the lights off so you can actually see how pretty they are.
Some grey happened on my kitchen wall.  It's dark, but my table that goes along side this wall is white and it's going to be perfect.
Most exciting of all to me is that my counter tops finally arrived...late on Friday of course, so they won't be installed until maybe Wednesday.  I know they look a little busy, but they are the only busy thing happening in this kitchen.  Everything else is relatively calm.  I took this picture late in the day when they were unloading them, so it's a bit shadowy.
What's left at this point?  Kitchen tile behind my counters and painting those cabinets.  (I'll admit I'm terrified to do it, which is why they look like this right now...just waiting for paint.)

My flooring is scheduled to be installed on the 31st, 1st and 2nd.  It's killer stuff...coastal cypress for the living room, hall, craft room and master bath.  Grey barn wood-ish Aqua-click for the kitchen, laundry and 1/2 bath.  Carpet for the remaining bedrooms and office.  The only floor that is not being replaced is the family room, which I may regret, but the money-bleeding must stop somewhere.
Some new doors have been ordered and should be in this week.  Finally, trim, which goes down after the floors are installed.  
Mostly I am so very happy to not be painting walls anymore.  I have had a serious case of "ladder legs" and Sam is suffering from "roller shoulders".  If you've ever painted a whole house, you know what these afflictions are.
On a completely different note.  My sister-in-law's goat had a baby last week.  So very cute...
And...last, but certainly not least...I managed to convince Cheryl to take pity on me and write another post, so please come back for yet another installation of "Cheryl Butts In" tomorrow.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

CHERYL BUTTS IN: What We Collect - Part 3

Cheryl in Wisconsin, once again.  I am posting about things I am drawn to.  Heavy metal, old house parts, and finally this – faces.  I love things with faces on them.  I don’t know why.  Someday I will get "past life regression hypnosis" and that may answer a multitude of questions.
This is the fireplace surround that I wrote about in Post 1.  The fact that it had this lion’s face on it made it that much more attractive to me.
Also from Post 1.  These are ornamental metal pieces I obtained because of their faces.

Purchased new from Marshall’s.  This guy has a tealight candle holder in his palm.  Love it!

This purple head was someone’s high school art project I found at a garage sale for a quarter.  The zeal I displayed in locating it caused some anxiety for the dude running the till at said sale.  I promptly brought it home and placed it in my garden when my nephew announced that it appears I have a small child buried up to their neck in my flowers.  Oh well.

Randall Wolff is an artist currently living in Iowa that, as a young adult, was fascinated by the ornamental pieces on the exteriors of buildings in New York City as they were being razed.  Randall was able to save a lot of those pieces and ultimately has casted them for reproduction.  This is my only piece I have purchased from him (for now), it is the head of a gargoyle from an elementary school.  It is said that gargoyles on the exterior of a building can scare away evil spirits.  Perhaps my ‘faces’ are what aid in the calmness of my home.  

I found this poster at a local thrift store, of all places.  Kismet!  It is titled The Faces of Fourth Avenue and has photographs of faces found on the exteriors of beautiful buildings along Fourth Avenue in Pittsburgh.  You all may recognize the Kool-Aid pitcher, I modified it a bit.  “Cheryl displays her Kool-Aid pitcher as art.”
On a final note:  You may see from these posts that my color palette is very monotone and minimal.  That is by choice.  Some people find it boring, I find it serene and restful.  Perhaps that explains my lack of ambition, my house just mellows me out…          It hasn’t always been this way.  When I lived in Chicago in the 90’s I was enchanted by the homes there – done up in wild wall colors, fabulous colorful advertising posters, spotlighting.  I carried that design with me when I moved back here, to Podunk.  After a while my interior design style evolved to the monochromatic.  I do have one room though that I allowed to maintain color – my back porch, which I have designated as my ‘craft room’.  It is where my friends and I unsuccessfully attempt to cut wine bottles in half, etc.  You may notice a tendency towards cobalt blue.
(Bliss, please note Jar of Doorknobs.  Friends:  Why do you have those?  Me:  Because I can.)

Thanks for allowing me to share these ramblings.  Danni, you are a gracious hostess.  I will put all you bloggers back where you belong – on the pedestal I have placed you upon.  And I will return to snarky commenter status.

I would like to thank Cheryl for giving me a break and taking over my blog in such a fabulous way.  She can "butt in" here anytime!  I really hope she starts her own blog soon and we can see more of her awesomeness as well as enjoy her sense of humor!  (Cheryl, you can have a blog AND be a snarky commenter you know.)

Monday, March 10, 2014

RENOVATION UPDATE #5 - Fail...and Fun

So....this happened.....
I could doctor this picture and make it clearer, but I can barely stand to look at it that long and it wouldn't make it any better.  Yeah...that is supposed to be a tan-ish color.  Um, no.  It is peach-ish.  It is ugly.  It will be gone today.  Just as soon as I go get another 4 gallons of something else.  To be fair, it wasn't that far off from the sample.  Sometimes it's hard to know what a whole wall of something will look like until you start painting.  On the other hand, I walked in the door and Sam was mixing it up and I stopped in my tracks. Neither of us liked it, and yet, I said, "Let's slap some up on the wall and see if it darkens as it dries."  Ugh.  If I had opened a can at the paint store, I would have instantly changed my mind, thus saving me the trip to town today.  But no....I dropped off my paint list that consisted of, as my friend Kirby would say, "skeighty-eight" gallons of paint for the guy to mix up, and took advantage of the fact that I was in town and went to lunch instead.  I came back by, picked up my paint and went about my business like nothing was wrong, completely unaware that I had this peach disaster sitting amongst the other gallons of paint....until yesterday.  Ugh.  Lesson learned...Open the paint up and look at it!!!
Fortunately, this also happened this weekend.....
I needed a day out.  A day away from renovation madness.  I called my friend Ciree and turns out, she was needing a day out as well.  We are famous for our marathon shopping and lunch excursions.  We've been practicing for twenty-something years.  How could you not love a friend who will try on a silly hat and stick her tongue out at you?
She is also very accommodating when I say, "Ciree, I want to make some word art in this style.  Will you hold this up so I can take a picture of it?"

If there was a sign that said, "no pictures", I ignored it didn't see it.  I made a few purchases and even got something on clearance to do an Easter/Spring project, because I have all kinds of spare time to craft...LOL!  Anyway, it was nice to get out and go somewhere besides the Home Depot or Lowes.  I never find fun stuff to take pictures of in those places.  You'd think for the money I'm giving them these days, they would have a craft aisle just for me.
So...I'm off to the paint store to get new paint today and see if they can re-tint that peachy disaster to some colors I can use in my crafting projects later.  Wednesday, Cheryl will be back for her final installment of "Cheryl Butts In", unless she takes pity on me because I'm so far behind and will do a few more posts.  Thank you all again for making her feel so welcome here!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Since I am still elbow deep in painting at my new house, I'm happy to turn my blog over to my friend Cheryl for another round of "Cheryl Butts In".

It is me, Cheryl in Wisconsin again.  If you’re reading this, Danni has not changed her identity and e-mail address to avoid me yet.

In my first post, I discussed the stuff we connect with, stuff that defines our style and makes us feel as one with our homes.  For me, primarily, it is heavy metal.  Secondly, it is architectural salvage, or as I affectionately refer to it:  Old House Parts.

My house is just one big Old House Part.  Built in 1901 as a Victorian bungalow, it was more of a worker bee house among some multi-story beauties in my neighborhood.  Some of the homes here have been beautifully preserved in their original state.  Some of them have been updated with uncharacteristic materials, now simplistic shells of their former glory.

Luckily for me, my home has most of its original character.  When I got it, it had a new veneer of vinyl siding (great for insulation and low maintenance), and new aluminum storm windows (don’t have to change out the storms/screens each season change), but the interior windows remain, the beautiful wraparound front porch is still intact, I have all the original oak bullseye woodwork (painted white), and save for a back porch addition that allows me to access my basement without going outside, and the addition of a bathroom, it has the original floorplan.

This wall is in my dining room.  The shelf brackets are from the exterior of the house across the alley, they swapped them out for ones made out of composite materials.  I took the old ones off their hands and went to town with a heat gun removing years of leaded paint.  Fun times.  The bottom piece is from a ????, I bought it at a barn sale.  It matches the newel post sitting next to it, I got that at a garage sale.  If I was ambitious I would work these into some actual structure.  My routine is to bring it in and display it like art.  It is art.

This pediment could have once topped a stately mansion’s front door.  Now it hangs above my china cabinet, highlighting my crooked lampshade. 

This is a wall in my bedroom.  The piece up top is actually from a NEW piece of furniture that fell apart before it was purchased by anyone.  I painted it and beat the crap out of it so that it would look old, and hung it on the wall.  The joke-of-a-closet (tiny!) had no door so I cannibalized a storm door and used the center section to hang there.  (Yes, people of 1901 didn’t have a lot of clothes but didn’t women wear those huge hoop skirt ensembles?  Where did they hang them up?  Did they just wear the same one every day?  I digress…) That is my baptismal gown on the wall.  My friend Karen is freaked out by it every time she sees it, so I leave it there.  For fun.  I don’t know what else to do with it.  My cats won’t wear it.

I used old gingerbread pieces instead of a curtain in the window above my kitchen sink.  Yes, that is the neighbor’s house.  We’re all just one big happy squashed together family here.

I stuck a piece of old tin on the wall I like to splatter grease on.  The lamp is an old industrial type.  It was made by Pitner Arc, a company that was instrumental in the oil to electrical conversion for lighting.  I had it rewired.

A door handle, beautiful enough in its workmanship to hang on a small wall, no door opening required.

Old house parts used to create a focal point at the end of my fenced in backyard.  I WISH MY BACKYARD LOOKED LIKE THIS RIGHT NOW.  If we looked at this view today, it is white.  Just white.  Looking forward to spring!!!!

Old door, old window boxes, old spindles.  New herb garden.  This is right outside my back door, very handy for when you need a handful of basil, etc.   Just not in the winter. 

Thanks again for letting me share.  Thanks again to Danni!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

RENOVATION UPDATE #4.....There is paint.

Before I give you a brief latest update on my renovation, I would like to thank all of you for making my friend Cheryl in Wisconsin feel welcome here on my blog.  You guys are the best! I know she responded to every comment and if you didn't see your response, you should go back and take a look.  She's so funny and she had a blast doing it.  She'll be back for another round of "Cheryl Butts In" tomorrow.
Meanwhile...on Mark Street, paint is finally happening.  Whew..I am so sick of primer...15 gallons of it, that getting some paint on the walls was nirvana.  Of course, now I'm getting tired of painting.
Remember my dream bathroom picture?  This one...
Well, I'm getting there.  I painted my ceiling that beautiful blue, my walls are now white and a light/exhaust fan is installed.  My flush mounted medicine cabinets are in and  the lights above are wired, but not installed.  I also have my light above my shower in.  Grout will be happening this week and then the sinks and toilet will be set.  
I have to tell you, when Sam was painting that ceiling I kept hearing a lot of "Oh gee"...and "Oh I don't know about this".  I finally put down my paint brush and went to look.  When I turned the corner and saw that blue ceiling, I just fell in love!  This is my first time ever painting blue in a room and I loved it so much that I painted my bedroom that color too.
It's kind of freaking Sam out, but yet, he paints on singing cheerfully.  I told him, "If the color makes you sing while you paint, how can it be bad?"  The color appears a little more pale in the bedroom because it's such a big room.  I did leave one accent wall white.  All of the trim and the walk-in closet will be white as well.
Because I loved this color so much, I also added one accent blue wall in my craft room.  I'm kind of excited about this because I was having a terrible time picking a color for it and just went with white. (I'm such a safety girl.)  A little bit of that blue will surely inspire me to be a crafting genius, right?
Okay, I have to stop with the blue.  Even I know that.  It's possible that I was so sick of primer that I got a little too excited with an actual color.  Everything else up to this point has been painted white.  Yeah..painting white after 2 weeks of painting primer is hardly exciting.  I painted my laundry room white, figuring I could choose a clever accent color through accessories.
I did the same thing with the 1/2 bath there behind the laundry room.  I envision myself making all of these wonderful colored accessories in my new craft room.  Oh, and Sam had a pretty good idea for that 1/2 bath.  He wanted to put a utility sink in there instead of a regular sink and vanity.  Since it's off of the garage and we are probably the only ones who will use it,  I thought it was a great idea.  I ordered this one from Amazon before he changed his mind.  I also ordered a faucet with a pull out sprayer.  I know I'll be so glad we did it, even if it's a little unconventional.  Surely I can cute up the front of it with some awesome decal or stencil, don't you think?
The family room also got white paint...because I still can't figure out what color I want in there and I've used enough blue.  I want an accent color on the wall that has the pass through, but at the moment, I'm white it is.
Oh and remember this pink room from hell???
Yeah.  Several coats of primer and a couple of coats of paint later and it's also white.  Big surprise. (What is wrong with me?) I kind of want to paint another accent wall, but can you have too many accent walls in a house?  Somebody please answer that question for me.  Jacob wanted the room to be red. I just can't do it.  Not even an accent wall.  I can maybe do a red plaid bedspread and a few red accessories, but I do NOT like red at all. (He's 6 and I think this is the second time I've had to tell him "no".)  Right now, he's just happy that it's not pink and there is no longer a toilet sitting in the middle of his room.
So...we are done painting white...and blue.  Next time, a little update on the living room.  Think Brown Sugar.  The grey and white kitchen will apparently be last as my custom counter is still not in.  I did stop by yesterday to check on it.  They were closed due to icy weather, however, I got excited when I noticed the pallets that counters are packed in sitting in their back lot.  Oh yeah...they are huge.  I have a plan for mine already.  (See?  That blue accent wall in my white craft room has already improved my mojo!)
Well, that's all for now, except I'll remind you again that Cheryl will be back with another fabulous post tomorrow.  Want a sneak peak??