Where Rustic Living Meets Refined Elegance

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The things you hear on a construction site

I've heard a lot of different things in the process of working on our house.  Things such as "Oh brother!", "Good grief!", "Uh oh", "You want that switch to go where?!", "Are you sure you want it like that?", "Come on you blasted wire, get in there!" and my never ending personal favorite, "I'm not sure you can do that".

But my favorite thing I've heard I have to say was recently as the saws and drills were going I hear, "Ok, I gotta get outta here right now I have a 2:30 pedicure appointment!"  Not my girls, not my mother and certainly not moi, no it was my dear 75 year old father hurrying out the door to get his tootsies in top shape!

He may look like a regular contractor but his feet are soft as a baby's bottom!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I think the Amish are on to something

"Many hands make the load light"  I've said it before, but usually with a giggle mocking the somber group from which it's usually said, but this last week as I'm working away on a hundred different things trying to make some sort of order and beauty out of a huge mass of chaos and construction, I looked around to see my dad and brother working away on our electrical, my mother running around installing electrical plug and light switch covers (the crazy, oops I mean lovely woman practically begged to help wax floors so you can see where I get my "I can do it!" attitude from), and my daughters friends waxing away on all the floors and I thought......hmmm, those Amish know what they're talking about, I don't know what we would have done without all the help from our family and friends.

I have to say the floors are STUNNING!!!!!! Even if I do say so myself.  They positively glow and every little nick and mark and scratch just makes the floors look even better once a little wax is rubbed in.  Along with Genie I have another new best friend.......Clarke buffing machine!  I want one!!
this guy finished my floors off to a lovely satiny glow with little effort. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it, slight pressure up to go right and slight pressure down to go left, but once I had it it really went fast. Yep this one definitely goes on my wish list of power tools.

This is the view looking into the kitchen from the living room and you can see the difference in the floors.  The wax really brought out the beauty of the wood and they look exactly like I wanted.  Old, used, slightly abused and well loved.

still a construction zone but now a very pretty one.

This is exactly what I was hoping for, a floor that I could not worry about getting some wear and tear.  I need a floor that can handle 2 dogs, a bunch of teenagers, muddy riding boots, a niece and nephew, a new grand baby and dirty cowboy boots.  I think I got it.  The Cowboy is installing the sink in the pantry and you notice the tools spread everywhere.  No worries, any marks we now just call it "patina".  I love this little apron sink.  We found it laying in the weeds in the back yard when we moved in.  I can't believe someone just threw it out there and left it.
I also love my little side table that opens up to a very nice roomy dining table.  The Cowboy found this little table a few years ago at the local swapmeet.  We paid $25.00 for it.  The top was in bad shape so I put a faux red leather finish on the top and the edges, then stained the rest of it.

Then my brother made 2 leaves for it so when we open it up....

Voila! A very nice dining table that seats 8 comfortably and 10 if you don't mind being cozy.  I also love my mirrors for my living room.

I have 2 of these that I bought probably 2 years ago and they went directly into storage.  When the Cowboy brought them inside yesterday I about fell over.  I had totally forgotten about them! They're a little plain for my taste so I need to figure out what to do to dress them up a bit but I'll figure it out. Still working on painting the kitchen windows and the huge bookcase to hold my dishes.  I'll have those pictures soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The decision is in!

Well after much deliberation, discussion, test samples and numerous trips in and out of the room looking at the color in different light, we (actually I)  have chosen a color for the pine floors.

I know it's not a huge color change but I really wanted the floors to just look old, weathered and dare I say, a little dirty?  And to me this is it.  The wax will be here next Wednesday so I have informed our daughters that they are recruited in full as of Wednesday until the floors are done.   We are down to just a little bit left to put down, half of the living room, my office and the stairs, so we should be done by tomorrow.  What a job it has been! My arms and legs ache from all the nailing.  I'd be really excited if I wasn't so exhausted.

And check out my kitchen!!! The red ceiling is gone and the floor is in and it looks lovely.  I have to get to those old windows this weekend,that is the last little bit of red to go. To the right of the wood burning stove will be the working kitchen to the left will be the walk in pantry (yet to be built and sort of a tiny kitchen in it's self with storage, display shelves for dishes and a sink).  The dining table will sit to the right as soon as you go through the opening.

And the master bedroom is coming along nicely too. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm pining away for my new floors

The floors are going in and they are stunning!!

Plain pine planks, Lumber Liquidators, $1.13 a square foot! I want them to look old and used but soft and nicely aged. Not yellow but more to the brown or grayish brown side. Not ruined but rustic. Am I asking for too much? I don't think so. The upstairs, which is both of the girls bedrooms, are done and ready for waxing.

Tonight we finished the kitchen so tomorrow we start down the hallway and head towards the master bedroom.

This nailer is da bomb! My brother loaned it to us and I can't imagine doing this without it. It pays to have a general contractor in the family. But man is my arm tired tonight! Preslea, our 16 year old helped out all day and then I took over for her when she went to work at 3:30. Three hours and my arm was tired! I'm glad she's coming back tomorrow for the morning shift again.And check out my kitchen ceiling! No red!! Just beautiful cream walls and ceiling with dark beams. I love it! Preslea and my neice Aleah zipped around the room on the scissor lift taking down all the masking paper. Tomorrow I'll post a picture of the room in full with the floor done. Have I mentioned I love it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I dream of Genie

That's the Genie GS-1930 that is. Yep, I love this baby! I have spent the last 5 days zipping around my kitchen cleaning the ceiling so it is ready to paint and then re staining the beams, and it would have been a nightmare without it! (by the way, notice the huge stack of planks behind the Genie? That's a fraction of my pine plank flooring that got delivered this week! Oh, I can't wait!!!)It was a little more wobbly than I expected when I was extended up to the peak but I got somewhat used to it, sort of. I found I kept locking my knees and would work really stiff because it had so much wiggle to it so today I am sooooo sore from head, or should I say neck to toe. It was a job to get in the house. A makeshift ramp and some tight maneuvering and it was in. However getting it out was more difficult. It came off the ramp off center and the next thing I knew it was stuck in place with the back end on the ramp and the front wheels hanging off and spinning but going nowhere. OY! What's a girl to do?

So I called the Cowboy, (he couldn't come home this weekend he had to stay in the Bay Area for work) and asked him how to get the truck into 4 wheel drive. Just what every man wants to hear from his wife, an exasperated "Hi honey, how do I get your truck into 4 wheel drive?!" Well I found a strap to hook to the bumper and hitched it to the Genie and with a little pull it was back on solid ground back in the front yard waiting to be picked up. I'm gonna miss her, it was a long week but my beams look beautiful and the ceiling is ready for a coat of cream paint.They look black but they are really a true Espresso Brown. I mixed 3 parts Walnut to 1 part black with a little glaze to help it go on smoothly. I love 'em!

Now onto the existing vintage kitchen windows and the bookcase I'll be using to hold my white ironstone dishes. Another busy week!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I can feel the warmth!

So it's getting closer each day!! The fireplaces have been installed and they look fabulous!

I have to say the installers probably thought I was a crazy woman as I kept coming in saying over and over how beautiful they looked and how happy I was to see them finally be put in. I think at one point I actually shrieked and clapped my hands but I'm not sure, it's all a blur right now but I do remember them looking at me really funny.

And then came insulation and then........DRYWALL!!! Ok I have to admit it, these guys in the picture, I'm actually pretty certain they think I'm Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs. After being gone working for a week I came back to see this... my living room drywalled. Real walls, white, no bare studs, no icky spider webs and brown wood, real walls ready for painting. It brought tears to my eyes, seriously. They turned around looking at me I'm sure wondering who this crazy woman was wondering in, crying and saying repeatedly, "Thank you! Thank you!" I soon realized they didn't speak much english so I then said "Muy Bonita! Muy Bonita!" They still had this look on their faces like "What's with this broad?" Then my daughters boyfriend who speaks spanish came in and translated my joy for me. I dont' know what he said but they nodded their heads and went back to work so they must have realized I wasn't totally insane or of any danger.

The entry to my half bath is on it's way to being just what I wanted.

Today the scissor lift arrived! Fun AND functional. So tomorrow this room gets the ceiling cleaned and ready for paint the beams stained. Going to busy day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rub a dub, dub, I likes me tub

bath 1 (bth, bäth)n. pl.
1. baths (bz, bäz, bths, bäths)
a. The act of soaking or cleansing the body, as in water or steam.
b. The water used for cleansing the body.

What is it about a bath that is so amazingly wonderful and luxurious? I mean, it's just water for Pete's sake, with maybe a little Epsom salt, some essential oils, a glass of wine or champagne close by and a good book. Just thinking about it makes me woozy. And in a few short weeks I think I will finally be able to take a bath in the tub I have been holding onto for 30 years.

I know, 30 years, I agree it's ridiculous but it's the best I could do. When I moved to the Central Coast (30 years ago) I found this claw foot tub behind the old workshop/barn on the property. My dad was going to get rid of it but I begged to keep it. "It doesn't even have any feet" he said. I love claw foot tubs and just knew someday I would get to use it, so we struck a deal. If I could find the feet I could keep it. I was 15 and determined so I dug around the place until I found all four feet. The tub was mine!

My dad set it up on the back patio and they kept it for almost 20 years until the Cowboy and I remodeled our last place and thought we would use it. We picked it up but one thing led to another and into storage it went waiting for it's proper home. Well it's finally made it but it had to have just the right finish on it to go into our master bedroom. I wanted it to look like old zinc. So I added some emblems to the end and each side to give a regal feel and then a little paint here and there and it's perfect. The feet have been silver leafed are sitting inside the tub awaiting to be put in place.
Next to a glass of Champagne.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another day, another pile of dirt, dog hair and concrete

Well, things are moving along little by little. Even amidst the constant haze of dust and dirt I can see, ever so slightly sometimes, the tiny but bright light at the end of the tunnel of this project. This last weekend consisted of cutting lines in the concrete in the living room to run lines for electrical outlets in the floor. First the holes were drilled for the plug boxes...

This seems to be a daily design theme in my home right now . I am really ready for a change.

I was unable to take any pictures of the lines getting cut out since my hands were full with holding the hose on the saw blade with one hand and trying to vacuum up all the water with the other hand. When we finished I looked down to see just how glamorous this job really is.

We had 30 minutes to get cleaned up and out the door to get to a wedding, so I snapped a quick picture to remember this blessed event.

Just when I think I can't stand another day I get a quiet reminder as to why we love it here so much. This is an early morning sunrise from our front gate looking at the large horse ranch across from us. Actually that is how I got into this mess to begin with.

When my husband came home with a flyer and told me about the property for sale, I looked it over, said "oh, that's nice" and threw it out. The next morning we left early to go to some garage sales and with a cup of coffee in hand we ended up at the front gate looking into this place. I stood firm, really I did. I said no and explained all the good reasons I had. But he's slick, that cowboy of mine and sweet and somewhat charming too. From that day on, anytime I went to go somewhere early in the morning or late in the afternoon he'd hop up and say, "oh, let me drive you and we can get a cup of coffee". The next thing I'd know I would somehow always end up sitting at the gate to the property. He wooed me, that man of mine. He showed me glorious sunrises with the smell of fresh cut alfalfa in the air and the soft, far off sound of sprinklers watering the pastures. He showed me heart stopping sunsets and talked about the dinners we would have on the patio with family and friends, sipping wine and watching the sun set.(a pink sunset seen from standing at our kitchen door)

I still said no but I felt bad for him. He really loved this place. So when he suggested we hop the fence and peek through the windows of the existing barn I thought, what could it hurt? I still said no but he's smart. He knew just what to say. How I could design the floor plan just the way I wanted, (I did kind of like that idea). And how I could have a garden, (ok, that was something that really appealed to me). And how I could finally have chickens, (now we're talkin'! I've always wanted chickens!) Then he hit went in for the kill. He said I could turn the whole open beam area into my dream kitchen. 810 square feet of kitchen and dining area designed exactly as I wanted it, (BE STILL MY HEART! "Ok, what do we have to do to buy this place?!!") When we got home I dug through the trash and found the wadded up flyer he had brought home and we made the call to the owner. (sunset from the living room french doors) Within 3 months we were moving in.

And you felt bad for him when I convinced him to move a little itty bitty ol' wall just 4 feet.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Seriously, Trash to Treasure!

Ok, so many of you know I'm not putting in traditional cabinets into our kitchen, I know I am a crazy woman, (see previous post) anyway I have been scouring for different pieces to redo and use all free standing pieces instead of the usual hum drum cabinetry. A few months ago my mom and dad found a neat little cabinet for ten bucks. I bought it but the wiseguy wouldn't let me take it without the top even though it was junk. I was annoyed but brought it home and used it as a table to work on other projects for the house.
I finished the cabinet and put it into storage, (more on that later) and figured I'd find a good top somewhere. Well I kept looking at that ugly laminate countertop and figured I should be able to do something with it. I mean afterall, I am a decorative artist, people pay me to transform things so why not this sad piece?

Well yesterday I decided a wood top would really finish the cabinet off nicely. So I got out my bag of tricks. I mixed, I slathered, I brushed, I manipulated and played around until I had something I thought would work. Then I put the color on and Voila! A very nice "old wood" counter top. Looks and feels like the real thing. I am so happy with it I still can't believe how good it looks.

I've also finished the "Crown" for over my bathtub.

This is half of a round window frame that I added an ornament to and then properly aged and distressed the whole thing. This frame was also something that some guy forced me to take at a garage sale. I had already bought a bunch of stuff and I saw the two half pieces hanging up on a wall in his garage. I asked him what they were and he grabbed them and and said "oh those are for a round window and I'll never get to it so take them". I said no but he insisted so I did.

Well that'll teach me to whine when forced to take something for free! Ok now on to the claw foot tub!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The beginning

Well we are finally moving forward to finish our home. Doug is flying home for four days, (he's been working in Oregon since January), to do some final construction so we can move forward with the final necessities of insulation, drywall and flooring. EXCITING!

Sunrise view from the front of our house. The mornings are so beautiful here, even with the power lines spanning our front yard.

First order of business once we moved in was to steam clean the concrete floors and rip out the existing old kitchen.
This is the first floor when we moved in. This was one open space.Where the furniture is sitting is where the stairs and half bath will eventually go. The windows at the end will be replaced with french doors.This is a view of the living room looking into the kitchen.
Looking into what will soon be the kitchen and dining area. The orgional makeshift kitchen was to the left and the bathroom (in the center) will be ripped out to make room for the kitchen. The above loft will be taken out too. The beams will be stained brown and the ceiling will be painted off white.
The original kitchen. What can I say? Ok I'll say it, GAG! We cleaned up this little area set up a temporary sink and stove to get by but this will be where the walk in pantry goes.

The building begins. Cait helps her dad build a set of stairs to the second story. This was the first wall to go up in the place and it would eventually hold the half bath under the stairs. After a few weeks I realized that I wanted to layout the half bath differently but in order to do that, this wall would need to be moved four feet out. I know, I know, I'm a crazy woman. I asked he said "No". I pleaded he said "No". I begged he said "No". So then I talked on and on for countless hours and days about how amazing the bathroom would look if it was done and how I would decorate it and what colors I wanted to do and what accessories would make it stunning and..........he moved the wall. What can I say, I love him.

This is the back of the house. You can see the old windows have been replace with new windows and french doors. Eventually the upstairs window (this area is a bedroom) will be replaced with a set of french doors too and a small balcony.

More to come soon.


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