Friday, February 27, 2009

garage progress

did i mention that we have an actual garage? you have no idea how much this pleases us former-bostonians. no more hunting for a parking spot. no more digging out from the snow and driving away only to be taken by the next lucky jerk. now, we'll have two designated and sheltered parking spots. (we only have one car and no plans for a second, but that's neither here nor there.)

here it is back in november.  it's a detached garage which is typical for the neighborhood and for much of st. louis for that matter.
garage & hayloft
it's got a 1/2 story above for storage that's accessible by an old ladder.  the previous owner installed a toilet up there, we're not exactly sure why considering one cannot even stand upright in the space.

here is the back of the garage just a few weeks ago (minus toilet).
Garage work

here it is today:
Siding up on garage

we've replaced the vinyl siding with fiber cement siding, which can be used in historic preservation areas where other cladding materials are forbidden. it also happens to be low-maintenance (right up our alley).

here are the new french doors that were installed yesterday.  
French doors

they will most likely be painted black. not sure what color we'll paint the siding yet. we're exploring our options.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

floor(s) progress

the sanding and refinishing are really coming along.




the color will deepen once the polyurethane is on, but the good thing is that, even at this point, it's a far cry from its worn and dingy former self.

here and there are these little 2" circles used to patch up spots that couldn't be redone.


some people might see these flaws as undesirable, but the truth is i love all these little patched up areas. i think they will be nice reminders of the house's age.

speaking of floors, the shower floor is in the process of drying.  it's the same polished marble tile used everywhere else in the master bath just chopped into small squares to accommodate the slope toward the drain. they'll eventually get an acid treatment to prevent slipping.

Shower Floor

dabney and i got a big lesson about tile the other day when we mistakenly thought that some of the marble was the wrong color. (you can see the tone difference in the photo above.) it turns out the variation is due to the moisture in the setting material coming through the stone. when it dissipates, it will match the others. duh.

duct, duct, goose

we debated whether or not to enclose the ducts that provide heat and a/c to the first floor, but that means losing many inches of ceiling height - something we can't bear to do.

exposed ducts it is then.

Air duct

after having lived in a low-ceilinged basement apartment for seven years, we wanted TALL.  to put this to the test, we made ron jump up to see if he could reach.

Ceiling's so high, Ron can't even reach it.
not even close.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

meet willie

it's no secret that dabney and i have been longing for a new pooch to spoil. it has been nearly 2 years since our beloved feidler passed away and not a day has gone by that i don't think about him. in the last few months, those thoughts have expanded to the possibility of a new dog roaming our space, drooling on the floors, and sleeping on our feet.

whenever a dog is in the vicinity, our attention is lost - especially if it's a big oafish lug of a dog (that's what we're used to). in our spare time, we talk about springers, great danes, italian spinones, german shorthair pointers, bloodhounds, and rottweilers. we'll slow our car down just to watch a cute one pass. if there's a shelter event, we'll go just to pet them. occasionally, we'll even visit our architect just to play with his adorable saint bernard.

today, dabney and i might have made the mistake of visiting a dog in a local shelter. it was love at first sight.

meet, willie, the world's largest lap dog.


cute, no?

there is only one problem: willie is a ladies' man... exclusively.

not that this would be a real issue in his immediate surroundings. in fact, when the shelter staff heard we are a female couple - their response, "OH PERFECT!" -- a rare occasion when gay adoption is the preferred situation.

even in our all-female household, not liking men presents many a problem.  we have many men in our lives who would be paying regular visits, namely my dad and brother-in-law  --  not to mention, jack, our boys in boston, and one cowboy in texas.   there is also the possibility of a mailman, male neighbors, and innocent male bystanders on our daily walks.

because of his enormity, if he were to be aggressive, could we even physically restrain him?
his history means he'd need a lot of training and time, is this something we could take on?
we are still facing a month and half before we're in our house. could my mom handle the additional presence of a 100 lbs. saint bernard?

look at that face.
we're weighing this one heavily.

more soon...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

cushion queen

finished another pair of chairs in class this weekend.

New CushionsNew Cushions

i am not totally in love with the blue chenille, but it was what the teacher had on him the day I got started.  at least they're soft, and now, they feel brand-new with that 4" foam.  i know this for a fact: as soon as i was done with them, i moved them into the hallway to make space in the classroom.  not five minutes later, i had a tester...


he didn't seem to have any complaints, so i'm pretty sure they're comfy.

while i am feeling fairly confident about my cushion-making ability (and it's still fresh in my mind), i might just go and tackle the three sizable seats in our storefront windows.

Monday, February 23, 2009

quintuple feature

on saturday, we continued our bum-numbing oscar tradition of watching all five of the best picture nominees... in a row!

yes, in a span of 14 hours,  we viewed milk (another fine sean penn performance), followed by the reader (kate was amazing, as always), followed by the curious case of benjamin button (forrest gump revisited), followed by slumdog millionaire (brilliant and fresh), and concluded with frost/nixon (riveting).  sigh...

during a break, i took a picture of my point-of-view.


instead, i should've taken a picture of the little camp that dabney, ron (visiting from o-town and dragged along with us), and i had created. by the end of movie #2, we had surrounded ourselves with blankets, pillows, sushi boxes, a cooler full of soft drinks, and empty popcorn bags.

Friday, February 20, 2009

this might be the best thing i have seen in a long time

BOOMBOX from Ely Kim on Vimeo.

not only is this guy my hero, i get exhausted just watching this video.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

rub-a-dub-dub, there's tile and a tub

Shower tile in progress

work in the master bathroom is really coming along now.  we found the marble tile on sale for $3/sf (down from $22) and because the store had so much of the tile left, we were able to take it all the way to the ceiling which makes shower feel HUGE.  fill in the grout lines and the shower will be done!

we elected not to install a bathtub in the master, despite my mother's opinion on the subject matter. i've just never been a bath person, except on the rare occasion that i am staying in a nice hotel with a big deep giant tub and presented with all the sudsy accoutrements. 

instead, we promised my mom that we'd put a tub in the guest bathroom, so that there would be at least one in the place. 

Tub and Tile

here's what the guest bathroom will look like for anybody who cares to visit us here in the middle.  that leftover tile from our contractor really turned out nice. 

Tub and Tile

the toilet is not in yet, but i promise that's coming.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

very belated v-day post

here's a one compartment glove just for holding hands with the one you love.

"glovers" from pedlars

great song, specifically for carrrrrmen and audrey

oh so good.

"i'm a pilot" - new song from london-based band, fanfarlo

click here to listen

via i guess i'm floating.

Monday, February 16, 2009

reupholstery class #2

we completed our first chair in reupholstery class.

here's the before:
upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

ta-dah... the after:
Chair (complete) (by ann-dabney)

looks brand new!

frankly, we're multitasking at the moment - trying to squeeze in as many projects as possible. we found this chair (along with its three siblings) rotting away in a warehouse liquidation sale long ago and got all four for $40.  they're in sorry shape, but with a little TLC, they could look great flanking a couch.

Chair (before) (by ann-dabney)

here, you can really see its lumpy bumpy seat.
Lumpy seat (by ann-dabney)

the good news? the springs are good shape.
Deck (by ann-dabney)

the bad news? the foam - not so much.
Rotted foam (by ann-dabney)

it reminded me of cornmeal.

jack, one of our classmates, has been working hard on this beauty of a chair.
Reupholstery Class (by ann-dabney)

it had been sitting in his mother-in-law's house for decades. 

Items found in one chair (by ann-dabney)

hidden in its layers of fabric and foam were all these little treasures: a kitchen knife, a plastic comb, a christmas lightbulb, a swiss army knife, tummy medicine, a penny, and my favorite - one sad little puzzle piece.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

the chairs are fine. we repeat. THE CHAIRS ARE FINE.

wouldn't you know it? within 48 hours of loading all our worldly possessions in the basement, it floods!

Flood of 2009 (by ann-dabney)

yes, it rained a lot overnight. yes, the soil was already saturated from melted snow. but most importantly, the sump pump was not yet installed.

the plumber had injured his back the day before.

Flood of 2009 (by ann-dabney)

so maybe some yards of fabric got wet, as well as a couple of diplomas (but who really needs those anyway?)...

Flood of 2009 (by ann-dabney)

our main concern was our artwork. sadly, the one piece we were most worried about got soaked on the full length of its side. we're praying it will dry well enough that no one will notice it once sat in a puddle overnight.

the chairs? all have survived unscathed.

Flood of 2009 (by ann-dabney)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

first pass with the sander

we held off our decision on flooring until we could see what sanding the second story would reveal. the floor has been hiding under layers of tile and paint for decades, and for good measure, we added a layer of construction dust.

1st Pass (by ann-dabney)

it turns out the upstairs floor may not be douglas fir as we first suspected, but yellow southern pine instead.

1st Pass (by ann-dabney)

a couple more passes with a finer grit sander, followed by a layer of polyurethane will make this floor look dramatically different, but it will still maintain all the scars and flaws that give it "character."

follow-up pictures soon...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the return of the pods

nine months ago, we bid farewell to our belongings, only to be reunited yesterday.

The Return of the Pods (by ann-dabney)

The Return of the Pods (by ann-dabney)

we wondered how our cubes would survive nine months and over a thousand miles. surely, there would be jostling.

Important Notice (by ann-dabney)

but things looked pretty good!

Packed cube (by ann-dabney)

i had been dreaming of this day for ages, but it wasn't quite what i had imagined. i was thinking that we'd be directing movers, "couch stays on the 1st floor! boxes of books - upstairs! table goes to the workroom!" instead, it all went to one place - the basement. the house is still months from completion but the basement is clean and dry enough to make room for our possessions.

Unpacked basement (by ann-dabney)

come april, it won't be move-in day but move-up day.

Monday, February 09, 2009

estate sale

dabney and i were bad last week and instead of working on wednesday and thursday, we snuck off to kansas city.

why kc? there was word of an estate sale featuring mid-century furniture, our well-known weakness. when the description of the sale read "possessions of a former architecture professor," we knew that good stuff would abound and planned our trip accordingly.

the sale began would begin at 9 am. our tactic: arrive early. it turns out that others, too, shared this plan judging by the six other cars parked near the house at 8:20 am. to ensure a civilized entry, folks marked their place in line in order of arrival with a possession and waited in their car until opening. i threw down my scarf in eighth place.

promptly at ten 'til nine, people assembled at the front door. by then, the line had grown to about thirty people all chatting away about how slow their ebay sales had been going lately. at this point, we knew we were the first of the amateurs. THIS IS IMPORTANT: i turned to dabney and said, "no more chairs. whatever we do, avoid the chairs."

this is where i wish i had pictures, but when the doors swung open dabney and i made a mad dash around the house looking for items that we could use by heading straight to the studio. our camera was the last thing on our minds.

the chairs? boy, were they hard to avoid! there were two wassilys, one orange eames rocker, four mint-condition herman miller purple dcm chairs, etc. but we did it - we managed to walk away without a chair.

honestly, my eyes went straight to two very beautiful herman miller steelcase cabinets - perfect for anywhere.

Cabinet (by ann-dabney)

dabney looked up and saw three big, colorful light fixtures that would look splendid in our workroom.

Yellow Light (by ann-dabney)

Yellow Light (by ann-dabney)

Yellow Light (by ann-dabney)

once we put dibs on the items we knew we wanted, we slowly perused the rest of the home. we could tell that there were two people who had lived there because each of them had differing tastes. one had a penchant for owls and knick knacks, the other (we presume the architect) a love for scandinavian design. they traveled far and wide and had a collection of tea towels to show for it.

having gone to a handful of estate sales, we knew once the excitement of looking for deals wears off, we always feel a little sad looking around us and realizing what happens to people's possessions after a death -- people, like us, picking through closets, rooms, garages, looking for treasures.

mr. architect, i hope you know your stuff is in good hands.

Friday, February 06, 2009

if the amish can do it, so can my parents

you've probably heard of all the people in kentucky who have been without power since the ice storm that came through the midwest last week. it isn't just kentucky, but many parts of arkansas and southern missouri have been affected, too. my hometown, where my parents still reside, has been without electricity for well over a week. (duty called - otherwise, they'd be in the comfort of their st. louis home with us.)

thanks to the purchase of a generator, my family has been able to function down there with a small space heater and their rice cooker going full blast. however, they've had no heat in the last 10 days. 

i got this message from my dad this morning and it seems that help may finally be on its way.

Electricity (by ann-dabney)

at least in kentucky, they have pros there to help.

**update: yesterday 2/8/09, power was restored.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

news anchors are funny.

dabney and i are going to start working on our own routine.

Monday, February 02, 2009

reupholstery class

between all the craigslist and yard sale finds, we thought that it's about time that we learn how to really reupholster.  our luck - st. louis community college just happened to have an offering! 

saturday was our first of seven sessions, and we had a blast.

upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

for our first small project we thought this danish chair (and it's twin) could use cushions...
upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

... and this $5 yard sale find, a thonet bent plywood chair, could use new padding and vinyl.
upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

we got introduced to all the tools the pros use: mallets, chisels, staple guns, etc.
upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

then, it was time to tear things up!
upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

once all the staples removed and the icky vinyl was torn away, we covered the old cotton foam with new dacron.

upholstery class (by ann-dabney)

next week, it will be complete. still deciding on what color vinyl though...