Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Proud new parents of a sectional!
It was a looooong struggle, but our new couch finally arrived. I like to think about the couch as how to make a sectional sofa the correct way. Yes, the couch is from IKEA and yes, IKEA can be very difficult at times. Without going into the long drawn out story, let’s just say that it took about three trips to IKEA, numerous phone calls, and one “discussion” with a manager. I think the best part of the whole couch episode was when we were in the check out line about to pay for the couch and it became clear to us that the couch was no where near Atlanta and Jordan’s only comment to the cashier was “You’re going to need to go ahead and call a manager”.Things finally worked out and IKEA did end up offering us home delivery to correct for there numerous mistakes and out and out misinformation supplied to us during this whole process. It’s kinda funny really. Once you can wade through all the support staff and finally get to a manager and you tell them what you have been told and they reply in total disbelief about what was told to you. I guess it boils down to either poor training, lack of effort by the employee, or a total breakdown in communication. Either way, it’s good that this couch seems to be the last piece of furniture we will be getting from them.
Speaking of furniture, Jordan and I went to the Scott Antique Market in Atlanta this past weekend. It’s a great place to spend the morning and early afternoon at, but I will say that inventory at the individual booths does not change all that often. I was looking for glassware like usual and we always keep an eye out for furniture. Glassware was limited (unless you’re into Carnival glass) and when we did find some, the prices seemed higher than normal.
While looking in the furniture, we came across this desk that is absolutely amazing. The picture fails to show the other side of the desk which is all curved bookcases. I will say, and I think Jordan would agree, that if we had the money we would have the desk!
Ok, so back to finishing up the painting and then next stop....The Basement, or what I like to call our lifestyle room!
Friday, October 10, 2008
I guess we have been putting off painting these rooms because quite honestly, there is a lot of wall surface to cover. Well, we have started this process and it is moving right along. If you will indulge me in yet another tangent, let me discuss the famous paint color reveal. If you have watched any amount of renovation shows on HGTV or DIY, you will know what I am talking about. I think the show Trading Spaces really made a big deal about the “drama” of paint color. I understand that it’s TV, but do they always have to dip their finger or hand into the paint can and then wipe it all over the wall (I guess to further dramatize this moment) to show the viewing public the paint color. So, I know you wish Paige Davis was doing this, but here is all you get:
Speaking of the outside, earlier this week I mowed the grass only for the second time. As you can see, the front yard is really pretty big yet only takes a bout 1.5 hours to mow both the front and back. There is a lot of work to do in the backyard, which is for another time. The front yard is nice and presents a lot of potential. The Dogwood and large old pine that occupy the island in the front yard are great. As I was mowing, all I could think about was adding a bench or nice sitting area under them.
One of the nicer landscape features in our front yard is two rose bushes that have these wonderful pink flowers. I think that they should be moved to another portion of the lawn and they seem like they need some overall pruning and maintenance. One thing that I’m pretty ignorant about is plants. Roses especially scare me, not because of the thorns, but I’m afraid of killing them. So, if you know of a trustworthy link or book that would be of help getting over this fear, please let us know.
The pink rose is also connected to the neighborhood which creates another reason to worry about the livelihood of these two rose bushes. Northcrest is home to the Hoe ‘N Hope Garden Club that was started in 1963. The symbol of the club is the pink rose which makes me wonder if these bushes are somehow connected to the early stages of the garden club. So, my last thought of the day surrounds these roses and the fragrance from them envelops the house.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The kitchen, like much of the rest of the home, yielded a number of original details highlighted by the wooden cabinet doors, cabinet pulls, and the stove vent fan cover. When we were looking in the neighborhood at other houses, a common upgrade was the installation of a new IKEA style kitchen. This is a pretty nice option, especially for folks remodeling on a budget. I think when we first thought about the kitchen, we assumed we would eventually follow this route as well.
However, we view the house and most others within the neighborhood, as one day occupying an significant place within the architectural grammar of the development of the modern day suburb. Architectural grammar is a jargon way of describing how a population group expresses it's own cultural models through the structures they construct. With this vantage point, we think it is important to preserve and incorporate as much of the original “historic” fabric of the house into our upgrades. This opinion we fortunately adopted at an early stage made us realize what a gem we had in this kitchen.
So, this leads us as to why all of the cabinet fronts are scattered around the basement floor. It was clear, that if we were going to start with what we had; there was a baseline of sketchiness contained within all of the cabinets that needed to be dealt with. To battle this “sketch” on the cabinet doors, we gave a good cleaning to both the front and back surfaces of the cabinet doors. Then, the interior surface was treated to a couple coats of spray-on Deft lacquer. I was introduced to this product through carving tikis. The lacquer leaves a layer of protection as well as almost providing an instant patina. It is a great product and pretty forgiving too when compared to polyurethane.
Next, we decided to paint the exterior of the cabinet boxes a light blue semi-gloss. This only highlighted the darkness of the interior of the cabinets. In order to combat this, and the 50 years worth of “sketch” that had clearly accumulated in the dark interior corners, we continued the paint to the inside of the cabinets.
In addition to the paint, we added a few new shelves inside of the cabinets and laid down this great light blue, blue, light brown, and brown polka-dotted shelf paper that proves to only exist on one Target store. Also, you may notice that small yellow square on the right side in the last picture. This is one of the small personal touches I’m trying to add into our home.
These pictures are of the restored kitchen that once was used by Mrs. Margie Samuels. To many, this name is of no consequence to history, but to others (especially Bourbon lovers), the Samuels name is one of legend. You see, it was in this kitchen that Mrs. Samuels designed the bottle for her husband’s “new” bourbon, a bourbon she named “Maker’s Mark”. Again, to many, this is of limited historical value. But to me, both as a bourbon admirer and southerner, bourbon is magical in both complexity of flavor and in southern lore and history.
One of my most memorable experiences in the field took place one sunny morning in Shepherdsville, KY. We were gathered in the parking lot of the hotel we were staying at while doing fieldwork at Fort Knox. Instead of talking to range control to see what blasted out portion of the base we could survey, we ventured to Bardstown, KY and experienced the western portion of the Kentucky bourbon Trail. Bardstown is basically the heart of bourbon country and a great town to visit. That morning and afternoon we visited Beam, Heaven Hill, and Makers. This adventure was punctuated by own a necessary lunch at the Old Talbott Tavern. This is a legendary location with a wonderful and very comprehensive bourbon list as well as amazing fried chicken and chicken with dumplings.
Maker’s Mark was our last stop of the day on this brief pilgrimage to classic southern culture. The distillery itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and pictures fail to do justice. If you have never stepped out of a car and smelled the air at a bourbon distillery, you are truly missing a wonderful experience. The smell of the bourbon distilling coupled with the clean bluegrass air and limestone filtered water in central Kentucky is indescribable.
After figuring out the shared traits between our kitchen and Mrs. Samuels, two things popped into my mind. First, I can only hope to be as creative as she was in her kitchen. Her efforts were primarily concerned with creating a proper presentation for the product her husband was making, mine will be focused on good food and the celebration of life and family. I think that is the basis for bourbon and southern culture, the celebration of life and family through local products which enable local cuisines and traditions to develop and become distinct within a much larger regional experience.
The second thing is how past experiences are stored and then prove later to provide inspiration to some degree. So with that, our kitchen is becoming more and more complete with each passing day. The next challenge within the kitchen I think we need to deal with in the near future is the counter top. Mrs. Samuels kitchen was classic Formica maintaining the atomic boomerang pattern on the table and red counters. Our counter tops are Formica and the material has really come a long way. The stuff that is there now really sticks out in the painted kitchen. At least it is neutral and works for now. There are so many counter top options around. Where do you start? I can say this, for us, granite is a material we are going to skip over.
If you ever see these bowls....mail them to us!
Other kitchens of the period seem to have bold color choices as well, like the one above. Our late 70's pop-up also has these great red-orange counters but I don't know if a strong color is the way to go for us. Please also notice the resemblance between the above pictured stove vent and ours. This process within the kitchen has reminded me that it’s these small direct connections with the past that we love and will never change about our house. IKEA simply could not produce a vent cover like that. Look out basement stairs, your next!
To be one, just ask one...or something like that!
Friday, October 3, 2008