A Dark & Moody Third Floor Hideaway

Whenever we show someone around that has never been to our house before their favorite room always seems to be the guest bedroom up on the 3rd floor. I totally get it, you go up the back stairs and at the top are greeted by the sunlight pouring in through the skylight on the landing and then turn into the door to find this cozy little hideaway of a room. The ceiling is low and, part of the room being inside a dormer, not much of it is even flat. The two side-by-side windows peek out into the tree tops. It is the kind of room that makes you look forward to rainy days so you can cozy up and get into a good book while listening to the rain tapping on the skylight.

We assume that the room was originally for a live-in maid or servant of some sort. I feel bad for whoever had to live up there before window AC units were invented though because, boy, does it get hot up there in the summer. In the winter it is cold but is still usable with the assistance of a space heater and heated mattress pad. Despite the rooms shortcomings, however, it is still absolutely charming.

Continue reading

Progress Report: The Den

I haven’t really been working on anything too big recently, but I have been chipping away at several small projects focused mainly in the den. I am REALLY trying to get at least one room done. I need a room where I can go and not have to look at all the things that I want to do. Someplace where my brain can take a rest. While I realize that in reality this will never happen because I am indecisive and my tastes are always changing, I at least want to get as close as I can for now.

Continue reading

A Small Win

I had been working on restoring my first window and had it all reglazed, repainted, and ready to go when the unfortunate happened. By several oversights on both mine and J’s behalf we left one of the sashes in a stupid place and it was knocked over. The top of a bottle of hydrogen peroxide that was sitting out ended up going straight through one of the panes. There was broken glass and my shattered ambitions all over the floor. I had really been looking forward to rehanging the sashes, getting the stops in place, and painting it all up so I could stand back and bask in that feeling of completion. Particularly completing something I had never done before and that was kind of scary when beginning. But, the pane now had to be replaced, which meant that it also had to be reglazed and repainted, which meant I would not be able to put it all together for at least another 2-3 weeks. Dammit. I was frustrated and feeling disheartened. I needed something to make myself feel better and to give me the gumption to pick up and keep going. I needed a win. Even if it was just a small one.

Continue reading

The New Window Color!

I have been working on restoring my first window for a bit now. It is hopefully the first of many as I plan to eventually restore them all. I recently had the project on hold for a bit, however, because I needed to decide what color to paint the outside sash and trim. This was a big decision as it will have a huge effect on the appearance and curb appeal of our house. You can see in the image below that the windows and trim (and all the limestone, yikes!) are painted white. While white is a classic choice I just don’t feel that it represents the direction that I want to go. I want a color that will be a sophisticated and modern take on a timeless look. Something that will differentiate the house from the rest of the homes on the street while still being aware and respectful of the context and history of the neighborhood.

Continue reading

Letting Go of Perfect

Several weeks ago I went to a workshop hosted by Brick & Beam and led by Jim Turner of Turner Restoration that was all about restoring old windows. Restoring the windows in our house was something that I had been interested in and this workshop gave me the courage to give it a shot. I decided to start with the window in the bathroom that we are currently renovating. This involved removing the sashes and stripping them of paint and glazing and then reglazing and painting them. I decided that since I had the window all apart I might as well strip the jambs, sills, and trim too. I realized pretty early into this project that it was going to be a lesson in accepting the imperfect.

Continue reading

Getting the Daunting Done

Ahh. It is finally over. I finally finished what was easily the most tedious job on the house to date. For some God only knows reason one of the previous owners had decided that it would be an awesome idea to paint the beautiful, original, texture rich limestone mantle in the living room gray. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t limestone already kinda gray? Believe me, I know. While I am sure they thought this was an excellent idea and undoubtedly patted themselves on the back for this one, I wanted to go back in time and try and shake some sense into them.

Something that I became very well acquainted with in the hours and hours that I spent undoing this misguided action was exactly how porous limestone is. Limestone is essentially composed of the skeletal remains of prehistoric sea organisms that accumulated on the ocean floor over millennia. This creates a texture that is complex and includes many distinguishable fossils. This also means that, once painted, it will never be quite the same. I, however, was determined to get as close as I could get.

Continue reading