Friday, March 10, 2017

the porch begins

So sure, removing a window may not seem like a big deal...  But it signifies that the porch is really, finally, thankfully, going forward.  At nearly 8x10, it's also not just any window.  Other than clearing out a spot in the schoolhouse, I did not have to be involved in the delicate task in the least, which holds a perverse sort of pleasure.

While the window isn't original to the house (it dates to the split in the 20's), it's quite lovely and will serve a valuable purpose.  As mentioned before, and in great evidence this week, the weather roars up the hill like a freight train and pummels that side of the house.  The window will be mounted on the far side of the porch adjacent to the front doors, so it will offer them some degree of protection.  It'll also help protect the mail women from the attentions of our giant dog.

Now that the window is safely away we're free to begin demolition.  We used the last warm day this week (and for the foreseeable future) to take down the beadboard ceiling.  It seems clear that this was definitely salvaged from the original porch, and is *squeal* double-sided, which means no paint-stripping!  We have two decent piles of salvaged beadboard, and we're hopeful that one of them will prove to be a match.  If so, and paired with the other front porch that's coming down, we may have just enough to complete the new porch.

And if you're wondering about the resurgence of winter, well, you have me to thank.  A couple of weeks ago we took off the stops on the triple windows in the big room on the third floor - I've been slowly finishing the room, including stripping the paint.

While I won't be able to restore the sashes till summer, I wanted to get as much taken care of now so it can get light use as a guest room.  I knew the move was presumptive, but as a couple of glorious spring-like weeks passed, I thought I had outsmarted the cold.  As it turns out, snow just laughs when you take the stops away from windows that are actively decomposing, missing glass, and have no glazing putty.  Given the snow on the floor, and the chimney effect sucking the heat out of the house, I took down the velvet portieres from the parlor and hung them in front of the windows...  Winter.  Outsmarted....

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Villa Vizcaya

My husband's grandmother unexpectedly passed last week, which brought us to Miami for several days.  We all needed to get out of the house for a bit, so we took advantage of some beautiful weather to head to the Deering Estate to clear our heads.  Although we tried to go more than once while living in Miami, it was always closed for events.  They were setting up for a huge wedding while we were there (likely costing far more than we make in a year), but it didn't ruin the visit, just the photos...  While the photos aren't great, I'd say they're not bad for wrangling a toddler, and that same teething boy is the reason not a single one is edited!

Villa Vizcaya was begun in 1914, and the main house was finished in 1916.  It contains countless antiquities brought over from Europe, including a stone console purportedly from Pompeii.  As usual, you're better off getting the history from Wikipedia, but here are some photos  including many details that caught my attention.  The estate was restored by the original decorator in 1934 following the Miami Hurricane of 1926, with the intention of opening it as a museum.

marble drain in the courtyard

the flower room

the iron fireback was a phoenix 

telephone closet

beautiful call bells throughout

you can see the toilet in the corner

even museums have water damage...

dragon curtain tieback

stunning paint color combinations 

there are no less than three butler's pantries in the house

stone console from Pompeii 

hidden air intake 

 These photos refused to behave and let themselves be put in any sort of order, so oh well.  But as you can see, the house was built in the prime time of early technologies.  Servants bells, each with a unique pull, call buttons, annunciators, dumbwaiters, a variety of electric switches, and one of my favorite things - engraved switchplates.  Not to mention a telephone closet for Ross...