Friday, May 29, 2009

we thanked the village

dabney and i threw a small shindig yesterday afternoon to thank our contractor, architects, crew, and subcontractors yesterday afternoon.

Thank you party
not everyone could make it, but this photo captures a good majority of the hands that built this house.

it was fun to have a chance to hang out with everyone for fun for a change and gave me and dabney a chance to thank each person individually. according to everyone from the electricians to the flooring guys to the architects, it was a rare opportunity for them to see their work completed.

Thank you party

Thank you party

and just when we thought we were doing all the thanking, the crew surprised US with a gift.
Thank you party

a bottle of champagne (complete with masking tape bow) and a beautiful handmade cutting board.
Thank you party

Thank you party
our architect, phil, brought his famous pup tallulah along. she and friday got along splendidly and wrestled around on the floor. luckily, tim, the flooring dude, had departed long before the mayhem.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

home sweet home

we've just spent our first week in our new digs.

between opening boxes, we've spent much of our time tossing a ball to friday who now suddenly has much more room to chase balls. understandably, she is feeling a little out of sorts here in her new home.  the only place she has known so far is my parents' suburban spread, complete with plentiful backyard and lots of squirrels and birds at which to bark. now, she has to learn city life and all its perils: crosswalks, cars cruising by with thumping bass, garbage trucks...  however, she seems to love the additional living space as she seems to be increasing in size by leaps and bounds.

we think she likes her new digs

as for us, we are settling in just fine.  the piles of boxes are beginning to dwindle.  it has been a year since we've seen our stuff, so to say that the reunion with our belongings has been joyous is an understatement.  even the sight of my favorite coffee mug made my eyes misty.

we're learning the trade-offs to our new surroundings.  we've left the very fancy south end of boston, for a neighborhood that is far from fancy.  the lower light bulbs in our exterior lights have already been swiped.  (we're just letting those go for a while and not replacing them.)  we still can't get over the fact that when we leave the house we have to set an alarm and even set it again before we go to bed at night.

the kids in our neighborhood, of which there are many, have made the front stoop of our cornerstore a hangout for years.  our sudden appearance is an adjustment to them to say the least - just a lot of doorbell ringing and subsequent disappearing.  we just keep saying to ourselves, "they've owned this place longer than we have."  i take comfort in knowing that soon we'll be old news.

now, that we have a garage you'd think our parking woes would be over.  instead, we've discovered it requires an expert ability at a 10-point turn to get in and out.  we're perfecting our technique with every trip to grocery store.

the pluses are BIG though.  we love the prolonged daylight we receive in the living and work areas.

we're in!

we barely use lights, it's so bright in the evening.  drumming up meals in the brand-new kitchen is simply fantastic.  there is so much storage i don't even store stuff in the oven anymore.  we have a laundry room, complete with a drying line.  no more draping on chairs or dealing with rickety racks.  the shower is so big, i don't just sing in the shower, i can dance, too. (you should be happy there are no pictures or video of that.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

moving in

sorry to leave you hanging for so long...

the truth is we've been busy making our house a home. but here's what it looked like the day we took over...
we're in!

there was still paper on the windows and a few more surfaces in need of paint, but it was clean and empty and ready for our stuff.

a few hours later...
we're in!

and that paper? it had to come down. it made the place feel dark and unfinished.
we're in!

instead, we figured out a temporary (and cheap) alternative to window film for all the storefront windows... coroplast cut to our windows dimensions works great.  we just tacked 'em in to keep them from falling.
we're in!
looks nice, no?  this room is the exact opposite of our old boston digs: lots of windows, high ceilings, and plenty of light. or as carrrrrrmen put it, "It's like the bizarro version of your S. End apt."

so far, we set up our living area/kitchen and put together our bed - places to sit, eat, and sleep. that's about it.  over the next few weeks, we'll be chipping away at all our boxes still sitting in the basement.

you'd think that all this moving and settling might stop us from entertaining? nope. our first event is this thursday, as in the day after tomorrow. we're throwing a thank you party for our architect, contractor, crew, and subcontractors. we can't wait!

more soon...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

do fence me in

now, that the interior is finished, the focus shifting from the inside to outside.

beginning with a fence in the frontyard...

Fence installation

Fence installation

Fence installation

what's going to go within that fence? still to be determined...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

peonies from rebecca's garden

Peonies from Becky
the perfect dinner party favor

Monday, May 18, 2009

tick tock

frankly, it's an understatement to say that we are anxious to move in. 

the place is pretty much ready, and it's killing us. but we've been given the green light to move in on THURSDAY!!

the short delay feels incredibly long to us. in order to complete our historical tax credit application, the completed project has be photographed meticulously. and unfortunately for us, those pics have to be shot before any of dabney's thirty-five chairs can move in.

it's like waking up christmas morning, seeing a big giant present under the tree with your name on it, BUT your parents aren't awake yet!

the wait is excruciating.


Friday, May 15, 2009

details details

we're down to the little things and that means... the finish line is in sight!

Door Hardware
that door hardware cleaned up great. we were able to salvage enough of the original pieces that we didn't have to buy one new interior doorknob.  plus, they just don't make them this pretty anymore.

we didn't recognize this at first. it's one of the two original handrails in the house, and they were among the first things to be removed before demolition. like many of the other original features, it, too, was covered in multiple layers of paint. the last we saw it - it was battleship gray. it looks much better naked.

when we first laid eyes on the balusters and handrail, they were covered with paint and dingy, dingy, dingy. i even doubted if they were original, they looked so awful. as a result, we hemmed and hawed a bit when it came to saving them and thought maybe another coat of paint would do. instead, they came back from the refinishers looking brand-new and so amazing.  it made all that work on the newels worth it.

Garage numbers
this is the back of the garage -  a little old, a little new.

casual friday


Thursday, May 14, 2009

a watched pot never boils.

A watched pot never boils.
friday meets the microwave.

the kitchen

the kitchen came out better than we could have ever imagined, thanks to the gorgeous cabinets a la steve.

we went way modern in this space. the stainless steel backsplash and countertops (still under wraps) seem to emphasize this fact.

the biggest feature (literally) is the 10' long island that runs down the middle. it's topped by that marble we found a few weeks ago.

at first, i wasn't sure about the big blob, but now, i love the winding gray vein.

ever the bargain hunter, dabney spent weeks looking online for deals on faucets and sinks. she found this sleek faucet on sale and a single basin sink big enough to bathe in (my one request) - all on closeout.  she does good work, no?

it seems that my first cup of coffee in our new kitchen could be as soon as next week.  more soon...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

barn door

one of the coolest features of the new place is that there is a barn door that divides the living space from the work space. it is inspired by rooms like this and this.

it is not an original feature, but its addition that didn't seem to bother the historical commission much to our surprise.

we've gone back and forth on what it should look like.


Fire Door
unexpected?  we saw this one recently in a huge empty warehouse on one of our fruitless craigslist adventures. it even has "st. louis fire door co." imprinted on it.

instead, we went a different direction.
Barn Door Installation
the three glass panels were included, not only to let in light from the south-facing luminous box , but to mimic the store front windows. 

i think they also manage to look a lot like our doors.


Barn Door Installation
i don't know how we ended up with cream-colored hardware but that's what the track and both handles look like. we're going to spray paint the handles black and paint the track white to make it disappear.

Barn Door Installation

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

luminous box

we've been debating whether or not to paint the workroom floor.  but honestly, the medium density fiberboard that we had laid down as a cheap flooring solution looks like cardboard up close.

so paint, we did.

Painting the crevices

Painting the crevices
first, we had to go through and hand-brush the crevices, which really didn't take so long.

then, we rolled on the primer.  piece o' cake.

looking better already with just a coat of primer.  (the trim is just primed, too.  that'll be next along with the dingy column and door.)

Painted floor
there'll be plenty of color once furniture and art are added, but here it is in all is glossy glory!  it'll be like working in a luminous box - complete with pawprints, of course.

Monday, May 11, 2009

professional strippers, that's us.

i didn't think there were any surfaces left in the house that the former owner hadn't painted, but i was wrong.

Newel (before)
the newels had to be stripped.  so once again, dabney and i donned our rubber gloves and went at 'em with our scrapers and wire brushes.


Newel (after)
the little hole in the middle? that's where the previous owner had decided to install a LIGHT SWITCH of all things!?  we'll conceal it somehow.

fortunately for us, the balusters and the handrail are getting professionally-done.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

tough toolbox


i just love this toolbox we saw lying around at the house. we presume it belongs to one of the crew. i guess no one's too tough for flintstones puffy stickers.


the 1/2 bath on the main floor is just about done. all it's missing is a shelf that we recently ordered from the good old internets.
getting closer...
the mirror and the light above it are both old hospital fixtures. the first was found in a thrift store. the latter was spotted at an architectural salvage place in kansas city.  the guy who sold it to us was kind enough to give us an impromptu lesson in rewiring.

getting closer...
the sink... it was hard to find something small enough to fit in this little nook without protruding to much into the entry. our solution? a cheapo stainless steel hand wash sink that can be found at any restaurant supply store. works great.

house progress
the guest bath is just about done. the mirror, sink, and faucet were all installed recently.

the master bathroom is also so close to completion - we can taste it.
house progress

getting closer...
the shower trims were all installed. we've never owned a hand shower before, but thought it might be handy for a soon-to-be 80 lb. bloodhound.

getting closer...
around the corner is a pocket door. that's one of the original doors refinished, resized and repurposed to conceal the toilet. (there's one more in the house just like it hiding the 1/2 bath.)  there's only one thing left to be done in this room - the trim, pictured above, needs to be primed and painted.

we're inching toward our goal.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

the wart

when i was a kid, i remember one evening our neighbor ran over to our house in a panic; his toddler son had shoved a green bean up one of his nostrils beyond anyone's reach. my mom, a pediatrician, grabbed her bag (an old timey leather doctor's tote with her name emblazoned on the side) and went to the rescue. she plucked that green bean right out with the help of some forceps.

while not quite the drama of the green bean extraction, dabney required my mother's expertise this past weekend... with a wart that recently appeared under her eye.

upon seeing the 30+ year old contraption required to cauterize her wart, dabney grew a little apprehensive, but she decided to trust mom's decades of expertise and hold still.

Wart Removal

Wart Removal

Wart Removal
first, a shot of anesthetic.  dabney admitted this was the worst part.  note: mom's attire - a muumuu.

a couple of little zaps with this thingy and it was pretty much gone.

Wart Removal

Wart Removal

Wart Removal