Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I lost my camera cord, so this is way less interesting with no photos... Sorry.

I went to my first estate sale on Friday last week. It was SO good. It was a 1950's split level that was in pretty much time capsule condition. I would have taken photos, but I had my daughter, so I was mainly focused on making sure she didn't do anything embarrassing. I felt really weird about dragging her in there with me, mainly because the sale was being handled by some fussy people who I'm pretty sure threw up in their mouths when they saw me approaching with my blond tornado child. But whatever. Some lady brought her dog in there. Like a big dog. Not a yappy yorkie in a hand bag. And I'm extremely conscientious about Roxanne in places like that. I hardly let her get down and walk, even though my back was killing me from hauling her 26 pounds around. Regardless, I could have gone absolutely nuts in there. There were CLOSETS full of vintage clothes and dozens of boxes of shoes and scarves and jewelry. This woman had great taste, and was a meticulous packer. But it was just too weird for me. It's one thing to buy that stuff from the thrift store, but another to buy things out of the deceased lady's closet while standing in front of the deceased lady's bed... The upstairs was so insanely full of kitchen stuff, books, knick-knacks, etc. etc., I could have easily spent hours in there, but a 2 year old really shortens your shopping time. I had a friend with me, but even between the two of us, there's only so much you can do to make looking at old china patterns interesting to a toddler.

The basement was basically like heaven to me. It's where the cheap stuff was. :) I bought lots of vintage board games, a musical cigarette case (no mom, I don't smoke), five teensy multi-colored bitters bottles that Roxanne found, a huge mess of plastic (disposable type plastic) cups with a design that looks like a Georges Briard, and 3 aluminum stacking lawn chairs with green webbing. I spent just under $20. I think the chairs were the best deal, at $4.50 for the 3. Everything was 25% off when we were there, but I wish I could have gone back on Saturday for the real discounts. I'm sure it would have been a freak show, but the house had some goodies that were just too expensive for me, but that I might have shelled out for after a deep discount. One of my favorites was a guest bedroom that featured two twin beds, a tall dresser, a low dresser, a desk, and a night stand all in that 1970's French Provincial style. It's not so much that I'm a huge fan of that style as I have Roxanne's dresser in it, and painted in off-white with pink details, it's perfect for a little girl's room. I would love to have the desk and nightstand at least. But the desk was marked $140. Too much. They also had a cute MCM room divider/hutch that was very small and would have been great in my house. But it was marked $148 and the laminate was ugly. Had it been super cheap, I would have bought it and painted it. I usually don't paint wood furniture, but an ugly laminate? Yes, please.

So the point of all this rambling and listing (don't pretend you don't sort of love hearing about the junk left in a deceased lady's house) is that I realized how much I would like to have my own booth in a local antique shop. If I had a business credit card and a place to sell some of these larger pieces, I would have been at that sale at the opening bell on Saturday morning. As it is, I bought the vintage games and cigarette case for my etsy shop, but I know they will sit there forever. Who does an etsy search for "vintage board game?" But if they were sitting in a booth and someone could pick them up and imagine them used on a wall in a pretty frame...? Definitely. I don't know. I'm probably being unrealistic... I know that having a booth would not equal instant success. I wouldn't quit my day job or anything. But I just really want to try it out for a month or so. I wish I could find a place where I could just consign some pieces but not rent out a full booth. There is a super cute antique shop near us that specializes in mid-century, although they've got all kinds of goodies. I called and asked about booth rental, and it starts at $450 a month. Ah!!!! I just can't do that. I guess I'm just going to keep looking at different options (maybe eBay would be better??) but I'm just not sure what to do. Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated. Seriously.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Drumroll please...

I'm not even going to apologize for the photo quality. I'm not a photographer, and even though I keep letting Roxanne take pictures with our camera in the hopes that she will break it and necessitate us selling one or two kidneys to get a new one, I'm stuck with it. Just see past the poor image quality to the majesty of the shell chairs. They are lovely. Justin sat in one at dinner (I only had time to finish one before we ate) and the first thing he said was that it fit his butt nicely. I reminded him that we don't use the "b" word in front of our toddler/parrot, but oh well. I'm glad that he likes the chairs.
Speaking of the parrot, we are thinking about not keeping her chair with the booster seat in it for now... She seems to be able to reach the table fine with the shell chair. That being said, any excuse to strap down a two year old at meal times is probably a good one. So we'll maybe do a short trial run. She's still prone to sliding in and out of her seat for various reasons (dance breaks, finding a toy to get all gummed up with her meal, yelling at the dog to stop taking her food even though the dog is fifteen feet away, etc.). So yeah. Maybe keep the booster for now...
I know it's a little cafeteria looking, but I mean, it is cafeteria stuff, right? And that's fine. The color is so bright and happy, and this table is perfect for the space and perfect for messy kids. You just can't hurt it.
At Justin's insistence, I took down the print that was in this spot on the pre-hallway and put this lovely lady up. He's not crazy about this either, but whatever. Once we win the lottery he can go pick out something fancy. In the mean time, I love this poster. I got it at Value Village, too, and it's a print of a summary of a Shakespeare character from a British newspaper. Somehow, this helps me feel justified in going back to graduate school in August. Like, I'm studying English, and I have Shakespeare-related art on my walls. Profound, right?
Here she is, a little closer. Doesn't she look perfect? I'm pretty sure these were done in the seventies. I love it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Are you proud?

So, I just finished the second coat of Penetrol on my Eames chairs. They look AMAZING. And the Penetrol, while making me feel a little funny (kind of like breathing in sharpie for an hour or so), it's waaaay easier than I thought it would be. I feel a little silly for putting this off for so long! Justin thinks the chairs look amazing, and he says he can't wait to put them in the dining room. I think he was actually a little grumpy when I told him that I thought the chairs might need a third coat of Penetrol. He is serious about getting them in place. I can't blame him. I'm convinced that the extra pop of color will go a long way up here...

One thing I was worried about with the chairs was whether or not they would really "clean up" during the sanding process. It's hard to tell when they are faded out and kind of dry looking, but the Penetrol really brings the color back. They are a surprisingly dark orange now. Almost tomato red even. I'll post photos when I get them in place, but for now, you can just use your imaginations. They still have some rough patches, and there is a definite pattern on them, in terms of the fiberglass pieces being almost black on most of the chairs, and I had it in my head that the chairs would look uniform in color. In all honesty, I really love the texture of the aged fiberglass, and as long as the Penetrol keeps them shiny and not itching me and my family during meal times, they are perfect. One of the chairs has some areas where some of the fiberglass threads have turned totally white. It almost looks like paint, but I don't think it is because it would have come off during the sanding process. Either way, they have great character. Some day, I want to put the wooden dowel bases on them. The H-bases are fine for now, but they aren't in immaculate condition, and some of the screws seem reluctant to go in all the way. I might take a few to Home Depot or Ace and see if I can buy some new ones.

Oh, and here are some photos of the new room set up. It's still not perfect, but definitely feeling more cozy. Oh, and the lighting is awful, I know. It was stormy out and I was forced to use a flash. Ew.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yeah, I might be stalling...

I just got back from Home Depot. I bought some new lint-free cloths and vinyl gloves so I can FINALLY get started on sealing my Eames chairs with Penetrol. It's been so long. At least they are done being sanded. That part was not enjoyable. I have never been so itchy in my life. Truth be told, the Penetrol freaks me out. I have nightmarish visions of leaving them to set in the basement in all their glossy glory, only to find our cat curled up in one in the morning. Stuck. But in a few moments, I'm going to go down there, find something fun to watch on the computer (thank goodness for Netflix Instant Viewing...) and get started. I'm hoping I can at least get the backs done.

In other news, we have officially adjusted to the new room set up. I switched the new Danish Modern chairs (that no one is mentioning in terms of reselling or not reselling... at least for now) so that they are under the map. It looks SO much better. The height of those beauties works well on that wall.

That being said, my new dream is to find a modern sectional for the living room. After hours and hours of thinking over the best way to utilize that small space, I really think that would be ideal. We could have the main section on the wall where the map is, and then have it come out under the window. I've been checking Ebay and Craigslist, but most used sectionals are those big clunky beats that look like leather potato sacks and somehow have four recliners built in. Ew. It will be at least a year before we have the budget to get anything in there, but I want to keep an eye out to figure out what my favorite shapes and scales are. I'm completely infatuated with this one sectional at Room and Board, but like most Room and Board furniture, it's probably never going to be within our reach. But look at it! I think my favorite is this red color.
The second part of the sectional plan means putting our current couch down into the basement "living room" to create a den. It would be great to have a TV down there. There are no windows in that area, so it would be ideal. We just have to get a TV first... And this sectional. Am I the only one who gets depressed thinking about how expensive home decorating is? Am I the only one who feels guilty for wanting to spend money on these things and not just appreciating exactly what we have? I mean, I love our house, and I'm happy with what we have, but as we live in our home and figure out how it works, we are bound to come up with better solutions, right? Sigh.

So in the world of basements, ours is so frustratingly awful right now. It was flooded a couple of weeks back when a water main broke in the front yard. It's a very sticky and uncomfortable situation. The water main that broke in the front yard was broken during the HGTV renovation. They hit the water line with an auger. Oops. Apparently they didn't repair it well enough either, so it rebroke and we woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago with two to three inches of water in our basement and lots of the front yard flooded. We called the contractors, and they came out and fixed things. That first day, they had a plumber come out and replace that water main, then replaced the drywall in a small part of the basement kitchen where the new water main comes in. They also shop vacuumed up all the water, and left a giant dehumidifier thing for a while. But since then, they have had some pretty slow going on doing other stuff... *I* spent several hours on a Saturday ripping out the carpet in the basement bedroom that was most effected by the flooding. The berber carpet was glued directly to the concrete by some genius before we moved in, and it just would not dry. Our house smelled like a moldy locker room for several days. Even though I got that carpet out a few days after the flooding had been cleaned up, it was still completely soaked. It made it easier to pull up since the adhesive was so wet, but it was the most ungodly smell of all time. While I was pulling it out, I realized that the rubber baseboards (again, some dingleberry who "finished" the basement used that rubber commercial-grade stuff as baseboards throughout the entire basement) were not sticking to the drywall, and when I pulled one up a tiny bit, I noticed that everything was moldy behind it. So I ripped out all that rubber stuff in that one bedroom, and we asked the contractor to replace the bottom portion of the drywall in that room. They have been working on that over the last TWO weeks. Sigh. I know it's not a huge deal, but I wish they would just finish.

On top of that, the floor in the rest of the basement had been sealed and painted before we moved in, but the paint is now peeling up in most areas from being wet for so long. We also lost a lot of Roxanne's baby stuff (including her baby book), some of our books, some of our wedding stuff (including my wedding shoes, which makes me sad) and we have yet to check to see if Justin's amplifiers are still working. I think we are too scared. It's really overwhelming to have everything in your basement get wet and have to go through it all to figure out what is ruined and what can be salvaged. And the contractors have not offered at all to do any further repair to the floor or to compensate us for anything that was lost. Up until recently, Justin and I just assumed they would refuse and were sort of sheepish about the whole thing. But now I'm mad, and I feel like they should do more to bring our basement to what it was before this happened, since it is clearly not our fault. I'll keep you posted on what happens once I send my e-mail with a list of repairs I'm going to ask for. I'd kind of like to ask for them to replace the bottom portion of drywall in the whole basement, but I think I'm just going to focus on asking them to fix the floor. And for some kind of compensation for our personal belongings that were destroyed. I'm not going to go after them for pain and suffering or anything, but still. Justin is staying out of it for the most part. I think he thinks nothing will come of it. But seeing your daughter's ultrasound picture melted into the baby book that you had to save up to buy... It just brought out the mama bear in me. Any tips on how to handle this situation would be appreciated. I'm not good at being demanding and scary. But as my mom reminded me, we didn't sign up to be on this show expecting to have a flooded basement, and it's highly unlikely that any of the other homeowners had to deal with this. And everything about the whole experience was magical, and we really liked the contractors until this issue came up, so it's all just very unfortunate and disappointing.
This is someday going to be the guest bedroom/craft room. Right now, it is jammed with our belongings that were displaced by the flooding. Would you want to plow into that room and tear through stuff to see what's ruined and what's not? Keep in mind, Justin has already gone through about 10 boxes that were in the basement kitchen, and thrown out about six garbage bags full of our stuff. At least the walls in that room still look pretty... I just spent a weekend priming and painting in that room before the flood. The color is a lovely soft gray called "Artist Loft." Love it.
This is a spot on the floor where the paint is peeling up. It didn't look like this before the flooding. It now looks like this in patches in the entire basement.
This is what the drywall looked like behind the rubber baseboards. This is three days after the flooding, and it was still wet under there. And that black stuff? Yeah. It's mold. The floor looks like that because I had just ripped the carpet out. The yellow stuff is the old adhesive. We have to strip it (using more noxious chemicals) and then repair any cracks/holes in the concrete, seal it, and then paint it. Fun.

OK. I've stalled enough. On to the chairs...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Sell or Not to Sell...

For the record, I realize the house is kind of a wreck in these photos. Sorry. It was 1am when I was taking these photos, and I'm still trying to figure out how to arrange this room.

So, I started my very own Etsy store. So far, I've sold only one item, but I've also only had the shop open for a week. I need to add more fun stuff, so I took a thrifting trip yesterday. I found this pair of chairs, and although I planned to stick to smalls on my etsy shop, I couldn't leave these behind. There were three of them, but I only bought these two. The third was in rough shape, while these two are in almost perfect condition. I was initially drawn to the lines of the chairs, and the colors, but when I flipped one over and saw "Made in Denmark" stamped on the bottom, I hoisted them into my cart. They were $18 a piece, which was a bit much for me, but I was assuming I could sell them for more (hopefully). Only problem is that I'm getting attached to them. Danish Modern in my very own living room. I have been trying to research the chairs, but without a name on them, it's kind of useless looking them up. All I know is that they are extremely comfortable, attractive, and solid. I'm trying to trick the hubs into not wanting to part with them either. We'll see...