Sunday, October 26, 2014

Painting, painting, painting . . .

Last year, when we had the siding and windows done on the front of the house, we discovered that the house had originally been clad in blue board-and-batten siding.  Being the historian and historic preservation advocate I am, I decided that we would redo the trim in the original house color - we had already ordered our fiber cement siding in white so it was too late to go back in that regard.

I painted the window trim last year before our contractor installed the siding but the rest of the trim remained in the old baby blue it had been when we bought the house.  Fast forward nearly one year later and the house was still a mix of the new blue (slate blue) and the old blue (baby blue).  With cold weather starting to approach, Jeff and I decided it was time to tackle the trim.  Hoy.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Naively we though the trim would be fairly straightforward.  Well it was, kind of, but in some regards in was a royal pain in the patootie.  The two biggest hassles were the carport and the soffits.  The carport has two roofs on it.  It was originally flat roofed but at some point, a gabled roof was added. Two roofs means twice as much trim.  Oy.  The soffits were also a pain because they're closed in - most of the houses I've lived in have open soffits where you can see the rafter beams.  Most people leave them be in  a mostly unfinished way.  Ours are extra wide and are closed in.  That equals a ton of painting.  We also had to paint the back wall in the carport.  The guy at the paint shop assured me that 1 gallon of paint would suffice for the whole house.  Boy was he wrong.  As of today, we've painted just over half the house and we've used nearly two gallons of paint.

Oh and on the topic of paint.  Last year, I had the paint store match the old blue from the original siding.  They did the best they could with the tiny paint chip I gave them but the new paint is a little greyer than the original.  To make matters worse, when Jeff went back to get more of the paint this weekend, Ace didn't have the correct dyes to match the paint they made for us last year, so they color matched the paint I had mixed last year.  Sigh.  Well, the second gallon of paint is a close match but it's more lavender than the one I got last year.  Luckily we were able to sequester the two colors so that they aren't right next to each other anywhere on the house.  The difference in the two is subtle but there's a big enough difference that they can't be side-by-side.

Here are the results of our labors (I'm guessing we spent at least 12 hours on the front of the house):

What this picture doesn't show is how scruffy and faded the old trim was starting to look.

The darker blue trim looks subtle from the street but it makes the white really stand out.


 I decided the paint the storm door to match.  I think it gives it a little pizzazz.


The color change looks subtle here but you can see how much nicer the new siding looks.

We still have all of the back of the house to do.  Plus half of one side and all of the south side. Hopefully the weather holds for a little bit longer so we can do that next weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kitchen Progress - A Long Overdue Update

This past year I switched my attention from house stuff to backpacking.  Beginning in January 2014, I started planning and training for a backpacking trip across Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail.  It took a ton of my time and energy to put the trip together, so I'm afraid I've let my house projects go a bit. If you're interested in reading about my backpacking trip, I created another blog to share my experience.  In the end, I only made it 210 miles across Oregon before spraining my ankle (twice) and having to quit half way.  Ah well, I plan to reattempt the trip in 2016.

Last fall, I hired a contractor to do a bunch of work on the house.  Bob Hammon, a long time Fallon contractor, did all the work on my house - inside and out.  He became a wonderful ally and quickly grasped that I wanted to keep my house authentically "1962."  We started with exterior work because it was the most needed - new siding, windows,gutters, and two exterior doors.  I wrote a previous post about that work.  Bob also helped with my minor kitchen remodel - or perhaps, "retro refresh" is a better way to put it.

In my kitchen refresh, I only tackled the stuff that needed work.  My kitchen is actually in great condition owing to the original owner's loving maintenance.  The original birch cabinets just glow and I love them to bits.  But the kitchen did have a few issues, owing mainly to age but also to some somewhat questionable interior design choices.  The backsplash had been covered in brick veneer and the floor was covered in indoor/outdoor carpet.  Both of those things had to go.  Neither one was easy to clean and both made the kitchen a little dreary.  The countertops were probably original to the kitchen considering that the design came out in the late 50s.  I absolutely adored my countertops with their darling "falling leaf" pattern but they were in pretty rough shape - faded and worn with 52 years of wear.

So my kitchen refresh included:
  • Laminate countertops
  • Linoleum flooring
  • White porcelain sink with hudee ring and new faucet
  • Range hood
  • Tile backsplash
  • New window
I spent a lot of time agonizing over the color scheme, especially considering that I was going to replace the floor and the countertops - two big areas of color.  What ended up dictating my color choices was the floor.  I bought probably the last remnant of Marmoleum's "Pool Party" in existence.  It came straight from Marmoleum and they gave me a heck of a deal on it.  I love the streaky, turquoise color and I new it would look fabulous against my birch cabinets.  After that, it was a challenge to find the right countertop.  I would have loved to find something with a little pattern to it but instead I settled on a solid color - Nevamar's "California."  From the small sample Nevamar sent me, I thought the color would be a nice buttery yellow but it's actually a lovely harvest gold.

Bob removed the old countertops and floors and installed the new stuff.  I was very sad to see my old countertops go but they went to a good home.  Bob's wife loved the pattern so much, she's having Bob install them in their 1958 travel trailer.  I also had Bob save me a 7 inch round of the counters so I can make a kitchen clock with it.

Here are some photos from the refresh:

The first step was removing the brick backsplash.  
My husband did this before Bob and his helpers showed up.

Here's another shot showing the indoor/outdoor carpet.

Bob's son, Brodie, working on removing the old counters.  
Very nice young man but installing the new hudee ring nearly confounded him!

Bob (center) works with his helpers to get the counters removed.

My kitchen probably hasn't look like this since 1962.

New counters on the sink side.

New counter on the stove side before they made a cut-out for the stove.

Everything newly installed on the sink side.

All fresh and new on the stove side.

The flooring guys remove the old floor - there were three layers of flooring in all.

Laying out the floor pattern in the carport.

Newly installed linoleum.

New floor and a peek at the new range hood too!

After Bob and his helpers were done, Jeff and I tackled the backsplash.  I bought some white subway tile at Home Depot and I think it looks pretty good - much better than the dark brick had looked!

Work in progress.  you can see the new sink and window in this shot.

Behind the stove.

Just needs to be grouted.

Still needs grout but lookin' good!

I think we did a pretty good job.

As of today we still haven't grouted the backsplash.  My backpacking trip got in the way and Jeff and I can't seem find time together to work on it.  Excuses, excuses . . .

South Seas by Community (Oneida)

A while back (4 years?) I purchased a silverware set at an antique shop.  Until now, it hadn't occurred to me to write a post about it but with the appearance of Tiki Tuesday over at Retro Renovation, I thought I might share it with everyone.

The set is called "South Seas" it's silver plate with a refined yet distinctly Tiki design to it.  Sadly my set isn't complete and it looks like individual pieces of it go for $8 and up.  Some of the rare pieces like slotted spoons and serving ware can fetch into the hundreds.  From what little I've learned, the design was available from 1955 to 1965.  The original warranty card that came with my set has "4-56" on it, which I'm guessing stands for April 1956.

My set came in it's original box. I love the cute little splayed feet on it.

As you can see, I'm missing a few pieces

Here's the general form.  Simple but with a little flair on the handle.

A closeup of the design.

The backside of the fork with "South Seas/Community"

Now I just need some dishware to go with it!  I wonder what Tiki inspired dishware would look like...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Big Doings: Exerior Work Begins

A very exciting day at my house.  Today my contractor began work on the siding and windows on the street side.  There are certain fears that arise when you change the envelope of a house. My worst fear was that there would be mold in the walls.  My second worst fear was that there would be asbestos siding under the vinyl siding that would have to be abated.  In the end, nothing could prepare me for what we actually did find.  But first things first - photos of the house before the siding demo:

My house is U shaped and has a privacy wall in front, so it's difficult to get a direct shot of the whole front of the house.  But as you can see, there are some rather obvious issues with the vinyl siding.  My fears of mold were not entirely unfounded.

Fears of mold aside, my assumption from the beginning was that underneath the vinyl siding would be the original siding, which I imagined was the same asbestos tile as on the rest of the house.  I was right in one regard.  The original siding was underneath the vinyl but it wasn't asbestos . . . it was redwood board and batten painted a rich blue.  BLUE.  Do you know how weird it is to discover that your house was originally blue when you've always seen it in white?  My mind was BLOWN. 

The red stripes are where the battens were removed in 1987 when the vinyl siding was installed.  It seems odd to me that the front of the house was done in blue board and batten while the rest of the house was done in white asbestos tile.  My assumption is that the owner put the fancy siding on the front (where it counts) and clad the rest of the house in a more economical material.

I really wish I'd known that the house was blue. I'd have loved to return the house to its original look.  I probably would not have gone with board and batten but I would have tried to get the color right.  Oh well.

More excitement tomorrow when the contractor comes back to do the two other windows . . .

Friday, September 20, 2013

Even the Military Can Do Pink

Last night my husband and I had dinner at the Officer's Club at Naval Air Station Fallon (my employer).  I went into the ladies' bathroom and discovered it was pink.  I think I probably knew this from previous visits to the O Club but hadn't thought much of it.  The fixtures are white but the stall dividers and tile are pink.  Very cute.

I suspect the stall dividers are original to the building when it was constructed in 1962.  The tile was probably added later but props to the Navy for carrying on the pink theme.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Scored! A Heywood-Wakefield dining set for $100!!

This is so hard to believe.  The retro gods have definitely smiled on me today.  Let me tell you how everything unfolded.  Driving past an antique store in Fallon, I noticed that they were having a "yard sale" in front of the store.  One of the items immediately caught my eye, a dining set that looked mid century, well made, and in a color that would match my china cabinet.  So I circled the block and came back.  I looked at the set and was surprised to see that it was being offered at $100.  Without really looking at it, I handed over $100.  I just really liked the look of it and it was a good deal.

I had intended to pick it up the next day - my husband being at work and our 4Runner having a flat tire.  But - the dealer insisted on showing me the leaves that came with the table because they were in perfect condition.  She flipped the leaf over and  pointed out the "Westwood" stamp.  What she didn't notice was the slightly blurred Heywood Wakefield stamp a few inches away. I looked at the other pieces and saw the Heywood Wakefield stamp on every piece - 4 chairs, the table, and the two table leaves.  I almost choked!!  I ran home and pumped up the tire in the 4Runner and got back to the dealer as fast as I could. I was terrified someone else would come by and say, "Hey that's a Heywood Wakefield" and my cover would be blown!

For $100 I got a set that definitely needs to be refinished and reupholstered but for that price, I can definitely justify a "tuneup" for everything.  I got the chairs in the house and they match my china cabinet perfectly. With a little TLC, I'm going to have an awesome set of furniture.  The model number is M1549G,  which was made from 1956-1966.  Since my house was built in 1962, it will fit in perfectly.

 The very clear Heywood Wakefield stamp on one of the chairs.

Table leaves, in near mint condition.  I'm so happy the set will be a close match to the china cabinet. The cabinet, by the way, came with my house when I bought it.  I think the sellers were glad to hear that I wanted to keep it.  It seems like it was made for the house.  It's either custom made or made by the original owner.

I'm no Heywood Wakefield expert but I have not been able to find an exact match for the the chairs online.  I see some that have the same basic back rest but none with the cutout in the same shape.  Could it be an early dogbone?  There are some obvious issues with the chairs but they're all still sturdy.  They just need to be refinished and reupholtsered.

The table is still in the back of the 4Runner.  We need to make room for it somewhere. From what I can see, it looks like someone did a really bad job of refinishing it once before. I'll take it to a pro to make sure it's done right this time.

I never in a million years thought I would be one of those people who finds an amazing deal like this.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Floor Tile for the Bathrooms

I have two bathrooms, affectionately referred to as the Blue Room and the Green Room.  The Blue Room has white fixtures and 4x4 blue tile on the shower enclosure while the Green Room has Ming green fixtures with speckled yellow/gold 4x6 tile in the shower. Sadly, at some point the floors in both bathrooms were redone with a sort of faux travertine vinyl tile.  I have no idea what was in the bathrooms originally. The current floors don't look terrible but they don't have the retro look I'm going for.  They also aren't impervious to water because they were never sealed.  Finally, I don't care for the look - the rest of the bathrooms are original so the new floors look out of place.

Here's what the bathrooms looked like when I bought the house:

Since I bought the house 4 years ago, I've been searching for the right tile to put in each bathroom.  The blue room was easy.  The fixtures are white and the tile is an easy-to-match sky blue.  I long ago settled on Merola Tile's Academy mosaic tile in blue.  Here it is against the shower tile:

The right floor tile for the Green Room has proven to be far harder to find. There are a lot of colors going on in there - green fixtures, cream/yellow/gold tile, and a wood sink cabinet.  The tile is especially hard.  To me, it registers as yellow but when I tried to find paint for the bathroom, I discovered that it's not yellow at all - it's orange.  The other troublesome part about the Green Room is that the colored fixtures are almost impossible to match in either paint or tile - trust me I've tried.  Ming green is on the green end of the scale but there's enough blue in it to make it tough to match to either color.  So I've been very demoralized in trying to find a floor tile that would match  - or at least not clash with - the Green Room.  A friend suggested trying something that was neither yellow or green, so I tried pink.  To my surprise, pink actually looked quite good in the room.  BUT - I don't want a pink bathroom.  I want a green and yellow bathroom.

So to my complete shock, after four years of searching, I finally found a floor tile that will match the tile in the Green Room.  I ordered a sample of every Lyric hexagonal mosaic tile from Mosaic Tile Supply - and I'm glad I did.  The colors on MTS's website in no way look like they do in real life.  When I ordered mosaic tile LGH-208 I thought I would be getting something peachy orange but low and behold it's yellow and gold!  AND it matches the tile in the Green Room PERFECTLY.

Behold the awesomeness:

Mosaic Tile Supply has an amazing array of tile patterns that would work well in any MCM house.  They also have tiles that would work for older homes and new homes as well.