Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Calla Lillies are in bloom again

Such a strange flower, suitable for any occasion. These famous lines in the film about "calla lilies" were taken from the unsuccessful 1933 Broadway play The Lake, in which Hepburn had starred (the dialogue became parody material for Hepburn impersonators for the remainder of the star's legendary career).

I just discovered these flowers blooming in my garden and whenever I pass them I think of Katharine Hepburn and wonder who it was who carefully planted my back yard. It is very exciting to see the garden unfolding for the first time for me.

In the rear of the yard is a very old wisteria vine and in the foreground are some ancient English boxwoods. There isn't much more for Harry Homeowner and I to do except fill some pots and relax in the Adirondack chair with a glass of wine.
Look at that poodle pretending not to want to chomp down on that quiche!!

The most wonderful thing about yards in our neighborhood is that they are all fenced in so now my dogs can be let out at any time of day or night and I know that they are safe and unable to roam. Of course, any Welsh Terrier worth his or her salt, will attempt to breach any and all borders.
This is the gate that keeps them in.

It is tiring trying to escape all day. The Welshie, Harvey, has successfully breached the eastern border and entered my neighbors house and went promptly upstairs. Luckily for me that neighbor is a dog lover.

Interior framing has started this week and I have learned that we're ahead of schedule Photos don't do it justice quite yet so I'll wait a few more days to shoot their work.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The chicken or the.....

fruit? Which wallpaper came first do you think? I wish I had time to research it. There was another beautiful wallpaper which had seaweed and coral but I couldnt get a shot of it as it was really a dangerous place to be at the time. Most of the plaster is down now so maybe the taste of it in my mouth will go away.

Other discoveries this week:
1. The window to nowhere. This is a window in the kitchen on the west wall which is about 1/2" away from my neighbor's exterior wall. The window must have predated their house. Another research project.

2. The full fireplace in the Family Room was exposed and it looks terrific. Now the question is, do we leave the brick exposed or make it more formal with drywall? Someone is going to have to take a wire brush to it to see if it can look a little less distressed. Also, the euro laminate was pulled up and the wood floors look pretty good except for a plethora of nail holes.
3. There were pocket doors in the walls between the Entry and the Living Room at some point. It is sad that they aren't there anymore. A trip to the local architectural salvage place, Caravati's, is in order to determine what to do with these openings now.Next week framing begins and after that whole house air conditioning can't be far behind. The window units are holding up well in the heat of Richmond's summer. We're off to explore the beaches in Virginia Beach this weekend. Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baby steps

I awoke this morning to the sound of workers downstairs - the asbestos abatement gentleman - back for day two, or so I thought. They took down all the plastic and warning signs and said they'd be back on Monday and I was too out of it to find out why. Maybe it had something to do with the horrid weather here today or maybe they took one look at the crawlspace and decided that it was Friday and they were in no mood to crawl in there to suck out asbestos. Who could blame them either way. In any case - that is first of many delays I'm sure. We now have access to the hazardous area once again and so I was able to inspect the progress. They peeled away three layers of flooring - one layer of carpet and two layers of asbestos tile. What is left is yet another layer of floor tile (non asbestos) that is, unfortunately, glued to the hardwood floor below it. My contractor is not too encouraging about the ability to resurrect the original floors. I need to wait until the hall and Family Room floors are demolished next week before I can go into Plan B for flooring.

Then, of course, there are the random holes in the floor that give one a great peek into the crawl space. This entertained my Welsh Terrier for an hour this morning. If only floors could talk! The good news is that we have access to the back yard and the garage for the weekend which is supposed to be glorious here in Richmond. Our neighbors are putting on an alley party tonight and I'm looking forward to meeting the folks that we share the alley with and yet never see!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Demolition has begun

Fast forward to June. We've been living in the house for a couple of months and have worked hard with the architects to come up with a plan for some changes to the first floor. This is a shot of the entry taken before we moved in. The flooring is some sort of industrial strength laminate. Hardwood floors, are you under there? We'll soon find out. To the left of the front door in this photo is the Living Room . It gets wonderful morning light and I adore the fireplace and the built-ins. Most of the fireplaces from this era were built for coal fires so the fire boxes are not deep enough for use today unless gas inserts are installed. I won't publish a photo of how the rooms looks now as it is filled to the rafters with the possessions that we don't need right now (anything to do with cooking!). These floors were installed a few years back - we're hoping on top of the original heart pine. Again, this is to be determined later on down the road.

The next room in the row was a second parlor. On the left you can see the pocket doors. We believe that there is a set on the right as well under the trim. That and the french doors that lead to the back yard were a huge draw to us as buyers. We believe the fireplace to be original and again, not usable. This room is to become the Dining Room. I've ordered up a chandelier from Currey and Co. and can't wait to get to the painting and window treatment stage. The rugs in these pictures belong to the previous owner.

This room was used as the Dining Room by the previous owner (his chandelier and furniture). The flooring is that same laminate used in the Entry only the colors have been reversed!! We're hoping to find the pine floors under this as well. Behind the china cabinet is a walled up fireplace. We found out today that we can resurrect it for use as a gas fireplace.
The drywall was pulled off yesterday and revealed that the fireplace opening had been merely bricked up. I've heard that many of these have had cement poured into them, and in that case, are not salvageable. And now, for you're viewing pleasure --- the kitchen.

Sorry, but you had to see the "before". I'm not sure of the vintage here but I do know that there is a lot of: