Archive for the ‘Window shopping’ Category

Rebuilding Windows

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Ed. note: I wrote this post in April 2009, and didn’t post it because I wanted photos. Life happened. The photos didn’t. Here’s the post without photos although I hope to have an exterior photo series later. We have windows in all window holes as of December 2009, but some still need to be rebuilt and others have been rebuilt but not installed. We can do this because we have an excess of windows, having ended up with some new windows in the house rebuilding process.

We (Don, that is) removed more than half the windows in the house so we can tune them up and put them back in. It’s a good time, despite being winter when we started (it’s spring now), since there’s no plumbing to worry about freezing. (Or electric or drywall or people, for that matter.)

I wasn’t involved in the actual removal of the windows, although I understand that Don spent some of his time leaning out the 2nd story windows. We used our SpeedHeater to warm up the glazing to the point that it’s removable, and use a putty knife to get the glazing out. (We use a piece of thin plywood, wrapped in aluminum foil, to reflect the heat away from the glass. It seems to work since we haven’t broken any glass at the deglazing stage.) After Don removes the glass, we heat the window frames and scrape the many layers of paint off.

Then, we prime the window sash with a 50:50 mix of mineral spirits and linseed oil, let it rest 48 hours, and prime with oil-based primer. The primer has to rest for one day before we paint it with latex paint. Or oil paint, I suppose, but we’re using latex. We paint just the interior with the latex paint at this point because you can’t efficiently paint the exterior until the glazing is in.

Then, Don lays a thin bead of latex caulking on the interior part of the window frame, sets the glass in, adds a multitude of glazier’s points, and uses DAP 33 putty on the exterior. (He heats the putty in a garage sale slow cooker that we also use to strip the hardware. That makes it much more malleable and more homogenous.) The installed putty rests two weeks before priming. We’re letting it rest at my folks’ house so we can paint it at a reasonable height off the ground.

Speaking of my folks, that’s where we’re doing the work. Daddy has kindly let us borrow his garage for the winter.** (Heated! With electricity!* And lights! And, did I mention, heat!) We’ve borrowed their guesthouse for window work, too, including the hardware stripping. (Recipe: hardware, dishwashing soap and water in a slow cooker. Cook until the paint bubbles up and softens so you can sponge it off. This also works to remove the mastic from the ceramic wall tile we salvaged.)

*Well, it had electricity, except during the four days we spent there during the ice storm.

**We ended up borrowing the garage bay through the summer and into the winter again. First for windows and then more recently for additional storage. We borrowed the guesthouse for living in. I hope we are out of both before next summer.

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Looking Ahead to Finish Work: Floral Barkcloth Draperies

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Don banned me from the house last week while he did the first rounds of sanding the floors. Understandably, since I have dust allergies. In an effort to console me, he suggested that I could start sewing curtains. After I squawked that I couldn’t because I had no fabric, I went on a shopping spree.

After hours on EBay, I have decided that a nice thing about a 20th century house is that, in contrast to the Chicago Victorians I still miss, there are still original furnishings in pretty good shape. I discovered I have a crush on barkcloth florals (and, less expensively, material from “the barkcloth era”), especially flowers that look a bit like real flowers, such as cabbage roses, irises and hydrangeas.

After an exciting flurry of bidding,* I am awaiting the arrival of these fabrics:

sea-green-faille-peonies-hydrangeas.jpg  milky-tea-faille-peonies-hydrangeas.jpg pink-roses-irises-barkcloth.jpg pink-hydrangeas-barkcloth.jpg midnight-blue-barkcloth-roses-irises.jpg blue-sheer-faille-roses.jpg

Once they come, I’ll have to see how the colors and patterns work together before deciding which ones go where. I expect the four on the left to end up in our master suite, and the two on the right in my sewing room. I also expect that I may need to buy some ticking or something to finish them off with. I’ve got my draperies books in hand, and will be thinking about these issues while watching for the post to arrive.

The fabrics should also help us narrow down our upstairs colors. I have a half dozen bluish-greenish-sageish colors on the wall, trying to decide. Don likes the samples that are a close match for our exterior color, but I’m thinking something with more blue. Whatever we choose, I am going to try something fairly dark in the bedroom since my grandparents’ cherry bedroom set will go there, and cherry looks really good against a dark color.

(Sorry if the paragraphing looks goofy. We’re trying to fix it.)
*Not so much bidding as buy-it-nows, although I did win some ‘or best offer’ offers, too.

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Bathroom tile

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Don met with the plumber today. He starts next week, which means we may one day have indoor bathrooms again. Although it has been convenient to have this potty-house.jpg in the front yard (complete with weekly maid service), we probably shouldn’t plan on keeping it forever.

Having seen a half dozen houses with original square-edged subway tiles and floor tiles (hex, penny round, and rectangles),* I want some for our house. The modern beveled or pillow-top tile doesn’t look the same. Here are some sources:

American Restoration Tiles seems to best echo the combinations and shapes I’ve found in Arkansas. Not surprising since they’re in Mablevale AR (near Little Rock). They also have the penny round tiles. I feel a field trip coming some day. (We’ve talked a couple of times about stopping while we’re in the area, but the timing has been amazingly bad. Like Saturday. We drove back from Orlando, and went through Little Rock at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Not a good time to find a tile company open.) The real problem is the price. I don’t have precise prices, but it looks like it will be $32/square foot for the subway tiles and up. Maybe less for the floor. Except I love the penny rounds, which are $42/square foot and up. We have considerably less in the budget for tile.

Of course, there’s always the real deal. Only there are no real deals for salvaged tile. This source wants $3.75/tile for antique, plain subway tile, which I think comes to $20/square foot. Plus shipping from New Jersey.

Maybe I’ll go over budget on the upstairs floors, install wood floors downstairs, and beadboard and/or stencil the walls until we can afford subway tiles. (I’m thinking about using 1/16″masking tape to simulate the grout line, and maybe faux marble in between. In the dry areas, obviously.) We have a lot of beadboard salvaged from the house. It’s all painted and splintery, so it’s not as nice as the beadboard we used in LaGrange Park,** but it’s free, and original to the house.

Or maybe we’ll go with linoleum. We recently bought green porcelain sconces (on clearance from Rejuvenation), and I recently saw a nice bathroom floor done with black and green linoleum squares set on the diagonal.

*We went on a Little Rock house walk last Mother’s Day where we saw a half-dozen examples of antique subway tile, and that solidified my desire to have square-edged tiles instead of rounded edges. But I apparently took only a single picture, and it’s not particularly gorgeous. Still, here it is.


Here is part of my collection of floors in Arkansas:


** I also am lacking in pictures of the beadboard, as installed in the main upstairs bathroom. Not surprising since the bathroom is very narrow and the beadboard is on the narrow wall. Still, here’s one picture.

LaGrange Park bathroom with salvaged beadboard

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Jackson Street Methodist Church, Magnolia, Arkansas

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

stained-glass-1.JPG stained-glass-2.JPG

One of the places I went during our prolonged blog silence was a field trip to UT-Galveston Medical Branch. (Umm. Before Ike. Right after Dolly.) My dad and his brothers (and their father) all have (or had, in the case of Poppaw) a spinocerebellar ataxia that hasn’t matched anyone else’s ataxia genes as of yet, so we went to visit my uncle’s neurologist. The neurologist was not as helpful as we had hoped, but the visit was great. (A lot of driving, however, from Fayetteville AR to College Station TX and thence to Galveston. And back.) We had creamed corn, purple hull peas, corn bread, two desserts, and some sort of meat, along with great company for dinner. And more great company when we visited my Houston cousin and her son. (Memory fades on the details.) My uncle called dinner a Floy meal, and he was right.


(Lisa, The Uncles and my mom)

We left, however, with a small mystery. One of the two stained glass windows (above) at my uncle’s house is from the Jackson Street Methodist Church in Magnolia AR. The other is not. None of us are sure which one it is. (My folks bought it for my grandmother long after the church was replaced by Asbury UMC.) So, I’ll need to share this post with my cousin who remembers more than I do, and who has cleaned that window more than I have. I have a feeling I know the answer, but I don’t want to bias her.

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The Mailbox Question Raises the Doorbell Question

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I think we will be going with a bronze mailbox.* Or maybe a wood one. (Mailbox numbers 1, 4, 6 or 10 being my current favorites, but hard to justify.  Especially when Jennifer at Tiny Old House saw Mailbox Number 2 for $40 on clearance.) Or maybe a plastic one.  Anyway, we need a doorbell, too, so I have started looking for one that would help me choose a mailbox.**

Despite having five apartments, we have no doorbells or knockers.  Based on my selection, I apparently feel any doorbell should come with instructions (“press”) or who should use them (“visitors”).

1. The Art Nouveau doorbell from Waterglass Studios ($50 at the first link or $46 here or $39.89 here. I lean toward the oil-rubbed finish.) (Wouldn’t you know it was from Waterglass Studios? One of my favorite mailboxes is, too, but I found them in separate searches on separate days. Actually, I like all their mailboxes. And the $39.89 doorbell seller has my mailbox for $249.95, s/h included. $4 less than WS itself.  Still darn expensive.)


2. NuTone RCPB702 Oil Rubbed Bronzed Lighted Pushbutton ($10 + 10.50 s/h)


3. Rejuvenation’s Lighted “Press” Button ($48)


4. Rejuvenation’s Putman Classic Doorbell Button ($23) [but expect lengthy delays]


5. Byron’s Visitor Surface Mounted Lighted Bell Push (MSRP $55, available for around $45)


6. Byron’s Pisces Recessed Bell Push (MSRP $39, available for around $30)


7. Byron’s Moonlight Surface Mounted Lighted Bell Push (MSRP $55, available for around $45)


8. Another Waterglass doorbell,”Victorian Style” ($39 + $7)


* Here is a good snapshot of one of our bad mailboxes. If you know anyone who would like one to five similar boxes, send them my way.  Funny thing.  Don ran into our mail carrier at our new house last week.  The carrier knew we were getting mail both at the apartment and at the five-flat.  Due in part to the lack of a dedicated mailbox at the five-flat, he’s planning to deliver all our mail to the apartment since both places are on his route.  Nice.


** More window shopping to come.  Now I’m thinking that I could do the whole front porch, at least virtually.  We still need new numbers and probably a new light.  Not sure what Don thinks of this light, but he usually wants to replace most of the lights.  Although Don says the standard issue hardware store numbers aren’t bad, I don’t think they do much for the house.  Oh dear.  We may never get the front entry done if I have to figure out all the bits at once.


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Window Shopping for a Mailbox

Friday, January 11th, 2008

I really want a mailbox at our house.  I don’t want one of the five the house came with. We still have two of those five hanging up in our front entryway: one for us (or perhaps the guy who was in the process of moving out when we bought the house) and one for our tenant. They’re little, ugly, and not too functional for today’s mail. Did I mention ugly?  old-mailboxes.jpg

(Sorry about the picture.  Apparently, I haven’t taken a picture of just the mailboxes so this is at tremendous magnification from a picture of the whole house so I lost some resolution.  They are worse up close.)

I started window shopping. Here are ten that might do. (We have a house that is a transitional farmhouse/arts and crafts/colonial revival, and we’re probably most focused on the arts and crafts aspects — except my heart is apparently with Queen Victoria or Anne. Still.)  The mailbox will be in a sheltered area so either wood or metal should be fine.

Mailboxes are listed in the approximate order of discovery. I think I’m leaning toward copper at present. Will get back to you when/if we get one unless we go to a big box store and buy another ugly one.

1. Waterglass Studios 10A Handmade Smooth Antique Copper Horizontal Wall Mounted Arts & Crafts Mailbox ($295)


2. Smith and Hawken Mailbox ($89)

3. Pinecone Covered Mailbox ($110)

4. Glasgow 12 Square Longbody Bronze Arroyo ($168)


5. Chaenomeles envelope style copper mailbox ($489)


6. Vintage Woodworks mailbox #357 ($253 CAD)


7. Pacific motif mailbox $130


8. Popular Woodworking (labor plus materials)


9. Art Nouveau Copper Mailbox ($279 for medium size)


10. Wood vented mailbox ($210)


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Window Shopping: Art Deco Lighting

Monday, November 26th, 2007

In honor of Cyber Monday, I started to make a page of links for lighting, but discovered that it turned into a post, instead.

Don has a pair of Art Deco sconces that he got from his grandparents’ house in Lansing, Illinois. He saved them this summer from being sold in his sister’s garage sale.  I guess when he de-installed them, he replaced the sconces with a new pair from a big box store, and packed the old ones in the new boxes. And left them in his mom’s garage for ten+ years. His sister has been helping clear out the garage, and was about to put them out for sale, when Don looked inside the boxes and realized what they were. It was certainly fortuitous that he was in Lansing that weekend, since he’s usually in Arkansas. They’re in our storage unit now, or I would post a picture of them.

Vintage Lighting: I swear this pair of circa 1920 sconces and a five-arm chandelier match Don’s sconces. $1600 for all three. (Don thinks they’re different.)

Slipper Sconce

Here’s another pair for $695 from PW Antique Lighting that are a pretty close match, too.

And here’s a five light PW is selling as a stand-alone for $895. five-light.jpg

Oh, dear. I can see that our renovation is going to be more expensive this time. What we save on labor we will spend on original fixtures. But won’t it be fun? I’m thinking about an Art Deco guest room maybe. With Don’s grandparents’ waterfall bedroom suite. Yum.

Maybe we can stop at our local favorite for antique lighting, Long Ago Antiques on Huntsville Road, soon.  I haven’t looked there for Art Deco (or even Arts & Crafts) lighting, but they had a lot of lights that would have looked perfect in our Italianate.

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