Friday, August 31, 2012

P Town

Chris and I took a little trip to Provincetown, Massachusetts recently. "P Town" (as those in the know call it) is on the furthermost tip of Cape Cod.
Well known as an East Coast summer resort for the gay community, Provincetown is incredibly charming. There are so many quaint cottages, art galleries, cute shops (lots of them home decor related), and fantastic restaurants. Not to mention all the fantastic people watching opportunities.

Check out what I brought home from an antique shop.
Someone had creatively turned these lion's head door knockers into bookends, but I'll be taking them apart and polishing them up to use on my front doors (because I'm such an expert in metal polishing).
These were only $30 for the pair!
That's my kind of souvenir.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Better Before

Oh dear. I think I broke my house.
Remember my front door with all of it's mismatched hardware?
It dawned on me later that the handle set is unlaquered brass. That's a good thing! Look at  how beautiful the doorknob is on the inside against the glossy black door.
It is golden and has a muted shine which is all together different from the bright yellow polished brass deadbolt and mailbox slot.
I did some research and learned that you can use lemon juice, vinegar, or even ketchup to remove the oxidization from brass that makes it dark brown. So I decided to try it in an attempt to save ourselves the $500 or so it will cost to replace it. I started with ketchup and squirted a big glob of it on the thumb piece and let it sit there for about an hour. Lo and behold, it was indeed lighter!
So I progressed. This time with an aggressive solution of salt and vinegar. 
Significantly lighter on the handle, but after an hour and a half of scrubbing over 2 days, this is the result. The dark areas that remain weren't budging.

I took another tactic which was to make paste of equal parts salt, vinegar, and flour and applied the mixture all over the handle. After leaving it on for about 8 hours, I had much better results.
 On second looks really ugly.

I threw in the towel and told Chris I was going to start shopping for a new handle. So he started taking the screws out. And guess what? It's stuck. That thing is painted on, glued on, adhered to the door with magical powers.

But that's his problem :)

Update 9/1/12: I tried Rub-n-Buff as so many commenters suggested on the handle set and mailbox slot. They both look better, but still not as good as a new set would look. So eventually we'll replace the hardware.  Thanks for the suggestions, Rub n Buff is definitely a good interim solution!

Monday, August 27, 2012

All Buttoned Up

Our house in its current state reminds me of Humpty Dumpty after all the kings horses and all the kings men tried to put him back together again. For the last 3-4 weeks our yard has been swarming with roofers, gutter installers, carpenters, (and Chris!) who are patching it up and making it look good as new.
The latest progress has been from the carpenters who replaced all the rotted clapboards and installed new clapboards on the sides of the dormers. A small but significant improvement.
Almost ready for paint!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alabaster Addiction

A friend of mine and I joke how we always defy Stacy and Clinton's rules from What Not To Wear when it comes to buying clothes in multiples. We know we aren't supposed to own 5 of the same cardigan in different colors but we do it anyway.

Does the same rule apply to what you buy for your house?
No, you aren't seeing double. I just couldn't resist buying another pair of alabaster lamps for our living room similar to the ones we have in our bedroom.

Oh Alabaster.
I wish I knew how to quit you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just in the Nick of Time

I received this alarming text from my neighbor Saturday morning while we were out:

"It doesn't look like you guys are around but your entire front porch fell and is laying on your bushes."

Then when I didn't respond (dead cell phone battery),
"It was a disaster-we moved it into your driveway. I wish I took a pic before we moved it :)"


This is what we came home to:
Gee, not having the railing there really opens up the front of the house, doesn't it?

Luckily, Chris was already making good progress on the railing (under the supervision of Georgia and Harry).

He already had plans to remove that portion of the porch over the weekend anyway. However it was really nice of Mother Nature and the force of gravity to help him out.

Hello new balustrade!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Progress and Patience

It was two years ago today that Chris and I moved to Hazard Ave.
I still remember how excited I was when our offer was accepted. I spent many nights lying awake mentally walking through the rooms trying to imagine how we'd make our new house our home. I envisioned how it would look once the kitchen and baths were remodeled, when the wallpaper was all down, and the with whole house freshly painted.  
Two years have gone by and we're probably not even halfway done with our remodeling efforts. We have to work within some very real constraints like a budget and around the schedules of our demanding day jobs. How frustrating!  But I think, I hope, in the end we'll be happy that we took our time renovating our forever home.  This is not a reno where we've made decisions with resale in mind. Instead we wonder, "Am I still going to like this 20 years from now?"

So without further ado, here are the projects that have kept Chris and I busy over the last year.
(click on the headers for more info on each).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Riddle

How many bloggers does it take to paint a nursery?
Casey and Sarah
If you said three, then you were right :)

Sarah, of the blog Pewter and Sage, and I got together last Sunday to help Casey paint her nursery.   Never before has painting been so much fun!

Curious to see what the nursery looks like after our day of hard work?
Hop on over to Casey's blog, Loft & Cottage to check it out!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Note to Self

Dear Carrie,
Someday when the roof is done and the house is painted,
after furniture has been purchased for your nearly empty living room,
after the ancient wallpaper is removed from your dining room,
and after your kitchen has been completely overhauled,
it will finally be time to focus on the back stairs.

And when you do, make it look like this:
Michael del Peiro Design. Photo by Janet Mesic Mackie

Because it'll look a whole lot better than what it looks like now:

You'll thank me for it when you are agonizing over how to inject some beauty and style into this utilitarian space.

Your welcome.

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Turning Back

Our pre-painted gutters are were installed late last week...
Our pre-painted, color matched "montgomery white" gutters.
Allow me start from the beginning.
A couple weeks ago, I went to the Benjamin Moore store to pick out color chips for our trim, accent, and front door colors. It was serendipitous that a Benjamin Moore color expert was onsite to help me out. I showed her pictures our house and told her we wanted something the color of buttercream for the trim color to go with the main house color we'd already decided on, Amherst Gray:

So she suggested Montgomery White:
When I'd gone in there, I was thinking I wanted a bright yellow front door color. She talked me out of that, saying it would be too close to the trim color. Instead she recommended Atmospheric:
or Wasabi:
Loved them. Loved them both.

But after a few days of living with huge sample paintboards taped to my front door and agonizing over the decision, I ultimately determined that bright and funky was not the look I want. Our neighborhood is old school. Maybe too old school to appreciate a wasabi green front door.
So we're going to go with a more classic front door color:  good old respectable black.
I know it is the right decision because I haven't second guessed myself since.

Even with these decisions made, it was quite something to see the gutters go up in our
soon-to-be new trim color. There's no turning back now!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inspiration is Everywhere

I took this picture in a bar. 
Vintage books. Framed album covers. Shallow shelves. Little brass railings. Shelf lighting.

Bartender, I'll have another!
Just so that I can keep staring at this wall.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Clawfoot Heaven

If there's such a thing as Heaven for tubs, then this is certainly the place.

A few weeks ago Chris and I went on a little field trip to New Bedford, Massachusetts to check out New England Demolition and Salvage. We weren't looking for anything in particular, but I kind of wished I was in the market for a tub.

Or a sink

If you are looking for it (and even if you aren't), this is the place to find it.

They also have a section of antiques where I found this fine frame.

Sure it needs a little rub-n-buffing to repair the corners, but I love the aged and timeworn look. Since bringing it home I've been obsessively scouring Etsy like a madwoman for an affordable 12 x 16 inch abstract on canvas. 
No luck yet. This might have to be a do-it-myselfer project.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Exterior Progress

There's been a significant amount of progress on our roof over the last week, but there's still lots more to do.
The synthetic slate roofing is up on 99% of the house, but with only a 4 foot section left to go  the roofers ran out of materials. It took 6 weeks for the original order of slate to ship so I'm not expecting the roof to get finished anytime soon...
They'll still have plenty to keep them busy in the meantime though: rotted clapboards need to be replaced, new gutters need to be installed, snow guards put in place, and clapboard siding needs to be hung on the sides of the dormers (they were previously covered with asphalt roofing).  I'm so glad my house is getting patched up, but man, she's looking like a hot mess right now.

In other news, the shipment of spindles arrived for our front porch. On Saturday while the rest of the northeast was at the beach escaping the heat, I was in the workshop helping Chris prime porch spindles.
All 1,000,000,000,000 of them.
We primed them with an oil based primer. This had to get done before Chris could start assembling the balustrade in order to prevent any water from getting sucked into the wood at the spots where the spindles are joined to the other pieces of the balustrade.

With the spindles still in the box, Chris hammered nails into the ends then laid them on strips of wood.

Genius. It made priming and drying quick and easy.

If you use your imagination, it is already starting to look like a new balustrade.

Ironically, the silhouette of the new spindle is almost an exact match to the ones we are replacing.
 A happy accident. I don't know why we didn't try to do that on purpose.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Nine Years

Time flies when you're having fun.
Happy Anniversary, babe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Homes of Newport

Chris and I spent an afternoon in Newport, RI recently. We walked around, had lunch, and of course, I snapped a bunch of eye candy goodness for you all.

 I'd gladly take any one of these homes as my summer residence. Yes, I would. Oh yes I would.
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