Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another Craigslist Score!

Have we ever mentioned how much craigslist rocks?!! =)

Managed a couples scores this week. First, this Stickley Rocker. Jeff decided he wanted to trade his Bentwood oak rocker for this one. The upgrade cost a couple of hundred dollars, assuming we are successful at selling the old rocker for something close to our asking price.
Stickley Henry Ellis Oak Rocker w/Inlay
Close-up of Inlay

We also picked up a couple of Rejuvenation schoolhouse shades from someone nearby. They were the same shape as what we used in our downstairs remodel. Last month, Sharon ordered the Rejuvenation lights for the upstairs bathroom remodel because they were having their once a year 25% off sale, but didn't buy the shades because they weren't on sale. Well, we got two of the shades for 50% off!

 And just for fun, Sharon bought a bit of decor for our kitchen — a 1914 toaster! The listing claimed that it works, but I doubt we'll be using it; we may try it once. It toasts one side of the bread at a time and you have to manually flip it over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bungalow Bathroom Research

Over the long Thanksgiving holiday, Sharon made the mistake of signing onto Pinterest. Boy, was that ever a mistake—what a time sink! But, in the process of "pinning" stuff, she basically got thrown into bathroom research mode again. It's probably going to be at least a year before we get around to remodelling our upstairs bathroom, but it's still a good time to look around for inspiration for when the time comes.

Sharon found some absolutely fantastic plumbing catalogs online. The best one was the Mott's Iron Works Plumbing Fixtures catalog from 1907. It is available for free download here, at the Internet Archive. Sharon found this shower enclosure!Doesn't it look modern? This is from a 1907 bath catalog!

She also found this bathroom, in the same catalog, that has no bathtub, just a shower in the corner. It's called the "La Salle" suite.
Sharon also found a few more useful photos. This one is from a 1912 Bungalow for sale in California.
This one is from a 1910 Ward's catalog.This same catalog also included these possible floor tile mosaics. The one on the far right is very tempting.
Finally, here's my last bathroom photo for this post. The 1920 McAvity "Royal" Bath Suite. It has a separate corner shower and a bit of colored tile in the wainscoting.
Sharon's still looking around for how to tile the walls. She has resigned herself to subway tile, but we'll be trying to figure out whether we edge it with stained wood, like we did in the downstairs bathroom, or if we edge with colored tile, like this diagram, taken from the Designs in Tile website. So many fun decisions...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exciting, Wet Day

We had a LOT of rain today. The good news is, the rain gardens worked (mostly). The bad news is, the basement foundation did not. We made a bit of a mistake building those large berms in our front yard without also building up the soil level around the base of the foundation; they directed water toward the house. Combine that with the contractor sealing the hole for the new waterline with an improper insulation, and you get quite a puddle in our basement storage area. The water was literally pouring in through the hole. We probably had about a half-inch of water in this front area.

Strangely, our first thought wasn't to pull out the camera to take pictures, but to start hauling piles of boxes out of the way of destruction. These photos were taken several hours later, once the hole had been sealed with a hydrophobic seal (Hydrocrete, we think) and the water had been mostly vacuumed out of the basement.
The quarter-inch of water in the back area in the basement (outside the bathroom) was pretty much self-inflicted. The channel across the driveway really doesn't work, perhaps because of the slope. The current plan is to actually dig a trench and install a pipe that diverts the water to the backyard. That hasn't happened yet. Jeff probably has an unfun, muddy week in store.

Staging Process

The architect and kitchen designer swooped in on the house this morning with big boxes of stuff. They moved furniture around and dispersed a bunch of Japanese and southwest decor. Definitely not to our taste, but whatever they want. (It was very amusing that our kitchen designer went and bought a whole bagful of low wattage incandescent lightbulbs to temporarily replace the CFLs, because they are too bright.)

I took a few pictures following behind the photographer; these are not the "good" pictures yet.This is where all our "stuff" ended up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Staging Main Floor

Our contractor has hired a photographer to come out tomorrow and take photographs of our main floor remodel. Unfortunately, our new furniture has not yet arrived, so we'll deal with our current furniture, such as it is. We've been rearranging furniture to try and stage the rooms for tomorrow. We moved the white metal bird cage down to the basement. Sharon even went through and touched up every little mark on the walls with paint.
Sharon took a few photos with our inexpensive little camera, so the colors are not good (especially in the dining room), but we should be getting better photos from the photographer.

We still are working to clear the kitchen counters.

William Morris Repro Fabric

Just a quick note today to let folks know about a new line of William Morris reproduction cotton quilting fabric that has just been released. Barbara Brackman has another gorgeous line, called Morris & Company, and it is available as a Moda fabric.

So far, Sharon has only found it at one US online fabric store, Hancock's of Paducah, but she's sure it will pop up at more of them soon.

She needs to figure out just how much is needed for her planned master bedroom quilt project, and order a couple more large pieces (for the backing, borders, bindings, etc.).

(Yes, William Morris fabrics are from the late 1800's—about 20 years before the date of our home—but they are so recognizable and go oh so well with the Craftsman decor. Sharon probably should use the Arnold's Attic line of fabric, by Barbara Brackman, which date closer to our period, but the William Morris fabrics are just so pretty....and we already have quite a lot of pieces.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Handy Dads are Awesome!

We stripped this bedroom door in early-March and had the unwelcome surprise that one of the edges had a really bad patch. We hired a woodworker friend to remove the old strip of wood and replace it with douglas fir, which he did. But unfortunately the bad edge had the mortices for the hinges, so we couldn't hang the door without some extra work. We asked our friend to rehang the door for us, but he didn't. So this door has literally been kicking around upstairs since spring. Recently, Jeff rounded up his chisels from storage so we finally had the tools to get this tiny project finished.

Sharon's father and stepmother, Lloyd and Maxine, were passing through Portland on their way back down to California and they dropped in for a very quick overnight visit. (They've already headed out this morning for the long drive.)

Taking advantage of her father's visit, Sharon enlisted help to get two small tasks checked off our list.

The sewing room door is finally rehung! Jeff and Lloyd chiselled out the mortises for the hinges and had to fiddle a bit with alignment, but Sharon can finally close the door on her sewing room! Jeff still needs to take a belt sander to the bottom of the door because it's a bit too long to open over the rug in the room, but we're real close on this one.

Sharon also took advantage of her father's locksmith background to get some help ordering new locks for exterior doors and for new doors added in the basement during the remodel. While she had visions of pretty Emtek craftsman-styled locks like these, the inability to find matching pieces that would fit our pre-drilled doors and the high cost discouraged us from ordering them.

(Apparently about 10 years ago, it was easy to find lots of fancy hand-made options, but lock manufacturers have obviously streamlined their production to reduce costs and it's now difficult to find nice hand-crafted options anymore. And they pretty much come in one or two sizes, which works fine for new doors. We're trying to retrofit 100-year old doors. Sigh.)

So, instead we bought these very boring, but high quality, Schlage locks.

We ordered them from and got them all for quite good prices, compared to even our local big box hardware stores. We'll report back later on how the order went. Since this is actually an affiliate website to the lighting website where we bought the exterior lights, we aren't expecting any problems.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Path is Done!

While it could use some more tamping to drive more sand into the joints, the sand is so wet and clumpy that it's not really possible to finish this project completely until we have a few days of dry weather. Perhaps a couple weeks of rain will help do the job.

We therefore declare the path done enough to walk on and it should be fine until we get some dry weather.Jeff still has some more work he wants to do to shape those big dirt piles into planting beds, and there are several more plants to go into the ground, but we are mostly done with the front yard for the season.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finished Side Door

Sharon finally got around to finishing the side door...mostly. She ended up putting on three coats of varnish.

We are still messing around trying to clean the mortise lock hardware. The brass under the paint is in poor condition.

We haven't decided if we're going to replate the pieces with new brass, which adds up pretty quickly, or just clean them up and call it good. Or maybe we'll try spray painting it with Krylon metallic brass spray paint, if we can find it at the hardware store, and see how that works.

Sharon also primed the sheetrock to the right of the door and it makes a big difference in making the space look "finished." We'll finish painting the wall when we figure out what color we're painting the basement. Or maybe we'll throw on one of the upstairs colors when we start painting up there later this winter.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Backyard Habitat Certification

In August 2010, Jeff signed us up for the Audubon Society of Portland's Backyard Habitat Certification Program. But once we got planning and remodeling the house, the landscape and habitat certification project got put on the back burner. It didn't make much sense to spend effort planting plants that were just going to get damaged or destroyed during the remodel.

But now that we're back on the landscaping projects, Sharon revisited Audubon's certification requirements yesterday to see what we had left to do to qualify. Here are the requirements, lifted from their website.
Since we plan to focus on food production as much as possible, we probably won't reach the Platinum Certification level of 50% of the property being planted in natives, but we are planning to do all the rest of the requirements for Platinum Certification. It actually looks like we just need to put in bird/bat/bee houses and a water source, and we're there. And we could use some more yard cleanup to make it pretty; the huge dirt piles are not attractive.

We still have a lot more work we want to do on the yard, but likely most of it will wait until spring.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Life for Our Old Chimney

When we purchased the house last year, there was this chimney that extended all the way up through the house from the basement and quite a bit taller than the house. It was the chimney that was used for the cooking stove when the house was built in 1912. Well, we're not so strict about being "period" that we were willing to back up to a wood stove, so this chimney was superfluous. So we removed it, in order to claim the space it was occupying for the kitchen remodel.

Most of the brick went into the dumpster, unfortunately, because when the workers removed the old chimney, they simply dropped the bricks from the top down to the bottom. But we saved whatever we thought was in good enough shape to reuse. And that chimney was converted into this pile.

After many hours of cleaning and installing those bricks, that old chimney is starting a new life as our front path. We are getting really close to being done. We still have many of the odd-shaped edge pieces to cut, but we were tired, hungry and it was raining, so we decided to finish another day (hopefully tomorrow, if the weather cooperates).