Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Deck - and a House

John started the deck back in the spring - I see my last post, where he had just gotten started on it, was dated in June. Well, it's finally done. And it looks great now - much larger and stronger than the old one. Here's a before picture -

and here's how it looks today.

John was really adamant about doing a zazzy, non-rectangular deck. I wasn't sure at first - I liked the idea of one side of it roughly paralleling our bocce court - but I wasn't sure how practical it would be in terms of arranging furniture on it, etc. But after we mocked it all up with string, I finally agreed it would work. After construction began, we realized that MAYBE his insistence upon an irregularly shaped deck was due to the fact that when his parents built a cool midcentury modern house in upstate New York when he was a child, they had an irregularly shaped deck too. When they were building the house, they lived in a one-room shack down the driveway on their property. (They actually lived in Manhattan and this was a home in the country for them.) We noticed in a picture that their one-room shack (about the size of a shed nowadays) had a little odd-shaped deck they had built to admire their hilltop view-

The main house they had built had a cantilevered deck that had the same great view-

Here's another shot of the interior of their finished house, just for fun. Too bad we don't have those chairs, although we do have a lot of other modern furniture from John's family.

A few years ago, we were planning a trip to New York and wanted to find out what had happened to their custom-built house. John's parents had sold it when he was fairly young. It took a lot of research and studying of maps to figure out that we thought the house must be in Washingtonville, NY (just about an hour's drive from Manhattan). So we rented a car one day and drove up there. We stopped at the first real estate office we saw and asked if anyone knew of a house up on a hill in the area. The realtor said she thought we must be talking about the doctor's place, and gave us directions on how to get there. As soon as we got to the long driveway up the hill, John knew we were in the right spot. It was fenced off and there was a neighbor at the property at the fenceline and so we talked to them. They told us the house was in ruin and abandoned and to go on up. It was very strange - there was still some stuff in the house but it had been vandalized and it was in terrible disrepair. John knew that it had an innovative feature - a rooftop lined in copper to create a giant swimming pool on the roof. It wasn't meant to be a swimming pool, it was meant to hold a few inches of water and serve as an evaporative cooler for the house (the house was off the grid with no electricity). Well, the roof had been the house's demise when it leaked and water poured into the living room. It was all very sad. The deck was in disrepair also and was falling off of the house-

Anyway, we stayed there for quite awhile and took pictures and walked around. When we got home, we were even contacted by the doctor that now owns the place. The neighbors had shown him our pictures of when the house was built. He hopes to restore it some day but it's probably too far gone.

Now that the deck is done, we're discussing our next project. Looks like it'll be a remodel of John's office and my office. Our main goals are: new flooring (they both have old carpet now), **new wiring (which means ripping the paneling off the walls and redoing the walls), and more windows. We are trying to figure out a window scheme for the rest of the house at the same time so when we redo those rooms, we will continue the theme (which most likely will be to add new windows in the same style as the old awning ones we have). The flooring issue is the hardest for me. It needs to be super-sturdy as it is my work space as well as the main route outside to the deck. Some kind of tile seems appropriate - maybe this terrazo tile by Eco Terr? Terrazo seems cold but I sure like the idea of it, it seems sturdy and I love love love the look. If anyone has any experience with it, or any ideas about flooring, please speak up! Cork and linoleum have also been suggested but I am worried about their durability.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Deck and Beyond

Sorry it's been such a long time since I've posted. It was a long long winter here and winter is not the greatest time for doing house projects. John worked on plans for our new deck and I mainly worked on decorating. I found a few pieces of furniture on ebay - since it is really hard to find vintage MCM furnishings in Santa Fe. I just purchased an expandable slat bench on ebay-

We had a slat bench here before that we had bought at a garage sale, but it was too short for the space. Love the new one.

We also bought an Adrian Pearsall/ Craft Associates coffee table on ebay. Of course, the glass arrived in a million pieces. But after a lot of haggling with UPS, I got paid for a new one.

And here's a cute little Paul McCobb/ Planner Group drop-leaf desk that I grew up with. Just threw it in the back of our Honda Fit and brought it here from my mom's. It's terribly sun faded (on the outside) but is otherwise in great shape. So we eventually need to get it refinished.

I also bought some FLOR carpet tiles to replace the rug I had in the kitchen, whose cheap rubber backing had started to stick to the wood floor.... I threw in a couple of darker tiles for some added interest....

And John has gotten started on the deck. He ripped the old sagging, peeling one out a month or so ago

and just poured foundation piers today.

The new one will be a lot bigger, about where the orange ribbon is in the top photo. Hopefully it'll be finished in a month or so.

Monday, February 15, 2010

DIY Thrift Store Decor

Since we finished our big remodel last summer, most of this winter has been spent fine-tuning our decor and organizing things. Last weekend we spent re-arranging my office. I hadn't been happy with it and moving everything in there is such a pain - filing cabinet, desk, computer, etc. But last weekend we tackled it and I'm very pleased. It finally feels right.

Another thing that had been bugging me was the new pony wall by the front door. It's something like 8 feet long and I wanted something nice on it since it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door. But for months it has been a big white empty expanse. Every time I get an idea for something to put there, it doesn't work out.

So last week we were in an antique mall and John was looking at old records. We have a taste for goofy old records and still have a turntable that we pull out every now and then. (In fact, we bought an old vintage turntable that John is fixing up now so we can play it.) We also get a kick out of old album cover artwork. Some of it is just so classic 1950's - other times it is just so schmaltzy and silly. So I had an idea - why not just display some fun old record album covers on our pony wall? It would be colorful and fun. Vintage and cheap. The more we thought about it, the more we liked the idea. We could add and replace album covers as we wanted, so we could have a changing display. We could even have Christmas album covers out at Christmas-time. John designed a way to display them, using aluminum U-channel from Home Depot. He sanded and polished the aluminum channel, then sprayed it with a clear finish. Then he had to drill teeny holes in it for mounting it on the wall. Each record album cover would be held in by a top and bottom channel of aluminum and you would be able to slide the records in and out. His prep work was a lot more tedious than mine, which was to go to thrift shops and buy albums! I had a lot of fun doing that. I mean, how could you not like cheesy covers like "Claude on a Cloud"?

Or "Val Valenti, Italian Street Singer"?

"Yodeling in Hi-Fi" sounded pretty bizarre (and irresistable)

as did "Actual Business Letters Dictated at Various Speeds" (too bad the actual record was missing from that one).

We got everything measured and in place

and then we slid the records in. We are really pleased with the results. It's going to be a lot of fun playing with our display.

Next on the horizon: we need to redo our deck this summer. The current one is sagging and awful. We'll redo it and expand it. So for now, we're looking at our books for ideas and staring at our yard to try and figure it out. Our yard is still covered in snow and ice so it'll be awhile before we get started. I also need to get serious about fixing up a guest bedroom. Stay tuned!