Monday, April 29, 2013

Over the Mantel

Are you curious about what is going on the wall above the mantel in my foyer project?

 Maybe you thought I didn't have anything in mind for this spot.  Well, I did.

I have had this mirror in my garage for several years knowing I would eventually find the right spot for it. 

It is creamy white and slightly distressed.  I left it that way until I knew where it was going to hang.  Then I painted it OC-23 Classic Gray.

At first I thought I would stencil the frame in a crocodile or snakeskin pattern .  After several emails back and forth with Rachel at The Stencil Library, we came to the conclusion that maneuvering a stencil on this surface would not produce the desired results.  So on to Plan B.

I had used fish net as a window treatment in the foyer and since I was planning to change that for the "new" look.....

 I tossed it into the washing machine and hung it out to dry.

Okay, it wasn't quite that easy.  Before I adhered the netting,  I glazed the inner rim with clear glaze tinted Earth Brown.  I sealed that before I started gluing the fishnet onto the outer frame.

My plan failed.  Parts of the inner border looked like this when I finished, and,

other parts ended up like this.  Nothing to do but sand it lightly and repaint from the base color to the finish color.

Then I added a rope trim to tidy up the groove.  Getting all the little loose ends into the groove was tricky and not perfectly uniform.  The border added another texture and also covered those cut ends.

This morning my brother stopped by and hung it on the wall.  It's a big day and a happy one.  It's always a good day when the vision in the head manifests successfully.

Note here that the wall behind the bookcases is now painted...and, yes, it is painted all one color. It looks like several different shades and it's all because of light and shadows.

All that time I spent stewing over just the right color for this wall was somewhat unnecessary.  It has a varied life of it's own.

One more element in place and I can move on.  There is still much more to do.  I can see this project taking me well into the summer.  However, it is the more dramatic part of the process as the finishing touches have a bigger impact.  Watch for a post on light fixtures soon.
PS: I neglected to give credit in my post about the antlers in the firebox. That idea came from my brother, Dan. 

I am linking to :  Savvy Southern Style

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seven Square Feet Complete

I seem to be coming up with lots of excuses for why I am not moving faster on the foyer project.  First it was my aunt's funeral in Iowa and this week it was because I devoted the entire week to preparing for a yard sale.  The hauling, and arranging and pricing was all worth it.  The weather was absolutely stunning, the buyers were plentiful, and I sold a large percentage of my stuff for the asking price.  I have the cash for more remodeling and lots of people have something new (to them) to enjoy.  With that as a prelude,

you will understand why I'm talking about a very small piece of the pie....roughly seven square feet.

I'm referring to the firebox that looked like this at the beginning of the remodel.

Things were happening all around this small opening but nothing was going on inside the firebox.

Finally tile was installed on the bottom but the sides were dismissed for the time being.

Now seemed to be the time.  I painted the blocks a few shades of grayish/green.  I used a stiff bristle brush and dry brushed the various shades of paint on to simulate the stria in the tile. (none of which shows up in this picture)
I'm still not satisfied with the result but....I'm leaving it as is for now.  I have never had each element in the room have such a huge effect on the other elements.  So for now, I'm waiting until I complete some other things to help to determine where I go from here.

However, my idea is to use antlers inside the firebox.  These antlers came from the Western slope in Colorado.  My sister and her husband live there, and when they heard I was looking for antlers...well, it just so happened my brother-in-law had these in his shed. 

They are now center stage in my new foyer.  The color variations on these antlers are really lovely and fit into my scheme perfectly.

Thanks, Barb and Floyd.  I think they are gorgeous!  Once I finish tweaking this spot, I'll show another picture.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Loose Ends

This is a mini post to tie up a loose end I left hanging way, way back when the pantry was being redone to accomodate the doorway to the new powder room.

The right side of this pantry became the doorway to the powder room

The left side was reconstructed with glass shelves for glassware and dishes.  The idea was to have two framed glass doors made to fit side by side.  However, after much research it was determined that no one wanted to make 86" high doors that were only about 15" wide.  So Plan B was put on the table.  Long story short Plan B (to make frameless glass doors similar to frameless shower doors) also bit the dust.  Not only would they be extremely expensive but the hinges were not what I wanted in this space.

Was I disappointed not to have my tall glass doors on this opening?  A little, however, I lived with it so long during the research that I got used to it without doors. 

It seems to be working fine this way.

I wish I could capture the true effect in one shot but...

Even when I lie on my back on the floor, I cannot squeeze the very top into the shot.

Back to what's happening in the foyer in my next post.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tile on the Fireplace

I can't wait any longer to show you what has happened with the tile on the face of the fireplace. 

 In this previous post it looked like this.

Then it sat like this while we waited for another section of the tile to arrive.  Turns out that tile sat in the warehouse for ten days before I could get anyone to admit it was available for pickup. 

But that's history now.  We laid out the rest of the tile and did our advanced math only to come to the conclusion that we needed a little more filler.  That's where the pencil tiles you see on either side of the herringbone come into play.  Lo and behold, Home Depot came to the rescue.  That's another story about denial...them denying the company still made that tile and the sample they were showing was just an outdated sample, and me not willing to give up.  I moved boxes on the shelf, enlisted the help of complete strangers to reach boxes far back on the shelf, and suddenly the tile they no longer carried was on the way out the door with me.

There were other trials and tribulations about the installation, the grout, and I quote.."That's not a flaw.  That's just how it comes." I'm going to skip over all that.

It's time to move on.

This was overnight last night.

The herringbone was done in white grout so that was a seperate step.
This wall is far from complete, but I'm easing my conscience about not giving a progress report for so long.  We really are trying...really we are.  No one wants to see a completely finished project more than I want to blog about it.

but for now...this is where we started.

And this is where we are now.  Remember you are seeing this out of context because the context won't help it any right now.  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed it will all pull together at some point.

FYI:  I have been working on the lighting and hope to update you on that in the next post.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Aunt Helen

There is no progress to report from this past week.  Work at home was put on hold while I attended the funeral of my Aunt Helen in Sioux City, Iowa.

Helen was born in Yankton, SD on Sept. 25, 1924 and died March 28, 2013. 

Family gatherings were high on Helen's priority list and she attended many.  Here she is with my brother, John, on his wedding day.

Helen was the last of my parent's siblings to leave us, so her funeral was a gathering of the next generation from various parts of the midwest.

Because Helen never married and had no children, she devoted herself to her nieces and nephews.  Right up to the end she knew the names of not only the children of her 15 nieces and nephews, but also the names of their children.

  Knowing lineage meant a lot to her, and she knew it well, both the generations before her and the ones that followed.

She kept herself informed of events in our lives and then kept the cousins informed of each others lives as well.  As someone said at the funeral, "She was the glue that held us together."

I hold my Aunt Helen partially responsible for my start in life.  She introduced her teacher (my mom) to my dad (her brother).  So it was at a very young age that she began her life work of putting people in touch and then keeping them in touch. (Helen is the third from the right standing next to my dad.)

My mother had a brother and a sister and between them seven kids.  Helen knew these cousins well, and almost all of them were able to attend the funeral.

It was fun catching up with the cousins from both sides of the family

Many thanks to Jim and Colleen for their outstanding hospitality.  What a great place to stay!  (Photo taken from their deck at sunrise. The bright spot is a yard light, not the sun.)

You can see why it was hard to leave.  The meals prepared by Jim and Colleen were also hard to leave behind.  It was a great time with the family that gathered to say good-by to a woman who was loved by all who knew her.

Helen wasn't opposed to a cold one now and again.  Here she is with her "favorite" niece.  We talked at the funeral about how Helen made us all feel like her favorite. But we joked that my sister, Sheila, might have had the edge.  Now they are back together again...and who knows?....laughing and sipping a brew together.

Good bye Helen, we will miss you.