My Latest Painting

I finished my latest painting and sent in my application for the local abstract art exhibition coming up next month. It’s 3′ x 3′ and I’m happy with how it turned out. The stripe paintings are fun to do because I don’t know what they will look like until the last pass is complete.

Stripes No. 6 acrylic on canvas 36" x 36" Chris Weigand, 2014

Stripes No. 6
acrylic on canvas
36″ x 36″
Chris Weigand, 2014

I won’t know if my piece got in for a few weeks. I hope so; tired of always being the bridesmaid to the wife. ūüôā

We’re always looking for people who like art, so visit us at http://www.littlegreycatstudio.com

If you like, please share, share, share with your peeps.

Peace.

Studio Entry Bench and Coat Rack

You don’t need me to tell you today was freezing cold outside. I awoke early to take the car in to get the inside cleaned…detailed I guess is the fancy term. See, we noticed mouse droppings in the RAV4 the other day and that’s all it took for us to decide to hire a professional. The car was filthy and the guys at Wheely Clean did a great job restoring it to like new condition. ¬†With all the cold I guess the mice had enough of living in the cold garage and ventured into friendly confines, replete with old french fries under the seats and a half drunk juice box in the door. ¬†I pray that they are gone now though.

Anyway, it was a pain getting up and going outside in -8 degree weather. ¬†There, that’s my complaint for today. Otherwise it was a decent day. Got to spend some time working on a new home dec design project for my brother. If you ever need a cabinet-maker, he’s the guy to call. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside him on a few projects at our house and we even wrapped up a fireplace surround at a friend’s house. I’m even learning a few tricks of the trade which is always good.

Speaking of projects around our place, I wrapped up a fun, quick project in the studio. ¬†I installed the coat hooks, reinstalled the switch and out plate plates and put hinges on the bench. Now we can enter the house on frozen days like today, through my studio and kick off wet boots and hang up heavy winter coats, and avoid trashing the front hall entry. Remember, you always want to try to have just one entry to your house for various reasons, but if you have two make sure they’re delightful or at least there’s a good reason. I like the studio entry for the above reasons. The cement floor and abundant space in the studio means we can shed snow laden clothing and let it drip dry with no worries or fuss.

It took me three tries before I found coat hooks I liked. ¬†I went to, and bought hooks from, Hartville Hardware, Home Depot and Lowe’s before I found the perfect ones.

Here are the three styles I bought:

Third time is the charm. Here are the three styles of coat hooks I bought.

Third time is the charm. Here are the three styles of coat hooks I bought.

I like the one’s I ended up using (far left in the photo) because they match the drawer pulls and look contemporary and old-fashioned at the same time. Below the hooks we have an entry bench. The bench is designed, by yours truly, to fold up so that the second entry door can be opened up all the way. I attached two oil rubbed bronze door hinges to the bench and a drop down latch to retain the bench panel in the raised position. I kept everything quick and easy by simply surface mounting the hinges and latch. I could have over thought it but for once I decided just do the simplest, easiest thing and that’s what I did. Everything functions and looks great. It all adds a bit of rustic charm and detail to my studio space. ¬†I like it very much.

Here are the coat hooks I went with, Gate House hooks from Lowe's in oil rubbed bronze.

Here are the coat hooks I went with, Gate House hooks from Lowe’s in oil rubbed bronze.

Here is a bench hinge installed, I just surface mounted the hinge. It looks and works fine.

Here is a bench hinge installed, I just surface mounted the hinge. It looks and works fine.

Image of the finished studio entrance bench and coat hooks.

Image of the finished studio entrance bench and coat hooks.

This latch holds up the bench when I need to open both doors.

This latch holds up the bench when I need to open both doors.

latch in the "holding" position.

latch in the “holding” position.

Here you can see the bench in the "up" position. On another note, I wish we didn't have a vent in the floor right below the bench. Takes up shoe space.

Here you can see the bench in the “up” position. On another note, I wish we didn’t have a vent in the floor right below the bench. Takes up shoe space.

Hardware for the hinge included one really long screw. I'm not sure why but I used it in the top center hole to fasten the hinge to the back wall of the bench area.

Hardware for the hinge included one really long screw. I’m not sure why but I used it in the top center hole to fasten the hinge to the back wall of the bench area.

One other fun thing today, Christine made me a Scrapimal (TM) of Dixon for above my studio sink. I love it; and I hung it up already. ¬†To help pay for all these projects of mine, you should check out her Etsy store and buy yourself, or a loved one, an original Scrapimal (TM) as well. They’ll make your day as they did mine.

Dixon is a Scrapimal!  Weee!

Dixon is a Scrapimal! Weee!

One bit of housekeeping, I went ahead and purchased http://www.nineappletrees.com for eighteen bucks so from now on that’s where you’ll find the blog. The old address should redirect there anyway, but just in case. That makes the blog a little more official (and I think more appealing to advertisers….not that’s why we do it but hey, if I can someday earn a penny that’d be good….homeless home projects would be much less compelling I suspect.)

Studio Decorating and Ottoman Storage Boxes

Today was kind of a waste. Frigid cold outside kept us inside. Being the indecisive twit that I am, I spent most of my Sunday arranging pictures on the wall of my studio. First off I hung up my mounted deer head, much to the chagrin of my wife, but I wanted it up in my studio. It had been sitting in the basement with all the other junk for some time now; in fact even at the old house it had been in storage when my office got turned into the nursery. It looks nice in the reading nook of my studio, and generally speaking only I can see it on any given day; which is to say it is not in plain sight of the general public, ‘less one looks though the porch window.

My deer head finally has a home, three years in storage.

My deer head finally has a home, three years in storage.

I then spent the better part of the day turning the simple task of hanging a collage of pictures on the wall into an act of great labor and internal mental strife. ¬†Just after lunch I had this, which was good except a lot of pictures didn’t make it on the wall:

The studio wall hallway through today.

The studio wall hallway through today.

So I decided “what the hell” and put more pictures up until I arrived at this, which is how it looks now:

The studio wall in its current state with my memorabilia on the wall. There is still more to come or rather not all of it is on the wall.

The studio wall in its current state with my memorabilia on the wall. There is still more to come or rather not all of it is on the wall.

I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I still have more pictures to put up, but not too many. ¬†I also have a mounted fish to hang above the door. I don’t know if guests will be taken aback by it all or not. I probably don’t really care. It’s my studio. I can do what I want, even if it meant to be for public consumption on an invited case by case basis.

This afternoon and evening I made three storage ottomans per the wife’s request. The lids come off so you can store crap inside, and put your feet up when not accessing your crap. I had the sheet of 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood sitting in the garage since July. I was able to cut all three 14″ x 14″ x 16″ units from one sheet, using the guidelines here on the sawdustgirl.com website.¬†A glued, nailed and screwed everything together. I like that “Saw Dust Girl” recommends Spax screws, which I would have used anyway as they are the best wood screws known to mankind. The assembled ottomans look like this, waiting for the spousal unit to put fabric around them:

I made these nifty ottomans today out of a sheet of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood.

I made these nifty ottomans today out of a sheet of 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood.

I also took the time to put the last few pieces of trim and the two missing floor boards down in my office area. Some caulk and paint and the studio will be done, save for the track lighting, rug and my TBD conference table / chair solution.

Well tomorrow starts a new work week. Maybe I’ll start taking my redecorated studio for a test drive…painting, drawing or whatnot. ¬†Hope your week starts off in grand fashion.

 

-Chris

 

Studio Decor And Half Bath Wallpaper

I’ve been steadily moving back into my studio. I’ve filled most of the shelves with my books, magazines and knick knacks. ¬†With the help of the wife, I think we unloaded about a dozen boxes from the basement. While this isn’t much it does start to make a dent. I had been keeping all of my old car magazines, and now I have a fairly complete set of ‘Automobile’ and ‘Car & Driver’ issues form the last two and a half decades. I put a special set of ‘Road & Track’ issues in my reading nook, to look at next time I have some free time. ¬†It was really nice to finally get these out of the box after so many years. I love looking at all of the cars from the 80’s and 90’s as well as the ads. Kind of like a time machine to escape from the realities of contemporary times. Even if it’s just for the turn of a page or two.

The over all look of the studio is cluttered again, not really like the clean orderly rendering, but it’s functional and that’s all one can ask for really. ¬†As time passes I can work on streamlining the organization here and there as I live with the space. The key is boxes are getting unpacked and treasures are seeing the light of day again. ¬†I need to get a rug for my reading space, some track lighting above and hang memorabilia on the wall. As for a meeting space, I think it will be interesting to say the least. The room will probably have more self-indulgent mementos that I would have thought necessary – I abhor going into offices that are temples to their owners – but in fact that’s what my studio will be most likely, if only because I have all this stuff that 1) I hate to throw out, and 2) the artifacts reflect my journey and share the story of who I am after 40 years. While I am not defined by the things around me, I am a visual person; maybe through the viewing of the artifacts we keep around us, one can glean more meaning of who the person is.

Yesterday we had the half bath wallpapered. It looks fantastic. The floral pattern makes us feel like grown-ups, or at least I do. We’ve never had wallpaper before, nor have we ever had a finished half bath in all of our years. The paper adds a touch of visual texture, and whimsy; which is a nice surprise in an otherwise subdued contemporary interior. ¬†The only down side is that now my striped painting doesn’t fit in anymore in the front hall. We definitely need a large painting or pair of paintings there, just not stripes that clash with the floral pattern. If anyone wants to buy the stripe painting I’d love to sell it. Otherwise I think it will go in the basement when we finish that off.

Let us know what you think about the wallpaper.

Oh My God If I Have To Paint Another Thing…

If I have to paint a coat of anything on my studio shelves ever again I’m going to scream. ¬†I’ve now “painted” the shelves and bookcases six times, or more accurately, six coats of liquid that dries to form a finish on the built ins. One coat of primer, two coats of paint and now three coats of polyurethane. I’m so tired of painting corners, I could use a good cry. I still have to finish the last two coats of poly on the adjustable shelves, and bench. But at least I’m done with all the built-ins. Now I just have to wait the prescribed “week” for the clear coat to set before I can move into my new shelves and get onto phase II of my studio decor project. Left on my “to-do” list include finishing the office trim and floor boards, and run through the entire studio with my touch up paint to clean up a few spots here and there.

Note, before I put the third coat of poly on the shelves today I attempted to “wet sand” then with an extra fine sandpaper block. Well I decided that was not the right course of action. The poly says it doesn’t require sanding, and all sanding did was cut through the paint wherever there was a high spot or bump in the surface, so now three shelves have white “specks” all over them where I sanded right through to the primer. ¬†Also I hate using a foam brush for the poly. I was leaving black specs everywhere as the rough wood shelves tore up the brush. Next time, or I would recommend, a 2″ nylon artist’s brush. ¬†Of course being an artist maybe that’s just because of what I’m used to using. I have to imagine it would be easier using the nylon brush though. Plus a brush can be washed out. The foam “brush” ends up in the trash and replaced with every subsequent coat.

The white specs are actually where I sanded right through to the primer when I attempted to wet sand before the final poly coat. For rough shelves like mine, skip the sanding part during the clear coat phase.

The white specs are actually where I sanded right through to the primer when I attempted to wet sand before the final poly coat. For rough shelves like mine, skip the sanding part during the clear coat phase.

Since I had the painting tools out today I also painted the insides of the kitchen cabinets. As you may recall we got new plates, which we may or may not keep, which meant that we had to do something with the open cabinets in the kitchen. The wife wasn’t digging the white interiors, the color of which would be fine if we ever had the aluminum framed, frosted panel doors that we were supposed to have on the cabinets. Once it became apparent we were are going to leave the cabinets open (until we can outright replace all the wall cabinets with new ones), we decided to paint the insides to knock off some of the contrast. ¬†I went down to the basement and there was just enough Resort Tan color left over from painting the Family Room walls. I cracked open the can, whose contents smelled rather foul, and started painting the cabinet interiors. After the first one I figured I’d better sand them to make the paint stick better. Three coats later they are looking good. I’ll put polyurethane on the horizontal surfaces as well to keep plates and glasses from sticking. The one cabinet over the coffee bar will get a black interior; today I just painted the ones by the range.

The doorless kitchen cabinets before with their white interiors.

The doorless kitchen cabinets before with their white interiors.

 

The kitchen cabinets after, with Resort Tan interiors.

The kitchen cabinets after, with Resort Tan interiors.

Once clear coated, the shelves will have to sit for a week too, to cure and be able to resist sticking to items placed upon them. Whoever thought that was a good idea has never been to an OCD designer’s house where everything is strewn about by one’s family – waiting to be put away when the time is right. My nerves are already shot as it is. I’m fairly certain looking at glasses and dishes randomly scattered across the kitchen counters for a week will drive me unbelievably insane.

And the new plates are just sitting there as well, waiting for an executive decision from the boss. I’m sure they will sit unused well past the point where we can return them anyway. Making a decision on life’s simple little choices is not to be taken lightly in our household. I will trip over half-opened boxes in the hallway and gingerly work around unused plates for the next eight months. There is a special circle in heaven (or hell?) for my wife and I because we saved a couple unsuspecting, otherwise high potential, members of society from accidentally being subjected to either of us for eternity, or at least what seems like an eternity. We took one for the team by marrying each other. Some mornings I think to myself “Maybe today I won’t push the pillow away” when I wake up with her trying to smother me to death. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. Then I won’t have to drive the plates back to the mall. Or put two more coats on the shelves.

Here are the new plates. We're not allowed to use them until we decide we like them.  That will be in 2056. Until then they will sit here. And their boxes will sit in the foyer.

Here are the new plates. We’re not allowed to use them until we decide we like them. That will be in 2056. Until then they will sit here. And their boxes will sit in the foyer.

 

Our kitty makes a rare daytime appearance outside my office today.

Our kitty makes a rare daytime appearance outside my office today.

 

 

Studio Day 8 – Painting Shelves

Today was my day set aside to put two coats of SW 6124 Cardboard on all the new shelves / bookcases in my art studio. I woke up at 4am and proceeded to stare at the ceiling until 6:30am this morning. I don’t really sleep anymore or at least not in any sort of pattern that is suitable for human consumption. I scampered into my studio and taped off all the shelving units where they met the freshly painted walls.

I was leery of the “cardboard” color because the first coat went on looking like something our baby’s would leave in their diapers after eating something that didn’t agree with their digestive systems. ¬†Luckily the color lost some of its yellow when it dried, saving my shelves from looking like baby poop for eternity. The color looks nice, in a tone on tone way, compared to the walls. Also name “cardboard” is a nice art studio nod to what my first job out of school, I designed temporary corrugated (i.e. cardboard) displays.

I finished up at 10pm, with a few hour break in the middle to go dinnerware shopping with the family. I did two coats total and used just over a gallon. I still have to paint the shelves and bench but for now it’s done. ¬†And certainly done enough to let it dry then clear coat the horizontal surfaces. ¬†Clear coating will keep items from sticking to the shelves as water based interior based paint never really “dries”. We could have used oil based paint but then the fumes would have been awful. For the record oil based would be more durable as well, but I’d rather trade durability for not having chemicals off gassing into my home. Personal preference.

As for dinnerware, we finally bought our first set of plates in the last 13 years. ¬†The old one that cost like a buck a piece at IKEA were just downright old, scratched up and even moldy, eek! ¬†The time had come to buy “grown-up” plates. ¬†We got them from Pottery Barn and they’re pretty neat. I should take a photo for you. The wife put them in our open cabinets in the kitchen. The plate sticks out so it’s a good thing we never got doors for our cabinets; if we had doors the plates wouldn’t fit. Now that open cabinets are all the rage, the plan is to have me paint the insides of the cabinets “Resort Tan” to match the family room / Kitchen wall. The white plates should “pop” off of the mushroom colored backdrop. ¬† Another painting chore added to my list.

Well it’s late and I’m tired. Here are tonight’s pics.

Other shelves painted.

Other shelves painted.

Today's artsy mug shot.

Today’s artsy mug shot.

Bookcase painted. By the way the wall paint peeled off when I took the tape off on the one side so I'll have to touch some things up.

Bookcase painted. By the way the wall paint peeled off when I took the tape off on the one side so I’ll have to touch some things up.

I cut down this cheap brush I got at Sherwin Williams. The stick part was way too long and annoyed the bejesus out of me.

I cut down this cheap brush I got at Sherwin Williams. The stick part was way too long and annoyed the bejesus out of me.

Shelves with two coats of Carboard paint.

Shelves with two coats of Carboard paint.

 

Studio Day 7-ish….Painting The Walls

After three days of working the wife’s weekend art show, Monday and Tuesday found me with no active projects to work on. Despite being destitute and borderline broke, I made the executive decision to take the opportunity to get my studio whipped back into shape this week. I rationalize it this way, once my studio is presentable to the world, I can use it for hosting work meetings and clients. ¬† If that’s not rationale enough for you, I did sell a painting on Monday so that helps pay the bills during my few days “off” this week.

Yesterday I “cut-in” the edges of the walls in my office space, using Sherwin Williams SW 6121 Whole Wheat. ¬†In the afternoon we ran out to the Sherwin Williams store to take advantage of a 40% off sale they were having; picking up some green paint for one of the kids’ bedrooms, and I bought some masking tape since I was without any by mid day. I’m not sure what else I accomplished yesterday….it doesn’t seem like much but I guess that was it. I did write-up some meeting notes, so not all was painting, I did do some work….oh and I delivered that painting, and even treated the family to Zoup for dinner (yummy lobster bisque).

Cutting in the corners, then roll on the paint.

Cutting in the corners, then roll on the paint.

I woke up and got to painting by 7am this morning. My goal was to get the entire office and studio painted so I could begin the shelves on Wednesday. ¬†And I accomplished my goal. ¬†My studio is the largest room in the house, and with all the bookcases / shelves there are a lot of corners to tape off. I used about one and a half gallons of Emerald satin paint to cover all the walls. ¬†Oh, by the way, I checked with the helpful folks at my local Sherwin Williams store and the Emerald paint is in fact zero-VOC paint so we’re good on that front.

The shelves are primed and the trim is taped, ready for the wall color to be applied.

The shelves are primed and the trim is taped, ready for the wall color to be applied.

 

Sherwin Williams SW 6121 Whole Wheat in the can, ready for our walls.

Sherwin Williams SW 6121 Whole Wheat in the can, ready for our walls.

 

Coffee break while painting. The sun came out in between snow flakes.

Coffee break while painting. The sun came out in between snow flakes.

 

The shelves are strong enough to hold my weight.

The shelves are strong enough to hold my weight.

We really like the color. It visually warmed up the space quite a bit and it’s not too dark. I know most artist studios are white but I’ve never been one to follow the “rules“. I want my studio to be homey and comfortable. I also love that it is off our palette that we’re using for the interior of the house. It looks very similar to the hallway and kitchen colors but is different enough to add a whole new dimension to the interior space of the house. When looking through the open office pocket door the studio now beckons with a degree of mystery or discovery that was not present when the walls were just plain white. And as I look from my office to the front hall, all the colors layer upon each other and remind me of being out in the “real world” so to speak, with various textures, hues and visual geometry. There isn’t anything designer-ly about the composition, rather I find it to work because it evokes such natural feelings. The sense of being home because we are human beings and home to us is the earth. It’s in our soul. The color scheme, and dimension of details such as the deep windows, brings that marriage of man and earth. ¬†I guess you have to live with it to understand. ¬†However you describe it, it works most definitely. I don’t think I would ever change any of the colors we’ve painted the walls; at least not in the main living spaces. The more I live with the palette the more it becomes woven into me. And it is only reinforced when I go outside to see the natural world around the house.

The wheat color looks great and really warmed up the studio visually.

The wheat color looks great and really warmed up the studio visually.

I have a lot of great ideas for my studio space and will share those…lighting, furniture, decor… in subsequent installments. ¬†For now the walls are done. Bookcases get painted tomorrow. I enlisted the wife to use a razor blade to get the paint off the cabinet trim where is seeped through, due to my crappy taping job. ¬†She has the patience for that kind of work, I most certainly do not.

What colors inspire you? What do you think of how the studio is shaping up? What room do you want to makeover in your house? ¬†Let’s get more interactive here….share your thoughts and comments. ūüôā

-Chris

Studio Shelf Day 4….or is it 5?…

….oh hell, I don’t know what day we’re on in the studio. All I know is were making progress. ¬†Okay I don’t know where we left off….Oh by the way I’m working on yet another blog (this time it’s for work so no swear words). As such I’m going to shoot to write for both blogs on Tuesday’s and Thursdays. If something cool happens, it’ll have to wait although I reserve the right to post up here, more than just Tuesday and Thursday, if the mood strikes or the bees do something cool. My hope is that this consolidates my writing time, makes things more consistent and better quality, blah, blah, blah….

Alright back to the studio. Well when we left off I was going to pay the painter guy to paint the shelves and studio walls. Well turns out we’re broke, at least for the next few weeks, and with Christmas approaching, I needed to take matters into my own hands. I cancelled the painter and went out to Sherwin Williams and bought about $180 worth of supplies to paint my studio. I chose Whole Wheat SW6121 from our Global Spice color palate, for the walls. The shelves will be painted Carboard SW6124¬†giving us the “tone on tone” look we adore so much. In fact both colors are off the same color card, three spaces apart. A happy coincidence since I was picking from the Global Spice chart¬†which doesn’t indicate which colors are actually tones of each other. By the way, picking colors from the same card is awesome, especially in rooms that get some day light. During the day everything will look the same color from certain angles. Then at night the room takes on a ton of dimension with darker and lighter tones visually playing with each other. We did this trick in our old house with four!!! colors from one card in the kitchen, dinette, family room and fireplace. It was subtle but I found it delightful every time I laid on the couch with a beer and watched Cops.

Note, all the paint I’m using is Sherwin Williams’ top of the line Emerald paint, which up until a minute ago I thought was low or zero VOC paint…I’m not convinced it is. Oh well, we’ll survive. ¬†SW does have Harmony zero VOC paint. Who knows what in the hell I am doing over here. Maybe I’ll go cut some more trees down and step on baby squirrels…

Well since I’m doing the studio myself, I started out caulking most of the joints on all the cabinets. I used a simple white paintable DAP Alex brand painter’s caulk from Lowes.

I hate caulking.

Plus I totally suck at it.

It requires patience and I have zero patience. I’m pretty much a ‘cut to the chase‘ kind of guy. Caulking is anything but ‘cut to the chase’. With caulk there is no chase. Just more joints to be caulked. Caulking makes cutting blue foam seem romantic and adventurous.

So of course I plastered caulk all over the place and gummed up my hands and ruined a bunch of rags. I guess you’re supposed to wet your fingers before you squish the caulk into the corners, and you should use a wet rag to clean up the excess. ¬†Ugh, I would rather crawl under my deck, or listen to Taylor Swift go through her “pro vs. con” list of ex-boyfriends than clean up my caulk mess with a wet rag. They need to make sand able caulk for guys like me.

A day after the caulk was dry I primed all the cabinets with a zero-VOC primer from Sherwin Williams. I used exactly one gallon. It took me about a day. I used a brush and a roller. Now everything looks white.

I was humming along and now suddenly I got two new projects that are both due in 2 days (my life) so now I put the brakes on finishing the studio. Probably won’t get back to it until next week at the earliest. I think the gods are messing with me, exchanging one form of satisfaction for another. Oh well, doing the studio myself save me a grand and there’s no guarantee I’d have steady work this week or next. It will get done soon enough. ¬†Here are tonight’s pics. ¬†Check out Christine’s awesome Jeep cake she made for our guy’s birthday.

Studio Shelf Day 1

What a great day. We started the shelves in my art studio, which in turn starts the ball rolling to finishing off my studio and finally “moving in” to it.

Let me say that I did finish my big project so that is good to have that off my plate, and I have a seemingly happy client so win-win. With that done, I set aside today and tomorrow to work on the studio with my brother.

First things first though, the plumber showed up at 8am to replace the master bath drains. I won’t go into the details again but suffice to say that fiasco is finally resolved, albeit at the cost of another $170 in parts in labor (plus $80 for the new drains). I forgot to take a picture; I try to get one for you tomorrow.

By 9am my brother showed up with a truck full of wood parts; everything that would become my studio shelves, save for one unit that he’ll bring out tomorrow. ¬†I don’t know if you remember but here is the design I created:

My studio shelves design

My studio shelves design

Today we made the large set of ~35″ deep shelves on the big interior wall, the set facing you in the rendering above. ¬†We built the right side on the ground then stood it up. We finished the left side by installing the shelves and 1/4″ plywood on the back while the unit was standing. We then slid it straight back into place and secured it to the wall studs with cabinet screws. ¬†Tomorrow we’ll do the two units to either side of the window, and install the angled set of shelves in the studio alcove. ¬†Here are some photos from today:

As I sit and write I can smell the fresh wood just around the corner. It smells good. With all the complexities of life, it’s nice to have something so simple help keep the world at bay. Tomorrow will be awesome, getting all the other shelves in. ¬†I’m actually going to get an estimate for having our painter paint the studio and shelves. They’ll do a much better job than me and probably in half the time. I already have two gallons of the cardboard colored paint for the walls (they will need more if we do all the walls that color). I just need to decide what color the shelves should be. We’re thinking a complimentary tan / brown tone. ¬†Not sure though.

After the paint dries I’ll be able to start unpacking once and for all (If I ever move again I won’t need any of my stuff wherever I’m going). I’m even going to put up my deer head and plastic fish…not sure where yet.

The wife had some great ideas for making the space hospitable for hosting clients as well. (Though I guarantee the deer head was not in her plans.) I’m going to figure out something table-wise so I can have a conference table with chairs around the table. The room already has an outdoor access door so clients can come right in that way. I don’t have a great need but occasionally (like this Tuesday) I do have clients that will come out to the estate. I’d like to have a space where we can meet uninterrupted, without tripping over toys or my wife’s grocery list. Maybe the table will have a flippable top so I can paint on one side and have a smooth surface on the other for meeting.

Heck, I’d like to be able to serve dinner in there if we ever got the notion. I think it’d be cool to have a “studio” dinner where we can sit with guests in the studio…eating and drinking. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m the only one who would think that is cool.

Well regardless it’s going to be an awesome space once it’s done. I can’t wait.

-Chris

Gallery Wall Is Painted And The Master Sinks Hate Me.

Well with my birthday over, and my offroading trip finished too, we’ve started this week by settling back into the groove. And as such I have set aside the time to write and let you know what we’ve been up to. ¬†Absolutely nothing productive is happening outside. I just don’t look out the windows at the plant bed that still needs fabric and mulch. Nor do I look at the gum trees that need freedom from the encroaching meadow around them. ¬†And don’t even get me started on the back yard and garden.

Inside though we’re taking baby steps. We pretty much are done painting the upstairs hall “gallery” wall. Here’s what it looked like before, painted Canvas Tan (SW7531):

The hall gallery wall before in tan.

The hall gallery wall before in tan.

We left the rest of hall that color, but for the gallery wall which runs a long way from studio to bedrooms, we wanted something darker to camouflage the closet door cut lines, hinges and door knobs. Also the dark color would make artwork “pop” when hung on that wall. Looking at our Global Spice palette of colors we selected Sherwin Williams GS18 Sable SW6083 which is a dark brown color that goes perfectly with the sage carpet and the aforementioned Canvas Tan.

I thought we’d only need a gallon to cover the 7′ tall wall that runs around…I don’t know….twenty feet long? ¬†And surprise, surprise I was right. Because the walls were already tan we didn’t need to prime them, and two coats of brown did the job. We just have to hit the door edges and closet edges with one more coat and the job will be done. Eventually we’ll replace all the outlets on the wall with brown ones to hide those too.

The gallery wall being painted Sherwin Williams GS18 Sable SW6083.

The gallery wall being painted Sherwin Williams GS18 Sable SW6083.

Do we like it? You’re darn right we like it, a lot. ¬†It provides visual complexity to the space and helps close in the hallway a little, making it more “homey”. And no it’s not too dark at all. Despite not having any windows in the hallway, the space gets enough daylight leaking in from all the adjacent rooms that natural light is not a problem during the day. At night it’s a more engaging space, with a new level of complexity that makes it more interesting. I liken it to a theater set, in that there is a lot more going on visually; an eclectic mix that suits our aesthetic preferences. ¬†This is the second time we’ve painted interior walls in dark brown and we loved it each time. In our old house the entry AND back hall were a nearly black brown and it was fantastic.

Okay, so we banged out that painting project (good ’cause the paint was sitting for like 2 months since we bought it). ¬†Check! No more “paint the hall” monkey on my back. One minor monkey project is the window cranks. The overpriced, but necessary, cranks ($30 a pop!) showed up this week. That means I just need to go around to each window, install cranks where they are missing, and tighten the set screws on ALL the cranks. Then…voila! No more hand crank monkey on my back either. ¬†Only took me 18 months. ¬†Not bad considering my track record for accomplishing things.

While I was emboldened to get things off my list I called up the plumber to check on the Master Bed sinks. As you may or may not know, the little rods you pull to close the drain broke off our overpriced Kohler faucets the first time we used them. ¬†It’s a horrifically (sp?) bad design. I plan on writing Kohler a strongly worded letter asking why they design such garbage and then charge people upwards of $800-$1,000 retail per faucet. The plumber and the sink supplier both tried to get Kohler to provide a fix but the company couldn’t; basically they said “tough shit, there’s nothing wrong with our product” and left us hanging. Well I discovered we had a slick push button drain stop in our half bath sink. ¬†Only took me 18 months to figure that out too. It looks like this:

This is a Kohler push button drain, but apparently it's only available with the nickel faucet in our half bath, not as a stand alone part in chrome.

This is a Kohler push button drain in our half bath. ¬†Yeah, that’ll work.

Well I asked the plumber / plumbing supplier if we could just put these cook push button stops in our Master sinks. Problem solved: push button stops and we’d just glue the old drain stops in place so they looked good but didn’t function. Take that Kohler. ¬†Without looking at anything the plumber and supplier decided I could get two push button stops, and the plumber would split the cost with me; they were $40 a pop. I said “that’s fine” ’cause I just wanted the sink drain monkey off my back. I’ll save my fight with Kohler for another day.

So the plumber came out and changed the drains. I didn’t see them because we had to run the boys to school. When I got back I didn’t think to look at them since I was super busy with work I had to get to. I paid the plumber as he explained something about needing a washer to connect a pipe or something to the new drains….okay, whatever I’m sure it’s fine…I don’t have time to learn all the nuances of being a plumber. It’s tough enough being a neurotic, self-absorbed, design prick…let alone a plumber too. Off the plumber went.

Well nature called so I decided to go check out the drains, expecting to see what you see in the above photo, just chrome.  This is what I saw:

This is ridiculous. Going from bad to worse with our Master Bathroom.

This is ridiculous. Going from bad to worse with our Master Bathroom.

Our new giant push button drains look stupid.

Our new giant push button drains look stupid.

I didn’t even know where to begin. All I could see was this giant chrome thing, about the size of a hubcap on a ’53 Mercury in the middle of our sinks, sticking up like a toadstool that small fairies would hide under during fairy hunting season.

“Wow” I thought.

“Those look big, even for a trashy LA mansion, let alone our humble bathroom. Who thought that was a good idea?” I said to my indifferent brown hand towel who witnessed the entire transformation with nary a word.

Ugh, I don’t have time for this.

For shits and giggles I looked underneath the sink to see what was up down there. I chuckled a little bit. On one sink a nut is holding up the drain pipe. On the other it’s a cutoff of copper tube holding that one up. Apparently the plumber couldn’t readily make the connection between drain and pipe so they’re just sort of squished together, propped up by the random bits.

I don't even know why I bother anymore. Here you can see a nut permanently holding up the drain pipe under the sink because something or anther doesn't bond together properly.

I don’t even know why I bother anymore. Here you can see a nut permanently holding up the drain pipe under the sink because something or anther doesn’t bond together properly.

Ugh, I don’t have time for this.

I called up the plumbing supplier and asked him if Kohler made any push button drains like the one in the half bath. They don’t. They sell that one ONLY with that faucet. ¬†Lovely. Of course that is how they do it. A product someone wants, so don’t offer it. Marketing genius. He did inform me that Moen sells something that will work. I did not ask why didn’t we use that part to begin with. No sense asking the universe unanswerable questions. And no, no returns on the drains that were just installed. So after another $80 out of my pocket, I have two of these ordered:

Moen push button drain. We have two on order for $40 apiece.

Moen push button drain. We have two on order for $40 apiece.

I’ve called my other plumber and he said he’d install them once I get them. I told him, even if we have to take everything back to the wall, I want the pipes done properly. No matter the cost. ¬†I think I’ve done more remodelling projects in our new home than I ever did in our last house that we lived in for a decade. I don’t even argue anymore, I just go with the flow. ¬†Get it? ¬†I “go with the flow“. Plumbing humor.

Going back to the upstairs hall, now that it’s painted I started dreaming about the lighting in there. For now it’s just boring ceiling lights. But the staircase is screaming for a nifty chandelier¬†to add an eclectic charge to our theater like brown and tan hallway. ¬†It looks boring now:

Staircase...bookshelves on the left (back) wall and chandelier from ceiling...someday.

Staircase…bookshelves on the left (back) wall and chandelier from ceiling…someday.

Eventually we want to cover the back wall in a shallow bookcase. And cascading down in front of that bookcase, above the landing, sprouting form the current light location, I’m thinking a really cool glass ball or industrial light fixture. ¬†This is the sort of thing I have in mind:

Stainless ball chandelier.

Stainless ball chandelier.

Awesome pipe fitting chandelier from Restoration Hardware.

Awesome pipe fitting chandelier from Restoration Hardware.

Elegant glass ball pendant chandelier.

Elegant glass ball pendant chandelier.

Barn Light Electric offers this simple multi bulb chandelier.

Barn Light Electric offers this simple multi bulb chandelier.

Meteor shower glass ball chandelier.

Meteor shower glass ball chandelier.

Cool rustic ball chandelier.

Cool rustic ball chandelier.

Very cool pipe fitting lighting.

Very cool pipe fitting lighting.

Something like the ‘meteor shower’ or stainless ball chandelier would look perfect there. The space is so vertical, a light fixture that takes advantage of the space will do wonders for the stairwell and hallway. It’s such an asymmetrical space, that the fixture needs to be asymmetrical as well. In my mind the space can become one of the most dynamic spaces in the house. And rightfully so since it’s the main traffic corridor. It’ll be some time before we redo the lighting up there, including adding track lighting for the gallery wall, but it’s never to early to plan and dream. I’m even knocking around the idea of a spiral staircase to the loft, but the will be way down the road.

Alright, I think that brings us up to speed. Hopefully my studio shelves will be done soon so we can start installing them. Which in turn will help us get organized both in the studio and in the basement, which currently houses all of my art business junk.

We’ve kicked out a few monkeys. ¬†This is good.