Thursday, October 8, 2015

Interesting Reuses for Lath

Since our local landfill won't take plaster and lath, we have been exploring alternate ways to dispose of it. My original plan was to simply burn the lath, but I have since found some possibly better ways to use the lath.

Funnily, I didn't actually remember that this trash can I bought a couple years ago was made from lath. I think I'll run some of the pieces through our planer and see how they look.

Another imaginative use is where you simply glue the strips together along the wide sides.

There is actually a company in Seattle that makes a business of selling furniture made from reclaimed lath. This looks like a very interesting idea. I wonder if I'll ever get bored enough to start gluing lath together. LOL

There are some seriously cool projects made from salvaged lath. I'm quite sure I'm not this ambitious.

This one looks to be more within our skill set.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Period Book: Distinctive Homes of Moderate Cost (1910)

I found another chapter on portiéres (room door curtains), and, as usual, I am sharing it. Who knows if anyone is interested in this besides me, but at least it makes it convenient for me to access the information. LOL  This is a word-for-word transcription of the chapter.

The book is called Distinctive Homes of Moderate Cost and was written by Henry H. Saylor, ed. and published in 1910. If you'd like to see the original text, you can download it here at Internet Archive.



There seems to be a sad lack of originality in the hangings one sees today. It is nearly always the same old velour or the same old rep, guiltless of any relieving color in the way of an edging or an appliqué design. Why not get some distinction into these important elements of home decoration?

After all, the portières in a home are just as important factors contributing to the success or failure of the whole as are the wall covering or rugs. Because they occupy less area than the things we put upon the walls or floors, they are only too frequently passed over without their due of consideration. Their importance and value in carrying out a comprehensive scheme of decoration in color and design is something that may well be reckoned with.

It should be understood at the outset that in the short space allotted to this section it is quite impossible to cover the whole subject of portières. It goes without saying that the designs illustrated here would be utterly incongruous in an Empire drawing-room, for example. In rooms, also, in which other French or Georgian period styles have been carried out in the architectural details and in the furniture, the hangings should, as a matter of course, be along the same lines. There are many beautiful fabrics from which to choose portières for rooms furnished in period styles—and at prices to suit everyone; velours, linen, upholsterers’ velvets, self-crinkled tapestries, brocades, corded silks, goat's hair, Armures, figured tapestries—each of which may be found the one suitable material for a certain purpose.

It is for the everyday American living-room, den, library, or hall, however, that the designs here shown  would solve the problem of hangings—rooms where no period style has been permitted to assume its jealous reign, but where the furnishings are of the simple, unassuming character that marks modern American work of the best type. In such a room the note of individuality and distinction that any of these designs strike will be a welcome and unobstrusive one.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Obsessive Stencil Research

I got obsessed with consolidating stencil research in a new page in the right column, called Reproduction Stencils. I've found some good sources of period stencils and I thought it would help inform others' stencil purchases if folks could associate a design with a particular period. I will continue to make updates as I find more catalogs and more modern stencil sources. If you guys know of any I missed, I'm grateful for the information.
Alabastine Stencil Catalog, 1899 and c.1920
This will also help me make decisions about what stencils I will make. It's way past time I get my stencil cutting technology up and running.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

1920s Stencil Designs

I found another stencil catalog, but this one dates from 1924. A bit late for my decor purposes, but I know some of you might be interested in the designs available. Stencilling was still pretty popular in the 20s. Anyway, the stencil catalog is "Excelsior" Fresco Stencils particularly adapted for House Decoration, Churches, Lodge Rooms, Halls, Theatres, etc.  by George E. Watson Co. Again, I recognized several of the designs as being commercially available. In fact, finding this stencil catalog was like hitting a jackpot of currently available stencil designs. I was pretty excited. (How sad is that? LOL)

I'll definitely be putting a page break in this post, because it's going to be LONG!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Period Book: Art and Economy in Home Decoration (1908)

One of the things I like to cover in my blog are topics that are only rarely covered elsewhere (perhaps for good reason LOL). In my recent book downloading efforts, I found one with a chapter on portiéres (room door curtains), so I thought I would do a blog post to convey the information they provided. This is a word-for-word transcription of the chapter.

The book is called Art and Economy in Home Decoration and was written by Mabel Tuke Priestman and published in 1908. If you'd like to see the original text, you can download it here at Internet Archive.


IN many country homes curtains that suggest the modern trend of thought would be out of harmony with their surroundings. If a parlor is furnished in Empire style, what could be more incongruous than hangings of coarse canvas, ornamented with art-nouveau designs? The curtains must be in harmony in tone and design with the Empire period, and would need to be made of rich-looking materials, overtopped with the fitted valance ornamented with Empire designs.

Georgian and French styles must be treated with the same restraint, if the rooms are to be faithfully carried out in any one period, and the curtains must conform to the general style of the room.

In going into houses of well-to-do people, it is surprising to find that draperies that have been made by reliable firms have lost their shape and sag. This should not happen, and would not if sufficient care had been taken when the curtains were made. When they are laid out on the cutting table the interlining must be sewed or basted to the material, so that when in place the curtains keep their shape. Sometimes the bastings are caught only here and there, and after a while they give way: the result is a sagging, lumpy-looking curtain. If the curtains had been made properly in the beginning this trouble would have been avoided.

The draperies of a room should always harmonize with the walls, but should be stronger and richer in tone. Hanging in soft, straight folds, they soften the hard lines and add much to the beauty and dignity of a well-planned room. In providing portières for a double door, the portière can be made by lining or sewing two separate materials so as to form one curtain. The curtain itself will look well, but either one side or the other of the opening will show a blank space of woodwork; also when the sliding doors are closed, one room will be without its portières.

The most usual way is to make the portières to suit each room, the lining of one matching the front of the opposite portière. It is best to use sateen as a lining, as this is made in a wide range of colors. Wherever possible, the lining should match the curtain, but if the heavy curtains at a window are hung wide enough to come in front of the cream or white curtain, and will be seen through the sheer curtains from the outside, then they must be lined with cream. To my mind curtains lined with the same shade are much more attractive than those lined with white or cream, but they should not be more than twenty-four inches wide when pleated up, and not be brought forward to go in front of the window.

An abomination constantly seen is a pair of heavy curtains meeting in the middle of a window and then held tightly back by a cord or band. They give a feeling of uneasiness to those who appreciate the fitness of things, and are in themselves a contradiction. Why hang them forward if you want them back? The same fault may often be seen in sash curtains. They are hung on a rod at the top and bottom of a window, and then a foolish white band or cord holds them back in the middle.