Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ceiling medallions!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased two ceiling medallions for the living and dining rooms. We did have a plaster medallion in the dining room that Stanley's crew was able to save when they tore out the ceiling but I don't think it's very us. I wanted something less ornate or maybe less floral? Something to enhance our modern ceiling fixtures but still in keeping with the 1930's renovation that had last left it's mark on the house. I prefer medallions that aren't confined to a circle, that spread out beyond a designated area (like the second example below.)

I looked all over the internet - spending HOURS when I really should have been sleeping. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted but I don't recall ever seeing anything like what I imagined should be available. In short, I decided I wanted an Art Deco sunburst or starburst design much like a vintage Syroco clock. Crazy you say? Perhaps, but I actually found what I was looking for!

I ordered two and they arrived yesterday. They are so nice in person. According to the website, these are made of "furniture grade high density polyurethane" but they really have the look and feel of plaster without the weight.
Now, I want another for the kitchen but I'm feeling guilty for not wanting to use the original medallion. It's not my favorite design and a typical "confined within a circle" pattern. I think we could always use it upstairs in our bedroom but it has little grapes on it which I'm guessing means that it was meant for a dining room or kitchen. Think the grapes will stand out after getting a coat of white paint?

some antiques roadshow advice...

You will wait in line to get inside to just wait in line again. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and if you have something heavy, bring a dolly! I saw people moving furniture forward on a line each time it advanced (hard!) Each different item has a different line - so if you have 4 pieces of furniture you can just wait on the furniture line. If you have a painting, a piece of glass and two pieces of furniture like we did - that's another three lines.

Below is a shot of the preliminary line - the one you wait on so you can get to the other lines inside!

If you're going - don't bring a painting. I think I'm allowed to give that advice after waiting four hours in the painting line. ;)

We also discovered that there's a formula to get filmed for a segment. Don't expect your item valued at $12,000 on a bad day to who knows what on a good day and with more research (like our little overturned table there) to get on TV. The pattern is apparently: an early American table, an old grandfather clock, a piece of Art Nouveau glass, a Civil War era gun and yet another Nakashima dining table for every episode. ;p We really did have a good time!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's not that I don't want to update...

I haven't had much to update about.
Our Plaster Master has been very ill and has not been able to work. He has sent a team of people to work in the meantime and they have been adding some recessed lighting in the kitchen and dining room and putting the walls and ceilings back up. But there is so much prep work involved... it doesn't make for interesting photos!
We are going away for a few days, up to Hartford for THE ANTIQUES ROADSHOW!!! Yes, I'm very excited.
In the meantime we've been planning out what we should bring to the show. Each guest can bring two items (or collections) for appraisal. Trying to narrow that down is hard when you've been hoarding like we have for the past 8 years!
Hopefully there will be some progress worthy of photos while we are gone and Stanley will start feeling better. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Major Update, reporting to duty

So... as you can see, we are not using drop cloths. We are having the floors refinished so it's not a huge deal. It's just gross when you come in and trek plaster dust all around the house with you.

Here are some of the rooms with new plaster. The trim still needs fixing.

The plumbers are finished! We now have a washer hook-up (in 98 years there was no washer or dryer in the house), a hose bib in the backyard, the basement sink now drains into the sewer and not a bucket and the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom is working properly and not leaking all over the dining room ceiling. We hired P.A.C. Plumbing for the job and they were so fast and very thorough. I don't know what P.A.C. stands for? Professional and Courteous? Precise and Careful? There was one mishap involving the top of the upstairs bathroom pedestal sink falling - I think it broke itself because it knew just how ugly it was. They replaced it and the new sink (another pedestal of better quality) is actually nice... I may just keep it when we do that reno in the future.
We came in over the weekend and realized that our kitchen had been destroyed. It makes complete sense since the walls were too far gone to simply repair - still, it was shocking.

Looking towards the pantry and dining room. There is another door (leading to the foyer and basement door) hiding behind the fridge.

Looking towards the back door.

This kitchen has been hard to plan out with all of the windows (2), doors (4) and hearth to plan around. We've opted for two 30" base cabinets with drawers to the right of the hearth. This will allow for counter space right up to the range. There will be four 24" glass front cabinets stacked in twos above that (so we don't go over the brick.) On the left of the hearth we're placing a tall, yet small pantry to fill in the space between the dining room door. Opposite that there will be a skinny wet island with the dishwasher and sink. The fridge will be on the opposite wall with a cabinet above it to utilize the space above. Confused? So am I.

I'm told it will look something like this in the hearth area:

The measurements are not that accurate but the idea is there. Unless we change our minds, the cabinets will be Somerset from Hanssem in "Crystal White." Countertops and backsplash will be some sort of Carrara marble... I didn't realize there were so many kinds.

Monday, August 4, 2008

so small we couldn't fit the camera inside

This is our powder room. I'd say it's more like a powder closet. In fact, it was once another passageway into the kitchen from the dining room. There is a pantry in the kitchen that is backed by the foyer closet and it would have made a much bigger powder room. I'm guessing that they didn't want to run the plumbing that far through the kitchen in 1934. Now we have a bathroom where everyone wants a bathroom - in our dining room.

As you can see, the last owner did a bang up renovation job with nice white tile and BLACK grout. There is also a lovely and appropriate Pepto-Bismol pink on the walls. We didn't plan on fixing either of the bathrooms until next year but this one is so small, why not?
Fernando started pulling the tile off of the walls (taking plaster off too) and now you can see right through the lath into the kitchen! I think we'll let Stanley's team finish it up. It had somehow been outfitted with all of the necessary things a two by four foot powder room needs: medicine cabinet (not recessed,) wall mount mirror, two shelves and two towel bars. There is no toilet paper holder? There's also a vent pipe running floor to ceiling that we'll have boxed in. I want to have the walls plastered, maybe papered and just tile the floor with a small mosaic. If you can believe it - it's less than 9 square feet! I would love to find a toilet that is shorter in depth and we'll be keeping the small sink and just changing the faucet. Anyone have a lead on a toilet less than 27" in depth?

did i mention that the ceiling is down in the kitchen?

Exposed rafters in the kitchen. We used to have a painted plywood ceiling covering the original plaster ceiling. We're going back to plaster.

That's the bottom of the bathroom fireplace up there! It's currently hidden behind plaster but how nice would it be to have a fireplace in the bathroom?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

more covers than linda ronstadt

The electricians are finished. Well almost - they will be coming back to hang two of the fixtures (after they get re-wired.) We had all of the outlets and switches grounded and all of the fixtures checked for safety. They added two sconces in the dining room for two vintage fixtures that we found last weekend. They also ran a lot of new lines for the attic and kitchen and installed a bigger breaker box. We have been assured that our electrical was of the highest quality when it was installed and that it should be safe. Yay!

Now, we just have to replace all of the switch and outlet covers.

Upstairs we have plaster progress! All four bedrooms have been getting the full treatment and are almost finished with their three coats. In the back bedroom (formally of the floral wallpaper) the cracks were repaired and not covered with sheetrock. This was really important to us - I prefer the look of plaster walls to sheetrock. So far, Stanley (Plaster Master) and his team have been living up to our expectations.

We have also officially hired plumbers. They should be starting work later in the week. We can't fix the plaster in the dining room and kitchen until they are finished, so I can't wait to see some plumbing progress.

On the roofing front we're almost finished. There's a little more pointing to be done and the gutters and leaders have to be installed but they have finished the roof and flashing and wood repair along the eaves. It's not going to look pretty and perfect until we have the trim painted but that will have to be a project for next year. Our main priority is making the house livable inside!

New roof without gutters and leaders.

Close-up of the chimneys and shingles/ before the wooden eaves were repaired. The tar on the chimneys is from an old roofing "repair."