Tuesday, December 30, 2008

If the Key Fits...

Yesterday I met Jim down in New Bedford at New England Demolition and Salvage. I had a few goals:
1. Get rid of the old balusters (hopefully for some trade credit)
2. Find some neat backplates and hinges
3. Find a key that fits in the door lockset

I think we were sucessful in one and a half of the goals...

Not only did we find one key, but actually found 5, and bought the 3 best fits.

They wouldn't pay anything for the old balusters, but they gladly accepted them for free. Unfortunately, that was after we already paid for the keys. I suspect that he would have done a trade, but too late. Hopefully, the balusters will eventually go to a good place. For now, some other pack rat can keep them around in his 80,000 sqft warehouse. Don't worry - I kept 4 of them for myself. Perhaps to be made into some creative something or other.

Now, for the backplates and hinges... they were sorely lacking in cool-ness. Plenty of plain stuff - but I already have plain stuff, so there's no need to buy more. I may look at some other salvage yards, but the repro stuff is looking better and better.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Peeling Paint

I finally finished scraping and sanding the paint off the first bathroom door. Yesterday I brought all the hardware upstairs and contemplated back and forth about getting new (though period reproduction) hardware, but because of my analysis paralysis, decided to go ahead and clean the old stuff up and see what I had under all those layers of paint.

I remembered reading somewhere about boiling paint off old hardware, so I Googled it to figure out what the actual directions were. Seems several other renovators have used this method and had relatively good things to say about it (paint removal kinda sucks, no matter what) Here's some directions from This Old House magazine.

Here's what I started off with:

I don't actually own an old crock pot, and wasn't about to make a trip to Goodwill. BUT I had just gone through my cabinets to finally throw out old mismatched pots I had from college... so I pulled one of those back out of the trash and used it. The other thing is that I didn't have enough patience to wait overnight to cook the stuff off. I'm not entirely sure it really needed it anyway.

Mmmm... yummy - door hardware soup in a lead paint broth - maybe an entry into next year's soup party??

And here's the final result for the backplates and the doorknobs:

Not too bad for paint removal... but not that exciting of a result. I suppose like most things Folk Victorian, it's pretty plain. The hinges are even less exciting.

The latest project house for TOH has some hardware pictures that are making me salivate...

My searching has me narrowing it down to something like these from House of Antique Hardware for the backplates (at around $30 each):

The dark one only comes in that finish, but I can get the brass one in other finishes... (I can't deal with shiny brass)

There's something wrong with the website right now, but I also found some neat backplates and hinges at Historic House Parts. I like some of the styles in their HHP classics collection...

Ah... I love hardware. Maybe I should take a trip to a few salvage yards while I'm off this week and see what they have... The only bad thing about that is that it's not likely that I'll find enough to have all the doors match. Then again, I'm not sure I really need all the doors to match.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

White Christmas

I grew up in southern Indiana, where while it was cold enough to occasionally snow, we never really had much snow, and I'm not sure I remember ever having a White Christmas - though I distinctly remember singing the song in grade school and thinking how nice that would be. Living in Massachusetts for the past 8 years, I'm not sure I remember ever NOT having a White Christmas. And so it goes this year.

I know this latest storm swept through most of the northern United States, so I'm probably not alone in this snowy magic land. But our storm started Friday afternoon (I worked from home to avoid the 6-hour commutes of snowstorms past) and while it was reported to break Saturday morning and start back up Sunday, it never actually stopped.

Here are some pictures I took Saturday morning:

Jim loves his Ariens snowblower. For 3 1/2 years we shoveled every single time it snowed and then he got the snowblower last year off of Craig's List for some massive good deal. It has heated hand grips, a headlight, and crazy powerful moter to cut through the nasty stuff at the end of the driveway after the plows go by.

We also love our Subarus (yes, we have more than one) because while there is a snowstorm that just won't stop, we are not snowbound the weekend before Christmas!

Now if I can just convince myself to go downstairs and finish scraping paint off that stupid bathroom door...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Everybody Feng Shui Tonight

Thursday night I went to a Christmas party at a friend's house. She's a decorator by profession and has an absolutely beautiful house. She took a couple of us for a tour of her house to see the upstairs bedrooms. Recently she's been studying feng shui and used a lot of the principles in those bedrooms to do some rearranging, and really feels like it has had a big effect on the relaxation in the rooms.

Since that party, I've been thinking a lot about what she said and looking at my bedroom. It made me think that there's got to be a better way to lay out our bedroom furniture - not that I have a problem sleeping or relaxing in that room - I just don't think it has the best layout.

So I went on line and googled Feng Shui. From what I've read, I'm not sure that an old house is the best for acheiving Feng Shui!

And here's what About.com has to say about Feng Shui bed placement:

Feng shui commanding position is the area further from the door / diagonally from the door, but not in line with the door. In other words, you want to be able to see the door while in bed, but not be aligned with the door.

All the walls are broken up by windows or doors or radiators. The only unbroken expanse of wall is where the bed has already been located, and it's both right next to the entry door (which we don't typically use to enter the room) and right in front of the bathroom door (which we do use to enter) - my apologies for not really "making" the bed -

As you can see, when you walk in from the bathroom, you practically walk right into the bed:

And this is the intermediate placement I came up with, also as viewed from the bathroom door:

I know there's still some Feng Shui principles being violated here - I don't think you're ideally supposed to put a bed in front of a window - or 3 windows, for that matter... and the headboard isn't "solid" - but there's no way I'm giving up my antique headboard. Still, we're going to try this out for a little while. My initial response is that it makes the room feel way more spacious.

And hopefully next week, my friend is going to come over and take a look with me, and we can make this as Fung Wah as possible. Oh wait, that's the Chinatown bus... Feng Shui. We'll get it Feng Shui, old school!

The Cast Iron Surgeon

Considering our pipe predicament from the last post, we decided that there were essentially 2 option - either
-sleeve the hole, or
-tear out a huge chunk of that cast iron pipe and replace it with new pvc pipe.

While the "y" in the cast iron pipe right at the location of the rust hole was one factor against the sleeve option, Jim also mentioned that he didn't want to be represented in this blog as doing crappy (excuse the pun) plumbing. (My words, not his) So tear out and pvc replacement won out.

Jim started out cutting the pipe with sawzall Saturday afternoon.

Then the battery ran out, and he decided he wasn't sure he wanted to wait, so he pounded at it with the hammer. My favorite part of this picture is how he looks like a wild man because of the red eyes.

Utlimately, the rusted cast iron pipe was no match for his hammer, and it went down. Then with his pvc skills, a replacement pipe and new toilet flange were soon in place.

It was a somewhat unexpectedly quick fix. In the meantime, I stripped paint of the other side of the bathroom door. Unfortunately, I think that one of the bulbs on my silent paint remover is again out. blah!