Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, here it is June 14th and I really have not accomplished as much as I'd hoped. The weather has been very wet--making it hard to do a lot of the messy stuff that needs to be down outside. However, I did get quite a lot done this weekend... most notably.. the chair! Well, truth be told, there is a tiny bit to be done on the back of the back rest. But other than that, it's done.

Remember the before?

And here's the after.

I stripped the dark stain off as best I could and then varathaned it with a clear, satin finish. I decided to go light because of some other mid-century furniture I have in the room. But I think it would have looked cool painted black, as well.

The fabric is from Ikea. I bought it last year to make a blind but got way more than I needed--which turned out to be wonderful mistake as I had plenty to make a blind AND cover the chair. I made some major rookie mistakes with the upholstering job--the main one being cutting the fabric too short. D'oh. I realize now that you need to cut it larger than the template and just trim when you are done. Ugh, I ended up having to hand sew extra length onto the sides--but it all worked out ok with most of the screw-ups hidden. I definitely would not want anyone to look too closely though!

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm also glad it's done. Whew!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I have a whole week off to do projects around the house! I hope the weather cooperates--some of my projects involve messy steps that need to be done outside.

The list includes (among other things):

1. Spray painting the 4 frames I bought at the Elegant Garage Sale. And sourcing out some matt board and someone with a matt cutter who will be so kind to lend it to me.

2. Gardening, gardening and more gardening. Ugh, it's a jungle out there.

3. Beginning to work on the last bedroom upstairs. Unfortunately, I wont' be able to do much of that due to my arm problems (work related repetitive strain). Thankfully, my husband is willing to do it without my help.

4. Refinishing and reupholstering a great new chair I just bought for $50.

Here's some photos:

First the chair. It has great lines. It just really needs some TLC.

And then there is the last spare bedroom upstairs. It's going to be my craft room/studio. We've left it this long because of the nightmarish walls that will need a lot of work.

Yep. Stalactite stucco. Watch you don't hit the wall as you walk by--you'll require stitches. This is all going to have to come out to be replaced by drywall. It's the only room where we couldn't save the plaster. It makes me sad, but trying to sand all of this down will make me sadder.

The floors were covered by carpet and old linoleum (taken out years ago by us). The wood floors aren't in bad shape at all. I plan to paint them. You can see the bare wood square in the middle. This was in all of the bedrooms upstairs. I'm guessing they had a linoleum or canvas floor cloth there when the house was built.

The closet will stay, but get a makeover. I also hope to put an organizing system inside.

The upper portion of the closet still has the old wallpaper from ? maybe the 50's. I love it and it must stay. Yay to Robin Hood.

I don't, however, love the ceiling fixture. That must go.

As you can see, there's a lot of work involved in this one--even though it's a small room. The plaster walls have to come out, drywall has to go in, be sanded, primed and painted. The floor and closet also have to be primed and painted. New doors need to be made for the upper portion and a curtain will replace the main doors (that fall on your toe on a regular basis--just like all of the closet doors upstairs).


Friday, May 08, 2009

It's spring! And with spring comes the possibility of new home projects. My question is, when does the money roll in to finance these house projects. Argggg.
I haven't started anything yet but I'm torn between fixing up the yard (a huge mess) and tackling the remaining spare bedroom--soon to become my craft room. Stay tuned...
In other news, I've been keeping my eye out for some remaining items for my kitchen. Recent purchases include:

A much coveted Fire King polka dot bowl. I'd love to have a set of these (like the photo above) but I want to find them at rummage sales. Ebay is too expensive now with the dollar so low and shipping so high. I purchased mine at "The Bag Lady". A cute neighbourhood lunch place/vintage shop.

Black Cat sugar and creamer circa the 1950's. I actually bought them for my sister, who has the teapot. But she had them already. It turned out to be a bonus for me because they look awesome in my kitchen.

And three reproduction posters from (a fantastic Canadian poster company).

We mainly tried to stick with WWII propoganda posters but we couldn't resist the WWI Navy poster (Gee, I wish I was a man).

This afternoon I'm going to the "Elegant Rummage Sale"--a huge rummage sale put on by the Rotary Club at the fairgrounds. I'm in the market for frames, but I'm secretly hoping I find lots of red polkadot fire king items :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I bought this poster last week as an early birthday present to myself. It arrived today... and yep, I'm as happy as a bird with a french fry over it. I can't wait to frame it and hang it on my wall.
I bought it from Studio Mela's Etsy shop. I have my eye on several of her other prints-- But I must pace myself...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

About 8 Years ago, the hospital building that I work in closed down. A new one had been built on the grounds and after a short search, they weren't able to find someone that wanted to take over the old building for another purpose. It has been sitting empty all this time, waiting for demolition. It was built in 1951 to house the chronically ill.

The patients moved into the lovely and modern new building and the offices moved into other buildings. On moving day, I decided to take a chance and ask if I could take the old coffee table that had been sitting in the elevator lobby on our floor for so many years. Its finish was worn and water damaged and its style was considered very old fashioned. I was worried it would just go in the garbage. I made a few calls and happily, I was given the coffee table!

Fast forward to the present. I still have the lovely mid-century modern coffee table in my living room. Shamefully, I still haven't refinished it. For some reason I've grown sentimental about the old days working in the old building. Perhaps its because I just received my 20 year long service gift--so I've been thinking about those old days. With that on my mind, I took an extra long look the other day at the old photos hanging in the lobby of the new building. The photos depict the opening day of the old building in 1951. The front lobby is pictured with it's large, rounded front desk. I sat there 20 years ago and answered the switchboard--my first job there. And there it is in 1951 looking almost the same. Except as I look at little closer I see the cool lobby furniture and curtains. Looking closer still, I see my table! Of course I nearly screamed. How cool is that? Its possible that they bought more than one of those tables--but still, it's the same model.

Our staff photographer is looking for the negatives for me so I can have a copy of the photo. Hopefully he finds it! I took photos of the photos to post here. Sorry about the quality.

I used to sit behind that desk. The door leads to a small bathroom. I had to RUN to the bathroom and hope the switchboard didn't ring while I was in there.

I wonder if that is a time clock hanging on the wall? By the time I came along, that wall was covered in fire alarm panels.

One of the patient lounges. What I wouldn't do to get my hands on some of that furniture. Most of it was gone, especially anything uphostered, but there was still a few things hanging around at the time we moved out. Now I wish I had tried to get more. And now it's all gone for sure. A few years ago the building was opened to a charity that removed all of the contents that they deemed saleable. Because it's been sitting empty without heat and water for so long, nobody is allowed inside of it anymore. Too dangerous. Oh well, I'm glad for my little coffee table. And you can be sure its moved to first on my project list for the spring.

And here's the table today. A little worse for wear, but still intact and much loved.

Well, we slogged through it and the kitchen is done! And I am proud to say that there aren't any little things left to do that we've swept under the carpet (so to speak). It was my goal to finish each and every little thing--I can happily say we did.

I will admit, that sometime in the future I plan to have the old cupboard doors reworked to hold glass. The money ran out, so we will wait on that. For now, I'm quite fine with the open cupboards and how it compells us to keep them clean :-)

The best part of all, of course, is the dishwasher. Having a clean counter 24/7 makes me very, very happy.

You can see the full set of pictures from beginning to end here:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well, while we wait on the flooring to be delivered, I got bored and started doing a little online searching for more information about William, Ida and Robert--the owners of my house from 1899 - 1939.

If you'll remember from my previous post about them here (Scroll to Jan 2, 2007):
William John Wright and Ida Kate Wright moved into the house in 1899 with their son, John. Soon after, Otis Home Wright was born. I like to think his middle name was in celebration of him being born soon after they moved into their brand new house. The very next year, William died.

I found William's death registration. It says he died from "brain fever" lasting one week. He died September 17, 1900 and was 37 years old. Who knows what in the world he really died from, but that's a very quick illness. And if that's not bad enough, I found out that Ida was pregnant when William died. It gets worse--she lost the baby. There's a registration for a still born female, born April 21, 1901. Seven months after William died.

In one year, she lost her husband and her baby girl. Why isn't my house haunted? If anything, there should be a sad woman walking the halls looking for her daughter, or kneeling by her husband's sick bed. I like to think that her life ended happy, so her spirit didn't linger. Two years later she was married to Robert Thomas, the barber, who moved into the house with his son and daughter. And the best happy ending of all? They had a daughter together in 1906, Ida Doris Thomas. Ida Kate would have been 43 when she had her--quite a late pregnancy for those days (and the age I am now!). But how nice for her to be able to start a new family after all of that sadness 5 years prior.

I learned lots of other helpful information including Ida's full name and maiden name (Graham), parent names for all three of them and their exact wedding dates. I also found the birth registrations for all of the children except for one (John Wright).

Some questions I still have: When did Robert and Ida die? Death records are not available online later than 1937 and Robert is still listed as living in the house until 1939 (they only list the man in the city directories). I hope I'll find this info as well as their headstone someday.

I still can't really figure out much about Robert's former wife. On the marriage registration for Ida, he's listed as a widower. On the 1901 census he was just listed as single. On the birth registrations for his 2 children, the mother is listed as Nettie Sageman. However, I can't find any death registration for her--or anything else for that matter. So some of the mysteries continue...


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Well, the kitchen saga continues. Are you bored yet? I'm not!

The next stage involved ripping out the bottom cabinets. We had it all planned for Saturday morning. I emptied everything out on Friday and set up a little temporary food prep station in the dining room complete with disposable plates and cutlery.

I got up around 7:30 on Saturday morning, and Pete had the whole thing pretty much done. So much for getting a chance to smash something!

I was surprised to see more of the wood planking behind the cabinet. It's pretty darn old if it was there before the kitchen cabinets were put in.

Under the right side of the cabinets, we found this flooring. It must have been the original floor. It was removed from the rest of the kitchen sometime after the base cabinets went in. That's a lot of green paint for one room!

We found this linoleum under the other side of the cabinets. It was on top of another, plainer piece. I think they just used it to shim up the cabinets and cover a big hole in the wood floor on that side. Isn't it cool? It was so dirty you could barely see the pattern. I cleaned it up so I could see what it looked like. Very art deco, I'd say.

This is the other piece of lino. I like this one too. Of all of the lino I've found in the house, I haven't seen either of these patterns. This one is actually square tiles instead of sheets.

So then Rob N. came over and we finished the kitchen. Here it is. Isn't it beautiful?

Just kidding. Rob and Pete built a temporary sink so we'd at least have some water until we do the flooring.

We ordered some flooring called "Cushion Step", made by Armstrong. It's sort of spongy so it will be warm on the feet. Pete thinks we can lay it ourselves so we'll be saving a lot of money.

Next steps: Wait for the flooring to arrive. Put down a new subfloor. Put drywall in behind cabinets. Put in new cabinets and counter. Install dishwasher. Paint top cupboards, walls and ceilings. Hmm... that's a lot of work ahead of us!

And just so you don't think I live in complete squalor all of the time. Look at my garden! I'm so happy with the flowers I bought for the pot on the steps and in the hanging basket this year.