Archive for March, 2009

Hand-antiqued (by actual hands)

I mentioned that we’re still waiting on an offset hoosier latch to finish off the hallway wardrobe.  We’re excited to put everything in place but it’s not here yet – what’s up with that, House of Antique Hardware?  I couldn’t log into their website, so I e-mailed their customer service department to find out whether it had shipped yet.

Here’s the answer I got…twelve minutes later:

Hi Jason,

The order has not shipped yet because the item is being antiqued by hand. The item will be available for shipment tomorrow. When it ships we will email you the UPS tracking information. Please make sure to put our email address on your safe senders list to avoid our emails going to spam or junk folders. If I can be of further assistance please let me know. Have a great day.

Mike Miller
Customer Service
House of Antique Hardware, Inc.
Reproducing America’s Historic Antique Hardware
Address: 802 NE Davis St, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503.231.4089 ext. 211
Fax: 503.233.1312
I know where our future hardware dollars are going.

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Is the housing market even salvageable at this point?  Isn’t the free market supposed to fix this?  Hey, neocons- I’m asking you a question here!

“Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures”

“The whole purpose of foreclosure is to take title of the property, sell it and recoup what money you can,” Mr. Cecala said. “It’s just a sign of the times that things are so bad no one wants to take possession of the property.”

In South Bend, boarded-up houses for whom no one has stepped forward are dotting the landscape, adding a fresh layer of blight to communities that were already scarred from the area’s industrial decline.

And from a few days ago, more heartbreaking than infuriating – “Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns”

Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.”

This little house down the block has been in foreclosure since we moved in last summer.  In just the last two weeks, though, the for-sale sign came down and a squadron of roofers, painters, plumbers, and electricians have been in and out of the driveway.  I googled the address, and it’s being rented out.  For your $675/month, you get two bedrooms, one bathroom, and awesome neighbors in the blue house down the street.  Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic about their prospects – it’s one of three houses for rent that we can see from our porch.


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Optimus Prime


Priming is the worst – tons of work for a terrible-looking result, backed up with the knowledge that we still have at least two coats of paint to go. But at least it’s over – all of the baseboards, frames, and doors upstairs are primed, and the first coat of paint is already dry.  Soon, my pretties.


Added: Trudy asked in the comments why we’re priming/painting the risers and only staining the treads, which is a fair question.  I have two answers – (1) I test-stripped a few areas, and they don’t seem to be made from the same wood as the treads, and (2) that’s OK with us, because we prefer the look of stained treads floating on painted risers and tread brackets.

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This isn't our stuff - the photo's from our walkthrough last summer

This isn't our stuff - the photo is from our walkthrough last summer

Looming tower of louvres

Looming tower of louvres

It’s always been the plan to tear out this built-in armoire from the upstairs hallway.  It’s hulking, it blocks the light from the hallway’s only window, it’s poorly constructed, the finish is poor, and neither of us has so many clothes that we need to store some in the hallway. Fortunately, it was built in around the baseboards and on top of the existing floorboards, so removing it means only minor repairs.

It was only recently that we decided what to replace it with  – the antique Frautschi wardrobe I posted last month– and that’s the incentive we needed to put our destructive plan into action.  It helps that I’m on break this week (our silly trimester system means I have to start a brand-new ten-week term in late March, but fortunately, I have a one-course release and my other course is one I’ve taught twice before).



We’re donating the louvred doors and four drawers to ReStore, I’m salvaging the large pieces of plywood for scrap, and everything else is getting bundled for the trash-man.


Very pleased to uncover this hidden plug-in.  Also very pleased to see how much brighter and larger our hallway is without The Beast.  It’s disorienting.



Other than some minor plaster damage (which I already repaired), the armoire went down without a fight.



Other than an offset hoosier latch that’s on the way from House of Antique Hardware, the new wardrobe is painted and ready to move in.  Everything’s primed and we’re painting the trim* and walls this morning, so fingers crossed, it’ll all be together by Sunday.

*I realize it looks like stain and varnish, but your eyes are deceiving you – it’s faux-wood-grain.  I test-stripped a small area, and I’m 99% confident that the second-floor trim has always been painted.

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Tread on me


Stair progress, but cuidado, mi comprades: these pictures don’t reflect the current state of the stairway.  The current state is: much more awesome.  Pictures of that awesomeness soon.

Stop looking at my bald spot.


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Called out

Ack, Helen’s right

Also, speaking of cömprömising yöur vålues, I seem to recall some discussions about earth friendly-stripper and snowblowers around here somewhere….

The problem is this:  all of my principles are the opposite of simple, fast, and cheap.  Also, this: Helen and the universe are conspiring against me.  What else could explain a hundred inches of snow?  Missy’s dad also called a few days ago to say, “I know Jason likes to do things the hard way, but would you two be interested in a snowblower?”  His neighbor was going to throw it away because it needed new spark plugs, so Darrell rescued it and he’s going to give it to us.

A sea-going adventurer slash science journalist, the universe, and my father-in-law – all conspiring with one another, against me.

Missy says I should just learn my lesson about big, public proclamations.

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I like this bedroom a lot (from Kim & Brandon’s North Shore Cape house tour on Apt Therapy), but the furniture is not from a store I (or anyone else in the world) would associate with timeless, handcrafted worksmanship.  It looks good though, eh?



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