Archive for November, 2008

TG Woodworks

Check it out – Travis put our table on the front page of his website.  Wait for the third photo to load – that’s the table that’s in my house.

As soon as it’s a good season for porch-sitting again, we’re putting our white wicker furniture on Craigslist and having him make us a swing.  Stickley never officially produced one, but he printed rough plans for one in the September 1905 issue of The Craftsman.


Travis and I talked about him reproducing one in cedar with a slatted seat (instead of the caning Stickley calls for), and we’re looking at a very reasonable $200 for the project.  I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting that for the wicker set next April or May, so the cost should be a wash.  Then we just need a second rocker (matching or non-matching?  It’s a tough decision) and a big oval rag rug to finish things off out there.

Oh, and a less terrible color of paint for the floor.


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You’ll shoot your eye out

The house from A Christmas Story is my second-favorite Christmas movie house (after the Ol’ Granville House from It’s a Wonderful Life), but this is a much better story.  It went for $5250 (donated to the Wounded Warrior Project) – a steal and an excellent cause.

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From Morocco, With Love

It’s well-established that our Habitat ReStore is the Greatest in All the Land – witness this, and this, and this, and this, and this, for example.  At least two other housebloggers have sought out their local ReStores after seeing the things we’ve found, and that makes my liberal heart all tingly with joy.

This afternoon’s find, however, may be a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing.  It certainly puts silly chairs and dressers in a second-tier category.

We’ve been looking for a rug for our family room since we moved in, but rugs are quite an investment (especially for people who’ve always lived in carpeted apartments.  It’s serious sticker-shock when you price rugs for the first time).  On top of that, our homeowner ethos demands that we live without until we can buy what we really want.*

So I was giddy when I saw a giant, multi-colored, non-floral rug mixed in with the carpet remnants at ReStore this afternoon.  It was duct-taped into a tight roll and the store was only open for 10 more minutes, so I had to go with what I could see.  I could see three things –

  1. a piece of masking tape with the size, 9’x12′ – that’s massive.
  2. the back of the pattern, which was bold greens and blues and oranges and reds and yellows, but importantly, not floral, not overly-modern, not southwestern/Aztec, and not Native American.
  3. the price, which I’ll make you wait for.

I called Missy to get a conditional OK (“If it’s gross, I’m putting on Craigslist immediately“), and Josie and I loaded it in the trunk.**  I don’t think I’m exaggerating that much, if at all, when I say it weighs over 100 lbs.  108 square feet of wool is heavy.  I unrolled it in front of the garage when I got home, and not only is it ridiculously heavy, it’s in near-perfect condition (which doesn’t mean we’re not going to steam-clean the hell out of it before putting it down).  Without further ado, here it is –


The tag was rolled up all the way in the center – it’s Moroccan, and signed by six different people.  I don’t even want to guess how expensive this rug was new.

But at our wonderful ReStore?  The Finest ReStore in All the Land?  It was $10.

Please don’t hate me so much you stop reading my houseblog.


*That said, there were some tempting Black Friday deals that would have been OK as temporary solutions.  Cheap rugs are ugly though – who knew?

**With friendly help from a man with a McCain/Palin sticker on his giant truck.  Josie and I were bridging aisles in addition to furnishing our house on the cheap.

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Light it up

A quick trip down south to the big city this morning brought two antique lamps into our little family (the pair for well under what we’d pay at a moderately-priced restaraunt – I won’t even tell you, you’d be so annoyed with me.  OK, I’ll tell you this much – we would have done far worse buying a Target knockoff).

Neither has a home at the moment, although I’m picturing the one with the leaded-glass shade and copper base (which tips the scales at a hefty 20 lbs, in case you lack the ability to judge weight from 2-dimensional images) on a tabouret table in the living room, and the brass adjustable lamp on a massive oak library table in my office.

Those are pictures in my head, but neither of those tables are in my house.  So sad.




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And snow it begins…

winter-003Ha – I must be the punniest houseblogger!

Three inches of the white powdery stuff – Yukon gold, Texas tea, Elf cocaine – whatever you call it, it’s going to stick around until April.  Sigh.

On the bright side, I forgot how much I like riding my bike in the snow.  I dusted off my cross bike and delicately, gingerly, sloowwwwly picked my way to campus.  I’ll like it even more when I trust that drivers remember that they have to start stopping earlier.  I counted four folks sliding through stop signs this morning – that’s four too many for this cautious bike-commuter.

Update: Stacy wrote in the comments –

Such a clean driveway. I suspect either 1) warm ground (not for long) or 2)somebody owns a snow blower.

Very much the former – I did this with a push-broom because we haven’t even bought a snow-shovel yet.  This is the kind of pronouncement that certain people won’t let me live down, but here it is anyway: I will never use a snowblower.

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The back door, which I’m now convinced was sold by the owners of our house in 1979 (when the mudroom was built), is coming along much, much faster than my last post suggested.  Sarah from Bangor Bungalow wrote this in the comments –

Hey Jason – I had the same (wallet) problem with chemical strippers, and I’ve found a hydrid approach seems to be the most cost effective: I use the heat gun (~$35) to strip off the bulk of the paint, then use a coat of citri-strip after that, to remove the gunk & residue. It seems to go quite well, especially in the situation you’re describing: paint over varnish. The heat seems to melt the varnish, which makes all the paint above kind of slide off (with help from Mr. Scraper). Anyways, it saves cash because you can get giant globs of layers of paint off before shelling out for the good stuff to finish up. Just don’t overheat the varnish or it can blacken.

The degree to which she’s right is, frankly, astonishing – I’ve nominated her for the Nobel Home Renovation Prize.  Of everything we’ve done in the house, heat-gunning the paint off this door has given me the most emotionally satisfaction – it’s face-meltingly boring, but incredibly satisfying.  Who knew that 1020 degrees of narrowly-directed heat could make such a difference?


The paint slides off like butter (although it tastes slightly worse)

Far and away the worst part of the job was cleaning out the edges of the panels

Far and away the worst part of the job was cleaning out the edges of the panel


A coat of CitriStrip is working on the riff-raff as I type this, then it's time to flip and start all over

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Hip in a Hurry

Missy has a secret plan to get us out of Vietnam turn Josie’s walls into a scrapbook – beginning with framed scrapbook paper and continuing with these Hip in a Hurry 3-D wall decals.  They’re white 1/4″-deep high-density foam, and she adhered cardstock to the reverse side to make a few of them solid-colored.  The bambino – who just had her mobile taken away after she got big enough to stand up in her crib – approves of her new decor.



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