30 November 2009

Slow Progress

I worked on the back bedroom a bit more this weekend. Several days passed when I didn't even want to look at it. Friday I thought I'd motivate myself a bit by ordering the curtains and comforter. It helped a bit. Saturday my dear friend Jessica came over and we went through my give away pile. She happily took several things. That was the kick in the pants I needed to keep going after she left. Several hours later, I had this: Wide open space through the middle of the room.

The dreaded dresser surface, the give away pile and the empty boxes pile:
I can even get to one window now:
But I still have this big pile to deal with:
And the crowded hall, filling fast with things unearthed from the back bedroom that live elsewhere:

More happened on Sunday, hopefully pictures tomorrow.

23 November 2009

Small Progress

I worked on the messy bedroom for a few minutes on Friday night and was able to sort and store four bins of clothes I probably should get rid of, but am not ready to part with just yet. That didn't make much of a dent in the pile.
Sunday I spent several hours in there, made a big mess in the hall, and it still doesn't look much different. I filled a trash bag, found several empty boxes to recycle, packed up two boxes and two bags to donate, added a bit to the laundry, uncovered an empty laundry basked that had been swallowed by the mess, found a couple of trinkets and other things I can find homes for, and a shoebox of coal.
Yup. Coal. How did it get there? I have no idea. Why did I have a shoebox of coal? Your guess is as good as any. But there it was. A box of coal. At least now I think I've identified the strange odor we would smell from time to time, mostly in the summer. Time will tell.
Here's the thing I'm most afraid of:

The dreaded dresser surface, full of lotions, potion, trinkets and baubbles.

21 November 2009

Radiator Revitilization

When I bought the house there was no source of heat on the second floor. Just gravity. I thought I would give it a try, and I froze the first winter.
So I asked my dad and grandfather to put radiators in the three bedrooms. My dad looked around and eventually found four steam radiators. He got them from some guy he knows who hoards junk. Apparently hot water radiators are easier to come by than steam. So this guy has four, I only need three, but we have no idea if they even work. So daddy buys all four for $100. (Do you know how much new ones cost?) This was a steal. Well, they installed three, and they all work just fine. We now have a spare in the basement. No idea if it leaks.

Eventually we got to a point in the house where we were ready to start painting. Have you ever tried to paint behind a radiator? No? Well, neither had my previous owners.
Our first idea was to get oil paint from Sherwin Williams and paint each radiator the same color as the rest of the room. I was never thrilled with this idea. What if I get tired of the color in a few years? I'm sure I don't want to keep repainting them. Plus, we've read that more layers of paint on radiators just act like insulation, keeping the heat from warming the room. But they needed something, all those old layers of paint (mostly on the sides that faced the room) were chipped and flaking. A big mess. Mom and I tossed some ideas around, I perused houseblogs, and we decided they should just look like radiators. Radiator-colored radiators. How novel. Why try to make them blend in? Let them be what they are.

So, we had all the radiators taken out, hauled away, sand blasted, and spray painted with high heat engine paint. I'm thrilled at how they turned out.
We had eight radiators of various sizes, and they charged us just under $1000. I think it was money well spent. That included transportation. (My dad and grandfather did the disconnecting and the reconnecting.) We couldn't find anyone in the local area who did this kind of work, but daddy suggested someone he knew who did engine repair. So we had an auto engine repair place do the radiators.
We knew that the sandblasting was risky, because if there are any weak spots it can create holes, and then it is all over, folks. But we decided it was worth it. New radiators for the second floor were out of the question. I'm so glad we took the chance.I sincerely hope this paint job will last for years, decades even. About a year after the radiators were finished, I saw pictures (I'm sorry, I don't remember where) of someone else who had done the same thing, only they had their radiators painted a dark metallic bronze. They were really gorgeous. Now I have bronze envy. I briefly wished we had thought of the dark bronze, but I am very happy with the engine silver anyway. Maybe we will go bronze if it ever needs done again.
I couldn't find any before pictures specifically of the radiators, but I'm sure you can all picture them. You might be able to spot some in my before series of each room. Check out the details that were lost under all those layers of paint!

20 November 2009

More on the Bedroom

So, here are my two dressers in the back bedroom. Please excuse the mess. Actually, since this may be my next big project, maybe you'd just better get used to seeing this mess!What do you think? Could I make it work with yesterday's idea?

I also gave the sheets some more thought. I could always embroider some seashells, starfish and sand dollars on the hems of two or three sets of pillowcases. A bit of work, yes, but we rarely use the top sheet anyway, so I could just buy the pieces I want in a solid color, save a few dollars, and I can match embroidery thread exactly to my color choice.

19 November 2009

Dreaming of a New Bedroom

On this gloomy November day in Pennsylvania, I am dreaming big. I'm dreaming of a new bedroom. I need to reclaim the back bedroom from the boxes, baskets, bags and clutter. We need a king size bed.

The bungalow is generously sized, but the back bedroom is the only one big enough for a king bed and furniture.

We know what kind of mattress we want, another foam mattress like the one in the front bedroom. That's a full size, and it was expensive. The king size will be twice as much. Yikes. But we really need it. Neither of us is happy with the current sleeping situation. It must change and soon.

So, here is today's idea:

The comforter and curtains are of course from JCPenney. The comforter set is on clearance, and only $70 for the king. The curtains (84"length) are $35 per panel x 4 = $140. Unless I can get away with the 72". Then it will be $30 per panel, $120 total. Not sure. Will have to measure. The ceiling is pretty low in that part of the room because it is an enclosed sleeping porch (sad).

There are a couple of other things to consider, too. I don't need-need the curtains, I have a set that will work, at least for now. But I'm in love with the mod circles. And the dressers in that room are painted white, mid-century, curved front, with tapered feet. So, I'm thinking the room should have a mod feel.

Then I remembered these beautiful sand dollar print sheets from the L.L.Bean catalog. They've been in the catalog for years, and I've always wished I had a place for them. Now I might, but guess what? They are discontinued. Figures. I think if I could find something like that, I could have a hint of beach. Add one or two other touches, and that's it. I don't want to overdo it and have it look like one of the Golden Girls' bedrooms!

So, just picture it: sandy color carpet (already there), crisp white trim (only room with painted trim), that gorgeous sea-blue-green bedding, crisp white mod dressers, and those mod circles curtains against slightly lighter sea-blue-green walls.