Miscellaneous Musings

There have been a lot of little projects under way here and lots of discussion and research on some bigger ones.  I managed to find a place for all my antique store purchases.  The entryway looks very inviting with my botanical prints and a fun glass top bronze table I found.  I really like the way the metal on the table matches the gold leaf on the ceiling.  I am still hunting for some upholstered side chairs to complete this grouping.


I did find these chairs online and think they might work:


entry chair

But then again, maybe I need something more vintage.  The entry is dark so I like the yellow and I recently got this fabric for the built in seat at the bottom of the staircase.

So I think the chairs would work with the yellow tinted walls, gold leaf ceiling, the botanical prints and this window seat.  I also added some family photographs to the top of the piano.  Oldest daughter said it would help make the house feel more like home to have some family pictures out.  I was surprised by this because I didn’t have pictures displayed at the old house.  I had a few in the master bedroom and upstairs hallway but nothing in what would be considered public places in our house.  I thought I would give it a try.  I had the pictures all printed in sepia and used clear frames.  I do like the way it looks.


I did find a place for my Willy’s advertising prints in the butlers pantry.


The other set of pictures I had picked up went in the dining room for now.  The buffet is dark and these lighten up that space a bit.  They probably won’t stay here forever but for now I like how it looks.



We were in our last house for 14 years and never got around to painting the master bedroom until we got ready to sell it.  I didn’t want to do that again here, especially since the  master is lavender!  I picked a blue gray and Matt started to repaint before we moved in.  Neither of us liked the color I picked and it read very green in the room.  I don’t know if it is because of the purple on the walls or the yellow art deco chandelier in the room.  (It is very pretty but I don’t like it and it isn’t original.  It is on my find a replacement list)

Many other things got moved to the front of our to do list and we are just getting back to painting the master again.  The kids all got new paint for their rooms, most of the first floor has been repainted and we used the intended blue/grey in the new third floor bathroom. It looks much nicer there.

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So we went back to the drawing board for the master.  I decided the room is big.  There is a lot of white trim, white crown molding, tall white baseboards, the white closet and fireplace tile all are white.  My thought was go with a really dramatic and dark blue color.  I picked the color but we were undecided about the finish.  Matt has always wanted paint to be eggshell or semi gloss because it is easy to clean and we have kids and pets.  I didn’t like it at first but after 25 years of marriage it is what I am used to seeing on the walls now and I no longer like the way flat paint looks.  We tried two shades of the paint.  One in flat and one in gloss. You can still see the blue gray in the middle that looks green.

We agreed the darker paint looked better but the gloss showed all the imperfections in the plaster walls.  On 115 year old walls, there are a lot of imperfections.  So Matt has started painting the master in the darker color with a flat finish.  It is a tedious job with a lot of cutting in to do.  I am anxious to see how it looks when it is all done.

We left a house with two and a half baths to move to this house with five and a half baths.  Now that the master bath is finished, we are a family of six using, you guessed it… two and a half baths!  Oldest son and oldest daughter still don’t have heat in their bathrooms so they have been using the master.  Youngest daughter loves having a new shower that is bright and full of light so she has moved all her stuff into ours as well.  Her shower is dark and I used that one until ours was completed.She does have a point about it being difficult to shave your legs in hers.  Having access to the master from the hallway has made this a lot easier and doesn’t seem like such a strange feature anymore.

We still need to get heat into all three kids bathrooms on the second floor.  Youngest doesn’t have heat but her room and bathroom are small and her radiator is next to the bathroom door so the bathroom stays comfortable.  There isn’t heat in the kitchen or laundry room yet either.  Fortunately it has been a fairly mild Midwest winter and the propane heater in the kitchen has been adequate.  We had a few incidents with the laundry room being cold and water pipes/drains freezing on the washing machine and a newly installed fitting in the crawl space under the laundry room breaking.  These seem to be solved with the addition of a space heater with a thermostat placed in the laundry room. These are definitely issues we should address before next winter but it was a relief to get through this winter without any additional expenses on infrastructure.  Well, we almost made it through the winter.  The crazy wind last weekend blew some shingles off the roof and we need to address that problem!

My parents bought an old farmhouse and did a complete remodel when I was in middle school.  We didn’t have heat in that kitchen the first winter there but it must have been a much colder winter.  One night my sisters and I were doing the dishes (no dishwasher in that awful kitchen) and my younger sister was the dryer that night.  She stacked the Corelle dishes as she finished drying them.  When I picked them up to put them back in the cupboard, the whole stack slid off and they all shattered.  There was ice layered between each plate! All things considered, we have not been too inconvenienced by our whole heating adventure so far.


I started this post on Monday and titled it “Monday Morning Musings” but never got it posted so I had to change the title!  It is a lot longer than I intended.  Thanks for reading to the end.

A Step in the Right Direction

After much back and forth discussion, I finally got Matt to agree to let me remove the rest of the 1981 carpet from the main staircase.  It was threadbare and worn and impossible to clean.


The cat loved it and used it for sleeping and claw sharpening on occasion.

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When we took the carpet off from the top part of the landing we found that the last time the stairs were refinished, the centers did not get polyurethane applied.  When we removed the rest of the carpet the same held true.  They looked like this:


The centers that were untreated were really dry.  I thought maybe using the lemon oil I had used on all the wood work when we first moved in might help.  (All our woodwork was dry and lacked shine when we got here.)  The steps still lack a shine but they look a lot better (I think) and have some protection.

The girls have a date dance on Saturday (Dancing with the Star Wars, isn’t that a cute theme?) and youngest daughter is going with a big group consisting of most of her swim team.  One of her friends wanted to do pictures at our house because she thinks we can get all 30 plus kids on the stairs.  That was my big push to clean them up now.  They aren’t perfect and we will need to put a clear coat on them.  I still prefer the bare wood to carpet.  I think the wood is beautiful.  I am sure we can get all the kids on the stairs for a picture and having the carpet removed is a step in the right direction!


Wall Improvements

My sister in law came to visit last week.  We had a lot of fun visiting a nearby antique mall in hopes of finding some “stuff” for my house.  The antique place was HUGE!  Overwhelming in fact.  With really no idea what I was looking for I found it nearly impossible to actually find anything.  I did pick up a few things to hang on the walls.  Here are my “treasures:”


Yes.  Everything I found goes on the wall.  I had been looking for some botanical prints to hang in the entry.  I thought a grouping would look nice and almost look like wallpaper.  I bought a book with frameable botanical prints but didn’t like them that well and was having trouble finding frames I liked that weren’t ridiculously expensive.  I stumbled on this set of nine.  They were marked $10 each but I paid $4.  I am  not sure if they will be my forever solution but they are up in the entry I am happy with how they look for now.  They sort of mimic having wallpaper up without having scary bird wallpaper!

I also found these pictures but haven’t figured out where they belong yet.


This one I decided goes in the music room:


And these I have no idea where to put but these but knew they belong somewhere in a home once owned by John Willys!


I was feeling inspired getting the entry way prints put up and decided to get my sunflower tiles unpacked and hung in the kitchen.

This is my third kitchen that the sunflowers have been hanging in.  I purchased one at the Ann Arbor Art Fair many years ago from an artist who came each year with her tiles from California.  I added a few each year and Matt contacted the artist and surprised me with new tiles for Christmas a few times.  I often pick up pieces at antique shops or art fairs that I like and after I get home never really like them as well or am able to find a place for them.  Not the case with these.  I still love them and they make the kitchen feel like home.  When we were still in our first house in Toledo (off Willys Parkway which I find funny now.  First we lived off the road named for him and now we live in the house he lived in!) I remodeled the kitchen around the sunflower tiles.  I painted the cabinets the blue in the tiles and had counter tops that were the cinnamon color in the center of the sunflowers.  I am seriously considering painting the current cabinets that blue color again, or maybe yellow. In our last house I picked yellow cabinets for the island to go with the sunflowers.

Youngest daughter has been feeling blue since the Christmas decorations came down and said the house still doesn’t always feel like home to her.  Hopefully getting some things up on the walls will help her feel more at home.  I think having those personal touches are what will make this house feel like it belongs to us.



Things To Do and Things Done


Over the weekend I managed to get a few things done and I noticed a few more things that should go on the to do list.

Yesterday was warm for February 1st and sunny.  I love the light that comes in through the stained glass panels in the stairwell but am bothered by the fire escape that is visible.  This is especially obvious inside when the sun is bright and always very obvious and unattractive from the outside.

The fire escape was apparently added when the oblates lived in the house and required because they had the chapel and bedrooms on the third floor.  It comes down onto the flat roof over the front porch.  Ideally, I would like to remove it or relocate it to the back of the house.  It could come out of one of the bedrooms onto the flat roof over the back porch.  While we are talking about this project, I would also like to remove/replace the Plexiglas over the stained glass windows.  I think it is such a shame that one of the focal points of our home isn’t visible from the outside. I know the plexi is there to protect the windows and to help insulate from the cold but there must be a better option.  It almost looks like someone tried to clean the Plexiglas with something that made it cloudy and opaque.  Or maybe whoever put it up didn’t want the windows seen from the outside.  In any case, changing this or removing the Plexiglas would also allow a lot more light into the house and is something I know we can do ourselves.

I’ve also noticed that the living room wall that backs to the music room has the same problems the music room had.  The plaster has disintegrated behind the wallpaper due to water damage.  I am not sure why it hadn’t occurred to us that this would have happened.  We replaced the wall behind this spot.  Of course both sides suffered the same fate from the water seeping in! Now we can hear the plaster falling and the bulge under the paper is getting more noticeable.  The biggest problem here is I am very fond of the living room wallpaper.  The music room paper was awful as you may remember.  In order to repair this wall the paper will have to be removed.  The small glimmer of hope here is the location of the wall damage.  The part of the wall that needs repair  is isolated between the music room entrance and a window.  If I can get the paper down in one piece, I may be able to put it back up.  Not really an impossible task.  There is at least one and maybe two other papers under this and since the plaster has come off the wall, the paper isn’t really attached.  I have no idea when this paper was put up and have no way of determining who the manufacture was so there is very little chance of finding it again.  I did find a company online that prints custom designed wallpaper.  They will take your design and create rolls of wallpaper.  My thought is I may be able to get them to print a roll of this paper if I send them a large enough sample and tell them where the repeats are in the pattern.  I am slightly concerned that they may not be willing to reprint a paper that belongs to another manufacturer.  I would guess that there may be copyright issues to consider.

I have hung very little on the walls here.  Partly due to the fact that I just wasn’t sure what to put where and partly due to the dust and construction that was going on so long. Since the Christmas stuff came down things are looking a little bare and I am ready to get some things up and make this feel more like home. Hanging the print over the fireplace changed how that room felt and made it feel like home.  It is time to do that with other spaces.

Yesterday I did manage to hang up my mirror collection in the study.  I knew pictures wouldn’t work against the busy wallpaper and I thought the mirrors might hide it and help it feel more like our home while I am looking for the right wallpaper.  I had the mirrors all hung on a wall in the dining room at the old house and I like the eclectic mix of old and new as a grouping. Sadly, I am unsure how I feel about them here.  It almost feels like the wallpaper is even busier than before.  I may resort to painting this room until I find the right wallpaper. I would really like the mirrors in this space to brighten up the dark wood paneling.  For now, this is what I have: