Monday, January 31, 2005

S-L-O-W Progress

Whew! Who would of thought stenciling was sooooooo time consuming? Well, I can't find a color combination I like for the frieze. I've tried a white/gold/rose, white/blue/gold, blue/rose/gold, white/silver/rose, blah blah blah...And in all patterns. I just can't find the right "pop" for that frieze. As for the ceiling, I'm doing a tone darker than the walls. The walls are an icy blue, and the ceiling is like a slate blue. I'm highlighting the corner pieces in antique gold. I might glaze over the tops of the ceiling border also, but I'm going to finish the room first before I adjust the borders.

I work at the pace of 36" an hour for ONE color. You have to dry brush the stencils to get the right effect, and that takes a great deal of arm strength and pinched nerves in your neck! I have no idea how Michaelagelo did it, because stenciling upside down has to be a form of torture in the Geneva convention. I'll post pictures when I'm finished, but at the rate of 3 feet a night, that's going to take a while!

I finally got the final revisions into the National Register. The person helping me is so good at her position. It's wonderful to know that this department really takes pride in their work, and will do what it takes to help get these beautiful (but often neglected) homes gain the historical recognition they deserve. I'm set to give a presentation in March to the panel. It'll be the National Park Service, archaeologists, historians, State Historic Preservation Officer. I think that's right. I can't remember who's all on the council. I have to drive to Springfield.

Old homes are such hard work, but the character that shines when you use some elbow grease is so gratifying. I was speaking with a "new home" person the other day, and they just didn't understand how a house can become apart of the family, when all you do is work on it. I can never imagine moving. I'd be heartbroken. I feel like nobody but me could ever own this house. Karl and I have done everything, and how can you leave that? New home owners can move and not bat an eye. I did that with our "new" place that we had before this one. This house is different. I know who's lived here. This home had a civil war veteran in it. This home was a parsonage. This home probably heard so many secrets. This home has seen so many things. My children seem to just "fit" in their rooms. I can't imagine not having a home with a separate staircase for the kids. I can't live without pocket doors. I use every detail in this home. There's something that warms your heart by the simplicity of a woodstove. There's comfort in knowing there's more than a vapor barrier and a sheet of vinyl separating you from the elements. This home is cedar sided, with 1x4 tongue and groove boards, lath and plaster. It's a tank!

I think you get it... I LOVE MY OLD HOME! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Victorian Stencils

Well, after lying low for a while with a broken thumb, and rib contusion, I'm back to posting.

I'm completely devastated. Bradbury & Bradbury Wallpapers will be out of business, effective December of 2005. I've always wanted to use their wallpapers in my home, and now it will never happen. Reason: $$$. They are the real deal. To do my entire home, it would cost around $20,000. I don't have it! :( I'd have to hire someone to hang it because it is real paper, with the consistency of a wet lunch sack. So, I'll never get to have their beautiful designs grace my ceilings and walls. *sniff* Seriously, check out their website!

Completely crestfallen, I pick up my new issue of Victorian Homes magazine. And lo! they have a feature article about Victorian walls, complete with vendors! As I was reading, I came across the stencilng section. I already knew about the Victorians' love of stenciling, but I never thought about it for MY home, because all the stencils I see at the stores are ugly, and not very Victorian! Apparently, someone else felt the same and started a company called Epoch Designs Their entire site is dedicated to Victorian stenciling. They sell them in layers, so you can create masterpieces with multiple colors, and they also sell them in "room sets" so you can stencil your room, ceiling to floor, in multiple combinations. The possibilities for design are endless! Obviously, I bought a room set. I already know what colors I want, and what combinations I'm going to use. Can't wait to get them! This is the perfect solution for someone to jazz up the Victorian house, but without losing all their money! :)

The Kavanaugh Parlor, by Epoch Designs Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Winter Weather

Well, what a way to start out my second post. Yesterday, the weather people issued an ice storm warning, and we here in Paw Paw, IL were blasted with a layer of ice. Nothing to traumatic, but the problem was today.

They're calling for another winter storm, where we can get 12 inches of snow. Nuts, and I need to go shopping. I wasn't in the mood to go, but I certainly did NOT want to be snowed in with no food! Anyway, as I had the kids bundled up, I walked onto the steps, knowing full well they were icy, and I fell. WITH our 20 month old daughter in my arms. I broke her fall, no problem, but I broke my thumb, and bruised my back and elbow. My LEFT thumb, and I'm LEFT handed. I'm not sure if I should go to the doctor or not. What a pain it would be, the closest hospital is 30 minutes from here, and Karl's 45 minutes in the opposite direction right now. I can't move the stupid thing, and ya, it does hurt, but as any parent of small children would agree, it might be more of a pain to go get it fixed, lol! Sigh...

On a lighter note, one of the best things we've done for this home is get a soapstone woodstove. It heats the house wonderfully, and I could care less if the power goes out. Just think, if you are in Northern IL in winter, and your power goes out, throw your food outside, and it'll stay cold forever. Heck, we do it with soups in large stockpots now, so it doesn't take up space in the fridge. AND, your home stays warm because you rely on wood heat, not natural gas or electric. Those poor saps in new homes don't know what they're missing! :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

First Blog Post

I'm new to this blogging concept, but I figured that with all of the remodeling we are doing in our home, this would be an excellent outlet for me to share our "trials and tribulations"

We've done so much to this home already, that I'm a tad disappointed I haven't developed a blog in the beginning. There's still plenty to do, and we're a busy family besides, so I'll get some use out of it! :)

Currently, we are trying to get this house on the National Register. It's really involved, and to me seems like a long shot. However, I've submitted some of the paperwork, and I'm waiting to hear from the SHPO's (state historic preservation officer) assistant, on how well/bad I did. I'm also waiting rather impatiently on some quadrangle maps I ordered from the state for the property. I also have to find a camera store that can specially develop black and white film, because the Register will not take "one hour photos".

The other thing that we've done in the past week is get an 8x11 foot flokati rug for the front room. I've repainted this room four times, and I've never been happy with the look. Perhaps I need therapy! Anyway, I like this new silver/blue color it is now, and I felt that the addition of this white rug would pull the room together. I've had compliments from people so far, so that's a good sign. Here's a pic:

Flokati rugs are made from wool, and were/are popular in Greece. I thought it would give a rich exotic look to the already semi-formal room.

See, I'm already blabbing away, I'll love this whole "blog" thing!