Thursday, July 31, 2014

A little slice of vacation...

This city kid is pretty happy to find himself in coastal Florida for a week of fun in the sun! 

Such a truly enormous thank you goes to John's family for organizing 
such an incredible family vacation. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beautiful bed-post. Ha!

Get it?!?! Because it's a 4-poster bed, but this is also a blog post about beds.

Believe it or not, this antique 4-poster canopy bed was yet another Craig's List buy-- purchased for a mere $90.00 and picked up near scenic Pound Ridge, New York. It assembled pretty much 1-2-3, which is virtually a miracle with anything built before 1900 or after 1970. I'm pretty chuffed with it-- I'll try to remember to post more photos the next time I'm upstate, so you can see all the pretty details of the brass and painted metal work. 

Such a score! 

***Okay-- that's probably my last blog post until I get back to New York City. Get off my back!!!***

No rest, none of the time.

Don't forget... This is what we started with, just over a year ago!
Even though I'm currently on vacation with a large portion of John's extended family, I've still tracked down a free moment to post more photos of the Catskills' Farmhouse, mainly to avoid the ire of my father if I don't post for a prolonged period of time...


The next transformation installment is our front porch. This was another big renovation win!! When we bought the farmhouse, the ceiling of our porch consisted of warpy-wavy-wobbly particle board that had been rather poorly painted white. We removed the particle board with the intention of replacing it with 4' X 8' sheets of beadboard ply-wood, knowing that we'd need to frame out the ceiling to avoid having another warpy-wavy-wobbly ceiling again.  However, once the particle board was down, it revealed a very cool vaulted ceiling with very well-spaced, well-constructed beams across the entire thing. Rather than having to totally reframe the ceiling to have it hang parallel to the ground, it suddenly occurred to me, why not install the ceiling parallel to the roof instead?!?

And that's exactly what we did! We also added an additional porch light while we were at it, and picked out these awesome "Hang-Straight Pendants" from Barn Light Electric. Getting these fixtures was actually a little bit of a saga unto itself, but now that we have them, they were absolutely worth the wait! (Long story short: UPS "delivered" the first set by leaving them in our trash can! When I called to find out where they were, they said, "According to our records, they've been successfully delivered." I pointed out that throwing them away for me didn't exactly qualify and then we fought a battle of the wills until I finally reached someone sane enough to agree that the trash can was not a suitable "alternate delivery location" and they conceded new light fixtures should be sent free of charge. Unbelievable. I still want those minutes of my life back, UPS!!!)

Now we just need to find some time to paint the porch floor and we'll really be in business. Current color contenders are Benjamin Moore's Night Train or one shade darker, BM's Quarry Rock. I'm torn between the color (I prefer Quarry Rock) and the name (obviously Night Train is more awesome.) But then again, we do have a bluestone quarry on the property, so maybe Quarry Rock is really more appropriate.

I'll report back on a final decision if we ever 
find the time to paint... 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stairway to Heaven, revisited.

Believe it or not, we managed to cram a fair amount of home improvement into the 30 hours we were up at our house this weekend, including, but not limited to, painting a chocolate brown trim down both sides of our painted stair runner. This taps into the painted chocolate brown floor we now have running through the upstairs' hallway and bathrooms, so it's a nice tie-in from the upstairs (chocolate) and the downstairs (the green-grey from the kitchen cabinets was the source for the color of the runner up the stairs...)

Granted, it's still a work in progress, as I've got to go back up and tidy up the inevitable paint-tape leaks (there were plenty...) but if you squint your eyes, you can see that it's gonna be awesome eventually.

Gimme a couple weeks and I'll set it straightened out! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Upstairs' Bathroom: Numero Dos

Our second renovated bathroom is actually the "Ensuite Master Bathroom". Yes, I said "Ensuite". And I called it the "Master Bathroom."

We are getting pretty high on our horses up at the Catskills' Farmhouse. 


This bathroom renovation consisted of one-million little projects, and a couple of enormous projects. We started by installing wall-to-wall horizontal bead board paneling, and then shellacked and painted the whole thing, top-to-bottom. We bought the bath tub on Craig's List (I know-- I'm like a broken record...) and the sink vanity is actually a sideboard I bought on Craig's List seven years ago, and then recently converted into a sink.

That's a pretty neat story unto itself, actually. I originally purchased the antique sideboard for our little house in Sparrowbush, and while it was perfect in that house, it was really much too small for the scale of our farmhouse. That said, I still loved the piece and wasn't ready to let it go, so I was determined to come up with some innovative way to keep it in the house without it looking like dollhouse furniture.

The solution I came up with--- and it's pretty ingenious if I may say so-- was to cut a hole into the marble slab and under-mount a porcelain sink bowl onto the marble slab. Then I rustled up (hunted down?) two terrific (astoundingly cheap) vintage looking faucets to install to the left-and-right of the sink bowl, and there was my sink installed and my sideboard transformed!!

The next step was to jerry-rig the actual sink cabinet to accommodate the plumbing-- so we recruited our incredibly talented friend Danny to cut out portions of the drawers and the back-half of the lower cabinet to make space for the drain pipes and water connections. Danny whipped this together lickity-split, and TA-DAH! Now our bathroom looks totally awesome. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Upstairs' Bathroom: Numero Uno.

Not a whole lot to report about this bathroom because I don't have any "before" photos of this space. It wasn't originally a bathroom, so pretty much everything you see is "new to me", though obviously, nothing is actually new because that's not how we roll at the Catskills' Farmhouse. The tub and armoire are both Craig's List wins, the sink was purchased out of someone's front yard for $50.00 (delivery included!) and the tole-style mini chandelier is a $10.00 auction victory that I spray-painted white and John re-wired for me. Even the shower curtain rod is a handy-me-down... It came with our other clawfoot bath-tub (also found on Craig's List and picked up from someone's front yard), and we realized that it worked perfectly in this bathroom and we even had all the odds-and-ends parts to hang it up! 

Oh wait! There is one thing that is completely new in that bathroom! The toilet!! Even we like to throw down a little cash on a brand-new, not-previously-peed-in-toilet. 

Everyone has their limits. You've just encountered mine.  

At some point, I'm thinking maybe I owe you guys a floor plan so you can see exactly how we conjured this bathroom out of thin-air and re-configured much of our second floor in the process; but I wouldn't hold your breath on that front because-- as I've mentioned-- I'm pretty freaking swamped right now!!

Maybe I'll finally have some free time when I'm on vacation?!?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Conquered, but not completed!

Next on our "conquered, but not completed" list: The cupboard stairs and upstairs' hallway. The problem with being very home-design-D-I-Y-ambitious is that you don't just "paint something" and then it's done. You don't just scrape something and then it's finished. OOOOOOHHHHH NOOOOOO. There always has to be a bunch of "next steps" -- and our staircase and hallway were no exception. 

Things started out looking pretty grim on the stairs-- old vinyl stair treads, (fastidiously installed of course, with glue, tacks, and hate), chipping paint, and lots of wall paper that was peeling faster than you could climb the stairs. Oddly, removing the wallpaper from the stairs was actually the very first thing I did after we bought the house. Maybe it was out of sheer desperation because every project was so huge--- it was something that I could do that would immediately improve things (no more flaking wallpaper getting tracked through the house) and there was a defined amount of space that I was tackling, so it didn't seem quite so overwhelming... 

Can you believe how enthusiastic I look in this photo? 
Little did I know what I'd just gotten myself in to... 

Funnily enough, once the wallpaper was down, we didn't really address the staircase any further for months-- until the past few weeks really. And then suddenly, a fire was lit and I was on a tear! We pulled down the remaining wallpaper in the upstairs' hallway, John and our friend Ty pulled down the crumbling plaster and re-drywalled as needed, we sanded, we painted, we fought and we won! 

Don't be fooled by the seeming charm of this hallway-- look a little closer and you'll realize that the wallpaper is actually the only thing holding the walls in place. And that crack you see near the ceiling on the left side of the hallway? That is where a whole portion of the wall had become completely disconnected from the other portion of hallway. Like literally-- free standing. That is not what is supposed to happen!! 

And this is what it looks like right now... This hallway has actually survived a considerable amount of transformation, but it isn't that obvious... We completely relocated one door way (the one closest in the foreground) and reframed it as well. The walls were re-spackled and re-drywalled, we painted the floors, walls, moldings, and ceiling, and we're still a little "in-process" re. decorating. 

I had an extraordinarily ambitious plan to take a collapsing antique atlas of my dad's and frame all of the maps in cool, assorted gold frames; and then hang them helter-skelter all through the hallway. I am positive this is going to look completely awesome, and I'm so excited to see it into action. I've gotten as far as buying a ton of weird frames, spray painting them gold, buying the supplies to "patina" them following the instructions of my friend Danny who is a preposterously talented frame maker, and I've even bought the matting for most of the frames. Unfortunately-- I ran aground on time, so for the interim, I've hung a couple of the most interesting frames in the hallway, totally solo, and they're standing in as place-holders until I've got a little more free time on my hands. 


So, yeah. There's no saying how soon that project will actually get completed, but I promise I'll keep you apprised of my progress. 

Also still on the to-do list : Finishing the painting of the stairs themselves. I got as far as removing the old treads, shellacking the entire step (You guessed it! Zinsser primer at work again!) painting the stairs white, and then painting a green-grey stair runner up the stairs, but my plan is to finish the runner by adding a chocolate brown border to the left and right sides of the green-grey portion. This will tie nicely into the chocolate brown paint that is now serving as the hallway floor upstairs. Someday, we're aspiring to sand all of this paint down so it looks a gorgeous as the hardwood floors on the first floor, but we're about $2,500.00 or a whole lot of D-I-Y hours away from that happening anytime soon, so I figured a little creative painting would do the trick in the meantime...  

So this is where we stand as of now. A major improvement from where we started, but still a couple of enormously time consuming steps away from being able to proclaim this project, "FINISHED!" 

The story of our lives...