Monday, July 05, 2010

How I Spent The Forth

I received another generous offer from a friend to spend The Forth at a Bar B-Q on Indian Island. That is where I went last year and I really had a wonderful time. Indian Island is a mostly undeveloped island in Humboldt Bay. You are only a 2 minute boat ride from the shore, but it feels like you are miles away.

I bought a 6 pack and a bag of chips and had every intention of going out around 5:00. The priority this weekend was always the stairwell, though. I am bound and determined to get the scaffolding down. In order to do that I needed to finish a few large tasks and a lot of little tasks. Ultimately, it was the little tasks that ate up a lot of time. Because I won’t really be able to work on this area once the scaffolding is down, I had to do a lot of little things one would normally do at the end of a project. Sadly, I am far from the end of this project.

I needed to paint the walls and trim. I needed to make some minor repairs and finish painting the medallion. I needed to prep and paint the window. I needed to put on a sash lock and lift. I needed to mark the walls for picture rail. I needed to sand, oil, and shellac the picture rail. I needed to install the picture rail and hang the fixture. Finally, I needed to do touch up painting after the picture rail went on, put on a few more coats of shellac, and hang the fixture. Then I could take down the scaffolding. Oh, and I even washed the window. Eeeew!

The window proved to be interesting. Once I cleaned the thick layer of cob webs off of it I noticed that it looked like the sash were replacements. They were the correct style, but they were in too good of shape, considering they were facing south, and they lacked any hardware. This started to make sense because I always thought this should have been a stained glass window. A stained glass window in the stairwell was a staple of Queen Anne architecture of the day. There were 3 other stained glass windows in the house, why not one here. Then I remembered I had the old photo sent to me by relatives of the original owners.

Exterior shot of stairwell window circa 1915. Nothing stained about that.

Nope, no stained glass window. Another Petch House mystery.

For the medallion I needed to repair a broken corner and touch up the cherubs and foliage and maybe even hang some crystals. There are 8 little hooks on it that something once hung from. Two were missing and one had been hastily replaced with a cut off bobby pin. I fashioned some new ones out of wire, plastered them in, and headed to the craft store. I bought bronze and green paint for the touch-ups and was hoping to find some faceted crystals. I found them, but even though the selection was good there were not enough of any one type or even two types. They had two of this and one that. I then searched on-line and found what I needed, but over night shipping would have meant spending 50% more for crystals than I did for the medallion. Ain’t gunna happen.

The picture rail was pretty straight forward. I had milled it all on the router on Saturday and I just needed to do a little sanding and slap on some shellac. Then get the painting out of the way so I can install it.

Ah, the painting. My patented grab-n-go method of color selection failed me again. Oh, when will I learn! I hate choosing colors. I knew I wanted light colors and nothing too contrasting. There would be one color for the walls and then another color for the frieze and ceiling. This color scheme would be in the foyer and stairwell, and then eventually be continued in the upstairs hall.

I decided to go with Sherwin Williams Banana Cream for the walls. I had used it in the butler’s pantry and really liked it. It was not too garish, but still had some snap to it. At the last second I chose Cachet Cream for the frieze and ceiling. This decision was made solely because that is what I used to repaint the white parts of the plaster medallion.

Well, it didn’t work out. The Cachet Cream looks like an off-white in the small quantities used on the medallion, but once it was on the walls in larger quantities it took on an unpleasant orange tint. It was almost kind of a peach color. I really didn’t like it. All I needed was dusty rose trim and it would look like the inside of a cheap motel circa 1995.

Not only did I dislike the Cachet Cream on its own, but in contrast to the Banana Cream it was really unpleasant. The orange and yellow tints of the two colors did not work. Oddly enough, I was going to stick with it any way. I am that eager to keep this project moving forward and it was late Sunday and I wanted to go to Indian Island. I’m not vomiting at the site of it, so it is good enough. It successfully passed the no-vomit test. I also thought maybe once the walls were finished in the Banana Cream it would take the edge off the Cachet Cream. Any way, if I still didn’t like it I could use a different color in the foyer and when I do the upstairs hallway come up with some way to repaint the 20-foot high ceilings in the stairwell.

In the end I decided to sleep on it. By the time I finished every thing it was well after 6 o’clock. I was filthy and hungry. I’m sure what remained of the Bar B-Q by this time was crusty potato salad, gristly tri-tip remnants and stale potato chips. I took a bath and ate some dinner and made the fatal mistake of having 2 beers with dinner. By this time it is almost 7:30 and I am toast. There is no way I’m going any where. By quarter till 10 I was in bed. I vaguely remember hearing the fireworks go off.

Another holiday in The Petch House.

This morning I woke up and raced to the stairs hoping I would be seeing the Cachet Cream in a whole new light. No such luck. In fact, I think I disliked it even more and I had a few dry heaves. I decided it had to go. Fortunately, Sherwin Williams does not keep banker’s hours so within the hour I was standing in front of the wall of paint chips. I wanted something that leaned yellow and had a fair amount of white in it. I wanted color, but not too much. I settled on Lemon Chiffon and headed to the counter with my paint chip. The gal walked up to me and asked, “Can I help you”. I paused for a second or two and then in a monotone voice I replied slowly, “I’m still deciding”. I’m sure she was thinking, “Well, if you’re still deciding then why are you standing at my counter holding a paint chip”.

Something didn’t feel right, so I headed back to the color wall. I stared at the wall and mulled over a few more choices, eventually settling on Lemon Meringue. I don’t think I ever choose a color because I like it, so much as I pick the one that is the least objectionable. Picking colors for me is sort of like voting for Congress.

The picture rail will hit the 6 doors in the upstairs hall at the corner blocks.

Tomorrow the rest of the scaffolding comes down! Note that the Cachet Cream on the medallion is passing the no-vomit test. It has something to do with small quantities.


Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,
The ceiling medallion looks awesome. Wish I could find one like that on CL out here :)
I had a quick question for you. I was at an antique mall over the weekend and they had a light fixture similar to this one....but with a little more intricate engraving/etching on it

would a light like this fit the era of our homes? [mine's 1895 also]

It was $36, with the dealer offering 20% off everything in his booth. It needs to be completely rewired - the wiring I saw had brittle/cracked casing. Do you think that's reasonable?

Anonymous said...

oh man, it's gorgeous. you can do bbqs on indian island when you're dead.

Greg said...

Thanks Purejuice. It feels good to be off that scaffolding.


The fixture in the link was listed at $94, so maybe that is not the right one. Regardless, it is stunning. I think of that style as more Edwardian (King Edward - 1901 to 1910ish), so that would make it decidedly post-Victorian. I could be wrong.

If you like it, I say go for it. It really is beautiful, and for $36 I would buy it and never install it. Even at $94 it is a fair price considering it has no shades and needs to be rewired. Of course, if I bought it I would be tempted to then spend $500 on period iridescent shades.

You should call someone locally who rewires fixtures. Just tell him it a 5-light turn of the century ceiling fixture and see what he says.


Laikabear said...

DAMN that looks good. I like the final color choices. :)

Al said...

That looks GREAT. When your blog is active, my life is happier. Keep up the lovely work!

Greg said...

Thanks Laikabear, Al.

The Good Life said...

It's not that Cachet Cream is a bad color for your space, it's that you are trying to put two yellow paints together with different undertones.