Saturday, February 2, 2019

Outside The Living Room

Well, it has been years since I've last posted. But wanted to quickly document what we've been doing over the past few years.

Our living room has big sliding glass doors that look onto a small patio and side yard. The side yard was overgrown and had a funky concrete fountain in it that had been filled in with concrete and no longer worked. I always wanted to get that area prettied up since it is in full view of the living room - but the other interior remodels came first. So finally, in 2015, we ripped out the old wooden structure with the wavy fiberglass panels on top and the crumbling concrete patio floor, which had been painted green by previous owners-

and installed a higher steel frame with polycarb panels. We redid the concrete as well. Some landscaping was done, a new fountain was installed, and we were very happy with it all. But then the big blue spruce tree in the corner of the yard, that provided shade, died and had to be cut down.

Once the tree was gone, our ugly old fence that had needed replacing was now more obviously crooked and ugly than ever, so that whole end of the side yard got more landscaping and Chris Musselman helped us design a new improved fence! Here's a view from the street of our old fence (we never bothered to paint it to match the house since we always planned on getting rid of it. Always hated the color!)

Chris came up with several different new fence ideas and we picked this version-

Which translated to this finished product! Ha, it looks a little crooked too in this photo but it isn't :-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Remodel 3: 2 bedrooms and a bath

We've been remodeling our 1950s house in stages. The first remodel was The Big One - gutting the kitchen, living room, entry, laundry area, and pantry. That was when we discovered that the house needed to be gutted - the wiring was kind of frightening. The second remodel, a few years later, was of my work area/office and my husband's work area/office. All that was left to tackle was the master bedroom, guest bedroom, and master bath.

The bedrooms were supposed to be pretty straightforward -  replace the windows, add some insulation, replace wiring, get rid of the off-white shag carpet. The main thing that got changed from our original plan was that we found out that the building code had changed and that windows needed to be accessible by a fireman - so they had to extend much lower than our current windows and awning style windows were not allowed. In the end, we loved having the extra light. Here's a pre and post picture of the guest bedroom -

The wall on the left was originally block, but it had no insulation in it and it was cracked, so we framed it in. A row of blocks was removed to allow for a larger trapezoid window,

The master bedroom was a similar process. Here's another pre and post -

The floors in both bedrooms are now a Capri Cork click linoleum engineered floor.

 The bathroom needed a total revamp. Again, here are some pre and post pictures-

We replaced the 1970s vanity and medicine cabinet with Ikea fixtures. The mosaic backsplash is by modwalls.

The green glass tile is also by modwalls. We got rid of the tub and made a shower with 2 showerheads. We had done this in our old house and loved it. We also decided to jazz up the area behind our toilet - it had always seemed like the toilet was in a dark hole behind the door to the bedroom but it is no longer -

At the same time as John (the contractor) and John (the hubby) were doing the remodel, we had solar panels installed on our roof. Very exciting. Now all our home energy needs except for the furnace will be supplied by solar power.

Now life is getting back to normal after about 3 months of remodeling. People ask, "Are you DONE with remodeling now?" Well, we'll never really be DONE, we like improving our house. The next major project on the list is the patio outside the living room. And we're always into scouring thrift stores for cool old stuff for the house. We found these lights a few years ago ($1 each at a thrift store) and had been saving them to use as reading lights over the bed so John is going to work on them next!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Copy Cats

You all have no doubt seen the fabulous mailbox pictures posted online months ago that some midcentury fanatic had painted in a snazzy two-tone color scheme. Well, we had always been intending to replace our mailbox. It was the standard-issue metal mailbox for a post that was flat on bottom, rounded on top. The previous owners of our house were big-time downhill skiers so on each side of the mailbox post was a downhill ski whose tip stuck up into the air and curved away from the mailbox. Friends who were skiers thought it was cute but it had to go. I had been looking at mailboxes forever and all the ones I liked were really modern and in the $400 price range. I really wanted something old and something cheap! So when I saw the picture of the two-tone mailboxes, I knew that's what I wanted. So for the next few months, any time I drove around town, I kept an eye out for a mailbox that size and shape (and in black), thinking maybe we could offer to buy it from its owner. I drove around for months before finally spotting one. I was so excited. My husband John went to the door and offered to buy them a new mailbox and do the work of replacing it and they looked at him like he was nuts. No go. That didn't stop us. Now we were more determined than ever. We HAD to have that mailbox!! We drove around one afternoon looking at people's yards and mailboxes. And we found another one! This time I had the picture of the two-toned one on my phone and I was prepared to show them what we wanted to do with their mailbox. We walked up the sidewalk, knocked on the door, introduced ourselves, and said we had a crazy request. Before we got any farther, the woman said, "I know you! You're my mechanic!" Well, it was smooth sailing from there. The woman bought herself a new mailbox, we paid her back and installed it, and the coveted mailbox was ours. John went right to work on it and within the week we had a new mailbox! He added the aluminum piece at the front and the rest was done with spray paint.

So - we're total copy cats but we love our mailbox! And I have looked at so many mailboxes that I now jokingly call myself a Professional Mailbox Design Consultant. :-)

John's big project this summer was building a shed in the back yard. We had an old one back there but it was in bad shape and needed to be replaced so John designed a new bigger one. He read up online how to do it and planned and planned. He'd never done framing or construction before except for building a few decks on houses we've owned. We wanted it to look like the sheds made by Modern Shed. We went for that basic look although we ended up using the same vertical siding that our house has instead of the pricier (but beautiful!) stuff that Modern Shed uses. Anyway, we're very happy with our new shed, here are some before and after pictures....Here's the old one, behind that forsythia bush, with the Shell sign on it - and John is back in the corner where the new one is going -

And here's the new one with the Shell sign on it -

Here's John tearing down the old one, after he removed the forsythia and the juniper next to the shed, with the new shed in the back. Really opened the yard up -

And now it's the holiday season. Our Christmas albums are up on the wall - hopefully the aluminum tree will go up soon - happy holidays to all!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Meet Dennis and TG

A few months ago we were up in Denver and went to a fun store specializing in midcentury stuff. What was fun about it was that it had a lot of old stuff, and the place went on and on....the kind of place to root around in and find unexpected treasures. Which is exactly what we did. John found an old TV from 1957 and mentioned it to me, but said he didn't need to be buying another TV. I said to show it to me anyway and I fell instantly in love. Especially when I saw the price had been marked down several times. Had to have it. Told him I would put it in my office if he didn't want it in his.

Isn't he cute? With his own little rolling cart? I named him Dennis and I think he looks like a little robot.

Well, we got him home and John couldn't resist trying to get him to work. So he took Dennis apart and worked some magic and now Dennis is as good as new. Except, of course, you can't just get broadcast TV any more without a box - but you can attach a DVD player and play DVDs.... so, velcroed to the bottom of the TV is a DVD player. And John actually uses it to watch his yoga DVDs! Here pictured, though, is a more period appropriate DVD.

Fast forward a few months. We went to Florida a few weeks ago and got a big dose of midcentury goodness at the fabulous Mai Kai Restaurant. It's a Polynesian restaurant that has been in continual operation since 1956 and is still going strong. It has a hula show, waterfalls, exotic drinks, the works.We had a great time, dining outside by the waterfall, and catching a bit of the hula show on our way out. Highly recommend if you find yourself in Ft. Lauderdale. Anyway, I got a big dose of tiki tacky that night but resisted the urge to buy tiki glasses, etc. I just wasn't ready to dip my toes into the tiki waters....  until today. I went to a garage sale and there was an old 3' high fiberglass tiki god. I couldn't resist. It's so funny, it is black but is supposed to look like wood, the top even has tree rings molded into the fiberglass. Anyway, TG now lives happily in our back yard and I'm very happy John loves him as much as I do. :-)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Modern Weekend in LA

We went to LA last weekend, catching the California Modernism show at LACMA before it ended. That was tremendous fun - they had everything from iconic furniture to textiles to an Avanti to a reproduction of Charles and Ray Eames' living room (with the actual furnishings). Or check out this Airstream!

 And you could peek out back at the latest installation which will be unveiled any day now - the giant (340 tons) rock (that you may have read about as it traveled through California) perched over a slit in the earth. It isn't finished yet, the rock is wrapped up like a Christo!

And by the way, if you happen to go to LACMA, the modern show ended this weekend, but you should definitely catch Chris Burden's Metropolis II in action - see listing for times - it's terrific.

But the highlight of the trip for me was our visit to the Stahl house. The Stahl house was Case Study house number 22, designed by architect Pierre Koenig, along with the house's owner, Buck Stahl. The house is open for tours a few days a week. If you're lucky, Buck Stahl's son Mark will be there and can answer your questions. The house tours are limited in size to a small group of people which makes for a nice, quiet, intimate experience. As with most things in life, the house was not quite what I expected. It does not sit alone on a huge spread of land - it is actually on a hillside chock full of other houses - and is on a mere 0.25 acres of land, which is pretty much all hillside. Driving up, all you see is a wall and a fence. You wouldn't give it a second look.

But once you go through the gate, the tremendous house and its tremendous view open up in front of you.

And the house is really smaller than I'd imagined.

Nothing grand or pretentious, just a fabulous fabulous house. I'm so glad we got to go see it in person. Highly recommend if you're going to LA. Book a reservation in advance!

John also went to the Petersen Automotive Museum, they were having an exhibit of scooters. I'd like this one-

Or perhaps this car and trailer combo -

But for the weekend, we had fun in our stylin' Fiat 500-

Sunday, April 8, 2012

John's Office (finally)

I can't believe it's taken me so long to write about John's office remodel but better late than never. You may recall that John's office had started out, years and years ago, as part of the carport, or perhaps, a little laundry area out under the carport. The last owners had enclosed this and incorporated into the house. But it always felt a little funky - a very low ceiling because of the slope of the roof - and it was a pretty dark space. Definitely a "man cave." Here's how it looked when we started -

And here's how it looks now-

We knocked out the cedar closet they had added so that the room would be bigger - and we now have 4 windows instead of 2 (3 are rectangular and one is trapezoidal, continuing that theme throughout the house). We had these bookshelves custom made to put under the windows - they were made to echo the style of the original kitchen cabinets (with sliding doors), except we painted the doors. We had some aluminum "fins" made for under the rafters. John had seen a picture of some similar ones in a 1950s house design book and had to have them. He also paneled one wall in cherry, a nod to the original wood paneling in the houses on our street (although ours had all been painted white)-

We used a nice orange click marmoleum for the floor. But to protect it, we covered a lot of it with FLOR tiles-

I love the mix of color. It's a color mix that we saw in the FLOR catalog and liked. I think it came out great.

And by the way - I never realized how much FLOR tiles were based on the work of Alexander Girard, but here is a picture of the inside of the famous Miller house in Columbus, where Girard designed the fabrics and interiors-

And here's another picture of the Miller house. I really liked how their bookcases had different colored backings.

So we decided to paint the backings for the Billy (Ikea) bookcases we bought for John's office (more color!!)-

It seems like a lot of color at first, but with the shelves full of books, it's a lot more toned down.

And that Eames aluminum group chair? 50 cents at a salvage sale.

John is loving his new light-filled, colorful office!

Well, I'll be writing again before too long. We're going on a quick trip to LA at the end of May - we'll be able to see the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's modernism show before it leaves AND we're going on a tour of the Stahl House (Case Study House #22) - you know the one- my dream house -