Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Best of the Best

Every once in a while I stumble across a great website.

Here's one of the best I've seen: My 1923 Four Square, by JC from Ontario.

JC's journal is loaded with magazine quality photographs giving us close inspection of his skill and knowledge.

Please join me as a follower of JC's website.  Leave a comment for him.  He sure deserves applause for his stunning work.

I think we're in for quite a year of fascinating posts from JC as he restores his home.  He is a good teacher, and is quick to share his successes as well as "those unexpected lessons learned". 

I recently left a comment on this site about the moldings he fabricated to match the original.

Hi JC,
Wow. A jaw dropping wow! You do amazing work, and I just had to drop a line to congratulate you (your determination to find the exact profile for the moldings) Oh how sweet it is. Fabulous photos by the way. I agree with you, I love how the light defines the moldings. Your place is a magazine article in the making. Push for an opportunity to do that.

Mrs. D

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Project - Restoration Upstairs

Here's the front foyer door.

We're starting a new project.  Repairing walls in the front foyer, walls going up the stairway, and down the upstair's hallway.  I'm dividing this project into sections, beginning with the upstairs hallway.

The painted yellow walls in the foyer are in rough shape.  While the plaster keys appear to be in good shape, the texture of the walls is rough as a cob.  That's my Grandpa Bert's line, "rough as a cob".  Makes me laugh because I can still hear him say it and see his smile.  I wonder where Grandpa Bert heard that expression, and how many generations said it before him.  I've heard my Dad use the expression too. 

Detail of the Front Foyer Door

Original hardware on the front foyer door.  The lock mechanism still works.  Jon took apart the mechanism two years ago, cleaned it, and it with the skeleton key--works great.

Detail of mechanical door bell. 

Check out the wood grain on the door.  This is faux bois woodwork--a handpainted faux finish on pine by an artisan in 1893 to make the wood look like quarter sawn oak. 

The doorways are also faux bois and and because of traffic over the years have chips in the faux bois paint, requiring touch up with a small artist brush.  I use oil paints: yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber, and several artist brushes to make touch ups.
This is our very yellow foyer.  To the left and right of the light fixture you can see golf ball size holes in the wall.  That's where Jon blew insulation into the walls.  The insulation made quite an impact on cooling, heating, and noise dampening.

The insulation was one of the first things done to the house in 2007 when we bought the house.  Installation was very dirty work.  We were able to move into the house in April 2008.
Above is a closet door in the foyer, located underneath the stairway.  Again, all the woodwork is faux bois--handpainted to look like quarter sawn oak. 

John Olson Wrolstad is the original owner/builder of our 1893 Queen Anne.  John was a successful businessman in logging, and could have afforded expensive woodwork for his house.  Instead he chose to have an artisan faux finish the pine woodwork throughout the house including the floors!  Faux bois was all the rage in the 1800's. 

The front foyer stairway

View from the base of the staircase

Ascending the stairs.  Above is the temporary scaffold Jon built.  The scaffold will help me repair the wall cracks.

Above, you can see the cleats supporting the temporary scaffold floor.

As we near the top of the stairs to the right you can see the cleat where a portable section of scaffold attaches to the wall.

At the left you can see the opposite cleat at the top of the stairs where a section of temporary scaffold floor can be added.

At the top of the stairs is the east hallway wall.  Jon started to repair the cracks in the hallway sometime back.  We are at a place now where we can continue repairs. 
Once I am on the second floor landing I turn around to take photos of the temporary scaffold Jon built.

We hired Tom and Bev Lederhaus to finish the ceiling drywall installation, mudding, and sanding.  Here are parts of the restoration that require more attention and ceonomical decisions.  We did not rip out existing plaster and lathe but in some instances we've added new ceiling drywall to fight against new cracks, gravity, and furture maintenance.

You can see the temporary scaffold causes cosmetic damage to the stairwell walls which we will have to repair as we go along.  Number 1 issue is safety, and so the scaffold fits the situation.

Laying across the scaffold platform is the second section with cleat.  The cleat fits into the metal wall hangers.  Next photo, you can see left and right--the metal hangers to hold the second scaffold section.

Below I'm standing in the north end of the hallway looking south to the upstairs bathroom we installed in May 2009.

View of the north end of the hallway landing.  Beyond the etched glass door is a Juliet balcony.  Last summer I started scraping the balcony but got distracted by another project--can't remember now exactly what it was. 

For $200 I bought a pait of light fixtures for the hallway.  You can't see the scrollwork etched into the glass shade, but it has similar etching as the etched glass door.

Here's the etched glass Juliet balcony door

The upstairs hallway is 28ft long, and at it narrowest about 5' wide. 

Tom and Bev Lederhaus finished mudding and sanding the ceiling drywall July 14 this year.  Two days later we hosted a tour of our house for the Voie Quien Reunion.  The Quien family owned our house from 1917 until 2007.  We purchased the house April 16, 2007.

Walking down the hallway to the new upstairs bathroom.

End of the hallway, entrance to the bathroom

We are so pleased with the upstairs bathroom.  The door at  the left is a huge walk in closet where we added a laundry room.

Just a reminder, below is a photo of the upstairs bathroom when it was just a storage room/small bedroom (Jan 2009).

Turning around now, and walking back to the stairway landing (looking north at the Juliet balcony door).

The east wall of the hallway.  The brown painted line is decorative, but also shows where the picture rail might have hung.  There is quite a bit of picture rail stored in the attic. 
We are thinking about re-installing it. 

So, as this project begins I'll track every suttle crack and secure it with web tape embedded with durabond.  There are many cracks you can't see clearly in this photo.  So let me give you an example of the number of wall cracks that were repairs in the west bedroom upstairs.  You'll be surprised.  See next photo.
Example:  West Bedroom Upstairs During Repair of Wall Cracks (Dec 2008)

Example:  West Bedroom Upstairs After Repairs of Cracks and Skim Coats (Jan 2009)

Above photo--descending the staircase

The pie shaped steps on the staircase

 Traveling down the steps into the front foyer.

Peeling painted wallpaper (yellow); plaster painted green, and web tape embedded with durabond--beginning wall crack repairs.

Walking down the stairs, straight ahead are three golf ball size holes where Jon blewn in insulation.

The photographed light in the foyer makes it possible to see part of the Blue Heron etched glass front door.

Opening the front door - to show exterior view

How lucky are we?  to have original doors, woodwork, and hardware

Here's a good photo of the etched glass front door

Imagine this.  There are Five Doors in the front foyer.  Two double doors here.  One leads to the sitting room (living room), and the opened door here leads to the dining room.

I stopped to close the door to the dining room for this photo.

Now the door to the dining room is open again, and you can see a bit of the kitchen beyond the dining room.  The door under the staircase is a closet.  Across from the staircase (to the left) is another door (entrance to a parlor with pocket doors).  Currently used as a bedroom.
I'd like to know more about these hangers in the wall at the base of the staircase.  Can you tell me about them?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Upholstering A Bench - Photo Tutorial

I finished reupholstering a bench for a client.  I'll show you how I did it, step by step in photos.

The bench to be reupholstered. 

Behind the bench are two more projects.  A round table with round drawer purchased for $10 at a garage sale.  And, leftover gray chevron fabric recovering four more chairs for the art studio. 

Laying the bench on its side, looking at the construction, there are six tabs and screws holding the fabric top to the bench frame.

It doesn't seem possible spending half and hour just to remove stubborn staples.

Sometimes you can grab a hunk of fabric and lift off the staples and fabric in one tough jerk. 

But for heavier or stubborn staples a cat's paw pry tool works wonders.  Cat's paw tool costs just under $4.00 at Hancock Fabrics. 

Using the cat's paw to lift staples.

 This is a dusty job, sneezey job removing the old fabric.

Measuring and cutting new soy foam.
Attaching batting over the foam

I look at this assembly on my dining room table.  It is the table and room where I do all my sewing projects. 

 I can't help but think what a pleasure it will be to have the sewing room in the studio, and my old wood dining room table with leaves will be a layout table for future projects like this one.

With zipper foot tight against the 3/8" cotton cord I begin sewing the piping.

Here's a tight shot showing the the piping being sewn.

Measuring for the top panel, and finding the center to mark side seams.

The bench top is 41 inches long by 20" deep.

Below: joining piping seams.

Overlap piping by one inch

Remove stitches on left piece of piping, snip one inch of piping cord.  The snipped cord (left) immediately retracts to meet the piping cord on the right exactly.  Works every time!

At the left, turn piping material 1/4" inward to make a hem (shown held in place here with white head pin (top).

Fold the left side of piping downward. 

Secure with pins.  There you have it.  The two cords are joined and ready for a couple of stitches to secure.

I used this flat carpenter's pencil to show the center of the fabric (location for side seams, and piping seams).

This is the piping seam, pinned now to the top of the seat panel.

I spent time snipping the piping, careful not to cut the stitch line that holds the piping in place.  I make snips at one inch intervals.  This helps the piping relax, allowing it to be pinned to the top seat panel, and making the curves easy to pin and stitch.

With the piping pinned to the top seat panel, I try a quick fit before permanently stitching piping.  You'll want the fit to be snug.

These next photos show the process of stitching the piping to the top seat panel. Be sure to remove pins as you stitch along.  Pins are meant to keep fabric in position.  Removing the pins as you go along allows the piping to relax and lay smooth flawlessly against the seat panel fabric as you stitch.

Approaching the corners, attended by three pins.  1) before the curve, 2) at the center of the corner, and 3) completing the curve and down the straightway.

The first pin removed.

The second pin removed, the machine needle is in the down position, the presser foot is lifted, allowing the fabric to be turned. 

The turn is made and stitching on the straightway continues until reaching the next corner.

Above: the top seat panel has the piping attached.  Now I lay the side wall panel on top.  Placing pins snug against the piping, pressing the fabric with my fingers.

Below: you can see pinning the side wall panel.  Placing 3 pins at the corner, the same technique as the piping was pinned and stitched.

After stitching was complete.  I fitted the seat cover over the foam/batting/board form, and stapled the fabric to the board. 

It rained, and rained during the month of June delaying sanding and painting the bench frame.  Finally, I took the frame to the basement and set up a TV tray to complete the paint job. I sanded and wiped down the frame prior to spraying the paint.

Two coats of Valspar black satin enamel (sanding and wiping down between coats), then a final coat of polyurethane clear satin finish.  The secret to a "silky smooth to the touch finish" is sanding and wiping down between coats).
Here's the finished bench, sitting in the foyer for a couple of days.  I'll deliver the bench to the client on Friday.

Below is a sign I have at home to welcome guests.