About curt

Art Dealer and business owner by day - fanatic renovator the rest of the time. Endlessly working on a 1930 home in southern Indiana.

July Updates – the Art Edition

Since I’ve been trying to increase my posting frequency, I thought I’d pop in this Saturday with a July-ish update. This is a strictly art roulette edition, with a time frame from Mid-June to present. It’s more of a game of musical chairs with pictures, so if you’re looking for a DIY tip or special instructables – this post isn’t it.  We all have that one (or two or more) things we obsess over that other people just don’t understand. Art and antiques are mine.

But I have an excuse – this is what I do for a living – I look art art and doodads – buy art and doodads – and sell art and doodads. It’s my occupation, my interests and passion as well. So please  forgive my preoccupation and I’ll get back to making sawdust in the next post.

Back in April I posted this photo of a painting that I thought would be displayed in this spot along with my old wooden horse. I actually had this painting in mind when I designed this sunroom, with the wall large enough to hold this 4’X5′ painting. But as usual, after a couple days it was time to change things around.

The next idea was to make this a nature theme. So I brought in a large landscape and a couple more that my wife liked.

Here, clearly, I’m making progress. I’ve found some more paintings in storage and decided this combination would be a possibility.

But then I pulled this large oil by Robert Kingsley from storage and my wife said that’s the one she wants displayed. OK. Now something I just noticed.that the TV monitor visible just above this painting is showing the exact same image during a slide show. Coincidence?

And over in the corner was this Chinese Altar Table from the 1880’s. That might as well come home too. Time to make some more art adjustments.

OK – now they’re home. And the gymnastics begin. The painting is nearly 5X6 feet and wall anchors need to hold it up there – that I will move 3 times before I’m done.

I then added some little landscapes by artist Jeffery Little – so they were really Little Landscapes. But the arrangement looked a little uninteresting.

So to give my mind a little rest, I thought I’d work on the art in the living room. The sunroom painting was moved in here, along with a couple other single women paintings.

On another wall in the living room I added these two oil portraits of Indiana artist Kieth Klein’s daughters. Then promptly removed them to use upstairs.

And put these two paintings in their place. But I have decided the girls should stay with the girls so I’ll revert to my previous image. So you see how this art roulette goes? Most folks would hang something on the wall and call it a day, but not yours truly.

So I wrangled these big oil paintings into place and I’m OK with the placement. But now that painting over the fireplace seems out of place. Time to dig into the storage bins – some of these pieces have not seen the light of day for 30 years.

With a little more digging and a lot of re hanging I’ve got this arrangement I’m fairly happy with. A mixture of artists and mediums and subject matter. I’ll try to finish the pile of stair treads under the window sometime soon. And now I am contemplating painting this wall the color of the sample above the Altar table to give the art a little depth in presentation. So you see, this is the kind of tom-foolery that consumes my days.

Moving things around also allows the chance to see things in a new light. I’ve owned this old altar table for decades and never noticed the old red paint and gold leaf still visible when the sun illuminates it in the late afternoon. This makes me happy. Art is my life and livelihood, so I guess in some ways it’s a good thing.

Enjoy something beautiful today.

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May Updates in July

Well, I think I previously noted that my updates would be more current – and I’m certainly trying. But cleaning out our current house and wading through collections of 40 years in the making has been a real time-suck. But we’ll march on. Where were we? Oh, yes updates!

Back in the master bathroom and it’s time to make some more sawdust. I decided on two sizes of sinks here. I just usually brush my teeth and go – my wife on the other hand, likes a big sink to splash around in. I’ll swap these, as I’m left handed and she is right. (A tip for a long marriage – she is always right).


It’s gotta start somewhere – we prop up a couple sticks and start the process.

A face frame is made to fit the space.

A quick double check of the clearances and we’re good to go.

Outside in the garage, we cut some more sticks. I’ll make double doors on each side.

Once cut to size a rail and stile bit on the router makes the pieces.

Doors assembled and fine trimmed to size.This is clear grade poplar, which is a nice fine-grained wood perfect for painting.

The frame fitted again with drawer dividers added in the center. Measurements are taken for the cabinet boxes.

While I’m working on the vanity – these lights keep reminding me of my purchasing mistakes. I’m out to replace the small chandelier wanna-be and the wall sconces that I’ve complained about in previous posts. I just have to find the right ones to take their place.

For an evening break, I finished up the wall details and paint in the under eave storage areas.

Finishing up the baseboards. The white oil finish on oak floors will probably never be seen in these areas – but you never know when I’m in the dog house, I might just hang out in here.

These two storage areas are accessed from the main pointy closet with the little doors I cut from full sized 6 panel wood doors. Each has power and lights, so I’m ready if I’m banished from the living space.

Meanwhile, I added some old furniture temporarily so I could act like I live here. The floors will need one more coat of finish after the kitchen goes in, so everything has to come out one more time.

But that didn’t stop my wife from dragging Hercules out of storage and putting another orchid on top. He’s an old Victorian carved wood stand purchased many years ago. Now I have to find his round marble top…it’s in here somewhere…[ rustling, clanging, and crunching sounds ]

And in the meantime I’ve dragged this Japanese Butterfly Maple home. It’s a really old one and not too pretty, but it has potential…something else to keep me busy.

See you soon. enjoy the summer!

A Father’s Day Note

Wishing all of the Fathers out there a very happy day. I unfortunately am not a father, but I certainly had a great one. You may think you’re not appreciated sometimes, but you are so very important in shaping your children’s lives.

Dad

Photo of my dad taken in 1947 at a local park. He was a photographer his whole life.

Here is a note I wrote to show just how many gifts he gave to me.

The Colors of My Father

This time of year is the best of seasons. The beginning of summer presents nature’s beauty at its zenith. The vibrant greens of the trees and brilliant display of the annuals are sharp and pure, with colors rich and full. The month of June with its festival of colors is the perfect season for Father’s Day.

When I think of myself as a child, or all children really, I imagine that we are like the pages from a coloring book. When we come into this world, we are so like an uncolored image – two dimensional and vacant of color. The black outline is easily recognizable a little boy or girl, but inside those lines it is void of the colors of life. The parents and loved ones help in ‘coloring’ that little image…to make a mere outline of a child come alive in the world. Through love and compassion, discipline and convictions, faith and commitment, the colors of a young life are added inside those boundaries, one by one and layer upon layer.
Every Father’s Day I think of this coloring book image and I am thankful for my father’s colors.

My father was an artist in the true sense of the word. He lived his life
in a most artistic way. He made his living doing what he loved to do and
he shared that enthusiasm with me…and so he painted me with the colors
of artistry and conviction.

My father could create the most imaginative images. He could craft
tools and gadgets and toys from the broken and discarded…and so he
painted me with the colors of creativity and resourcefulness.

My father was an honest man, who spoke quietly but truthfully. He did
an honest day’s work for a fair wage, as money was not the primary object
of his labors…and so he painted me with the colors of honor and
earnestness.

My father was a dreamer, who dared to imagine what could be. Some
of his dreams were realized, and some were not; but he dreamt them just
the same…and so he painted me with the colors of vision and hope.

And on it goes…

My father touched me with the vast palette of his life and I am a better man because of those colors he gently gave to me.

As with every Father’s Day celebration, I miss my father very much. He was such an important part of my life. This gallery is here because of his artist’s touch on his little boy so very long ago. Reminders of my father are all around me…the logo and the signs…the large round stained glass window at the peak of the gallery…that’s him – The Man in the Circle – an image taken in 1947, the year he founded this business.

Although he passed from us on a sunny summer day thirty four years ago, his influence is still so very important. His shared guidance and knowledge are prized possessions. As the years have passed and the business has grown in directions unimaginable to my father, the tools of experience he gave to me are all the more important. I am very fortunate to face each day confident in the skills that he taught me.

Thanks Dad… for all the wonderful colors
Happy Father’s Day
Curt

Navy Dad ID

My Dad was the personal photographer of the Commander of the South Atlantic Fleet during WWII.

 

A Really Late April Update

Well, time flies and the old MisAdventures posts haven’t been appearing on a regular basis. Not that things aren’t going on, they’re just little things that aren’t that particularly interesting. But let’s see if I can do my best to catch up on where we are –  and keep our fingers crossed that  I’ll have this place done this year.

As was covered in a previous post on baseboards, I’m doing the same thing upstairs. The base is laid out and scribed to the floor, then the bottom edge is contoured to match the floor surface. Since the floors are finished, I have to take the baseboards outside to trim and check again. Lot’s of exercise on this little detail.

I’m still figuring out how I’m going to use these old French iron panels at the stairwell. For now they’re just clamped in place.

I looked for several years to find something the right size that would go here. These French panels from the 1880’s seemed just right. The problem is these things weigh more than 100 pounds each, so they’re a little hard to maneuver. I want to get the design exact before I start lugging these things around.

The pocket doors had to be reworked with the new floor level – something I though I had accounted for, but missed by a smidgen.

All of the floors on the first level will need one more coat of floor finish before we can bring in permanent furniture. So to divert my wife I repaired and painted up this little hall table so she could pretend we had a living space here with real furniture.

Another make it homey touch was to bring over some of her favorite orchids to place on the sun room bookcase. Now she understands why I put those library lamps above the windows.

Also a new privacy fence was put in. This is a definite DIY project, but to get it done within the decade, I hired this out.

My OCD and perfectionist traits were all over this fence. It serves the purpose, but not how I would have built it – but it went up in a day and that is important. I’ll fashion some small copper caps for the tops of those flush-cut posts.

Since the imperfections of the fence install were on my mind, I thought I’d distract myself by putting on the last pair of door plates. Of course I’d have to use a laser level to line up the screw holes.

So the door plates are on straight and I can close the door on the Month of April, with a promise to post  May’s progress by the end of June.

 

A Mid-April Update

Greetings fellow renovators! Boy. look at the time! The 1st quarter of the year is over and the deadline to move in this 9 year renovation is closing in. I still think it will happen in 2018 – but it might be a squeaker. No major progress to report, as my real job has kept me from devoting full time here, but that should change soon. So here is a Mid- April update.

I finally got the TV mounted in the Sunroom. A 55″ OLED from Samsung. I needed the brighter picture quality due to all the windows in this room. Fortunately this thing fits in the cabinet I built. It’s retractable so I can add a piece of art behind this so I don’t have a black rectangle staring at me every day.

Repairing of small dents and painting trim in the stair area. It had some damage from the flooring guys going through here to get to the second floor. Trim is Impervo White and wall color is BM Sterling.The textured glass bathroom door allows light into this area.

My office area trim is also getting the final paint coats. I still have to cut the door bottoms off since adding the new 3/4″ oak floors.

I designed this place with lots of large windows. The paneled walls help add shadow and dimension to the mostly white and light color rooms. The black chalkboard paint above will have a TV mounted. The wall eliminates the ‘black rectangle’ I’m not fond of.

My wife has already claimed the bookshelf windows for her orchids. Even in April, there’s still snow on the ground some days.

In a previous post I was contemplating getting this old 4′ wood horse up on the wall. I made a test bracket to see if it would work visually. I was OK with it, but didn’t like the Victorian look of the cast iron brackets. A little too fancy for the style of the room I thought.

So I found a pair of wood corbels and made a few adjustments.

Painted it the same wall color, but finished with a waterbase clear finish.

I made the bracket wide enough so that it could be attached to three wall studs. The 5″ deck screws made for a very secure mount.

I thought the design of the brackets mirrored the sconces in shape. They have a more Craftsman look, which I think complements the ornate elements in the room.

Having finished that project, it’s time to get the second floor installed. This is 6″ wide rustic white oak.

Because I’m on a time crunch, I also hired this job out. This floor will have unfilled cracks like the Scandinavian floors I have seen. The job goes fast over my new 1/2″ plywood floor overlay.

The stair moldings create the smooth transition to the steps. I have old French iron balcony panels I’ll have to figure out a way to mount them.

Of course the floor guy didn’t think I would want the under eave closet spaces finished out the same way. He was wrong. We used 5″ engineered white oak flooring in here. You can’t really tell the width difference, and besides this will be covered with countless storage boxes when my wife gets done with the space. I’ll crawl in here later and add baseboards.

The white washed oil finish is on. It’s a matte finish with gaps in the boards – it drives me crazy and I want to fill them, but it’s authentic to the ones my wife likes, so the cracks and gaps will stay – for now.

The soft finish has a nice look. The gaps no, but the matte finish is a nice look for our bedroom and closet.

A while back I posted about the kitchen design. Many of you had wonderful suggestions and some have been incorporated in the design. I told my wife one day we’ll get some wood cabinets, but we’ll use the cardboard ones for now.

This mock-up has been very useful and several changes have been made as my wife can see exactly how the work space will feel.

Locations of pot and pan storage, waster and recycling pull outs and the shelf size and placement were finalized for the construction of the cabinets and counters.

Being an art dealer, some things take priority over even finishing the kitchen. The life size oil painting called Victorian Tea is in it’s final hanging place after having it in storage for 29 years.

As well as an oil painting of a local historic landmark building by Kentucky artist Harry Davis.

So there’s an update. Some flooring, some horseplay and a couple of paintings. Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Spring.

 

 

 

Perhaps not my most spectacular post

Greetings! Fear not my fellow renovators and spectators, my infrequent posts are not a sign that I am growing weary of this nearly 10 year renovation marathon. No, indeed I’m more energized than ever to complete this adventure in my lifetime. The problem is, I have nothing wow-worthy to show you. Take this post for instance. I suggest you get comfortable, grab a beverage of your choice and be prepared for a incredibly entertaining post about…

~ Baseboards ~

Yep, the baseboard. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that my next project on the list was putting in new baseboards after the floors were installed. I’m using 1X flat stock of poplar, 10 feet long. This is a simple squared off design, so no coping the corners, no this should be a simple install 1-2-3 done! But are we forgetting something? Anything? Well, yes – this is no mere baseboard – this is part of our ongoing art project. Add a little OCD in there and this easy project become a little more complicated.

First we size up some boards and give them a coat of primer and a couple of finish coats. It’s a lot easier to finish them on the sawhorses than on my creaky old knees.

Second, we bevel the bottom at an angle so that the base comes to a point at the front. This will make removing any wood easier.

After we cut them to size, it’s time to scribe the base. Having done this many times. I just use a pencil and position my hand to make the marks.

If you’re a little unsteady in the hand department, you can also use a scribe tool like this.

Scribing the base will show the high spots in the floor in relation to the base, so to remove the extra material, we get out a sander and sand to the line.

Now that we have the pieces scribed to the floor, we make a mark for the scarf joints on the walls that are longer than 10 feet – which is most of them.

Once we get them cut to the right length, we glue and nail the scarf joints together. The joint is cut to land on a wall stud for extra strength.

I use trim head screws to attach the baseboard to the wall through the wall studs for a tight fit. I use Ready Patch to fill the holes. I really like this stuff, but buy the smallest can you can, because it will rust in the can. That’s three ‘cans’ in the same sentence – impressive.

Everything goes slower now that the floors are partially finished. I use a drywall knife on the floor to make sure my disc sander doesn’t have an accidental meeting with the floor.

Once the scarf joint is sanded it is primed and given a couple coats of paint.

So after several hours crawling around on the floor like a worm, we get to see the fruits of our labor. We still have filling and sanding to do. Now no one will see this unless they drink too much or I fall asleep while renovating this place – but then my OCD can take a break.

While I was wrestling with the baseboard, these two guys showed up.

And delivered my new gas range to my imaginary kitchen – boy, I can almost smell the bacon now.

And once the baseboards were in I started to fiddle with the TV lift and connections. I’ve bolted on a 32″ TV to work out the bugs before I put the 55″ one in that belongs there.

So there you have it – another fascinating glimpse into the  MisAdventures world of Remodeling.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy weekend!

 

January Update just some stair stuff

Greetings for the New Year! I’m just getting back to the MisAdventures project after our busy Holiday season. Since I have a real job and have a retail business, it’s taken awhile to get back over here and get to work. I hope everyone made a NewYear’s resolution – and you haven’t broken it yet. My resolution is to get moved into this place in 2018 – so fingers crossed that will happen. Now were was I? Oh, yes the header says something about stairs. Yes, that’s it!

But we’ll start with the master bath and the stereo speaker is added to the ceiling. This will be linked to the Bluetooth AV system so music can be streamed from my wife’s phone while see lounges in the bathroom.

We left the newly constructed staircase like this. (That was in 2013) I stopped with the addition of the skirt boards on either side and the risers cut and fastened. Time for some new stair treads.

The risers are 3/4″ poplar the three lower steps extend past the left hand wall.

The 1st tread in place. These are 1″ solid white oak treads. I looked for a local supplier, but found only one here and pretty expensive. I found a fabricator not far away in Tennessee that made them for half the locally quoted price. The Blackford & Son web site is here: http://www.hardwoodstairtreads.com/

I picked up this tread tool at Home Depot to make measuring the treads more accurate.

The tool consists of two plastic end pieces that clamp to a piece of 1X3 lumber. You clamp the end pieces tight against the skirt boards and the riser and you have an accurate template.

Place the template against the riser (these are the longer ones in the mudroom). Mark the ends of the template and cut. Simple and fool proof.

Three cut and 12 more to go. These are only placed in position. They will be removed and stained by the flooring guys before final installation. I wish I would have had this tool to cut my risers. It would have been more accurate and I wouldn’t have to caulk the riser/skirtboard joint. Live and learn.

The last three steps require a little more cutting. I ordered three treads with left hand returns to fit the exposed end treads.

The left hand returns have a finished lip that extends over the side of the stair. This has to be field cut and fitted to the return trim on the wall.

The treads are marked and cut to fit. The finish and quality of the treads was very good.

So that brings us up to date. Right now we’re in the middle of a snow ‘event’ with temps dropping from 60 degrees this past Wednesday to a -6 coming mid-week. Ah, life in the Midwest.

Stay warm and I’ll see you soon.