Sunday, June 12, 2016

Updates and looking ahead

So, I guess it's been a few years since my last post.  Yes, years.  Some things have changed around here.  I've gotten married and have a daughter.  Our house is a lot more chaotic than it used to be.  I was just looking through some old posts and wondered how I ever got it so neat for photos!  I'd like to start blogging again, though I don't know how I will squeeze it into my far more busy life.  If I had a hard time before, how will I do it now?

I also want to talk about some different things than I used to.  I rarely get to yard sales any more, my mom, or partner in crime, has had problems with her knee for a few years making it difficult to walk, and bringing a toddler along makes things, challenging, let's just say.  The few that I have been to haven't been all that great, I wonder if that's indicative of an overall decline, or we were just unlucky.

We haven't done too many projects around the house except for finishing the nursery.  I think it's the one room in the house that's actually finished!  I will try to put together a post on it soon.  We've started the upstairs hallway, but haven't gotten too far with that.  There was an insane amount of paint scraping and spackling to do, and since we can't do either with my daughter home, things haven't gotten very far.

I have done a lot of gardening over the past few years.  It's one area where I can work on it either with her while playing in the yard, or while she's napping, and it's okay if I have to just drop everything to change a diaper or make lunch.  Our yard is still kind of a mess, but I've been laying the groundwork and re-configuring into a layout that works for us and for the house.  I started a local Facebook group for gardeners to share advice and swap plants and have gotten lots of new plants that way.  Most are recently planted, so they haven't filled in yet, but I'm hoping once they mature, things will really start to look good.

I also started scraping loose paint on the front porch.  It's a massive task and due to workload and childcare limitations, I haven't gotten far at all.  I have picked out colors for whenever I actually get to start painting it.  Turns out, they are remarkably close to the original colors of the house!  I've started a Facebook group for local old house lovers, too.  So far it's pretty small, but we're looking for new members who live in the Huntington area and love old houses and buildings.

On top of all this, I am also trying to start my own side business.  I no longer work for the architecture firm that I used to, and though I like the work we do at the non profit where we both work (mostly downtown revitalization work, improving transit, walkability, etc.), I don't get to do much design work and I miss it.  I haven't gotten my license yet (it's a seven part exam that costs quite a bit of money), but luckily New York State allows for certain small projects to be done without a license.  I'm trying to navigate the legalities and tax nonsense and get myself started.  That part is no fun- especially since my day job keeps getting busier and busier.  It's that last thing I feel like doing in the evening once the LO has gone to bed.  I want the business to combine several of my related interests- architecture, old houses, walkable neighborhoods and gardening.  Figuring out how to categorize it for business purposes is a bit of a challenge.

I'm going to try to focus on these topics some more on this blog, not just interiors furnished with fun yard sale finds, but also on exteriors and how to add traditional character to homes and neighborhoods.  Some of it will be locally focused to Long Island neighborhoods and houses, but I'm sure lots will apply to old houses and old neighborhoods in many parts of the country.  It should be an interesting journey!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bar Cart Part II

I think I should preface this post by saying I'm a hasty crafter.  I don't usually have the patience to do things properly with all of the prep work and reading of instructions and such.  I tend to just go ahead and do it and hope it turns out okay.  Luckily you guys can learn from my mistakes on this one.

A year or so ago, I found a cute little bar cart at an estate sale.  I cleaned it up and gave it a coat of hammered copper spray paint.  Getting the layers of paint off of the wheels almost killed my finger tips.  I liked the way it turned out, but after a while it began to feel a bit insubstantial for the space.

My dining room is small (like the rest of the house) so it was a good thing that the cart was small.  Since it is very delicate in its design with glass shelves and thin wire supports, it sometimes appeared to be too weak to hold all of the bottles and glasses.
I have been thinking about back painting glass for a while now, though mostly as a way to make my coffee table look a little nicer.  I thought I could back paint the glass shelves black to make them a little "glammier"-a little bit of black never hurt a room.

Since I can't choose the easy route for any project around the house, I also decided to add some copper and faux malachite details to give it a little "oomph."  I am loving the malachite trend that is happening right now and wanted to work it into the house somehow without committing too much since it might be totally "out" in a couple years.  I looked up some faux malachite painting tutorials and they all seemed to have a similar technique.  I used this one, but apparently didn't read the directions closely enough- we'll get to that in a minute.

Now since I am painting on the back of glass you have to do everything backwards so that it shows up right.  This means that the first step is to paint the copper edges.  I taped off two concentric squares about an 1/8" wide and used scrap paper to mask off the rest of the glass.  I used the same spray paint that I used to paint the cart but you can certainly use regular paint.  In fact, none of the paint I used is really designed for glass (see: hasty crafter above) so I don't really know how long this will last, but I am hoping that it being on the underside of the glass and not on the side that gets used will help.  While that paint was still slightly wet I peeled off the tape in the space where the malachite would go.  A bit of paint got under the tape (don't ask me how) so I cleaned that up with an exacto knife.

Once it finished drying, I started with the malachite.  I started with the last step which is the dark green swirls.  If I had ready the directions more closely, I would have seen that it said to cover the whole area with the glaze and then scrape it off with the torn cardboard to create the swirls.  My method was to use the torn cardboard as a brush and use it to spread the glaze onto the glass.  I'd recommend the original method since mine came out with significant areas without any glaze on them.

After the glaze dried, I covered over the glaze with opaque light green acrylic paint.  The colors I used were phthalocyanine green, black and acrylic gloss medium for the glaze and phthalo green and white for the base (which goes on top in this backwards method).  While the paint was still a bit wet I peeled off the tape and paper for the parts that are going to be painted black.  You may need to use an exacto to score the paint so that it doesn't come up with the tape.  Once it was fully dry, I took both shelves outside and spray painted the rest black.  FYI, don't try to do this when it is beginning to snow like I did.  These are not remotely ideal conditions for painting.  I brought them inside to finish drying, but I would recommend waiting for a warmer, dryer day and doing it all outside. 

VoilĂ  !

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shades of Green

In my attempts to make this blog somewhat of a resource for you guys and not just documenting the excruciatingly slow progress that we are making, I want to share with you some of what I learn in the process.  For those that know me, you know it took a long time for me to pick a color to use for the stencil for my office wall.  I probably had close to two dozen different color swatches taped to the wall for several weeks.  I had two groups of colors, the more muted greens from the Ben Moore Historical Collection and more vibrant greens from their regular Color Preview Collection.  I was torn between feeling that I should use a muted color since the pattern itself was so bold and my usual love of more saturated greens from the first half of the twentieth century.
The bolder colors won out.  I decided to go with Stokes Forest Green and apply the paint in a brush-y streaky sort of style to soften its intensity.  I promise I'll have pictures soon.  Despite these colors looking like a color palette from Coastal Living with my current monitor settings (nothing against Coastal Living, they're just not my usual style) I swear the actual color swatches look just like colors I've seen in old houses that haven't been updated or even painted in 70 years.  There were two other greens, Egyptian Green (2043-40) and Green Gables (2041-30), that seemed like authentic early 20th century greens to me, but they were way too bold for the room and got eliminated in the first round.

So that's it, if you are looking for a green that comes from the time between the World Wars, here are seven good ones to choose from.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Office progress

Well, we've been working on my office for the past few weeks. So far we've painted the walls and trim a crisp white and the ceiling is pale blue to match the adjacent dining room. We still have to prep and paint the windows sashes-sticking with the white for those. I'm planning on stencilling an ikat pattern on the wall behind my desk. I just have to pick a green. I know the design blog world has moved beyond ikat patterns, but I wanted something "brocade-y" that worked with the Art Nouveau/Edwardian/Downton Abbey elements in the dining room but also works with the somewhat tribally rug in the office. Once it's done I think it will look really cool. Hopefully this week I can choose a color so we can wrap this up next weekend- then I can start styling it up so I can take some real pics.

In the meantime, this is the chaos that we are living with in the dining room since it now houses everything from the dining room and the office and probably some other stuff too. I'll be happy to see this cleared out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remember Me?

Remember when I used to blog here even if it was only a couple of times a month?  Yeah, whatever happened to that?  It's been five months already!  I suppose you're wondering what the heck I've been doing (you weren't actually wondering that, but it's my blog so I can imagine you were).  Let's see...  In addition to the three jobs I currently have, we've been doing lots of work in the yard.  Unfortunately I have no pictures to show for it because it has mostly consisted of moving plants around and since it's November, none of them look nice enough to photograph.  We transplanted all of the nice perennials from that flower bed that cut the back yard in half into our tiny front yard and planted grass in the back.  Hopefully in the spring we will have a front yard that looks like a cottage garden and a back yard with enough contiguous open space that you can actually use it!

I've been trying my hand at flower arranging.  Though admittedly that hasn't taken up enough time that I could even think of using it as an excuse for not blogging.  I've been learning a lot from reading the Flowers A-Z column on Design*Sponge. While doing some yard clean up a couple weeks ago, I gathered some clippings from the yard and put together this arrangement.

I'm really happy with how it came out.  Unfortunately it didn't last very long which brings us to the newest addition to our little abode.... KITTY!!!!!

Yes, we adopted a new kitten named Olivia.  She's adorable, a bit of a mush and a little terror around the house.  As you can see she doesn't stay still long enough to take a picture and she doesn't like to leave anything alone including flower arrangements. She is driving our other curmudgeonly cat nuts.

Also, I've been spending way to much time on Pinterest, like way too much time.  You can follow my pins from the button on the top right of my blog.  Also I've started listing links for old house renovation resources in the middle of the right hand column.  I figure some folks may want to know where (besides yard sales) you can find cool stuff for old houses.  I'll keep adding more as I find them.

So, how has everyone else been the last few months?  Is anyone still out there?  Hello?....  Bueller?...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I usually try not to post too many images from other blogs- partly because I figure you've seen them already and partly because figuring out the original source of an image can be a real pain in the a**. This bathroom however, was too awesome not to share with you. It's from a house call over at Apartment Therapy. I love the vintage tile and the wallpaper that arches right over the ceiling, plus the orange robe (?) hanging from the door completes the 1920s color scheme.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Damn you Ikea!

One of the things I had planned on doing in our living room was replacing the tv stand with something with more storage and could blend into the backround a bit better. Since budget is tight as always, I was planning on getting the Lack shelf in white from Ikea so that it could hold all of our electronics and dvds and not compete with the other furniture in the room.

Here's the shelf in Victoria's old apartment from sfgirlbybay

A few weeks ago I noticed that there was an error on the page on the Ikea website. Last week I went down to Ikea and discovered that they had discontinued it and they didn't have any left! I can't believe it! It's one of their classics. Now I'm not sure what I'm going to use instead. I want the look of a low white bench that can run behind whatever chairs I wind up getting for the room, and I'd consider making something but I really don't need another project.

Any ideas?

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