Sunday, January 31, 2010

Up to the Top

There are two bedrooms on the third floor and some pretty good closet space.  This turned out to be the perfect place for the kid's rooms. They started out with Jodie in the north room and Scott on the southside.  But over the years they switched back and forth.
A deal on some red carpeting started this room off. The wallpaper (probably compliments of the very first owner) had to be removed.  The tank on the wall is the expansion tank for the radiator system.  By the way, the carpet stayed even after Jodie and Stephanie tipped over a gallon of paint while working on a little painted furniture project.  It was a little stiff in places but until I was ready to refinish the floors, it stayed.
I chose a bold sailboat pattern for Scott's room and even made shades from the left over paper.  I think I had some idea to make the expansion tank a part of the nautical theme but that never happened.
The room on the north side first belonged to Jodie.  She got the "girlie" paper for her room.  Even the color of her record player tied in to the wallpaper.  Not sure we planned it that way but let's say we did.
The previous owner left a roomful of matching bedroom furniture which worked out great for this room.  I painted it white with pink trim.  Wish I had taken a before shot but little did I know at the time that rescuing painted furniture would become an obsession or that someday I would want it for a blog.
The reflection in the mirror shows a headboard that was a garage sale find.  Wish I still had that.
My dad built a raised area in the dormer for a small table and chairs where Jodie could have tea parties or teach her dolls to read.  We carpeted that area with a remnant in green which worked well with the wallpaper.  A little of the wallpaper found it's way onto the side of the bookcase.  We were nothing if not coordinated.
As you might guess, these rooms went through some phases; none of which were picture worthy. Both kids had waterbeds as did I, and as I found out, waterbeds are a decorators worst nightmare.  After the kids left home, these rooms became a guest bedroom and a sewing room.  (That translates to: store whatever you can cram into this room until you figure out why the heck you need it.)
Recently I parted with much of the contents on this floor.  Since the house is now on the market, I no longer had the luxery of a place to "hide" my mess.  The step up was removed from this dormer and a window seat was added.  It is now ready for a new owner with fresh ideas and dreams.

I had the expansion tank removed and replaced it with a much smaller one that attaches to the furnace in the basement.  Hmmm, wonder why I didn't do that sooner?

The window seat in the dormer was added to create a path for the flow of central air-conditioning.


While speaking of the living room, I will give the briefest of scans through the decades.  It by no means documents all the changes but, to be honest, I don't have that many pictures.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Another strong focal point in the house is a mirror I snapped up at a yard sale many years ago.
I was stunned when I found this large mirror resting against the side of a garage in a modest city neighborhood.  As yard sale junkies know, you can't judge what you might find by the size or condition of the house.  This item was tucked between the garage and a tall fence where it looked SO out of place and yet so regal.  The price tag of $150 was a little steep for me at the time but I knew it was worth that and more.  It was a must have!

Even though it stood 8' tall, it looked odd not reaching as high as the top of the windows in the room.  So a good friend and neighbor volunteered to construct an oak riser and rounded tread to bring it to a height that seemed more balanced.

But, of course, it could not just stand on it's own.  It needed to be anchored to a wall that was plaster over brick.  So I enlisted my very helpful brothers who are experienced in things of this nature.  Together they determined a safe system to secure my lovely mirror to the wall.
Once in place, it definately took command of the room which is what I had hoped for.  Originally there had been a fireplace in this location but that too was removed by a previous owner.  Although I had restored two of the missing fireplaces on this floor, I felt this room would benefit from something different.

The metallic gold frame lasted through the Victorian phase with the East Lake furniture but when I shifted to a paler color scheme and a more deco look, I felt the frame would blend more easily in another color.

It has managed the transition of many furniture changes while remaining the focal point of the room.

This regal garage sale piece still reigns today from the same throne.

Although the frame has wonderful detailing, I think the simple color allows it to work well with my changing style and decor.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Craze became the Rage

It  seems I was infatuated with the possibilites of Crystal Craze after doing one window so I began looking for other places to use the product.

Because the pantry had four glass doors and a lot of mismatched china and glasswear, I thought obscuring the glass with Crystal Craze would be a practical solution to the cluttered look.
I noticed a Sears ad in the Sunday paper that consisted of a stylized fruit arrangement.  Fruit at Sears?  I think it was around the holidays and was more of a sponsorship thing than an ad.  But I saw how the pattern could be embellished to cover the eight panels in my pantry doors and I was off and running. (Yes, that is Cookie Monster hiding in the shadows.)
This was more ambitious than the window on the stairs.  By the time I got to the seventh panel, I was questioning my commitment, but I persevered and the results were worth it.

As with all such results, they last as long as the next whim.  When the kitchen cabinets were switched to white, the pantry went white as well.  Fabric behind the glass keeps the contents private and some beads snapped up at a garage sale complete the look.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


When I purchased my house in 1977, a few of the original items had been removed from the house by a previous owner.  One of these items was the large stained glass window that overlooked the staircase.  The opening had then been divided into four parts and fitted with amber colored plexiglass which was --no kidding--the ugliest thing in the house.

The best I could do at the time was to replace the plexiglass with clear glass panels. Obviously there was no "view" so leaving it like this was not an option.

Then I discovered a product called Crystal Craze.  It was a thin paint for glass that crystallized as it dried. I removed one panel at a time and used liquid lead to outline a pattern on each one.  The design was then filled in with various colors of Crystal Craze.  It takes a fair amount of pressure to squeeze liquid lead from a tube so it is not something you work at for long periods of time.  The glass also has to be squeaky clean or the lead will not form a bond and the paint will seep under the lead to the ajoining section.  What I'm pointing out here is that this took some time to complete.
As time went by, the colors started to fade and the paint began to flake from the heat and light of the sun.  I had always planned to find an art glass window to replace this one but other things seemed to take priority.  One day I came across a pattern in an old library book and it just clicked with me.  I took the pattern to a glass artist who altered it slightly to fit the size of my window opening.  Next came the fun part of selecting the glass in colors and textures of my choice.This was a little more difficult than you might think as there was not a good way to lay it out before making a decision.  I had to trust the image in my head and just go for it!

I was very pleased with the finished product except for the fact that the reinforcing rods had been positioned horizontally on the back which detracted from the design of the window.  With a little persuasion these were removed and replaced with vertical support bars that were "hidden" within the design.  THEN IT WAS PERFECT.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Luxury Of Two Baths.

 Even though I grew up in a one bathroom house with 3 brothers and 3 sisters, and know it is doable, I now had the space and, well, why not? As you know from the post about the main bathroom,(the only one at the time) there was a water closet next to that bath.  Once a toliet was added to that bath, it was no longer necessary to have access to this one from the hall.  Thus began the process of adding another full bath backing up to the main bath.

As you can see from this shot, a wall had divided these two windows.  The window on the left was over the toliet in the water closet and the one on the right was at the end of a deep, narrow closet.  There were shelves along one wall as you can see by the paint marks.  I can't believe these windows were originally divided in this way but guess I will never know the answer to that one.

Obviously, a gut was required but as a result all new plumbing and wiring was simplified.

The entrance to the water closet was eliminated which allowed for a shower against the new wall.  The toliet remained in the same location.
A vanity was added on the closet side of the room.  Coordinating wallpaper with a border. although dated now, looked spiffy at the time.  A traditional window treatment completed the look and now the second floor boasted two full baths.
Then came the idea to change the tile and run it up the wall behind a pedestal sink.  The wallpaper lost out as the faux finish bug was in full swing.  The walls and ceiling were lightly washed in a pale apricot and the wood trim received a rubbed back distressed green finish that matched the color of the shower.

And here it is today.  Adding the shower all those years ago was a great move as I am definately not a bubble bath kind of gal.
This mirror was part of the bedroom decor for some time until it dawned on me how perfect it was for this room.
The twin windows add a lot of interest to this small bath and have been accessorized with a variety of fabrics.  The cream and mustard toile has lasted the longest so obviously one of my favorites.

A few decorative elements changed over the years but the basics have been left intact.