Archive | July, 2010

This House Makes Me Sick.

30 Jul

Pass the Alavert and a face mask.

When I referred to the house as a moldy mess in the first post, I wasn’t kidding—it is a MOLDY MESS.

Just before the first major walk-through planning meeting at the house, Brad said: “I’ve got masks in the truck. I can’t be in that house for any time before my throat is itching. Want a mask? And I thought, Wow. Mold must really bother this guy. If he’s allergic to mold, we’re in trouble.

I passed on the mask because mold doesn’t bother me. Please. What is the matter with me? This kind of mold bothers everybody. The next morning I realized two things:

  1. I may be “immune” to mold but my upper respiratory system is not—guess who woke up with swollen eyes and a throat that felt like sandpaper?
  2. Just do what your contractor suggests.

So, now, I wear a mask.

And here’s why…. Please look what’s growing in the crawl space inside the hatch. (I watched too much LOST. I now associate everything underground with the hatch.)

Meet the mold—a temporary resident.

It gets worse but you’re not going to see any pictures of how much worse because I’m not going to the back of the hatch by myself—not without a light. No way, Jose.

Do you see the mold on the post. Yep, that’s mold. Thank you, God, for mold specialists. And masks.

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Meet My Contractor

28 Jul

In the midst of the my-alley-is-full-of-trees crisis, I called Brad to say: “You are not going to believe this. The alley is full of trees.” okay, so maybe it was more dramatic than that…

In the background I could hear some commotion—think Extreme Makeover: Home Edition meets Saved by the Bell.

Now I understand.

Meet Brad.

In case you missed it, we had an off-the-charts flood back in May that left many in dire straits. If you’d like to help this family rebuild, shoot me an e-mail. I’ll connect you to the project directly.

And, hats-off to the forty high school students and their leaders who are giving their time, energy and resources to help somebody. I love that.

Before/After/Aftermath

26 Jul

“I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.”

John Steinbeck

Progress is a great thing. I’m most fond of the sort of progress I can see. Perhaps this is why I really like yard work—the whole instant gratification aspect is satisfying. There were some pretty overgrown and unruly bushes around the front and side of the house. They had to go to make room for soon-to-come Hardieplank siding.

Before

After

After

Aftermath

And then there’s the aftermath of progress. This would be the alley behind my house. And that would be a big pile of progress keeping me and every neighbor on my block from passing through the alley. This is not exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned “hauling it off.” I am fairly sure that Metro won’t pick this up. I’m also pretty confident that this would be on their “wrong way” list.

Today, I am laughing about this. Today. The laughing just started today. Yesterday, my sister and I dragged nearly ever piece of progress/aftermath from the alley into my backyard. If I were hosting a huge bonfire I’d be in great shape but I’m pretty sure Metro wouldn’t go for that either. I would have taken a picture but we were in no mood for photos considering it’s a million and one degrees outside.

So, about that John Steinbeck quote…

Step inside. Walk this way.

22 Jul

If you spend the rest of the day walking around the office with Pour Some Sugar On Me running through your head, I am truly sorry. I was thinking about flooring, which caused me to think of words like step and walk. Next thing I know it’s 1987 and I’m  dancing to Def Leopard songs at the Homecoming Dance. Then my mind wanders to Love Bites, which was also real hit among all the junior high crowd at said homecoming dance—everything bites when you’re in junior high.

As I resurface from memory lane, I think to myself who writes a song like that anyway? Probably somebody from Def Leopard which explains my strong preference for Bon Jovi.

So, step inside. Let’s talk about flooring.

Recently, I’ve been told:

  1. Flooring can make or break a room.
  2. Hardwoods stained too dark will cause you to curse the dust and buy stock in Swiffer.
  3. Start looking at and thinking about floors. ASAP. (It’s next on the make-a-decision-about-this list.)

Here’s what I think:

  1. Real wood
  2. Wide planks
  3. Not-so-dark dark stains

(No clue where this photo came from but if these are your floors—they are lovely.)

Wary Meyers, I love your floors.

Carlisle Wide Plank Wood

Everything I like leads me to believe that flooring is charm you can walk on. I’ll take a double-dose of charm, please. Hold the Swiffer.

Sit a spell

20 Jul

There’s a wall standing in the middle of what will be the kitchen. Once it’s out, there’s plenty of room for “living space” within the kitchen. I ran across this kitchen living space in an old issue of Country Home. I’d like to create a spot like this in my kitchen.

This is not my color scheme (not even a little). Actually, this isn’t my style at all. I have an aversion to yellow walls that I cannot fully explain; I’m sure it’s something from my childhood. I also have an aversion to knitting, floral-scented candles, Vera Bradley bags and Brighton jewelry—again, I cannot explain why I am turned off. I just am. This is the baggage I bring to the renovation process. Regardless, I can appreciate that this is a space well done.

For the record: If you love yellow paint I fully support you in all your sunny-side-up-ness. And if you like Vera or Brighton, you are on to something because each has its own store in the Green Hills Mall and they don’t let just anybody into that place. The Green Hills Mall has not approached me to ask my opinion on anything, nor have they asked me to open a store—so what do I know?

Front Porch Love

19 Jul

I’m over-the-moon in all of 2.3 seconds when I think about the front porch. We’re planning a comfortable space dripping with neighborliness—an open invitation to stop by and swing your troubles away while you drink a glass of sweet tea or a cup of coffee, depending on the weather.

Here’s a bit of the inspiration:

I’m most excited about the idea we’ve come up with for incorporating individual swings into the space—we can hardly wait to swing our own troubles away!

I have a zillion dreams for the house on Bradford—the most important things have less to do with finishes and trim. Instead they hinge on a way of living. I don’t want to live within the walls of that home. It would be a shame—a real loss—to miss all the life that happens on the other side of the front door.

“Nobody thought much about the front porch when most Americans had them and used them. The great American front porch was just there, open and sociable, an unassigned part of the house that belonged to everyone and no one, a place for family and friends to pass the time.” –Rochlin, The Front Porch, in Home, Sweet Home

The Art of Cooking

16 Jul

From Please Be Still

The kitchen and the front porch—those were on my must-be-good list when I was house hunting. I’m two-for-two and I’m presently obsessing over the kitchen. Since meeting with Brad (contractor) last week, I haven’t stopped thinking about the possibilities. Perhaps it’s because the kitchen seems to be most customizable. Or, maybe because there is something magnetic about the kitchen—everyone winds up in the kitchen—I know and anticipate it so naturally, I want the kitchen to be everybody’s favorite room.

From Roll & Tumble Press

When it comes to art, I like printmaking and I’ve got a soft spot for anything printed on a letterpress printer. I appreciate that it takes care to mix ink and run it through the press by hand. I took a printmaking class last summer and fell in love right then and there. Letterpress printing reminds me of cooking—you’re wise to wear an apron when doing both. In the spirit of apron-wearing, I’m including a few handmade prints that, with the proper frames, I’d be happy to display in my soon-to-be kitchen.

Have a lovely weekend!


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