Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunlit Pears and Baskets Full of Cats ...

... these are a few of my favorite things!

Well, the weather forecast is finally predicting some cooler temps around these parts ... we’re really looking forward to a heart-breakingly beautiful week of delicious, sunny days with highs in the 80's and lows in the 50's. Yum!

Lately I’ve been hard at work cleaning up and organizing my studio/office, which had gotten to be quite shambolic. That’s a British word meaning completely disorganized; chaotic. I heard it in an email from Gill Barron a while back and I loved it so much that I immediately started incorporating it into my wordset. And wordset, in case you were wondering, is a word I made up just now, meaning all the words I know (or think I know) and use regularly.

To aid in the purpose of organizing my studio stuff, I got a bunch of these great baskets on sale at Lowe’s for half price. I guess since it’s September these spring colors are passé, so they figured they had to get rid of ’em fast to make room for all the autumn-appropriate brown and burnt orange and navy and rust colored baskets they were getting in. So I got a great deal on these spring colors, which I love anyway. Even if it is September.

I had just unpacked my cheery new baskets and was preparing to fill them up with paint tubes and little art boards and bottles of glue and and rolls of packing tape and ribbon and other various and sundry items. I stepped out of the room for maybe 45 seconds and when I came back I saw that two of the baskets were already being made good use of:

Ahhh, cats. Gotta love ’em.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Edgewood Old House Renovation:
bathroom mini-makeover

Way back when -- February of 2008 to be exact -- I referred to the restoration of our house as “One gigantic art project.”

Well, we have come a long way since then, and we still have a long way to go. But that’s ok; the urgent things like a new roof and the replacement of rotten wood and broken windows have been taken care of, so now we’re having fun doing things bit by bit, a little at a time.

I realized this past June that it was going to be a while yet before we can do major renovation to our bathroom, so I decided to go ahead and give the room a fresh coat of paint to make it a little less shabby until we can get to the big stuff. (We had been living with it the way it was thinking that any time now we would be able to give it a major overhaul, but other commitments have pushed this project back a bit.) Eventually we want to install beadboard in the area below the chair rail (where now there is this faux-tile-patterned linoleum-esque kind of stuff which is warping out from the wall from age), and tile the entire shower area (walls and floor), but in the meantime I decided I would go ahead and repaint the dingy yellow walls and ceiling.

Well, at least it started out as just a paint project, but once I got going it kind of snowballed into a whole “mini-makeover” kind of thing. Here’s how the room looked when I began:

We added the lights above the mirror area back when we had all the wiring re-done, but we had never removed the old sconces on either side of the medicine cabinet, so they were being used as makeshift hand towel racks. Also notice: the little antique mirrored cabinet between the door and the wall on the right is a little too crowded looking.

And the tattered old shade hanging in the transom to keep anyone climbing the hall stairs from being able to peep in.

And oh yeah, no toilet tissue holder.

And the little shelf on the left, just behind the door, where I keep all my different cans of Febreze air and fabric freshener in various scents. (My friends all get a kick out of my Febreze collection, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in a house with six dogs, Febreze is a must.)

Here you can see the place on the wall behind the sink where a pedestal sink was removed back in the ’70’s to install this groovy wood-veneered particle board vanity cabinet with faux marble top. (This damaged part of the wall had been covered by a swatch of groovy ’70’s wallpaper which had long since started peeling at the edges.) Oh, and you can get a glimpse of the 70’s faux-stained-glass-framed mirror on the medicine cabinet. Also groovy.

Notice here: no towel racks. Only hooks which hung over the top of the door leading into our bedroom.

Here you can see the long-leaf pine plank floor which I was excited to discover back when we first moved in and we removed a mildewed carpet (yeah, carpet. Who puts carpet in the bathroom??) and a couple of layers of old and older linoleum. We’re still working on removing some of the stubborn old adhesive, then we’ll waterproof the wood and have a beautiful antique plank floor. Except in the shower area, which will be tiled.

I started by taking out everything that wasn’t nailed down ...

... and a few things that were. After I removed the old rusty cup holder and toothbrush holder, I took out the old non-working sconces and patched those holes. Then I stared at the medicine cabinet for a few minutes, wondering, I wonder how hard this would be to take out.

Turns out it wasn’t at all difficult. Just a couple of screws that needed to be unscrewed and the whole thing just lifted out. Cool beans.

Here you can see how the two doors are configured. One leading to our bedroom, and one leading out to the hallway. Notice the hole in the ceiling where our electrician had to cut access for new wiring. People tell us all the time, “he should have fixed that when he did the job!” But we purposely told him we would do it ourselves to cut down on the cost at the time. It’s not that hard to patch sheet rock. As you can see in the “after” pictures below.

I really hadn’t intended to paint the vanity cabinet, but I accidently got some primer on it, so I decided, what the hey, I’ll go ahead and prime the whole thing and decide what color paint to get for it later. So I removed the drawer and door pulls and primed the whole cabinet.

And now ... drum roll, please ... TA DA!

The “after” pics. Or, at least, as “after” as it’s going to get right now:

New towel racks, new toilet paper holder.

I removed the little antique cabinet from beside the door and hung it in the laundry room, where it looks much cuter.

I added a nice little inexpensive valance in front of the transom, for privacy.

I found two 20-inch square travertine tiles on clearance sale at Lowe’s, and used them as a new table top for the water-damaged antique table to the left of the vanity. And I found a nice little free-standing hand towel holder for beside the sink.

The hole that was left when I removed the medicine cabinet was an odd size by today’s standards, so instead of getting a new cabinet, I put all our cabinet contents in this pretty little box. This little mirror with the yellow frame has been with me in every apartment and house I’ve lived in since I found it in an art store about thirty years ago. I never got around to putting a hanger on the back, so it always just leans against the wall somewhere. I still love it.

We closed up the cabinet hole above the sink with thick plywood, and I got two mirrors for half-price at Hobby Lobby (sweet!) One I hung over the sink, and the larger one I put on top of the table, leaning against the wall.

We got new hardware for the vanity cabinet (as you can see, I’ve put the door knobs on, but haven’t added the drawer pulls yet.) And I went with an antique black paint for the vanity, to match this little antique chair we had. The latch on the hall door is broken, so we use this little chair to place against the door to keep it closed. Quaint, huh? Eventually we’ll fix all the little things that need to be fixed with all the doors in the house, but for now this works for us.

And don’t worry, the Febreze station isn’t gone altogether; it’s been permanently relocated to the laundry room.

Just a little sign to keep the bathroom from taking itself too seriously.

I made this temporary backsplash from little 4-inch travertine tiles stuck to a backing board with Gorilla Glue. It’s free standing, and I just have it leaning against the wall behind the sink to cover that ugly place on the wall. This works great until we do our real reno in here.

Side note: I put this backsplash together on the dining room table, using 27 tiles to make a finished size of 36 inches by 12 inches. I put plywood on top of it with some heavy books on top of that to let the glue dry overnight, and the next day when I went to pick it up and move it to the bathroom, I made the discovery that three square feet of travertine tile is really heavy.

The two baskets under the table I found on sale at Lowe’s, and I was super excited to see that they were exactly the right size (sometimes it’s the little things that make me super excited); we store clean bath towels in one and use the other one for dirty laundry.

I found this little night light a couple of years ago at the Farmer’s Almanac store on the Boardwalk over in Bossier City, and I knew right away it was perfect for our bathroom. Even before I even thought about what colors we would have in here. And now, all this time later, it is perfect for this spot. I read somewhere years (possibly decades) ago that if you always get home furnishings in the colors you love, everything will end up going together. So far, for the most part, that’s turned out to be true in my experience. And of course for me it’s all about color!

And that’s that for the bathroom mini-makeover. As you can see, Andy is very impressed.

Next I think I’ll show you how “that little room at the end of the hall that we don’t know exactly what it is” got a facelift and is now the “dog-feeding and treat station.”

Have a good night, everyone!