Preparing for the overhaul...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Laurel: The Kitchen, Part I, and the First Window

The idea behind this kitchen is that what is now the kitchen was originally the first part of the house; the walk-in fireplace has been retrofitted with a "thoroughly modern" stove.  This house's stove is based on an advertisement in an old newspaper that I found.  It, in my husband's words, "looks like something from the IKEA catalogue" right now, but it won't once it's been painted (I devoutly hope!)  The body of the stove is made of illustration board and wood, with a few Chrysnbon accents; I have a box of Chrysnbon odds and ends that I fish out for different projects.  The window is also a Chrysnbon window; this is my first time using them, and I'm sold!

Here is my son, very seriously watching Mickey.

Imagine all of the bricks painted and grouted!

Imagine it as cast iron!

Imagine them filled with herbs!

I'm going to fill the cute little Henry Bart pots I bought awhile ago with herbs and things, to live on the windowsill.  The beadboard is going to be dark wood, like the window, while the walls and ceiling are going to be plaster (I love that plaster wallpaper!)  I'm also going to build a suitable mantel for the fireplace, ideally where I can hang some pots and pans and things and where perhaps a plate or two can be displayed.

It's nice to finally be working on the inside...

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Laurel: The Kitchen Floor

Here it is!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Answering (More) Questions

Rbytsdy from the Greenleaf Forums asked how I seal my brick.  You can read more about the entire process here, here and here, but the basic steps are these: after gluing on all the bricks I paint them with their base coat color, whatever that happens to be, then seal them with two coats of Krylon Low Odor Matte Finish.  Then, after letting that cure--usually at least overnight--I float on the grout.  If you've ever grouted a backsplash, the process is basically the same.  I usually do a second wipe down, after removing all the grout I can, about ten or so minutes later just to remove what I can in terms of the grout film.  But, at least for me, the change in color it causes is just part of the overall project and something I have to anticipate and work around.

Then, I do the colorizing and aging with pastels (I don't spray seal between this step and the last).  On the Glencroft, I did a few coats of spray finish between aging steps, but on the Laurel I just did everything all at once.  It sort of depends on what effect you're trying to achieve.  Here, I wanted everything to blend together.  On the Glencroft, I was going for a much darker, scummier look so I wanted to keep the layers separate.  Otherwise, they would've just blobbed together into a single shade of muck.

Finally, I do another two coats of spray.  Soon, when I have some free time and natural light, both at the same time, I'm going to age the exterior woodwork.  Not a lot, but enough to give it some character.  Brand-new trim would look pretty bizarre, I think, with an old house; I want the sense that the whole structure has been here awhile.  At least, that's what I'm going for--and it's hard, for me at least, to achieve just the right amount of old and grimy without making the house look like something out of "Desperation!"

Thanks, everyone, for reading!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Laurel: The Exterior Trim, So Far

I've finished installing most of the trim, except the exterior doors and windows.  The next step is to age the trim a little, so it doesn't look too brand new.  I'm pretty psyched to see how it looks with the windows, which should be soon; I just need to finish painting them.  Actually sitting down to put a coat of paint on them is the problem!  I have a bunch of windows and one door that are, at this point, half painted.

The trim style is based on that of typical Ohio farmhouse architecture; actually, it's an amalgam of two different real life houses.  The porch is waiting for its corbel brackets; I had to special order them and they haven't arrived yet.  But I have high hopes for how they'll add to the overall look of the place.  The addition of the porch, too, is what (I think) gives the house its distinctly American look.  But, I'm interested in everyone's thoughts.

The beginnings of the kitchen floor.

This is actually two separate paints!  On the left, Americana's "Blue Mist" and on the right, Testors "Fulcrum Gray/Green."

The corbels are really going to add, I think.

I placed the baskets just to make sure I have enough; these are going to be (removable) hanging baskets, full of various flowers and plants.  I'm going to transform them into hanging baskets with some jewelry chain, but that's way ahead in this project.  I just think that, with the wisteria vine (which will be climbing the right-hand side of the porch, toward the kitchen) it'll really add.  Our real-life house is covered with plants, and we have a few wisteria vines.


Friday, February 14, 2014


 First, thank you everyone for all your nice comments!!!  I really appreciate it, more than you know.

Earlier I posted some highlights from the brick work; now I've added some moss, and the brick and stone portion of the facade is done!  The next thrilling step is to paint the exterior door and window.  I'm quite excited to see them in place!  I've put a coat of the trim paint on the over-door/over-window half round thingies, and have high hopes too for this trim color.  It's historically accurate, and was at the time quite popular, but some historically accurate colors are hideous so I wasn't entirely confident that my choices would match my (high) expectations.

For moss, I used a combination of fine turf (Woodland Scenics) and the two greens in the PanPastel "scenery" tray.  I actually bought it for the greens, because they were such wonderful moss colors.  There's also a terrific lichen color, which I haven't had a chance to use yet.

I got these for Valentine's!

Sorry for the gratuitous pictures.  But I can never be sure which ones to use!  And I guess I am a little pleased with myself...


The Facade: Highlights

At this point (after about 12 hours of work), I'm done with shading the bricks and onto what little landscaping this project contains.  Which is mainly moss (pictures of that to come).  I'm doing the moss with a combination of fine turf and pastels; so far I'm pleased with the results.  Really, though, underpainting and grouting were the easy part.  The challenge was making the house look like something post-grout.  After the pastel washes, I went back and attacked each crevice, broken brick, and other interesting little area with more pastels.  I used a sponge, sparingly, but mostly I used a detail brush.

Here are some highlights:

More to come...