Sunday, April 12, 2015

Houses may change but chairs are forever?

You may recall the groovy picture I shared last year that showed what our kitchen looked like back in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the girls who grew up in the house had been in touch with me and sent some fantastic vintage photos of the interiors. At Christmas she was back in DC and stopped by with her son to have a look at the place. Last weekend her brother and his wife who still live in the area stopped by to see the house.

He showed us some fascinating photos of the house from 1968 which I managed to scan while John was showing them around the place. Later that day John was studying the scanned images using the zoom to really study some of the details. After a bit he said "Toonces, come look at this" (yes he calls me Toonces). What he showed me--to quote one of those annoying click bait headlines--blew my mind.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

This is the bedroom we use as an office looking quite cozy with a fire going. If a set designer had styled the room it wouldn't look any more 1960s than this picture does. Monkees' poster, check. Snoopy calendar, check. Alfred E. Neuman from Mad Magazine, check. Area rug in the shape of a foot, CHECK!  How awesome. But that isn't what blew me away.

Yes the flowers on the closet doors are great, but that isn't it...wait...that chair. Where have I seen it before?
Did we really buy the same exact chair but in black?

It appears that we did. Forty-seven years after those bedroom pictures were taken, John, unknowingly and totally by chance ordered four J77 chairs by Folke Palsson chairs from Denmark. 

You can even still get the coral version.
We ordered ours from Danish Design Store
I guess you could say the chair has a certain timeless quality. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A bit of everything (including Lucy)

Before these pictures get too old I thought I would post them. Keep in mind all of the furniture is kind of in make-do mode. Nothing has been purchased since we moved back in.

Living room looking into dining room.
Mies daybed and table. Arco lamp.

Frances Palmer bowl and votive holders.
Thomas O'Brien chandelier.

Refinished Danish modern. Family room peeking through on the right.

Master bedroom.
Florence Knoll credenzas, Swan Island pillows.

Guest bedroom.
Dresser belonged to John's Grandmother.

Looking up the stairs to the attic guest room.

Looking from the attic down to the 2nd floor landing which used to be a tiny nursery room.

2nd floor hall with linen press on right and guest bathroom.

Lucy in the family room.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Office Bedroom Before and After

Truth be told, we have been pretty lazy since we moved back into the house. A few lingering punch list items, trying to figure out which piece of furniture do we need most, not quite sure where to put various pieces of art, gearing up for the yard/landscaping to be done, house guests, etc. You get the picture. This morning when I managed to tidy up the bedroom we use as an office it seemed like we should strike while it looked presentable, so I had John take some photos.

All the doors in the house are new, custom, solid, paneled doors made from composite wood material which doesn't crack or warp. They are lovely solid doors. Unlike all the old doors they are level and shut and latch nicely. Door hardware is unlacuquered brass (that we aged ourselves) from Baldwin.  Knobs are 1.75" rather than the more usual 2".

The desk is a 1958 rosewood Nana Ditzel desk. We picked it up for a song a few years ago when it was in an auction but not labeled as a Ditzel. This kept Ditzel fans from bidding it up. The chair is inspired by the Ant chair. Black leather document box is by Smythson. The wood paneling on the fireplace wall was put in sometime in the 1970s.

We kept the fireplace pretty much as it was. Just a coat of paint on the brick surround and hearth. Antique Bertoia chair next to a reproduction Nelson bench.

This is what the window looked like when we bought the house. The two side units were awful vinyl windows, the middle was an odd fixed,four-light outer window with a single piece of plexiglass with los of moisture and gunk in between.

When we had the original windows restored in 2011 we had these beautiful windows made. Slight improvement. The odd group of shelves were kind of handy and fun (and to be truthful I kind of miss them) but I understand why John wanted to get rid of them.

The view today.

This window was perhaps the worst thing about the house when we bought it. I also miss this rolltop desk which was one that John bought with his paper route money when he was a kid.

Here is the window we swapped in as part of the 2011 window project. It was restored and moved from another part of the house

We had the window seat made to make the two closets look a little less out of place. Still need to have a cushion made for it.
The lamp is a restored Anglepoise version of the 1934 design (the year our house was built).

Lucy enjoying the rug.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

They say a kitchen sells a house

I feel like many of my posts have focused on the kitchen. I guess I shouldn't worry about that too much, the kitchen is one of the main reasons we undertook this project in the first place. On the other hand I haven't offered much in the way of substance even on the kitchen. On the third hand I have some lovely pictures that John took and I don't feel like waiting until I have time to do a more substantive post. So here they are.

The lovely brown bowls are actually cafe au lait bowls that John's brother bought him in France when he was studying there in the 1980s. They have a wonderful feel to them as well.  The matte finish subway tile has a similarly pleasing feel.
One thing I don't like about many kitchens with open shelving is that they treat them as display areas and they looked staged. Before we moved back in I think we had vague plans of buying beautiful but useful thing to put on our open shelves. Didn't want to stage them, but definitely wanted them to have some visual interest. (You may remember some of our inspiration images.) Since we have moved back in, guest beds and other immediate furnishing needs have taken precedence over finding the perfect melange of kitchen item to populate our open shelves. Horror of horrors, our long serving plain white dinner ware from Crate and Barrel has not only diminished in quantity over the years but a few plates even have chips. There is no way we would put them on the open shelves. But necessity meant that we did and the effect wasn't half bad. Doesn't mean we will keep them forever, but it works for now. 

Even the haphazard way I plopped things up on the shelves when I unloaded boxes back in December has worked out pretty well. Being overwhelmed with all the unpacking and the holidays, I didn't have time to really think about how to arrange things. The net effect however is fairly pleasing and perhaps even worked out better than if I had thought about it too much.

Like the kitchens in our inspiration photos the practical items really warm a kitchen up and make it feel like a real place. My tray of oils, vinegars, and hot sauces along with the two crocks of utensils definitely give off a homey vibe.
Let me say a word about electrical outlets. Modern building code requires a ridiculous amount of outlets with strict rules about how far apart they should be. But here is something to watch out for. When the electricians were onsite getting reading to set the outlet boxes in the kitchen our architect sent over a layout that showed where they would go on the backsplash. He had placed them in a logical way that is fairly typical to what people do, but it looked so wrong to me.  They were so prominent and were ruining the image I had in my head for the backsplashes. At first I didn't say anything because I assumed it had to do with code. But then I looked around online to see how some of our favorite kitchens handled it. So I went back to the architect and after many emails back and forth we came up with a good plan.

Outlets weren't shown in earlier elevations so seeing them on this drawing made my heart sink a bit. They just ruined the simplicity f it all. But then I found out that code had nothing to do with it and we had a lot of freedom to move them around.

Although it took a few rounds and lots of looking for good examples online the end result is quite pleasing. Even better is the fact that the two light switches on the ends were reduced to one and moved off this wall entirely. If you go back up to the photo and look, I think you will see we got it right.
I love my Jenn Air wall oven as much as I love the Lacanche range.

Hand towel rack near sink. I've liked these rollers in more rustic kitchens, but I resisted it at first for our kitchen. I think it works because it is in a spot that is hidden from the family room. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Library Before and After

For those that follow my book blog My Porch, these photos won't be new. I've modified a post I did back in January so I could feed the demand for some updates here at Lucy's Forever Home. John has promised me he is going to pull together some photos that no one has seen yet.
The row of grey Persephone books mark the end of the fiction. The two rows below that are various non-fiction books that have yet to be organized. I ran out of time.

Same fireplace when we first moved in and were thinking about a grey paint for the library.

After over a year of living with those color swatches on the wall, I decided just go ahead and paint the library even though it would be torn up in a year. It was also a good experiment in what turned out to be a color and color direction we really didn't want to go in the new library. The shelves to the right of the fireplace were not replaced. I gained some additional shelf space elsewhere in the library, but I will miss this odd bit. It's where I kept most of my TBR.

Looking the same general direction showing a bit more of the shelves. We ended up going with a much warmer grey with a little more brown and green in it.

All of the books had already been put on the shelves, but they weren't in any order. It took me most of a day to just get the fiction set right.

I haven't read any of the stories in these Everyman collections, but their covers have been too darn pretty to pass up. 

The end wall shelves are deeper and will house mainly art, gardening, and coffee table books.

Early in the process. I was still on the Bs.

Another 'before' picture for comparison. I'll admit this is looking pretty cozy.

One of the challenges I faced as I organized the fiction was whether or not to keep certain well-loved editions of books together or integrate them in alpha order with all of the other novels. In the end I kept the Persephones together but the NYRB and Viragos were split up.

This has nothing to do with the library but everything to do with cute.