February 18, 2015

What do you do when the weather is rough?

Why, a home tour of course!

The Junior League Holiday Home Tour, to be exact. Is participating in a home tour something everyone should offer up their home for... absolutely not! No offense ladies, but imagine a group of "the ladies who lunch" meandering through your home and voicing their opinions on everything. Of course there are upsides also... you get things done! Our master bathroom received its finishing touches, including mirrors! a wonderful invention those mirrors are, except for the bald spot showing on top of my head in the mirror behind me... where did that come from??? And our laundry room inherited it's sink, a good old fashioned janitors sink that we rescued from a neighbors back yard.


The line began about a half an hour prior to admittance 

An attendee by the name of Lindsey Albrecht, an interior designer in Napa county, took quite a number of photographs of the house, and I hope she does not mind if I share a few with you.


Master Bath
One side of the Master Bathroom, still needs vent covers

A sink and a work cabinet. Cabinet salveged, still not sold on it

And a festive dining room set for Christmas dinner

If you would like to see the rest of the Photographs by Lindsey, click here!
All in all it was fun day, with lots of really nice folks who wanted to see the house. Best part of all was that the Junior League raised more money during this Home Tour than they ever had!

February 06, 2015

It never rains in California...

It is, again, pouring rain. But wait... it is never going to rain here again, we must save our bath water to wash our clothes, and save that water to water the garden. December found Healdsburg deluged in water, our "way back" yard held over a foot of water at the height of the storm. For that couple of days our property value went through the roof... "Lake View"!  January was incredibly gorgeous, perfect weather for getting the garden ready for spring, and I did get all of the front and the two sides of the house done. But, here we are again in the pouring rain. The News says yat another 100 year storm, I even heard that CBS news sent their cameras to the Safeway parking lot yesterday in anticipation of Storm-a-gedon, so as to catch the kayakers cruising around after Foss Creek floods again.

If you haven't noticed, when you own a house of this age, 145 and counting, you hate rain!

On the up side, we finally made the jump a couple of weeks ago, and bought something we have been putting off for years due to the high cost...

GUTTERS and DOWN SPOUTS!

So Exciting, and seems to have solved our water issues, but we are still in test phase and time will tell.




This shot is out of one of the windows, white gutters, and bi-color downspouts. I would love to have a photo for you of the wood gutter with its copper down spouts that is on the front of the house...
But it's raining out there! I love you all, but I don't want to get soaked for the sake of a photo.

February 02, 2015

A new Year, a new opportunity for a catch up

Yes it is true, I have not been writing, I have no real excuse. So much has been going on that life seems like a whirlwind! Our summer was spent re-trimming the back of the house in preparation for paint. Scaffolding everywhere, plywood frieze boards pulled down (how they got there I do not want to discuss, lets just say it was one of those last straw moments), sixteen inch wide redwood went up in it place, moldings, moldings and more moldings, casings and top trim went on windows and doors, columns were erected on the deck, and all corners of the back of the house were finally trimmed out.
Let the painting commence. The house is ninety nine point nine percent painted, and is looking fantastic! I will follow soon with some photographs of the back of the house.




Last June we went to New Orleans for a long weekend to celebrate our sister in-law's unmentionable birthday. We both adore New Orleans and actually spent a week there in the summer of 2005 looking at real estate. We indeed had picked out a house and headed back to Los Angeles to put our house on the market and prepare to make an official offer... Katrina hit a few weeks after our home hunt visit, and although the house we were looking at fared very nicely, the hurricane took the wind out of desire to live there.

Astrid's Birthday party was an excuse to run away for a few days and visit a place we love. While there we had some time on our hands so we went shopping. Salvage! New Orleans is a great place for salvage, but we were just looking... or so we thought. If you will remember back ,we had cut one of the kitchen cabinets due to cost (take a quick refresher look at this post from October 2012). Although the cabinet we had rescued and placed in the breakfast room was interesting and did the job, it was never quite right. While at "The Bank Antiques" in New Orleans, we rounded a corner and were presented with this... ooooooooooooh, I wanted it so bad!




Just the look and feel we wanted, and she measured out as a perfect fit. Salvage in New Orleans is so amazing, everything you look at is stripped of all paint and just begging to be taken home, sanded down, shored up, and installed. The down side... shipping cost. So we passed on it and went home. But the cabinet kept haunting our thoughts. Two weeks later I called, it was still there and I bought it over the phone and planned a road trip. Onto a plane, a few days with family in the Big Easy, and then into U-haul, ready for the trip home.






We took an entire week driving across the country, junk shopping all the way, and filled up the truck with treasures. Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, following route 66 all the way. There are lots of stories, but suffice it to say the journey was a lot of fun. There are other treasures purchased in New Orleans, but I will hold back on those until a future post.

Our cabinet arrived in Healdsburg and went through days of sanding, glueing, nailing, and an almost complete hardware change. We chose to leave it raw, and not put a finish on it, and she is a beauty.





So it is a new year, and I promise to be more diligent about posting. I have a lot of things to show you all and stories to share. Spring is right around the corner, the days are getting longer, and I am not so grumpy anymore.








June 04, 2014

On the rails again

Our second job, the restoration of this house, has stepped up again as we turn our attention to the back section of 227 North Street. Our house painter returns at the end of June and we are trying to be ready. So much trim to add, and create, and redo, and I do not want to discuss the redo part!

 @#drassen&*%frassen*^contractor%#*cheap-ass lumber&#....!

One of the few remaining, well one of like 20, big missing pieces has been the railings for our deck. In the past, without a railing, if someone fell off (about ten feet down) we would have to bash them over the head with a shovel and bury them in the basement. With the basement getting so full we figured it was time to buck up and add the railings. We have been collecting the pieces for some time to lessen the financial burden, and with a final burst of money, and a little begging we began.

First... box in all of the pressure treated 6 x 6 posts with pre-primed cedar

Not a very exciting picture, but it does show the box floating above the finish level of the post

The boxes were slid over the posts and held up in the air by wood blocks. We built two thirds of the railing above the finish height so that we could connect the railings inside the boxes. Then slide the whole thing down so that there are no screws showing in the railings at all.

Next... figure out how to assemble a section of railing...

Stacks of parts everywhere

It is always best to start at the beginning

As it would turn out, every section had a slightly different spacing

almost ready for nailing

The bottom of the balusters is sandwiched between two pieces of cedar so that water will drain right through

One ring-shank, hot-dipped galvanized nail per baluster

upside down and ready to mount to the clear cedar top rail

The first section took an entire day to figure out. We nailed it off and then walked away for the evening. Sunday morning the real fun began!...

Section by section

Piece by piece

By Sunday evening we were to the far corner

In the one Sunday we built and mounted one eight foot section and three twelve foot sections. Monday, Memorial Day, we turned the corner and had the task of figuring out the final three sections... two twelve foot sections, and the last section that is only eighteen inches.

This new side has the three posts that hold up the upper deck. The boxes are larger and had to be installed in two pieces. First we furred out the posts so that there was secure attach points for the boxes, then we moved boldly forward pretending we had a plan for installing the railings...

Furred out and ready

The sixth section ready for installation

The second half of the box ready for fitting

The section installed! right before this picture was taken, we pulled the blocks and lowered all the other sections

The last large section ready to be put into place

After this one, only the tiny one to go

Phillip holding the tiny section of railing before we installed it



The small bit, with its baseboards and caps

Quickly (two days of quickly) we added the baseboards and the caps...






The opening is where the twelve foot wide staircase down to the yard will be


The last pieces, the columns, and trim molding under the caps are still forth coming, but we are closer!  Of course the down side is that we still have two staircases and the entire upper deck to do. SIGH!  I have to be like a horse with blinders on!


The columns are now here and in a couple of days we will install them!


This is wine country. What do you do in wine country? You hurry your ass up, get those railings finished, and host a sit down wine tasting for fifty. Palmeri is the label, we are club members of this very small winery, and the winemaker requested we do this. Anything for a grand night!








Now we know... our deck can facilitate table space for fifty to fifty four. So if you need space for a large dinner party, the deck is available to rent... hey, we gotta support this monster somehow!

#bobvila

March 10, 2014

Its Spring, time to write again and a Nip and a Tuck


NEWS UPDATE
WE FOUND THEM!

The current owners of 227 North Street have allegedly been lying around enjoying themselves,
instead of working their home that so desperately needs their attention, 
and writing about their escapades...


Ok... I will admit it... I have taken the Winter off! With that said, Hi everyone! We have had a long spell of winter. Although we have continued to work away, it has been small projects, and upkeep. The first phase of exterior work came to a stop at the very end of October, just in time to begin the Holidays. We spent the next two months having a lot of fun in this big ole house. Starting with Halloween, which was immediately followed by a 75th birthday celebration for both of our Mothers, They were born 10 days apart. Family and friends gathered to wish them both the happiest of Birthdays, which concluded with a sit down dinner for forty six at SHED, our local modern grange. Suddenly it was Thanksgiving, I blinked and it was Christmas, I think we managed New Years just before it was Valentines day, and somehow we have quickly arrived at my favorite holiday of the year arrived, Day Light Savings Time!!!

Now it is time to begin to make the magic happen again. We will be hard at work and I will add photographs and updates on a regular basis. I know I owe pictures of the exterior of the front section of the house, but truthfully I have not had the heart to take any shots because of the super freeze we had in December that wreaked havoc on the thirty-five foot tall Avocado Tree beside the house. I am holding out to see how she comes back before I take pictures.

However, a picture is available in the new Sonoma Magazine. Chris Hardy, the photographer, took beautiful pictures, and the story is sweet, so I am posting the pages of the article here for you to read. Everything is posted except the first picture. Apparently the restoration of this house has taken its toll and its time for a redo on myself. I had no idea I had gotten so old in the past five years, so I have made an appointment with an expert to take care of it,  a human restoration artist! Or at least that is what I am calling our new plastic surgeon.



September 27, 2013

Escherian Visions






If M. C. Escher were still with us, you would find him perched on a stool across from the house, with his easel set up and pencil in hand. As the painting continues, the house has become buried in a crazy retinue of ladders. Up down, in, out, every way you can imagine is now available.


The redwood gutter is about to go up on the front of the house, along with all of the trim for the front porch. Columns are completely stripped of paint, sanded and sculpted, primed and ready to be filled.
Fiber glass column bases are on their way from back east (they will never rot again!) and molding for the new column pedestals are being cut as I write. Two new capitals will join three originals, and we will finally be ready to finish the porch. Got to hurry! Halloween is coming fast and we need to decorate!

Pick a ladder, climb on up and sit for spell!







#bobvila

August 20, 2013

We have the house painting Grays

It all began seven weeks ago, and the forecast is easily another four to six weeks to go, and we are only doing the three story section of the house this year. We certainly have hired the absolute, with out a doubt, correct person for this job, Timothy Hilton, Earthtone Painting, is in charge of the sealing up and painting of the house. Seven weeks of burning paint, scraping, sanding, burning paint, scraping, sanding, priming, sanding, filling, sanding, priming, filling, sanding, priming, caulking, priming, filling, sanding.... Will it never end? But, the work is impeccable and for one hundred and forty three year old surfaces, it is looking better than we could have hoped for.

We are personally doing all of the rebuilding and are barely keeping up Timothy. It began with once again removing the front porch from the house, and then all of the quoins from the corners. Quoins are the trim blocks that make the corners appear to be made of stone blocks, very Italianate.


Ladder up, and ready to take her down

Porch parts everywhere

Columns waiting their turn to burn

And burn we are, with a blow torch!









The porch restoration, the paint removal from the columns specifically, is part of what we agreed to do ourselves. We have both used chemical stripper, and heat guns in the past, but the job of removing all of the old paint from the columns would never get done with either of those methods, so out came the blow torch. Fire up, don't be timid, and use a handy high tech tool for scraping away the burned paint, an old large tablespoon. Work fast and watch for smoldering! As we work on the porch, we also stripped away moldings from the bay windows, and the quoins from the corners of the house. The front of the house is southern exposure and the sun has destroyed so many of the small pieces due to the negligence of the former owners. The moldings and quoins are being copied in redwood and cypress.


Here we go, Timothy begins the burning

Timothy and his part time helper

Just before the quoins are removed from the house

Layers and layers of paint burned away, and now the sanding begins

New Flashing for the bay windows

ANd did I forgat to mention a ridge vent?

Gray primer and the filling commences

All of the plants surrounding the foot of the house are about to be seriously cut back

New skirting finally on the lower sides of the house

A closer view of the smoothing of the old siding

Another close view

Electric and gas lines finally exposed for the lighting


The East side in case you thought we were missing it

Timothy has been using the battleship gray primer as it really helps him to see the flaws, and this of course is making everyone in town confused and crazy.

The final colors are still somewhat in flux as our original gray looked, well, simply wrong when sampled. We now have a color pretty firmly in mind, but with the "White Faction" practically picketing in front of the house, we are keeping it a secret. Just know that the house will not be white.

Now it is back out into the yard for me. I have columns to burn, and quoins to install!




#bobvila