Friday, March 25, 2016

Living Room Rug

The Living Room rug arrived several days ago. Here is the picture from the vendor website.

But, in reality, the burgundy and green in the actual rug are darker than the picture. I'm not sure if they changed the colors, or if they just edited the photo. I don't see how they could have gotten that light green from the rug they sent. Luckily, I still like it. The tone is correct for the rest of the house colors.

The green fabric draped on the loveseat is the fabric I'm
planning to use to recover the furniture.
Now I'm just waiting for the last of my upholstery supplies to be delivered before I can get started on the furniture.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another Upholstery Project

In my search for living room upholstery fabric, I have become a fan of Palazzo Fabrics and Robert Allen Design. They both have a fantastic upholstery fabric selection and easy search tools. And, even more important, they include information about how durable a fabric is. Both sites report how many double rubs a piece of fabric can withstand before it starts to show noticeable wear.

The Robert Allen Design site caters to interior designers, but you can drop in there and find fabrics you like then do a google search on the name to find retailers selling them. I found several acceptable options. Palazzo Fabrics also has an impressive stock of heavy duty upholstery fabrics (35K+ double rubs) and they send free samples.

Anyway, the fabric I bought last time was just some random unbranded upholstery fabric I picked up from Fabric Depot. I chose it for its color palette, but I've since learned it's pretty crappy durability-wise. It's four years old and these loveseats have maybe gotten two years of regular daily use. But the fabric is stretched out, has threads pulled and is dirty. Dirty I can fix, I can't do much about the other two.

Therefore, I've decided to go ahead and replace the fabric on these couches with something darker and more durable. I wanted it to have a pattern, but read as solid from a distance. Ultimately, the pattern I chose isn't specifically period, but is similar enough to period fabrics to not scream "MODERN" and the green is a good match to the new rug.
These are some of the period prints I thought were similar.
Furnishing Fabric, 1911, England
Furnishing Fabric, 1910, England
Textile (England), ca. 1910
There are more with a similar feel, but you guys get the idea. LOL

Friday, March 18, 2016

Alex Vertikoff's Photos

In stark contrast to the ugly pictures outside, I have been given permission to share the photographs Alex Vertikoff took of our house back in July 2013. They turned out really beautiful!
I'm a little embarrassed about this one. I wasn't expecting him to include the sewing room in the background so I didn't have it totally cleaned up. The rainbow of threads is pretty though. LOL

Yard Clean Up Progress

Our yard has been an embarrassing mess for years. When we bought this house, the dirt was so full of plants and flowers, we had a hard time figuring out where to plant some irises a friend gave us. But the prolonged house remodeling/re-siding/painting and garage demo and construction, pretty much wiped many of the plants out. And the projects tended to leave behind piles of construction debris. The chickens didn't help either.

Well, this year on sunny days, Jeff, and his friend Aaron, are tackling our yard projects again.
After the guys dug down a few more inches under the pergola, they dumped in a large gravel/dirt pile that our garage rebuild contractor left in our driveway. We still need to purchase good gravel to put over this to finish the underlayment for the floor.
They hauled over all the piles of salvaged brick from the front and side of the house. We're planning to use these in the floor of the pergola.
The chicken tractor is gone and the stacks of wood we had in our driveway have been deposited in the back of the yard. We're hoping to use as much of this wood in the chicken coop construction as we can.
The chicken tractor has been given to Aaron's friend
The rabbit hutch has been pressure washed and listed on craigslist.
The bamboo root balls were too heavy to dispose of in the yard waste bin. Jeff actually had to pressure wash them to get the dirt out. It made a huge mess (including our neighbor's car -- oops). Once we get some thick black plastic, we are going to lay it down in this hole and then refill it with dirt dug out of the pergola floor. Ultimately, Jeff is planning to keep the compost bins in this area, at least for now while we continue to battle bamboo shoots.
Jeff was pretty filthy and exhausted after working in the yard all day yesterday, but I'm grateful he did it. It's starting to look much better back there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shopping Binge

It seems like all I've been doing this month is shopping, and selling stuff. I guess it's been about 3 years since my last shopping binge, so I was sort of due.

I just ordered a McCullough steam cleaner. This steam cleaner is sold by a ton of online merchants (Amazon, Home Depot, Harbor Freight) so there are a TON of reviews for it and they are generally good. I'm hoping to use it to clean up our upholstery and hopefully I'll be happy with this fabric again. I really hope it works, because the upholstery fabrics available this year are AWFUL. (If your tastes run toward mid-century modern, it's a good year to go shopping for fabrics and furniture.)

I had been planning on renting or borrowing a steam cleaner, but finally it occurred to me the dogs and mud are not going away. And the cleaner can be used to clean lots of stuff, like carpet stains, bathrooms, BBQ grills....

I also spent HOURS trying to find a damn tiny wood molding to repair our morris chair. I called our local stores and they didn't carry it so I was forced to resort to the internet. We needed half round beading (but it took me a while to figure out what it was called).
Rockler carries it, but charges $19/piece for shipping! Ouch. And, no, the stores didn't carry it and couldn't order it. I finally found it at Architectural Depot. (Thank you google images.) The molding is cheap, it's the shipping that makes it silly expensive.
This was a bad year to find tiny appliques to repair this chair. I finally settled on this small applique for the front side of the leg where the original applique broke off. This isn't a great option, but it will do for now. We will perhaps find something more appropriate later, but it will be better than the damaged look the chair is sporting now.

I've also ordered the spring units and batting for the seat cushion, so I should be able to start making that next week. I'm actually getting a little excited about FINALLY being able to enjoy this cool piece of furniture.

I already told you about the new rug. It should arrive any day now. But I've also been poking around for a coordinating rug for the dining room. At the moment, we're thinking Persian Carpet's Oak Park is the best match. The colors are similar, without being too matchy-matchy. Here they are side-by-side.
It's not in the budget yet, I have a LOT more stuff to sell, but I'll be keeping an eye out for a sale/markdown at Persian Carpet.

Anyway, I'm sick of shopping. I guess I should go work on our taxes, so I can get sick of that next.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Upholstery Research

With our super crappy weather this spring preventing further work outside and staining the bathroom windows, I think I'm ready to take on our Morris chair upholstery project.

We bought this chair nearly 4 years ago and it's too ugly in its current state to live on the main floor, so it's just been cluttering up our basement. Given how cool the carving is, that's a tragedy.

Looking back, we were way too enamored with the carvings and we spent too much money for the condition it was in. Oh well, lessons learned.

I'm quite sure this poor chair has been the victim of a bad remodel. When you take off the seat cushion you find this.
The cushion was just sitting directly on those strap springs, and the board the straps were nailed to is pulling away from the chair frame. Ugh. What a mess. I am sure the chair was not originally built like this. So, as usual, I applied myself to researching how to fix it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

New Living Room Rug

We have been having a terrible time figuring out the rug for our living room. I believe we are actually on our 4th rug (so far). We changed rugs so often, I even stopped bothering to mention it on the blog. Well, for the short version of this post, I ordered a new hand-knotted rug.
I hesitate to link this rug because then my mother will know how much I spent and I'll get a lecture. LOL
For the extended version, keep reading....

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Another Tile Rant

Sigh, Barrett Reiner from Reiner Tile & Stone is a total flake. I almost wonder if he's realized he's already screwed up so bad, he won't get a good review or reference out of it, so he just doesn't care anymore. He said he would finish framing out the shower last weekend. Well, he did actually show up, but he only stayed for a little while and he didn't finish. At some point, he just slipped out and didn't say anything to us before leaving.

Then a couple days later we get a message that he's too busy with other jobs to come out before the end of the week. Well, Friday came and went. He didn't show up and didn't message us. And here it is Saturday, and still no contact. Now I've emailed him again (he doesn't answer his cell phone). Sigh.

It's become clear to me we are absolutely his last priority. Every other customer who comes to him gets put in front of our job. When he happens to have a spare hour or two, he'll think about coming out, but the minute something comes up at home, off he goes..... So, I guess the moral of the story is get a contract with a penalty for not completing your project on a schedule.

For a nice change, I have been productive at getting stuff done this week. The last couple of days, I've been going through boxes of SCA books that haven't been unpacked since we moved here in 2010. For the most part, we are trying to sell them through our private connections on Facebook, but I do have some of the more expensive books listed on Amazon.

Update: And now it's the following Wednesday and he still ignores my attempts at communication.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Massive SCA Purge

I have to admit, it hurts a little bit
to let the stainless armor go. Jeff is
"knight" in shining armor.
Work on the house has slowed down again as I am finally motivated to work on our way overdue massive SCA purge. Jeff and I used to spend almost all our discretionary time playing in a medieval recreation group, called SCA. They were fantastic years and we had a great time.

But as we get older, we just don't much feel like doing the chore of set-up and break-down in order to spend one day playing.

But we've been clinging onto the stuff for years now, thinking and hoping we might get back into it. Well, I believe the last year we camped was 2007. It's been long enough. We want our garage space back. So, I'm in the process of sifting and itemizing all this stuff that we're trying to get rid of and taking steps to make it happen.

Honestly, what really happened is I decided I wanted to spend several thousand dollars on Arts & Crafts rugs. I cut a deal with Jeff if I sold stuff to pay for it, he'd let me buy them, so I'm willing to let this unused stuff go to help make it happen. LOL
The Wyndham
The Lasenby
Oh so many good choices, but I love the eggplant color in these.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Considering Fixture Shuffle

I am considering doing something perhaps irrational in our master bathroom remodel. I am thinking about shuffling our bathroom fixtures from one bathroom to the other. I am writing this post today hoping you guys will give me your opinion if this is just too crazy.

For background, our contractor, Craftsman Design and Renovation installed the wrong color subway tile downstairs. Yes, the wrong color tile. They were supposed to install the reproduction white (I believe it is called Avalon) but, instead, they installed gloss white.

And since we had expected to install the reproduction white tile, we ordered the St. Thomas Creations bathroom fixtures in balsa, which exactly matched the Avalon tile sample. While the color difference is not great, it is definitely there, especially on sunny days. And it bugs me. (It's hard to find a good picture that shows the color difference well.)
This is the half bathroom on the main floor. The fixtures are balsa finish, while the tile is glossy white.

Also, I bought the toilet for upstairs bathroom before I had purchased the subway tile. It is a Toto Promenade in Colonial White. It turns out, that it looks pretty good against the white subway tile, but is lighter colored than the Historic White tile we eventually ended up finding at that auction for the master bathroom.
This is the Toto Promenade toilet in colonial white,
installed in the basement against the glossy white tiles.
I had this sort of crazy idea about fixing the mismatched bathroom on the main while we do our upstairs bathroom remodel. At first, I was just thinking about buying new fixtures in the proper white color, but then it occurred to me I could just do a fixture shuffle, especially since the balsa toilet totally matches the historic white tile we ended up buying.

We can install the Toto toilet we bought for the master bathroom in the main floor bathroom and then move that balsa toilet upstairs into the master bathroom. The main problem with this, of course, is that then the sink in the half bath would no longer match the toilet, so I would have to buy a new Toto sink.

A visit to the Toto website shows two reasonably acceptable lavatory sinks: the Promenade and the Guinevere.
Toto Promenade Ped. Lavatory
Toto Guinevere Ped. Lavatory
Both of these sinks fit in the space, but the Promenade sink is bigger and totally fills the available space and is pretty tight against the toilet. Jeff is concerned it would make the bathroom feel tight and uncomfortable. He thinks the Guinevere would fit better, but the pedestal design isn't a match to the toilet. Is it weird to care that the sink and the toilet are not from the same decor line, as long as they are the same brand and color?

Overall, I'm not sure how the cost will work out, as we'll have to buy a new flush lever for both of the toilets as they're currently the wrong finish. And we may end up hiring a plumber to uninstall and reinstall the lavatory, and I'm not sure how much that will cost.

So, is it just stupid to care that these fixtures do not match the tile of the bathrooms they're installed in? Am I being too much of a perfectionist? What would you guys do?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 Project Wishlist

I realized it has been more than 6 months since I did a project wishlist and I thought it would be nice to look at what we've done since last July when I published the last one.
  1. Refinish floor in the sewing room
  2. Move back into the sewing room
  3. Stain side fence & pergola
  4. Modify front porch  & install hybrid charging station
  5. Plan & start master bathroom remodel
  6. Waste weeks of my life in Star Citizen (I sort of did this, but I played Final Fantasy 14 instead. I am happy to say, however, that I have not played regularly since Xmas.)
  7. Prime/Paint/Stain/Shellac basement bathroom
  8. Install flooring/fixtures in basement bathroom
  9. Clean bricks and install "floor" under pergola
  10. Install backyard path
About the masonry on the front porch, we hired Pedro from A Better Chimney again last July. He did a nice job for us back in 2010 when he repointed our bricks. But tragically, after he demo'd the porch in preparation for putting in the new brick, he got sick. Really sick. (Cancer sick, not flu sick.) After a time, he did come out and put in some bricks to at least close the hole, but the project is still not done. And it's been sitting there unfinished, with a tarp covering the area, for MONTHS. I should probably just find another mason to finish it, but I'm sort of at a loss what do to about the whole thing.

Despite the gaming, I am really pleased with our progress this time around. Hopefully we can keep up the motivation and breeze thru another 6 month list.
  1. Finish master bathroom remodel
  2. Finish sewing room curtains
  3. Modify front porch  & install hybrid charging station
  4. Clean bricks and install "floor" under pergola
  5. Install backyard path
  6. Build raccoon/rat-safe chicken coop
  7. Front door leaded glass pattern
Honestly, if we get all these done, I'll be really pleased. Jeff has found one of his friends enjoys working in the yard with him, so there is a good chance the backyard projects will happen this time around.

And, in the unlikely event I have spare motivation, I'll throw up a few more tasks that are on the long-term list.
  1. Stencil the basement bathroom
  2. Buy that rug I've been lusting over for the living room
  3. Stencil the living room frieze
  4. Stencil the dining room frieze
  5. Reupholster that morris chair
And there we go. I guess I'll revisit this list in 6 months or so and we'll see how we did.