The Never Ending Story (of the dining room)

We took a few days off back in mid- February to get started on the dining room.  Which I thought would be done three years ago!  We got started on stripping trim,  but then we had to go back to life,  so the room is currently in a state of “kind of a disaster mess” but I swear we will get it done before the summer!

One of the best parts was when Chris found the original bathroom door (there’s a small bathroom off the dining room that needs a full gutting. That’s on the Getting Budgeted, Demo’d and Done Soon List,  too! Oy, there are a lot of things on that list!!). I started stripping it,  which is oddly slow going for an easy, flat piece of wood,  but I’m super duper excited about the doorknob! This is my life now!  I get really excited about doorknobs!

Stay tuned for what I promise will be very dramatic “after” pictures. Someday!

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The exciting doorknob! We're going to shine it up. Someday...

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Beautiful trim...

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Messy Before Photo

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The door!

Powder Coated Goodness!

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Who knew that a person could get so excited about a radiator?? This house is really changing my priorities…. If you would have told me a few years ago that a really fun weekend would involve cleaning out and reorganizing a closet while Chris installed a radiator, I don’t think I would have bought it.

The house is full of amazing radiators, like this one in the upstairs bathroom. Chris found a place nearby that does powder coating, and he brought this guy in for a makeover. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, and I’m excited to bring in some others…

It took a lot of wrestling, a million trips up and down the stairs and some milder versions of that scene in A Christmas Story where the Dad works on the boiler, but Chris got it installed and ready for winter!

Summer Weekend Trip to Albany …

 

 

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A couple weekends back, we hopped an Albany-bound Amtrak at Croton-Harmon and headed up to Troy, NY to visit my dear friend Jeffrey, who recently relocated there.  The train ride was a comfortable and quick 90 minutes, and the town of Troy is completely adorable.  We made it up there just in time to catch the end of the Farmer’s Market, and I loved shopping our way through town.  I especially liked the indie bookstores, the nicely curated collection of original art and posters (and welcoming vibe) at Clement, and the fun wares and equally fun owners at Weathered Wood.

One of my favorite spots was the Way Back Gallery at 169 River Street in Troy.  Definitely go like them on Facebook right now!  The space and shop in the front are beautiful.  The gallery in the back is a great space.  There is a fun exhibit there now featuring two artists who do a cool thing:

She does work like this and he does work like this and now they paint together on the same canvas and make things like this!  I just loved it, and have been thinking about those paintings ever since I saw them.

The front entrance of the shop/gallery  is also really pretty:

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The Way Back Gallery

I love the way the colors in the planter reflect the colors of the building– it gave me front porch inspiration!

We enjoyed some of Troy’s famous and super-delicious DeFazio’s Pizza (everything you read is true) and took a stroll …

 

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And that’s not even including the seat of power… where the magic happens … the one & only Albany, New York!

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If you like watching paint dry …

Then you are going to LOVE my new series:  Good God What Have I Done:  The Front Porch Edition.  It really has everything  — it’s going to be a loooong journey-type tale (like how they say all good stories are road trips?), it’s got humor, it’s got drama, you are really rooting for the protagonists and none of us have any idea how it will end.

Yup.  We started scraping the paint off the front porch.

I’m really, truly having a “what have I done” moment with this one.  It might never end.

 

We started this insanity last weekend.  I would say this current before & “after” peek represents about 12 hours of work and it’s maybe a quarter scraped and we haven’t even talked about paint, stain, taking the aluminum siding off the ceiling or repairing the broken shingles.

Oh!  But speaking of broken shingles … I was scraping paint on Sunday, enjoying The Glenn Jones Radio Programme, vacillating wildly between “oh, this is such nice, relaxing, rewarding work” and “this will never end.  Never”  when I heard someone saying, “Excuse me!” at the porch railing.  So I met a neighbor, who introduced herself, said she lives around the corner and she has a box of cedar shingles she can’t use that are the same shape as our front porch, and could we use them?  I might have screamed a little and I know I said, “My husband is going to freak out!”  So she came back later with some shingles to try.  They are a little smaller than the ones on the front of the porch (which led Chris on a rant about how everything in this house is in a size they don’t make any more!  Which is actually a good rant, and I will have him guest-blog and tell you his thoughts on the matter) BUT they are beautiful and they will be perfect for repairs.  Or we will move good ones from the back to the front and put smaller ones in the back.  In any case, they are going to come in handy and HOW  NICE IS THAT that a person would stop and say they have extra of something and they would like to give it to you.  Another for the Things You Don’t See in the City series.  Oh – -I’m also all about the series right now.  I think it will give me structure.

So please stay tuned for “People Who Visit Us/ A Series,” which will debut this week. In the mean time, please enjoy this slide show.  I hope to some day find this funny.

 

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Original Apothecary Style via New Orleans

I’m months away from tackling the renovation of our downstairs bathroom, but since we moved in, I have known it will have an apothecary, Sleep No More style to it.  To that end, I’ve just been keeping my eye out for style ideas, inspiration and historical influence.  So while Chris and I strolled around New Orleans this past weekend, imagine my joy to happen upon the Pharmacy Museum!  Ideas galore ….

this gave us the idea that simple, colored water in bottles looks awesome!

 

The front window gave us the idea that colored water in bottles will make a cool display!

 

There were amazing cabinets — all the drawers!  All the bottles!

I like the old medicine posters ….

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And who doesn’t love a good pair of glass eyes??

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Like I said …. inspiring ……

Happy Second Anniversary!

We celebrate two years in our beautiful house this weekend.  Like so many things, the days can sometimes feel long, yet time has flown by.  I’m proud of all we’ve gotten done to date and excited about  (and daunted by!!) all that lies ahead.  So … just another weekend, really 🙂

Much like how we celebrated our first anniversary with a work-related nod to the past, we are also celebrating this anniversary with a little bit of living like we just moved in:

Living with our mattress on the floor, as we are FINALLY tackling the bedroom!  We had so many things that had to take priority, then we were deciding about stripping the trim, then we were paralyzed by our decision to strip the trim, then we were terrified of  how long it would take to strip the trim …. Then, we just started stripping the trim.  The wood is too beautiful to leave it painted, and we figure if we’re tearing it up, we might as well just tear it all up, right?!?  So here we are.  Sawdust up our noses and bed on the floor, but progress is being made.  And so YEAR THREE begins ….

Vacation Project #2 (ongoing…)

and going and going and going.  You may recall my nemesis, which has been staring me down for a while now.  I am spending some time here and there scraping paint off.  It’s coming along!  But I have discovered I need to use the pneumatic scaler — which works great but is SO loud you can only use it for short bursts.  Tuesday night I hit it with some Zip Strip and in true I-will-never-learn-my-lesson fashion, ended up with a nasty nosebleed yesterday.  Zip Strip makes me ill– that stuff is TOXIC.  So no more Zip Strip.  And I will keep working on this beauty till it shines!

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NOW what have I done?

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I am a baseboard!

That’s a baseboard in the dining room.  The baseboards are all about 7 inches tall, in nearly every room of the house, and all (of course) covered in old paint.  Some of the quarter-round was exposed in places, and it is not very good wood– seems like a late addition and not great quality.  We weren’t really sure about the baseboards, so out of curiosity, and because the radiator was ON last night, which made it hard to scrape, (In case you are wondering, the advice to “wait for summer” to do that kind of work is probably pretty solid…) I hit a piece with the heat gun and found…. gorgeous wood underneath.  Damn!  Do we have to strip all the baseboards now?  Will I be able to look at the paint-covered ones knowing what loveliness lies beneath?  Le sigh.  Luckily, I don’t have a lot of social plans for the next few months.

Today we are trying out a new method — Smart Strip!

We (and by “we” I mean “Chris”) put some on the baseboard in question this morning before we left for work.  It should be doing its magic, eating through layers of paint, and we will scrape tonight when we get home.  We are figuring it will take a few times/ coats/ days.  If it works, though, it will be a real time-and-wrist-saver.  It’s also way less toxic than Zip Strip and doesn’t seem to create fumes like the heat gun.