Archive for the ‘Wishes’ Category

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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Delta Ramble

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Don and I went on the AHPA Delta Ramble the end of March, and then I spent a while thinking I couldn’t upload photos so an entry about the trip was just frustrating. Now that we’re about to do two (!) house walks this weekend, I wanted to get this entry out of inventory.

Neither of us had been to the Delta in years. In 1993, I stopped in Cotton Plant, AR and did some antiquing, while on my way from Raleigh to Chicago via Magnolia, AR, but hadn’t been back, except to drive I-40 to Memphis after my grandmother’s memorial service. (Considerably cheaper to fly Chicago to Memphis than Little Rock that trip.) Don has been to Memphis (to see Graceland), but never been on the Arkansas side of the Delta.

The stretch of I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock is supposed to have the highest ratio of trucks to cars in the country, and you could feel it. The interstate felt like a washboarded gravel road. The water was (and is) still high in the White and the Mississippi. Nobody knows when it will recede.

Despite the rain, we had a great time, visiting the train depot in Brinkley (now the Central Delta Depot Museum and one of the last examples of a “union” station” in Arkansas), eating barbecue from Shadden’s Grocery* in Marvel, touring Helena, and seeing a great Italianate, Palmer’s Folly, out in the wilds near Blackton.

shaddens-bbq-marvel-ar.jpg helena-ar-cemetery.jpg palmers-folly-through-the-bus-window.jpg

We went to the Louisiana Purchase State Park and squished our way across 950 feet of board walk through a swamp to see a granite stone marking the site where the 5th Principle Meridian and a baseline intersected. This point was the basis for the surveys of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and part of South Dakota. The actual site was ignored or lost from 1815 until the 1920s when two witness trees were found, which pointed the way to this swamp.


In Helena, we visited the Delta Cultural Center, the Moore-Hornor House, the cemetery, and shopped and toured Cherry Street (more architectural salvage — arts & crafts sconces for outside). We had a great dinner in the Pillow-Thompson House.

My camera seems to have focused on floors and finishes. I was especially excited to discover circle tiles. (Not hex, although the grout makes them look like hex.) I saw some in the Washington County [AR] courthouse, and have never seen them anywhere else. Until now. Aren’t they great? Anybody know where I can get some?




(OK, those last two are square tiles, but I like them, too.)

* Shadden’s was reviewed by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette** last spring, as part of a barbecue road trip through the Arkansas Delta. Don and I thought then it would be neat to go out that way, but we hadn’t yet. Apparently, Shadden’s is famous even farther afield since an Austin columnist knows its barbecue. And John T. Edge does, too. The internet is an interesting place, where you learn about the Southern Foodways Alliance in Oxford, MS just by following links from one place to another. (The SFA is hosting a field trip to Chicago to showcase Southern Food “up south.” Ever hear of a mother-in-law sandwich? Me, neither. And I lived in Chicago thirteen years. It seems to be a tamale in a hot dog bun, and part of Southern Food up south.)

**The Dem Gaz story doesn’t seem to be online, but this is a related piece. Note that there is a recipe for Shadden’s sauce. It reminds me that I still need to do another entry about The Band. Maybe I’ll save that for another day.

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Architects and next steps. Oh, and Easter, too.

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

The architects have their as-built plans drawn up, and now want to talk about next steps. I am curious about the as-built plans since I have some trouble still understanding how the house is put together. I’m afraid, however, that I’m not sure what our next steps are. I listen to Don talk about ways to rearrange the inside of the house, and nod approvingly but cluelessly … I know I want the porches back, working bathrooms, a kitchen somewhere between the size of our last two, a place (or four) for Christmas trees, and functionality and flow, but I’m not catching the vision yet. Maybe the drawings will help.

I’d like to do things green. I’d like energy-efficiency, whole-house fans, permaculture (maybe – just learned that word this week), reflective sheathing, quiet HVAC, a room to call my own, a space for the Little One that doesn’t put her at risk inside the computer, a way to use most of our salvaged materials, accessibility, and I’d really like access to my stuff.

It irks me that I can’t just pull out a reference book about house styles because it’s in storage. It irks me that I had to buy a full-price zipper to finish an Easter dress although I have zippers in storage. It irks me that I had to buy a grater and a Bundt pan* to make a carrot cake because our two graters and three food processors and two Bundt pans and countless 9×13 sheet pans are in storage. It irks me that I can’t give away stuff because it’s in storage. But, that will all change some day. I just hope that it’s before I quit reading, sewing, and making carrot cake.

*I did wind up buying a silicon tube pan, which was kind of neat. I’m still not sure what I think about it. It still requires greasing, and it’s floppy so I’m not sure how easy it was to clean. Don did the clean-up.

We had to get ready fast for Easter because we went to Eureka Springs Friday/Saturday after spending Wednesday evening in the emergency room, and got back Easter Eve. We had big to-dos scheduled at church, followed by brunch with friends, so Saturday night, I ran to Target to help the Easter Bunny out and get necessary fixing for baking, and baked, then glazed Sunday morning while making sure the Easter basket was filled and delivered to the Little One, and dying eggs in between. Don had boiled eggs Tuesday, and we were expecting to color and dye on Wednesday, but three hours at the hospital messed up those plans.

The Little One had specific expectations involving the egg hunt this year. Two or maybe three Easters ago, I managed to persuade her that she should hide the eggs for Don to hunt. I have no memory of what we did last year, although I know we dyed eggs, and we did a hunt at church. It was very cold. The church egg hunt wasn’t enough this year. Instead, we went out to the Hill, where I was told to hide eggs for her, Don, and my mom to hunt. Not my dad because of his ataxia. So I did and they did. They found all but one hard-boiled egg, which seems pretty good to me.

I’m not clear what the Little One’s position is on the Easter Bunny. She has lots of [invisible] friends who are magic, and she’s Peter Pan’s sister, plus she talks to Tink[erbelle] and writes notes to Ozma [of Oz] with some frequency. She also pointed out a watchdog dad from Washington yesterday as evidence that Santa Claus is real. He has a white, furry beard.

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Kitchen Wish List

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Carrying on with my lists, we’re about to build our third kitchen in six years. (Fourth if you count the Ikea kitchen cabinets Don installed on the Hill, and I guess you should since we also put in a under-counter fridge and added a kitchen table and silverware and ate breakfast there occasionally, and drank lots of coffee). Or maybe our fourth and fifth, since we will likely build an interim kitchenette upstairs and then work on the big kitchen downstairs.

We used a kitchen designer for the first one, along with an architect, and it turned out quite nicely.  (The kitchen that came with the house was awful: the fridge door opened into the cooktop, which tilted so you couldn’t fry an egg, and the wall oven took up all the space to the right of the cooktop, and the only remaining counter space was occupied by a massive microwave.  And it was dark and grody.) Only things missing in the new kitchen: a place to put the phone and the kitchen towels. (Funnily enough, our architect in Chicago, Thomas Leo Prairie, actually went to school here in Fayetteville.)  I lobbied for the table-height side of the island you can see in the picture, and I really liked it.  The stained glass light is from Don’s time as a lighting store employee.  It’s in storage now, waiting for the right place in this house.  (The kitchen deserves its own post, but not today.)

Our next kitchen we did ourselves. The kitchen (along with the adjoining butler’s pantry and mudroom/pantry) was worn-out, but the lay-out was functional. It certainly deserves its own post, but here are some after pictures.

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custom-butlers-pantry-shelving.jpg original-butlers-pantry-cabinet.jpg mud-room-with-pass-through.jpg

We never cooked in the kitchen after it was finished, but some of the functionality that I liked includes:

  • open shelves,
  • cookbook shelves,
  • laundry chute,
  • storage instead of soffits,
  • ladder storage (to reach the storage nearer the top of our 11 foot ceilings),
  • potential for library ladder (sold house instead of installing the library ladder — it’s now in storage),
  • shallow pantries custom built for me (measured my canned goods, my cereal, my rolling pins),
  • tray storage,
  • pass-through to the mud room (see the tulip stained glass window near the stove? It swings open).

I also liked the mix of maple and cherry, the colors, the tin ceiling, the salvaged beadboard, the salvaged quartersawn oak flooring, the lights (not pictured), and … but this post is supposed to be about my next kitchen. 

So, in no particular order, things I would like in a future kitchen (or nearby):

  • storage for dry goods
  • upright freezer (have one in storage)
  • French door refrigerator
    • with ice and water dispenser
  • possum belly hoosier cabinet
  • double wall ovens (already bought)
  • second dishwasher (considering a one-drawer washer in the laundry room or maybe an 18″ d/w upstairs)
  • coffee space near sink
  • marble baking space (maybe with a drop-in cutting board)
  • open shelves, with lots of room for cook books (we probably have 6+ linear feet of cook books)
  • soapstone counter tops
  • farm sink
  • plug mold (really want it this time – electricians keep claiming it’s too hard to do)
  • cook top (bought a five-burner in Chicago over Christmas, but the picture is in the Little One’s camera).
  • space for cookie sheets, loaf pans, muffin tins (lots of baking stuff)
  • the Kitchen-Aid mixer
  • lots of electric devices (maybe a wall of cubbies in the hallway)
  • linen cabinet/drawers (in the dining room?)
  • china storage (Don has bought me two sets of china we’ve never eaten from) (in the dining room with a pass-through from the kitchen?)
  • trash/recycling drawer
  • a dumbwaiter (for laundry, groceries, and so forth)
  • eat-in space

And probably some other things, but my list (and my sketches) are Some Place Else.  Maybe with Harriett Elizabeth Cow.

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Sewing room wish list

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

(One day, I may manage to write about our trip to San Diego.  But, today is not that day.) Last time we worked with an architect, we wrote down things we wanted from our addition, and things we liked about the house already. I figure we need something like that this time, too.

Since I’ve been sewing for the Little One (finished her dress with Di$ney women all over it, and nearly finished her blue Easter dress), and since Don has been trying to banish me to the attic extol the virtues of finishing the attic so I could have lots of room, I thought I’d write about sewing rooms.  (Right now, the attic is scary. Don has taken the ceiling out in most of the house, so the rafters open up to a bottomless pit the rooms below.  I can’t actually get off the attic ladder to stand in the attic at present.)

My favorite sewing space ever was in Raleigh when I lived on the 2nd floor of a Colonial Revival on Park. (Built about 1916, I think. The owners lived downstairs; my furnished one bedroom apartment with pine heart floors that I hand buffed with wax occupied half the second floor, and they rented two or three rooms to other graduate students who seemed to do most of their cooking in a microwave.) My bedroom was on the 2nd floor, and faced south, with a bank of three windows. In front of the windows there was a long flat space that ran the full width of the room. (I suppose the landlord intended it to be a desk. I think there were some drawers, too.) I set up sewing there. I could look out past my sewing and see interesting things, and I had good light. I was probably short on storage, but I didn’t own so much fabric then, either.  I think the sewing flat space was not physically attached to the wall so big sewing projects had a place for the processed fabric to go.

What do I need or want in a sewing room?

  • good light and views
  • outlets* up high so I can reach them
  • flat spaces (for sewing and cutting – both patterns for clothes and rotary cutting for quilts, ironing)
    • maybe a cutting island so I’m not crawling on the dusty floor to cut
  • a door (to close when company comes)
  • ironing board (and ironing table for quilt tops) — perhaps a built-in swiveling board — I loved the one we had on Kensington (may need a water source for the steam?)
  • lots of storage of various sorts (for boxes of someday fabric, yarn, patterns, notions, rolls of upholstery fabric, thread, scissors, rick rack, seam binding, lace, books). 

Isn’t this display cabinet gorgeous?  There’s a yardstick embedded on the drawer side, too.  I think I wouldn’t want a glass top, but maybe I would if I had a cutting board and an ironing board to fit on top for when I needed them.


  • computer
  • a comfy chair for handwork or visitors
  • hardwood floors (harder to lose sharp objects, easier to sweep up threads)
  • place(s) to dispose of loose threads
  • display area for my grandmothers’ sewing and sewing tools, my mother’s needlepoint, and some other fabric art I have accumulated
  • clothes hanging space for works in progress

I suspect there’s more, but that’s a good start.

*When we were out at the Hill Sunday, my mom reminded me that I should also specifically wish for electrical outlets.  (Sad but true.  Her architect left that off the specs. However, I have sewn on a treadle machine, so I guess I could go back to that.)

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