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. http://www.mosaictilesupplies.com/

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: Inspiration

I have to give props to the blog Retro Renovation for giving me most of my inspiration.  There is so much goodness on that blog, it's kinda mind blowing.  Anyway, I wanted to share the image that convinced me to paint hundreds of little diamonds on my kitchen soffits (stolen from RR).

I love two things about this kitchen - the yellow countertops, the diamonds on the soffit, and the simple curtain over the window. Yellow is my current favorite color and I think it will give my kitchen a nice cheerful glow.  The jury is still out on whether or not I will be adding the aluminum trim to the counters.  My husband thinks it will look like a 50s diner but I really like it.  I especially like the use of the trim between the counter and the backsplash.  

The one thing I find interesting is the combo of brown and yellow in this image.  I've seen this combo "in the wild" too.  I don' really care for these two colors together but they seem to have been popular at one time.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: Painting Soffits Day 2

After the frenzy of the first day of soffit painting, I took a couple of days off.  I was actually pretty sore from standing on the ladder and leaning over sideways with my hands over my head for 6+ hours.  But late Sunday night I got a second wind and resolved to at least paint the last color.  I made a couple of changes to my technique - I bought 2 inch wide tape and I made sure it was really pressed down firmly before I started painting.  It made a huge difference because the second round of painting resulted in no bleeding issues.

I took a picture of the soffit all taped up for the final round of painting, I thought the muted colors made by the tape actually looked kind of cool.

So the funny thing is, as I was painting the yellow, I started wondering why I was using so much more yellow than I had orange or blue.  I didn't think much of it until I was laying in bed and realized that I had messed up my pattern.  Well "messed up."  I meant to paint the diamonds in this pattern, "blue, orange, yellow, blue, orange, yellow . . ."  But instead I did "blue, yellow, orange, yellow, blue, yellow . . ."  I was mortified but at that point I could only hope for the best - it was WAY too late to turn back.

But in the end, I think it turned out better with my "mess up."  I think it gives the pattern more of an argyle look.

I still need to go back and clean up some spots where the paint bled and erase the pencil marks but I'm really digging it.  Once I get the yellow countertops in and the turquoise Marmoleum on the floors, it's going to look stunning in the kitchen.  Bright and cheerful, exactly what I'm shooting for.  I'm going to make a new valance for the window too - just a white cotton panel with three rows of rick rack in blue, orange, and yellow.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: Painting the Soffits with an Argyle Pattern, Day 1

My plans for my kitchen remodel are pretty modest.  There are really only three things I want to do - remove the brick backsplash, replace the countertops, and replace the floor.  I've been ruminating on what I want the finished kitchen to look like and after weeks of contemplation, I've settled on a plan.  The nice thing is, the plan hasn't changed in over a month, so I'm taking that as a sign that I'm on the right track.

At the moment, I don't have the money to do all of the things I want to do.  So today I tackled the one thing I can afford and with this being a long weekend, I have the time too.  I started painting the soffits in an argyle pattern.  By argyle, I mean lots and lots of 2x6 inch diamonds in a slightly offset pattern in three different colors - turquoise, orange, and yellow.

I'm not really sure how a sane person would go about doing this but I decided to go with probably the most labor intensive method possible - hand painting it.  And I didn't use stencils either. Oh no, I marked out ever little diamond, taped the pattern and then painted it.  It only took about 6 hours.  Or rather, I should say, it only took 6 hours to get to the point where I could paint 2 of the 3 colors.  As of this moment, I've painted 2 colors on one of the soffits.  I haven't even begun the other side of the kitchen.  It's a good thing I really like OCD projects.

Initially, I thought I could mark out every 2 inches on the soffit and then just connect the dots to make diamonds.  I quickly learned that I'd been a bit naive about that.  As it turns out, I had to mark every inch and then draw lines the length of the soffit every 3 inches.  I needed the 2 inch marks for the tips of the diamonds and the 1 inch marks for the outside corners.  I probably didn't need to draw out every diamond but once I started taping, I realized how easy it is to get lost in the grid, so I went back and drew every diagonal to make the diamond.  Making the diamonds was about 95% of the project.  It was a royal pain, literally since I spent hours with my arms over my head holding a level or a ruler and drawing lines.  It was also very messy.  I was barely into the project when I realized I was in for the long haul because my grubby fingers were smearing pencil marks all over the soffit.  It was a horrid mess from the moment I started drawing lines.  But I soldiered on figuring most of it would be covered by paint.  Here's what things looked like when I started taping:

Taping was really not that bad, it went fairly quickly once I'd made all the marks.  But . . .I made a few mistakes with taping.  1) I should have wiped down the soffit before beginning since there is probably a light film of grease and/or dust on them; 2) I should have bought 2 inch wide tape; and 3) I should have been super duper careful about pressing the edges of the tape down firmly.  Before I give you the bad news, here's what the soffit looked like all taped up:

I could tell that not all of the diamonds were perfect but I doubted that it would matter that much in the end.  I also knew that I could touch things up later if necessary.  Oh and the one thing that was not my fault was that the soffit isn't completely square.  The right side bows out a little.

OK, so I started painting with the turquoise color (Royal Paint color "Balmoral").  It didn't take long for me to realize there was a problem with the tape - it wasn't sticking very well.  Once it got a coat or two of paint on it, it would start pulling up.  Whether or not this was my fault (for the reasons listed above) or the tape's, there was trouble in paradise.  But not knowing what else to do, I started in with the orange color (Royal Paint color "Tangerine Dream").  Here's what it looked like with the tape still up:

I gave it a good 3 hours before I pulled the tape off.  The results are extremely mixed.  Some of the diamonds are perfect but a lot of them have bleeding issues.  I'm hoping some of these issues will be fixed when I add the third color but I know I'll still have some touching up to do.  More time spent on the ladder - ugh.  Anyway, here's where the project stands:

The yellow will go between the orange and turquoise diamonds.  The top, bottom, and center rows will remain the current wall color, although I'll probably have to repaint those areas too because of the pencil smudges.  Even though it's not perfect, I do feel good about two things - the colors look great and the end result is going to be amazing.  Even in its unfinished condition, the new soffit gives the kitchen a whole new feel.  It seems a little more formal and pulled together than before.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adventures in Vegas: Not the Trip Most People Would Take

This past weekend, I drove the 385 miles south to Las Vegas.  The DH and I were desperately in need  of some R&R.  Having lived in Vegas briefly, we didn't take the "normal" Vegas vacation.  Rather, we revisited places we enjoyed while we lived there.  Both of us are fond of history and natural resources, so our trip revolved around checking out museums.  Aren't we just a couple of wild and crazy kids?  Anyway, I spotted a few things along the way that I thought were blog worthy.

I actually have to give props to the DH for spotting the first gems of the trip:

These two restroom signs were at the Mineral County courthouse in Hawthorne.  We stopped so the DH could pay a speeding ticket - ahem!  Anyway, I think the signs are darling.  

This motel sign was in Luning (or was it Mina?).  I love the little atomic stars. 

 For me, the one destination I was looking most forward to was the Clark County Museum in Henderson. 

Inside the museum with their regular exhibits, I found this little metal cabinet with pink and gold fleck laminate top.  In nice shape too!

The highlight of the Clark County Museum is an entire street of real houses saved from destruction in Las Vegas.  Each one is from a different decade of the 20th century and decorated accordingly.

This house was built by the U.S. Govt.  in 1941 for workers in the magnesium plant in Henderson.  When you go inside, it's obvious is was meant as temporary housing.  This one was occupied up until the 1980s, so much for being "temporary."

Here's the little kitchen.  By the way, I apologize for the quality of some of the photos, the rooms were closed off with plexiglass so it was tricky getting photos that didn't have reflections in them.  

This house was the coolest in terms of fun mid century features.  The house was built in the early 1930s but was redecorated in the 1940s-1950s.  A lot of what is in the house is original.

Two views of the living room when you first step into the house.  Sorry about the creepy mannequins.  I wish I'd gotten a closeup of the curtains, they're quite cool.

Views of the kitchen and dining room.  That linoleum is wonderful.  Also love the breakfast nook with the dinette.

The bathroom could be the piece de resistance though.  Check out the floor tiles and how they match the color and pattern of the wall tiles.  Also love the sink skirt.

This house is from Boulder City, dating to the 1930s when they were building Boulder Dam.

Views of the kitchen and bathroom with matching yellow and black tile.

Early "motor camp" cabin with fun "western" furniture.