October 26, 2012

Sometimes, you just gotta cut something

Today I feel like I am on the verge of breaking one of my own rules. If it wasn't for the fact that we did this to save an immense amount of money, and yet attempt to not compromise style and finesse, I would feel this post was on the verge of posts that I despise on home restoration blogs... Gramma's famous cookie recipe, little Susie's latest potty training escapade, or the worst of the worst... A give away contest!

One Moment Please...

My apologies, after I wrote that last sentence and began to shake so badly I had to walk away from the computer.

I am referring to the cabinetry we had to cut from our breakfast room. A lovely piece designed to be a continuous flow across the thirty five foot wide space. But that cabinet was just shy of nine thousand dollars....

Click on this image so you can see it larger, the cabinet we cut is the far left side

So we let it go and moved on. I have kept my eye open for something to go there, especially as the time for closing down storage drew near. Nothing is ever perfect but I looked, and looked.
One day a picture popped up on Craigs list. Like everything else I had seen, it was not perfect, but if you squinted your eyes and looked beyond the ungapatchka

(Yiddish word that describes the overly ornate, busy, ridiculously over-decorated, and garnished to the point of distaste)

There was something there that could almost work...

Do not look at the far right of the picture... I have no explanation, hee hee, you looked!
This photo came from the man we bought the cabinet from... I think it is him... eeeeek!

We met the owner and struck a deal, and now we are the proud owners of, well, ummmmm, that southwesty thing that is eight feet tall and weighs a couple of tons.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for a makeover!

And  a makeover we did... the following photo montage will show you the process and the finished product.

So beautiful, well maybe ten years ago, super southwest patinad molding, its gotta go

Little trim bits and corner flowers... eeeek! they gotta go too!

Piece by piece I carefully removed the moldings

A shim, a small crowbar, and a putty knife were my friends. I did not want to hurt the surface if I could help it

Small trim moldings gone, and flowers replaced with simple square blocks

Now came the time for sanding. Days of sanding every nook and cranny in preparation for two serious coats of primer and finish coats of high gloss oil to match the Kitchen cabinets.

At this point we have decided to leave the inside alone and cross our fingers it would work
Primed and ready for finishing, we decided the best approach to finish paint was to put the cabinet in position

Time for more sanding

The cabinet found its way to its new home, and I began the sanding task again in preparation for the finish paint. Hour and hours of sanding. I was in the home stretch when our dear old friend, and interior designer, Stewart Allen, visit his website here, walks in... "don't you dare paint that, your sanded primer is perfect in this room"... um... well... but... it looks so...


You have to understand that I hate, and I know I am not supposed to use the word hate, but I hate Shabby Chic. Whats wrong with a nice clean paint job? Why does it have to look like you picked it up at the dump and you are showing off to everyone how environmentally conscious you are by using recycled furniture, even though most of it is faked and cost twice what the original piece cost new.

But, I stopped working on the piece and just let it be. I figured we would live with it for a while.

New molding and handles made all of the difference

For the moment we are done with it. All of the over flow of kitchen items found a home and we certainly have many, many other things to focus on.

But fear not... I will sneak in someday and paint it proper... Will someone please let me know when Shabby Chic goes out of style!


October 02, 2012

Deck the house

We are alive and well in Healdsburg. Fall is upon us and somehow it is October first, I don't know how that happened. Now that the house is bank financed and some of the external pressure is off, we have managed to take a day here and there and actually discover where it is that we live. Boy were we surprised to discover that San Francisco is only an hour away... who would have thought! We have had guests stay with us, and although it is still a bit on the rough side, no one is complaining, well, not too much anyway. Our work on the house has taken us down two paths. The first is a mad attempt to get our belongings out of storage so that we can continue to cut expenses. We have brought many boxes over from the big unit and yet it seems as full as ever. It is time for action! In two weeks we are going to rent a big u-haul, load everything out of the big storage space and bring it here. Sort through it, keep, donate, dispose of, or yard sell everything! We are penciling in four entire days for this task, and hope to accomplish the impossible by the end, an empty and no longer being paid for storage space! So mark your calendars....

BIG YARD SALE OCTOBER 13TH AND 14TH, in the front yard

The second focus for us has bee Decking the house, but before I go into that we have...

- A Word from our Sponsor -

It is always fascinating to run across your house in an old photograph, or newspaper, or even old postcards. It has come to our attention that the house is also now in paint. Landscape artist John Farnsworth of Healdsburg, has been spotted lurking behind the trees across the street, with paint brush and easel in hand, paint flying everywhere as he madly captured our home in oils. Our home and other of John's paintings will be available to view during ARTrails in Healdsburg, October 13-14 and 20-21. Visit John's website for more information...  farnsworthart.com

I hope we get a super, super discount on the piece, I mean we didn't call the cops or anything!

We have been building the deck that wraps around the side of the house and across the back. Part of the super structure was built a year and a half ago so that we would have access to the back door and the electric panel. And now we are continuing down the west side. Eventually it will look something like this...

 The double doors are the doors that go into the Dining room, which currently have a nine foot drop outside of them, but not for long!

Building deck supports means getting to play with...


What is it about a cement truck that is just so irresistible!

Footing were the name of the game, nine of them. Six smaller for the secondary support near the house, and three large and serious holes ten feet out.

Cement poured, supports removed, cardboard forms stripped away, and then onto beams, timbers, joists, and a gazillion blocks. The blocking is to support the deck boards which will run perpendicular to the house, as opposed to parallel to the house which is most common in deck construction. We are applying the top perpendicular to the house as a nod to a traditional porch, except that this one is so sturdily built that when we finally get that helicopter we will have a place to land it.

The low cement wall in this shot is the original support for the old porch, the city would not let us use it.

The super structure is now ninety nine percent finished, and next comes the positioning of the base posts for the railing, followed by the prestaining, on the underside, of the clear redwood that will be applied to the top. This redwood top cost an absolute fortune and I now have even more respect for recycled, and reused lumber.

In the next few weeks, pictures of the stained redwood top... but we don't dare walk on it... no footprints allowed!