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!

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Painting The Wife

OK, OK, I know this is a renovation blog – but when you just physically can’t keep up with all of you wall moving, closet organizing, and bathroom fixture refreshing maniacs out there – what can I do?

So this is my best effort given the circumstances – but it does involve painting – that’s close enough, no?

When I first got married, I was just a few weeks away from my 50th birthday. Even in my advanced bachelor years, I was fortunate enough to win the heart of my beautiful wife, Francia.

Francia Wedding DayI knew that one of the first things I would do as an art dealer/married man was to commission a portrait of my wife. In my mind, it was the perfect way to combine my love for art, and the love for her.

Being anal about stuff like this I decided the artist and my wife would end up hating me if I micromanaged this project. So my requests for the portrait were that he create it the way he thought best and I wouldn’t see the painting until it was completed. I had a few specific requests, but the rest was up to the artist and Francia.

Chris Thomas


Self Portrait – Chris Thomas

The artist I chose was Chris Thomas an extremely talented professional artist that I have worked with for many years. Although he is nationally known and exhibits throughout the country, he still lives across the river in Henderson, Kentucky. I guess you can live where ever you want when you have that kind of talent.

I requested her portrait to be more like a fine work of art and less like a traditional portrait – no gazing out from the canvas allowed.

I Love You Mona

Mona_LisaThe other elements I asked for were that he incorporate the following into the finished painting: The number ‘6’ – for our wedding day of March 6th.
A full moon – as it was on our honeymoon night.
A Pear shaped box – which was made by an Indianapolis artisan that held our wedding rings.
A white rose – that was in Francia’s wedding bouquet.
A carved table – a possession of Mr. John Streetman III- the past Director of the Evansville Museum. John was gracious enough to be my Best Man, and allow our wedding to be held in his beautiful townhouse.
And some detailed stuff – because he’s really good at that.

Here’s how we painted the wife:

Francia painting photo mockupFirst came the photo mockup – getting the elements together for my requests – I see a book is involved.

Background elementsThen the mockup for other design elements – the table, and pear box are there. See the covered wallpaper in the background?

Francia's painting in preogressChris Thomas with painting in progress. He paints mainly from life, so my poor wife didn’t realize she’d be standing there for so many hours (several sessions).

in-progress-detailIt is amazing to see artists work. I’ve watched him paint before and the color blocks look like this for most of the painting – It’s OK, but you wonder if they’ve lost their touch.

Let’s breakdown the list of requests.

fran-painting-diagramLooks like everything’s on the list – and he threw in a wedding dress too! One thing is he originally left out was the wallpaper design. He’s a really busy painter and he was reluctant to add the wallpaper in the background. But after some persuasion he decided to add the detail.

Francia painting closeupFrancia Finished PaintingBeing in the gallery business, I have hundreds of works of art and antiques, but this by far is my most valuable possession. The memories and symbolism, the connections with the artist and friends, all frozen in time on the surface of linen. It is to me the tangible token of the intangible – of love and friendship. Chris, if you’re reading this – thank you old friend.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Oh, here are a couple of new paintings by Chris Thomas –

Pear-and-Emerging-GrapesPink-Peonies-with-Green