Monday, January 13, 2014

If someone says,

"Expect the unexpected," slap them in the face & say, 

"I bet you didn't expect that!"


Home fixups rarely go the way I think they'll go.  I removed the doors to the vanity, removed the hinges, labeled everything, then went to work sanding the old paint off the doors & scrubbing the white paint off the dark brass hinges. After looking at the doorless vanity for a few days, though, I thought it might be better to leave the doors off. Naked like this, the vanity feels longer, leaner, and less cluttered. I thought I could put in a shelf on the left side to match the right side and make it more symmetrical.

So then the bathroom redo project slapped me upside the face. I knew water had leaked onto the floor of the cabinet and warped the pressboard pretty badly, but I thought I'd solved the problem by tightening up the connectors at the P-trap. Once I removed the two ledges inside the left cabinet and got my first good look at the underside of the sink I realized there was more water leaking from the sink. The previous owners replaced the drop-in sink at some time, but the newer sink was a little too small for the opening in the countertop. There is a small gap at the back of the sink which lets water run down under the cabinet. I then found one of the handles in the faucet was leaking water on the same side. Now I need to find a sink to fit the opening and also replace the old faucet. I wasn't looking for adventures in plumbing, but they were looking for me. I'm just hopeful that when I remove the sink I don't find the supporting pressboard underneath has turned to mush.

PS: Note the expert way in which the hole in the wall was covered with duct tape.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

retrolicious hardware

Yay! The postman brought my two small packages of hardware yesterday. I had been planning to buy new hardware for the bath but couldn't find any chrome drawer pulls that I liked. The holes in the drawers I have are spaced 3 inches apart, a size that seems less commonly available. I started searching on eBay and found these 4 vintage pulls that were just the right size. I think we had these kind of drawer pulls in the house I lived in as a kid. I also found some classic mushroom pulls for the doors from another eBay seller. They are plain and simple, just the opposite of the "late 70s baroque" in my house. The total cost of these little gems was slightly less than brand new hardware. What a deal! The pulls are stamped "Japan" so they're definitely from sometime in the last century.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Polar Vortex

The leading edge of the massive cold front that's hitting the midwest right now has a few icy fingers reaching into Central Texas. I awoke to find it was 18 degrees outside. It makes me very glad to be as far south as I am. I hope the front passes through quickly and folks up north find a way to keep warm in the meantime.

Friday, January 3, 2014

white-winged dove

We have a bunch of white-winged doves in the neighborhood and they usually visit our back yard at least once a day. We call them our "chickens". I think they are a bit more intelligent than mourning doves, plus they have such pretty eye coloring. The mourners never learned how to get seeds out of our bird feeder, but the white-wings, on the other hand sometimes engage in odd acrobatics to balance themselves on the feeders so they can get an easy meal. Our back-yard feeders are more entertaining than TV.

One of my goals this year is to finally sort through many of my old photos and to add them to my Bird Checklist Page on this blog; also to keep observing and trying to take new photos of birds I see. I think having visual cues for my "Life List" will help me remember which birds I've seen and which ones to look for. Most of the images will be photos taken by me somewhere in Texas, although there may be a few from other localities.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

adventures in wallpaper

I've got problem wallpaper in my 1970s house. The paper itself is in excellent condition, but I hate the pattern. Now I've found out it was applied directly to the drywall, making it short of impossible to remove the stuff without damaging the paper covering on the sheetrock. After much googling and youtube viewing and weighing the pros and cons of different methods, I've decided to leave the wallpaper where it is and cover it with two coats of Zinsser's primer/sealer Gardz . I would have used this stuff anyway after removing the wallpaper, to be sure any paste left behind got sealed, so it's not an added expense. I've read examples of folks doing this with good results, so I'm hopeful it'll work.

Meanwhile I got to thinking about the problem wallpaper in the last house I lived in. It was an 1890 farmhouse that had been subject to a number of atrocities including the two examples of GahDawful  wallpaper that appear at the top of this post. There was wallpaper upon wallpaper. In one case it was pasted to a fabric that looks like muslin. In another case it was pasted to a burlap bag from an Oklahoma flour mill. In other cases it was pasted to newspapers (we found pages dated 1929 and 1933). All this was pasted to a cardboard wall about double the thickness of cereal box material. There were silverfish everywhere. I saved samples of almost everything (not the silverfish) to help document the history of the house. Later I learned the owner from 1929 to 1995 was a painter and wallpaper hanger by profession. I'm not sure his methods could be considered "best practice", however.

How quickly the mind blocks out those old renovation horrors. My latest wallpaper "problem" suddenly pales in comparison.

wallpaper pasted over wallpaper

beige on beige, discolored with age

Primordial dry wall? The alligatored surface faced in to the room.

Broncho Bill comic from the old Dallas Journal circa 1929-33

Muslin backer with more wallpaper.

"Us Silverfish just love that wheat paste!"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

the chips are down

Ok, I've been to Lowe's and have been trying to match color swatches to my bathroom. I'm a little surprised at how dark the printed swatches look compared to my digital ones, but I think I've got a pretty good match.  These four beige swatches came from two cards numbered 2004 and 2005, so they're at least in the same family.  I also picked up a dozen or so white swatches, and I'm sure I can find a pretty soft white to paint the walls with.

I'm planning on using a product called "Reclaim" on the vanity. I've never used it before so that should be an adventure. It's only available through the Home Shopping Network and the color I want, "licorice", is supposed to become available in the next week or two.