Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Before and After: Hall and Stairs

I used to think redoing a hallway would be no big deal.

How hard can it be to redo a hallway anyway?

The BEFORE shot of our hallway:

It looks perfectly nice, doesn't it?

A tad bland just painted white, but otherwise quite fine.

You'd be surprised what can be done in a hallway. I know I was surprised while it was all happening. Not only was there renovation being done on the hallway, the hallway was also being used as a messy construction storage area most of the time.

The floor was constantly covered with old carpet, sawdust, random nails and screw, bits and dabs of stuff everywhere.

It drove me nuts plowing through the mess every day.

There was a leaky swamp cooler vent at the beginning of the hallway. Swamp coolers are actually very energy efficient and environmentally sound. They work great up to a point.

Once it gets too hot outside...all the swamp cooler can do is just make the hot air more humid.

We debated...and decided that this was the time to go with air conditioning.

So I lived with a pink fuzzy ceiling in the hallway for awhile.

The single light was replaced with what is decidedly not mid century style: can lights.

Oh well. The can lights work well, and stay clean.
That's all that really matters in a hallway anyway.

The original flooring had never been refinished. It was in beautiful condition, so we had it sanded, stained and sealed. Now it looks fantastic.

To cover the bland white walls (which a peek under the original thermostat showed to have originally been painted Army Green!) I selected a Sherwin Williams paint color called "Celery."
The paint color really is pretty close to the vegetable color, and is just a few shades lighter than the Sherwin Williams color Shagreen that we used to paint the living room. (In the picture it looks more like a yellow isn't, think green instead.)

We "nailed" it on the first try. No second guessing the choice, except that I'm now tempted to use the same color in the guest room. And maybe the master bedroom, downstairs, everywhere.
Celery is a great color!

A couple of prints and paintings were added, and the hallway was transformed for good from construction chaos to a pleasant place to enjoy a bit of art. So much nicer!

The oak trim around the door frame leading to the hallway will eventually be carried through the hallway as well. We have purchased the moulding already; it is stained and sealed and up in the rafters of the garage right now.

Between the cost of having it installed and the agitation of having men coming and going randomly through the house during installation...well, let's just say that for now we would rather have the money and the privacy rather than the moulding installed.

Bernie knows how to install the trim, and whenever he feels like he wants to tackle the project will be soon enough for me. Or at least that's what I'm saying right now.

(Thought I'd insert a picture I took of a hillside with an amazing collection of colors. Isn't is interesting to think of all the colors that are hidden in the earth?)

As long as I am covering the hallway, I might as well share about the stairwell right off the hallway. Originally it was painted a rather vivid yellow with drab army green carpeting.


A modern light fixture gave some light...the fixture was more interesting than useful.

You can see the vivid yellow paint!

In mid February, just before we moved into the downstairs area we had the carpeting re-done downstairs, including the stairs themselves.

The plan was to re-carpet the stairs with the new carpeting, believing at the time that the stairs treads were just construction grade wood.

As soon as the old carpet was pulled up, I changed my mind.

Bare wood gave more tread space for our big feet!

This was GREAT news for us; the narrow treads had concerned us before.

And so I got to live with stairs that looked like this from February until June 12th...after we learned that the black stuff that had been used to either anchor prior carpet or to prevent slip probably contained asbestos...which meant refinishing the treads was not going to be an option.

FIVE months of looking at this slummy staircase.

It made me feel like I was a ghetto dweller. Would I ever live in decent surrounding again?

We told our contractor that it was not negotiable: the stairs HAD to be done before our son's SLC post wedding reception that would be held at our house. Knowing that our contractor used a calendar system that clearly was different from ours, we told him the reception was June 6th.

He tore out the stair treads June 5th, and left us with out treads at all.

Great guns in the morning...we were in shocked disbelief. What if the reception really was the next day??? As it turned out, he did manage to put the stairs treads in place two days before the actual reception, on June 11th. We did a lot of tongue biting over that bit of timing.

The cats did a lot of leg crossing during that time...Tiggie for some reason could not or would not walk down the stairs without full treads. Bernie had to carry the poor guy down to his litter box every morning and again as soon as he got home from work.

Poor kitty...both cats did remarkably well with all the chaos over the six long months.

Lovely new oak treads AND a handrail at last. Did I mention that for five month there was no handrail in the stairwell? That I braced myself by pushing against the walls as I went down the steps?

Ahh...the little details of things that are taken for granted until they are gone.

I may be the only person around who walks down a short hallway and a stairwell and thinks "Man, this is just GREAT!"

Funny how living in a construction zone will change your thinking like that.

Oh the stairwell's vivid yellow paint and modern light fixture?

Still there. We've gotten used to them, and now actually we kind of like them!

Blooming on the 4th of July

We had a lovely Independence Day. Our local cactus and tropicals nursery had a 30% off sale in the morning, so we beelined over there to get some good bargains for the garden. They have an especially nice selection of orchids...and once I started taking pictures of them it was hard to stop.

Every angle offered a different take on the orchid bloom. This is the same orchid as the first one pictured on this post.

Who would of thought a hairy flower could be so beguiling?

Giraffe skin pattern in fuchsia..on a flower...what a novel idea. Guess the orchid came first, at least according to the Book of Genesis. First there were plants, to feed the animals, and then came animals....very orderly ecology reported there.

Green flowers make me smile. Ask any small child if a flower can be green and see what they say.
Then show them this one and see what they say....
First I see freckles, then a smiling bonnet wearing doll tucked in the middle of this one.

I saw mermaid tails a flip action book. The mermaid's tails are all that is left to see, surrounded by a splash of water.

Conversing orchids...or maybe dancing.

Look at that scary face with a big nose, floppy mustache, wicked tongue and squinty eyes.

From another view it looks like an angel on the wind!

Just shows what you can see with a little imagination, time, and camera angles.

Of course these pictures weren't the only ones I took.

Oh no...I took close to a hundred that morning. Not just orchids either...and not just at this one nursery. I've selected the best of the best to put into a web album of the day. Just click on the link, select "Slide show" option on the top, and enjoy!

And be sure to tell me what you saw, and which orchid was your favorite.

PS: Yes, all those flowers in the back of the car are now awaiting planting in our garden. Wanna come over and help dig?



Wish you all could of been with us on the 4th. We sat on our front lawn and watched four firework displays exploding down in the valley below us. The moon rose over the mountain above us, and a friendly BAT flapped around us too. An Independence Day bat..that's different. Hmmm...this place is interesting!

And get this: Early on Sunday morning our neighbor was coming home from a night shift and saw a MOOSE standing in front of our house!

Wish she could of woke me up...I would of loved to have a picture of a moose standing in front of my house! Totally blogworthy, right?

Oh yeah.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Before and After: First Bedroom

The first of three upstairs bedrooms was this one, down the hall just past the stairwell.

Love those "hip" beaded curtains!
Dig that groovy stripe!
The room is small and narrow, about 8 ft by 13 ft.
Just past the door at the end of wall was a closet. In real estate listings, any room with a closet may be considered a bedroom.

With six bedrooms in the house, we decided this bedroom could loose its closet and become an "extra" room. The closet front was closed off in the small bedroom, and its backside, which was a wall in the master bedroom, was opened to become a second closet in our room.
His and her closets...a better use of closet space for us.

The front of the closet was drywall and finished to match the texture of the lathe and plaster walls.
This little room had us stumped for the longest time: what on earth would we use it for?
It was going to be an office...or maybe a work out room.
Jeff was useful to us: he came over to help us move some things around and dropped the box with the glass topped office desk.
Hmmmm...must of been fate that caused the glass to break into a million pieces; suddenly the office option was off the table.
I didn't like the idea of exercise equipment upstairs...too ugly to pass by on the way to the bedroom and bath everyday.
Another bit of fate: We had planned to put our bookcases downstairs, only to discover that they were too tall for any of those rooms.
But...they would fit into the small first bedroom.
And how about putting the new wine cooler (that we impulsively got dirt cheap when we ordered applicance) in there too?
My stager Jill agreed: make it a nice sitting area to enjoy a good book and a glass of wine. We unfurled the area rug that had been in our Houston house's entry way, rolled my great grandmother's tea cart in, arranged Bernie's collection of glass paperweights on the second shelf of the tea cart and an assortment of wine glasses and pressed glass snack plates to dress up the cart and make it look right for serving wine instead of tea.

Tiggie was SO happy to see the rug is the rug that he always used to sit on for brushing and pets.

My white chair and foot stool from my hat room faces the window and other chair.
It is just perfect for relaxing and good conversation.

An oil painting of the ocean on one wall, and a print of cranes that we purchased on an island work that recalls relaxing days.
The little three legged drum table was a yard sale find from early marriage years. I refinished it myself, and it has looked great wherever we have used it. It was the best $25 that I've ever spent on furniture.

A watercolor of a construction scene was done by the father of a friend of Bernie back in the 1920's. It is unusual to paint pictures of construction sites, and this site was the building of Chicago's shoreline.
Bernie's years in construction makes him appreciate the painting's theme.
This was to be Bernie's room, so he selected the soft apricot tone for the walls, wanting it to be sunny and bright. At the time, we had no idea how we would use the room, it was just unbelievable how well the color went with everything we wound up using in the the room.

The little picture on the table is a small needlepoint picture of a bookshelf with mice that my mother made for me to celebrate my MLS degree. Next to it is a modern style glass bowl from Ikea that I have used as a hat block. Next to that is Bernie's book of daily devotions.

The view out the window is to another mountain that is quite beautiful, especially covered in snow.

We've discussed a window topper, B. prefers a plain window for now. We are trying to keep things simple in this house.

The light weight door is kept open with an old flat iron that my dad brought me from a hunting trip to Mexico years ago.
For a room that we didn't know what to do with, it has really turned out well.
Bernie and "the boys" retreat to this room for a bit every day. Sometimes I join him, and we talk and enjoy this space quite a bit.
We often comment that it would be a great space to share with friends.
That is hint by the way.
Come on over and share a glass of wine with us soon!