Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Reading

If you're anything like me, you love to read all about other people's houses and the projects they're working on.  (For me, this might sometimes be simply that misery loves company.)  So I was really unhappy when the HouseBlogs website started having trouble and then went down for the count. 

Happily, I've discovered the HouseBlogging site.  It combines the things we all liked best about the other website--a way to read all the blogs we're interested in on one site and the ability to search for blogs by location or house style or project--and they also have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.  I've re-discovered some favorite blogs that I'd lost track of after the demise of the other website.  (Incidentally, the two websites are not affiliated, that I know of.)

You can access HouseBlogging via the above link, or by clicking their badge on the right-hand side of this blog.  If you have a house blog of your own, please send these nice folks a request to add it to their blog directory. 

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hell's Bells

I am not good at making decisions.  I get nervous if I have to spend more than a hundred bucks at a time.  I lack the gene or whatever it is that makes some people able to perfectly arrange furniture.

So this week when I picked out a new couch and a new area rug, bought them, and then tried to figure out where to put them in the front parlor I almost broke out in hives. 

I bought the couch at my aunt and uncle's furniture store.  I went there three days in a row and sat on almost every couch in there.  My Aunt Helen, clearly concerned about my mental health, patted me on the shoulder and said, "I'll just let you look some more, hon" before escaping to her little kitchen at the back of the store.  On the third day the heavens smiled upon me and my friend Shirley was there.  She's one of the owners of Riley's Pub, where I went when I was trying to decide what color to paint my house.  Back then I threw a dozen or so paint chips on a table in frustration and let Shirley pick the colors.  Ten minutes later, she'd picked the main color and the three trim colors.  Based on that history, I showed Shirley the five couches (yes, five) I was debating among.  "That one," she said right away.  I bought it.

When my Uncle Arlie delivered the couch he asked me where I wanted him to put it. 
"There," I said. 
Then, "No, there."
After he walked over there, "Maybe it looks better over here?"
And finally, "Oh Hell's bells, just leave it in the middle and I'll decide later."

Then I moved it around 47 more times.  Which caused Charlie to say in alarm, "You pushed that thing all over the new floor?!?!"  Of course not.  Well, not without an inch of paper towels under each leg, anyway.

And now, it's here, on the only long wall in the front parlor.
Pay no attention to the lampshade, the tape measure, the ladder, and the running dog.
I like it there best.  It opens up the room more and makes it easier to place other furniture around it.

And it even looks good with the wallpaper.  (Which I really need to finish.)

There's only one teeny tiny problem.  See that long black cord in the first photo?  There to the right of the sofa, strung across the mantel?  Yeah, that.  That's the television cable. 

So the tv would be behind the couch.  That's new and different. 

Unless I can get the cable company to come over and move the cable to another corner, preferably the one diagonally from where it is now.  A corner in which my tv stand may or may not fit. 

Hell's bells.

Monday, March 5, 2012


We shoved all the furniture from the front parlor, the entryway, and the dining room into the back parlor when we refinished the floors.  It looks like a mashup of Hoarders and Holmes On Homes in there, but somehow I managed to find my camera.

I varnished the floors Friday and Saturday, and unless the nightmare I had that the house flooded and the floors were ruined proves to be prophetic, they're finished. 

The dining room

The front parlor, looking into the dining room & entryway

The entryway

The stain is Minwax Special Walnut and the varnish is Minwax Clear Polyurethane in Satin Finish.  The floors all really are about the same color; it's just the lighting in each room that makes them look darker or lighter.  The middle photo is the one that shows the color best.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Progress & A Small Disaster

I made a lot of progress today.  One coat of varnish on the floors in the entryway, the front parlor, and the dining room.  Junky cellphone pics available on my Twitter feed.  I'll take better photos and post 'em here...as soon as I find my digital camera.  (Speaking of digital cameras and progress, I finally ordered a new one.  It has more megapixels and some other nifty features that I only pretend to understand, so in the future the photos here should be of better quality.)

More progress--at least, in theory if not in practice--on the bathrooms and the back door situation.  I showed Charlie the BH&G photo of the bathroom and he said amiably, "That doesn't look too hard to do.  I'll help ya."  I thank my lucky stars for Charlie, especially since White Trash Bob paled at the thought of helping me tear up my bathroom.  (In fairness, it may have been the whole two-bathrooms-into-one plan that made him blanch.)  When Charlie and I were talking about working on the bathroom I said, "The only thing I don't like about keeping both bathrooms is that now the back door will never line up with the sidewalk."  (Keeping both bathrooms and moving the back door to its original location would mean that the back door would open into the shower.  Not so good.)  Charlie laughed and said, "Well, it's just too bad that you don't know a concrete guy who could tear up your old broken sidewalk and pour you a new one that lines up with the back door."  Now would be a good time to mention that Charlie is, in fact, a concrete guy.  Huzzah.

And...a small disaster at the end of the day today.  I was finishing up the varnish on the dining room, standing in the kitchen/dining room doorway awkwardly propping the door open with my hip (it's one of those really heavy double swinging doors like June Cleaver had) while putting on the last bit of varnish.  I heard the distinctive click...creak that means the bedroom door where all the animals were corralled had popped open.  (The door isn't quite wide enough for the latch to fully catch the hole inside the strike plate, so the door pops open fairly easily.)  I yelled, "NOOOOO!" just as Louis Cat charged past me, ran into the dining room, and leaped down the cold air return just to the right of the open door.  By the time I let go of the door, prepared myself for the inevitability that I was going to have to step in the wet varnish, and slid over to the cold air return in my flip-flops, only the end of Louis Cat's tail was visible.  He was heading down the ductwork.  I said some very bad swears and grabbed his tail.  Louis let out an unearthly wail, made worse by it echoing through the metal ductwork, as I dragged him out.  When his head popped out of the duct, so did a giant softball-sized clod of dust.  It hung in the air for a moment above Louis before it burst and a billion little dust bunnies landed all over the newly-varnished floor.  It reminded me for all the world of one of those big Roman candles on the Fourth of July...only horribly ugly instead of sparkly and pretty.  That'll be fun to sand out tomorrow....