photo finish

I’ve been a bad blogger lately, but I have an excuse –we’ve been focusing on launching a new site for our business, OLLI+LIME. Ironically, this post shows how business and pleasure overlap in our lives. That’s by design, as we’ve aligned our products with our personal aesthetic.

monochrome-nursery

Remember our guest/media room? The truth is, we were never quite happy with it. The feature wall color came from a mix of paint we had left over –it looked green at night (when we painted) but had a gold hue in the day. We tried to pretend it didn’t, but it did.

gold-to-gray

The catalyst for change was our business. We needed somewhere to take new product shots, and this space was perfect –it hadn’t been functional as a guest/media room anyhow. We replaced the gold with gray, and painted other walls and ceiling white.

carpet-gripper-again

Next, We ripped out the carpet (we’re slowly eliminating the beige, room by room) meaning lots of annoying carpet gripper to deal with. The floor underneath was in good shape, needing minimal patching, so we quickly reached the adhesive stage.

tile-adhesive

We laid the same ‘warm gray’ Armstrong VCT we used in the master. Eventually, this will run throughout, but not for ages. It’s okay finishing contained areas, like this, but adding VCT in the main living space will likely be the last thing we do.

warm-gray-armstrong-vct

With the flooring and feature wall done, the room now looks completely grayscale –a little stark for some people, but that’s how we roll. Oh, I re-sprayed that (formerly gray) wall-mounted globe light black, to provide a better contrast.

closet-rocker

This is still our guest room, but we won’t have a bed setup 24/7. We found a great spot to stow our queen-sized mattress in the meantime –this closet is made-to-measure, and the rail stops it falling forward. You can’t fit much else in there, but we don’t lack closet space.

mattress-squeezed

And this is where we’ll keep our day bed, which makes a queen when needed. A quick aside –that blank wall space under the window should be two glass panels in this model, mirroring the window form, above. We’ve been itching to look underneath.

nursery-guest-room

Now seemed like a good time, so we attacked it from outside. You can tell it’s been covered-up, as the (wider T1-11 type) siding doesn’t match. Sadly, no glass underneath. We still plan to reinstate this, or perhaps just match the lime green panels, by our entrance.

no-glass-panels

But the big job was done here –turning this room into a functional space…albeit a dysfunctional space for a couple without kids. I’m sure visitors find it rather odd (understandably) that we have a nursery, but it’s simple enough to explain.

blue-gray-nursery

We’ve spent the last month taking hundreds of photos in here, so it’s been worth the effort. Now that’s done, we’d like to find another function for this space –maybe a reading/sitting room. We’ve even considered shifting our office into here. We’ll see.

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risky move

Just over a year ago (August 30, 2013) we arrived at our newly-purchased Eichler in Sacramento, car-less, key-less, and furniture-less. I didn’t take any pics when we arrived –it was dark and late, and we were tired. Instead, let’s get nostalgic with these original MLS pics.

mls-listing-1

After flying 3,000(ish) miles from Boston, we spent a relaxing day in San Francisco, before traveling to Sacto by Megabus –glamorous, I know, but it’s super-cheap and relatively quick. Or it would have been, had the Bay Bridge been open.

mls-listing-2

Instead, the journey took over four hours (more than double what it should have) and it was dark by the time we arrived. We called our agent to help us locate the lockbox (with the door key inside) then stepped into our home for the first time.

mls-listing-3

And when I say “the first time” I mean it. We haven’t told many people this, but we’d never set foot in our house before. In fact, we’d never been to Sacramento before. We bought our home remotely, from Boston. Are we crazy? Probably. Did we get lucky? You bet.

mls-listing-4

Once inside, everything looked strangely familiar. Not surprising, as we’d spent weeks obsessing over photos of the house (including these pics) plus video footage, shot by our superstar agent, who was calmly reassuring throughout the process.

mls-listing-6

We’d also ‘Streetviewed’ the whole neighborhood, and beyond. Still, everything felt very strange –maybe thanks to our LONG journey to get here, or perhaps just the straight-up magnitude of what we’d done. Or both. We needed to sleep on it.

mls-listing-7

And all we had to sleep on was the blow-up bed and pillow we’d packed. We had to make do with this until our furniture arrived, in around five days. We were tired enough to sleep a little, but our east-coast body clocks + nervous excitement = an early start.

mls-listing-8

This was when things started to get very real. We spent hours walking round the house and yard, familiarizing ourselves with the space, much like a new pet –we stopped short of marking our territory, but you get what I’m saying.

mls-listing-9

During the next few days, we acclimatized and absorbed our new surroundings. We explored the neighborhood and a little of the city. We quickly realized we weren’t in Massachusetts any more. Much as we adore Boston, that was a good thing.

mls-listing-10

We didn’t see many people early on. Our house is very private from the street, and we had no car, so most people had no idea we’d moved in. Our next door neighbor knew though. She introduced herself, and made us feel very welcome –thanks Maria!

mls-listing-11

It’s a cliché but the last year has flown by. We took a big risk moving into a house we’d never seen in-person, in a city we’d never been to. But it was an educated risk, and we’re happy we took it. To revisit those first days, weeks and months, read our blog from the start.

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6473 S Land Park Dr

The latest Sacramento Eichler for sale is an interesting one. It’s a 4 bed/2 bath, 1795 square foot, flat-roofed model, with 2-car garage. It was designed by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons (like all our Eichlers) and built in 1955.

6473-s-land-park-dr-open

Compared with most models here, this home isn’t such a mystery from the street –you can see the front door, along with two eye-level windows. This partially covered entryway is a nice feature, and is as close as our neighborhood gets to an atrium.

6473-s-land-park-dr-entrance

And the fiberglass panels to the right are cool, gone from some others I’ve seen. The home’s ‘wow’ is in the main living space, where the ceilings are high throughout (10+ feet) rather than pitched, like other models here. This creates a feeling of volume.

6473-s-land-park-dr-living-view

Another cool design element is the narrow cinder-block fireplace wall. This divides living and dining spaces, and is gorgeous to look at. Not so cool is the flooring –this laminate, plus some tile, with a few ugly transitions. It’s functional, but (aesthetically) needs replacing.

6473-s-land-park-dr-living

Here’s the other side of the cinder-block wall. This is logically a dining room, and takes the place of the ‘all-purpose room’ in our model. I like that it’s separate from the main living space, while still feeling connected. It’s also easily accessible from the kitchen.

6473-s-land-park-dr-dining

All the windows appear to be original in this home, including these Arcadia sliders, leading to the back yard. Not original are these two globe lights (added at some point) which have shorter stems and wider bases. They work just fine though.

6473-s-land-park-dr-dining-view

Here’s a nice view of the back. This is classic Eichler, with a large overhang, and beams jutting out. From the left, the dining room, living room, and master bedroom on the right. All have sliders with access to the back patio.

6473-s-land-park-dr-rear

This model isn’t in our South Land Park Hills Eichler brochure, but it is the Highlands brochure, appearing on the cover, below. The plans inside aren’t exactly like this one, but the SM-134 is very close –it’s just a little bigger, and the fireplace is positioned differently.

eichler-homes-highlands-cover

Back inside, a quick look at the kitchen. Appliances and countertops have been replaced, but all the cabinets are original (despite some inappropriate hardware) making it fairly straightforward to return this kitchen to something more authentic.

6473-s-land-park-dr-kitchen

On the other side, more potential. This wall was originally wood paneling, and could easily be stripped and restored, like ours. It’s work, but worth it. In fact, none of the walls here have been sheet-rocked, so (technically) all could be reinstated.

6473-s-land-park-dr-kitchen-wall

In the corridor, ceilings drop to the usual 8(ish) feet. And you feel it, thanks to the big differential, and a lack of paint –ceilings on these older Eichlers are dark in their natural state, so feel heavy. Those ‘half-globes’ are original too (apparently) though I’ve only seen them in this model.

6473-s-land-park-dr-corridor

And I’m not sure what that cable routing is all about. The master bath has the original medicine cabinet and lower cabinets, so that’s a good start. The blue and white paint job throws your eye a little, but that’s easily remedied, as is the era-inappropriate chair rail.

6473-s-land-park-dr-master-bath

The shower room has some updates, including a new enclosure, and tile that is pretty faithful to the original. It’s a nice gray color, and can also be found in the guest bath, along with the original bath tub.

6473-s-land-park-dr-bathroom-tile

Something you don’t see often is this built-in, in the front bedroom. We still have this, but it’s one of only two others I’ve seen. The closets are original throughout, but the grasscloth has been replaced with beadboard panels. This looks a bit odd. As do the fussy baseboards.

6473-s-land-park-dr-front-bedroom

You get a good sense of the house scale from this view. It’s far from pristine, with some deferred maintenance, siding needing replacement etc. But most of the work here is cosmetic. And the payback is huge. Did someone say pool?

6473-s-land-park-dr-pool-view

Here’s a better view. It dominates the backyard a little, but it’s prettier than plenty I’ve seen –angular and fairly modern looking. The backyard is a little overgrown in areas, but it’s very private and relatively low-maintenance.

6473-s-land-park-dr-backyard

This home is offered at $520K, through Ronald Nakano of Coldwell Banker. Of the five Sacto Eichlers listed this year, this is the highest priced. It’s not the most finished, but has the potential to be spectacular. Check out the listing for more details and pics.

Disclaimer: I am a neighborhood Eichler owner, with no realty affiliation. Observations are my own. Prospective buyers should conduct a thorough home inspection, through a licensed professional.

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feature rich

Our home has plenty of original Eichler features. Some we recognized instantly, and some we’ve grown to appreciate –mainly by noticing their absence in similar homes. Starting up front, our original garage doors. Sadly, many people switch these for ‘modern’ up-and-over doors.

original-garage-doors

And there’s no need. It’s easy to convert them to automatic doors (hey Kelly & G?) or even reinstate the old look (hey Blaine?). To the left, our cinder-block wall –a feature few people lose, but worth a mention. Here’s the internal side. It needs painting. As does the siding.

cinder-block-office-wall

It’s tricky to think of anything more Eichler-synonymous than globe lights…or balls, depending on your preference. Either way, we love them. So simple. So elegant. So lucky for us (as I posted way back) all of ours were intact.

kitchen-globes

Well, not quite all –we had to reinstate this wall-mounted globe, which lights part of the patio, just outside our living room. We plan to add another just like this, on the exterior wall of our office. We have an original globe and base, so hopefully it’ll look original.

siding-wall-globe

Talking of original, how about our wood paneling? Of everything we’ve done, restoring this impresses people most. In reality, it just takes time and effort. But some people don’t have the opportunity to restore their paneling, as their walls were sheet-rocked long ago.

restored-master-paneling

Despite fire-proofing/insulation benefits, we’re pleased ours were intact…albeit painted. If we had the patience, and the inclination, we could restore all of them. But we don’t. Talking of paneling, this wall (between kitchen/living area) often gets removed in our model.

kitchen-living-wall

There are advantages to opening up the space, but we’re glad ours stayed this way. If it had gone, we’d have likely lost our hairpin table. And that wouldn’t do. Oh, and the flying coffin –which reminds me, we also retained our original kitchen/bathroom cabinets.

flying-coffin-cabinet

Here’s something we took for granted initially –baseboards. A few had been replaced when the previous owners installed new flooring, but most were here. We love the low-profile look, so we’re replacing any that have been changed.

siding-baseboards

Having mostly originals allows us to easily measure, and match replacements –we found some good options at Home Depot. We replaced them in our master bedroom, both white painted and stained wood. The results are great. At least, we think so.

baseboard-corner

On a similar note, these distinctive narrow strips of trim that top the walls. We’ve noticed some are absent from other homes like ours –particularly this section, which runs along this internal wall of siding (in the living room) and extends outside.

indoor-outdoor-siding-trim

When we restored our master paneling, we just sanded and stained this original mahogany trim, and did the same in our office. We’re painting the other sections to match each wall –this seems to be accepted Eichler convention, and keeps things clean and uninterrupted.

internal-ceiling-trim

While we’re on trim, check out this piece, which forms a cool architectural feature, framing the external portion of fireplace. This is something we didn’t realize we were lucky to have, until a former neighbor (thanks Jon!) told us most had disappeared.

fireplace-trim

One thing we have lost is grasscloth –this originally covered all (16) of our closet doors. Ours had either been painted or removed. But we still have the original door frames –we’re restoring them (kinda) with a modern twist, as per these closets in our master hallway.

hallway-closet-doors

Original windows/sliders aren’t a plus to most, but we love the look. Eventually we’ll switch them for a close aluminum match (likely Blomberg/Milgard) to maintain design integrity. Luckily, this climate is forgiving, and most of our large windows face north. Not these though.

original-master-sliders

These sliders are west-facing, hence the solar shade. In addition to globes and paneling, we’ve put some other stuff back. We added this medicine cabinet (original to our model) in our master bath. This was kindly donated by neighbors (thanks John & Joan!) across the street.

master-medicine-cabinet

We also reinstated some original Bakelite outlet covers and switch plates. As I told you, we’re just putting these on wood-paneled walls. Last weekend, we added a further two switch plates ($2.50 each on eBay) as part of a bigger project I’ll be sharing soon.

yet-more-bakelite

Almost forgot, we restored our hairpin table…and I probably have forgotten some other stuff. As we approach our first ‘Eichlerversary’ (we got here late August last year) it’s fun to look back. We’re proud of our progress, but we had a great starting point.

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hairpin table

So, to my kitchen ‘side-project’ –our hairpin table. We’re glad to have one, as they’re rare to find, although ours isn’t quite as intended. It’s covered in white laminate, not the original Formica. The previous owners either recovered or replaced it.

hairpin-table-right

And the corners are curved at one end, whereas the original table was square. Doubtful this was a design decision; more likely a measure to reduce pain from hip-banging, while negotiating the narrow gap between table and wall.

hairpin-table-leg

Or perhaps it’s not original at all. Either way, we could justify some tweaking. We planned to cut about ten inches off, to line the table up with the ‘flying coffin’ (above) and pantry cabinet, while increasing walkway width. I measured (twice) and made the cut.

hairpin-table-chipped-laminate

I accidentally chipped away a tiny part of white laminate, and got a surprise. Underneath was Formica –so this is the original table. But I figured the Formica must have been in bad shape if they’d covered it, right? I couldn’t resist finding out.

hairpin-table-top-hammer

I used a hammer and flexible scraper to chip away the surface laminate, and used the same method for the edges. It was quick and easy to reveal all the original Formica. The table top looked to be in great shape, which was a big relief.

hairpin-table-chipping-off-edging

But it was covered in a sticky residue, presumably contact adhesive. We used multiple cleaning products and methods to remove this, and eventually got somewhere. Now it was looking much better, and the pattern was fully revealed.

hairpin-table-goo-gone

Our next (much bigger) problem was the edges. When the previous owners curved the table, they removed a portion of Formica edging strip. This was no problem to them, as they were covering with white laminate. But it is for us, as you can see.

hairpin-table-strip-gone

I kicked myself for not stripping the laminate before cutting. I could have squared-off the table, then patched a straight edge –way easier than bending brittle Formica around the curves. But I was up for trying. And with my new-found boiling smarts what could go wrong?

hairpin-table-edging-boil

I removed all the edging strip from the portion of table we’d cut off, then heated these sections until they felt pliable –okay, perhaps boiling isn’t the best method, but I’m working with what we have. I applied contact adhesive, bent the strip into place, then clamped.

hairpin-table-edge-clamp

In my head, this worked perfectly. The reality was several frustrating hours of steam, sticking, clamping and cursing (while Karen was doing real work in the kitchen). I covered the curve, but the Formica kept splitting, and the end result is patchy. It honestly looks worse in the flesh.

hairpin-table-patched-edging

I contacted Formica dealers, but had no luck tracking down the pattern. I’d love to patch this properly, or even rebuild the table. For now though, we’re happy. It fits the space way better, lines up with the cabinets, and allows plenty of room to walk by.

hairpin-table-in-place

And this subtle gray crosshatch pattern is so darn cool –it would have been amazing to have this Formica throughout the kitchen. As it is, this perfectly complements our gray and white scheme, so we really can’t complain.

hairpin-table-formica-pattern

It’s great to have made this table a little more authentic (on balance) while adding some visual interest to the kitchen. It was a little more hassle than expected, but we love how it turned out. We just don’t look too closely at the corners.

hairpin-table-view

We haven’t taken any ‘final reveal’ shots yet, but we plan to next week, then I’ll share here. We’re rounding-off a few projects this weekend, so I’ll tell you about those soon too. In the meantime, I’ll post a few pics to Instagram and Facebook.

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kitchen chaos

My mother keeps telling me a kitchen post is way overdue…and she has a point. First, a warning: this post is LONG, so you may want a swig of coffee first. Despite that, I won’t actually be revealing the whole kitchen yet. Sorry mum.

pre-chaos-kitchen

If you read our kitchen plan, you’ll know we’re keeping most of what you see here. The cabinets, doors, drawers and appliances all stay. But some things had to go. Starting with this ugly (to us) cream tile…

cream-kitchen-tile

…complete with brown grout –a great choice for concealing dirt. Nice. We’ve been itching to remove this since we got here. The time had come, but we both had the feeling it wouldn’t go quietly. And we were right.

kitchen-tile-chipping

We started chipping away at the counter edges first, and quickly wondered what we’d gotten into. Meanwhile, our tool haul was growing fast –hammer, chisel, pliers, crow-bar– anything to help shift this stubborn tile.

chipping-away-tiles

Someone really liked this stuff, safeguarding its future with a robust chicken wire/cement combo. I cut myself a couple times ripping tiles out, before concluding that I should be wearing gloves. And perhaps flip-flops weren’t the best footwear choice.

broken-tiles

It was slow-going, mainly for the backsplash sections, but we persevered. And we did manage to lever-off some satisfyingly large slabs, like this one. Fast-forward a couple of hours, and all the tile was gone. Phew!

tile-lever

But we were far from finished. Something else had been bugging us from the day we moved in –this large vent hood. I do most all of the cooking, so I’m often face-to-face with this bulky beast. Not a pretty sight.

vent-hood

No practical consideration here –we’d prefer no ventilation to looking at this thing. And we still have the original overhead vent, though it’s in need of repair/replacement. Don’t get too close –it’s (embarrassingly) filthy inside.

original-celing-vent

With the hood gone, the space opened up a little –and we need every inch in our compact kitchen. Unfortunately, the wall behind was a mess, with some holes and exposed electrical. The lower portion wasn’t a problem, as we’d be covering that with backsplash.

hood-gap-messy

But we planned on just painting the top, so that did need addressing. We removed the problem panels, took the opportunity to add insulation, then patched it with some luan offcuts we had. This made for a much smoother surface.

kitchen-wall-patch

Our kitchen would be out of action for a while, so we packed most stuff into boxes, and set up a temporary ‘kitchen’ in the living room, just feet away (I knew that bookcase we removed would come in handy). Central to this, a kettle –tea is Karen’s lifeblood.

temporary-kitchen

Back in the real kitchen, things were looking barren. And we were liking it more already. Our next job was to remove the wooden support frame, as our new counters had no overhang (like the tile) and would sit directly on the cabinets.

ktichen-tile-gone

Each of these wooden planks was secured with at least six screws. These were fairly stubborn (we need a more powerful electric screwdriver) so took some time to remove. Guess it could have been worse –at least they weren’t nailed into place.

no-more-nails

Once these were off, the kitchen looked really bare. It would have made sense to paint next, but we had other ideas. With no water or cooktop, our priority was making the kitchen functional again. So, onto the countertops.

bare-kitchen

We had planned to install white solid surface, before deciding Formica would be more in-keeping. Then we had an opportunity we couldn’t refuse –some heavily discounted IKEA white laminate counters. Close to what we had in mind, so we went with it.

counter-sink-cutout

We have one ten-foot run, plus an eight-foot run, requiring cutouts for the sink and cooktop, respectively. We’re keeping this inherited GE cooktop for now –it’s almost new, works well, and looks just fine, fitting the style pretty well.

kitchen-counter-cooktop

The sink side was a head-scratcher, as I’ll explain later. First, let me skip to another big job; painting. Unsurprisingly, we picked a gray for the cabinets –Sherwin Williams’ Cityscape. It doesn’t get more exciting than this action shot.

gray-cabinet-painting

Meanwhile, we moved the drawers to a shady patio spot, ready for painting. Originally these fronts matched the cabinets, but at some point ours were painted white. We’d be using the same gray, which will blend, restoring the kitchen’s intended cleaner lines.

drawers-to-paint

Also outside, the cabinet doors (19 in total). The plan was to spray these white, for a nice contrast, but this (my project) didn’t go well. The finish was too textured, so we decided to use a roller instead. FYI: I have since mastered the paint sprayer.

door-spraying

I diverted my attention elsewhere (something I excel at) to our hairpin table, shown below, before demo. We love this original feature, but it needed some tweaking. This side-project became pretty involved, so I’m devoting a separate post to it.

hairpin-table

While all this was going on, we’d been trying to decide on a backsplash color. At first, we wanted a ‘pop’ to contrast with the gray/white, but nothing we found worked. Then we considered matching the counters. We ordered masses of Formica samples.

formica-backsplash-samples

We even asked for people’s advice. In the end, we picked this dark gray. Despite this looking like a Home Depot ad, we ordered the Formica from Lowes. When we picked it up, we expected a large sheet, but it came in a roll. This confused us…which is not difficult.

gray-backsplash

Honestly, it’s not the perfect gray (tricky to judge from a small sample) but it works. We color matched the backsplash at Home Depot, so we could paint the wall to match. It blends nicely, and makes a nice backdrop for accent colors.

gray-kitchen-backsplash

We added a shelf, to accentuate the line of the flying coffin, and provide some useful easy-access storage. You can also see we left the electrical, under the cabinet. We plan to add a strip light at some point –some decent options at IKEA.

kitchen-shelf

We also matched (kind of) the outlet covers/switch plates on this side, following the color scheme I told you about. The gray is obviously lighter, but it looks way better than white. And at least it looks like we made an effort.

gray-kitchen-outlet-plate

Another small but worthwhile touch was adding drawer liners –in gray, appropriately. This stuff comes in rolls, easily cut to size. Like most stuff at IKEA, this is super-cheap, but really doesn’t look it. At least we hope not.

kitchen-drawer-liner-close

We made bigger changes on the sink side. We removed the old heavily chipped and painted sink. We did consider restoring it, but couldn’t agree on that one. And the plastic faucet had to go. We both love these stainless steel replacements.

kitchen-faucet-closeup

Now to the headache I mentioned. This stretch is ten-feet, but our slabs were only eight. We hate transition strips, so made the change more deliberate, using the gray counter reverse (leftover from our bathroom project) and adding a cooling rack.

cooling-rack-counter

This spot is next to the oven, so it’s appropriate, and something we genuinely need. If you read this far (and you’re not my mother) congratulations. That’s all I’m sharing for now. Next, I need to tell you about our hairpin table, before showing you the big picture.

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boiling bakelite

An odd title, I know, but it will make sense. Originally, our light switch plates were brown Bakelite. All but one of them was replaced during the last sixty years –mostly with this ugly large flat type. They haven’t been improved by smoke-induced yellowing.

yellow-double-light

Some are whiter, but still ugly. They all need to go. I’d happily source replacement originals for all of them (plenty on eBay) but Karen’s not so keen. And I get it. Brown Bakelite works on paneling (as intended) but doesn’t look its best on white or gray walls.

hallway-light-switches

If we’d inherited all originals, I’d fight my corner. We didn’t. But while we only retained one original switch plate, we do have several outlet covers. Sadly, they’ve all been painted, but this post gave me hope of rescuing them (thanks Olivia!) –I’ll get to that in a sec.

painted-bakelite-cover

First, I’ll explain the compromise Karen and I reached. We decided to only install the Bakelite covers on our restored wood paneling. Gray walls, like this internal siding, get gray outlet covers. While the color doesn’t match, we like the look.

gray-outlet-cover

Walls we’ve painted white (like this one, in our master bedroom) get minimal, plain white covers, with small toggle-style switches. These look clean and modern, and are somewhat sympathetic (we think) to the original design.

new-white-light-switch

We also inherited a couple of ceramic switch plates –the double below, and a matching single. Though not original, they are old. And we kinda like them. These will remain (for now, at least) on the large white wall in our dining area.

white-ceramic-switch

So, to the wood paneled walls. These are in our living room, office and master, and require six outlet covers and just one switch plate, which is lucky. I hope to restore more paneling eventually, and Karen’s sort of on-board. For now, that’s all we need.

boiling-bakelite

The post I referenced earlier suggests boiling to remove paint from outlet covers. Having tried to scrape and scrub away paint, with limited success, I was open to anything. I boiled some water, and tentatively dropped one in.

part-stripped-cover

I checked it every so often –salad tongs make the perfect tool for this. After about 20 minutes the paint softened enough to make removal easy. I did over-boil one (not pictured) causing significant fading. These three came out great.

restored-bakelite-plates

And this was all we needed for the first phase of replacements. The two outlet covers would go on our master bedroom wall. These are for our DIY wall sconces and are very much on display. We had installed gray plates, but these look way better.

master-bakelite

They work beautifully against the wood paneling, and contrast nicely with our blue cord. We bought standard brown duplex receptacles, from Home Depot –at first we thought these might be too glossy, but they look just fine.

master-bakelite-cord

The solo switch plate is for our office. This is wired to an outlet, designed to control a free-standing lamp. This has been out of action since we moved in so, from a practical standpoint, it’s great to have a light switch in here at all.

office-bakelite-light-switch

Even better, it looks exactly as intended. I know three covers isn’t a big deal, but it’s a good start. We need to strip four more outlet covers for the office and living room, then that will be it for a while. Hassle, but worth it don’t you think?

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5664 greenridge

For a change, here’s an Eichler for sale that’s not in our ‘hood –it’s in Castro Valley’s Greenridge neighborhood, in the East Bay. We do have a personal connection, which I’ll get to later. Before that, let me show you around.

5664-greenridge-front

This 4 bed/2 bath flat-roofed atrium model is one of around 200 Greenridge Eichlers, built from 1960-63. This neighborhood includes designs by the most recognized Eichler architects –Anshen & Allen, Jones & Emmons, and Claude Oakland & Associates.

5664-greenridge-atrium

Greenridge Road is the neighborhood’s central artery, which extends up a steep hill. Homes on the left side, like this one, benefit from ridiculous Bay views, enjoyed by three large spaces, spanning the rear –living room, kitchen/family room, and master bedroom.

5664-greenridge-view

The model is Anshen & Allen’s E-111, though it’s rumored that Claude Oakland actually designed it. Below is an almost identical floorplan, the LA-81 (found here). The original wall between living and dining room was removed in this home.

LA-81-floorplan

This is a change for the better, in my opinion, and really opens up the space. This model has the (gas burning) fireplace on the left side wall, allowing more windows/sliders at the rear –ideal for taking-in sunsets over the Bay. Sigh.

5664-greenridge-living-dining

The home shows really well, and is packed with period-appropriate furniture. I counted at least five George Nelson lamps, along with furniture from all the usual suspects –and why not? It looks SO good in this space.

5664-greenridge-family-room

The kitchen is original, complete with Formica counters, swing-out side table, and all the cabinets. The appliances have been upgraded, but the replacements are fittingly modern, and obviously very functional. We like.

5664-greenridge-kitchen

The bathrooms are original too. Most later Eichlers have this configuration, with a double-vanity guest bath, and a door out to the side yard. This model doesn’t have a dedicated laundry room, but a stackable set fits in here nicely.

5664-greenridge-guest-bath

All the wood paneling and doors are intact or restored. In fact, I didn’t notice any painted paneling. We won’t be replicating this in our own home, though (after seeing this) I am trying to convince Karen that we should restore a couple more walls.

5664-greenridge-master

In addition to having incredible views, and an atrium, this home has something else I wish ours had –these windows. Even though this model was built only five years after ours, they are larger, with cleaner lines, and make the small bedrooms feel bigger.

5664-greenridge-guest

As per most atrium Eichlers, It also has an office/4th bed at the front, with sliders into the atrium. This looks like a nice place to work. Truthfully, our current office is a better fit for the two of us…but we’d cope, I’m sure.

5664-greenridge-office

So, why were we there? Well, the listing agent, Thomas Westfall, is our realtor. He decided one of the bedrooms could use some ‘re-purposing’ and asked for our help. We provided some toddler bedding and decor from our shop.

5664-greenridge-toddler-1

The room is minimal. Partly because that’s our taste, and partly due to a lack of space in our MINI. We took the trip down on short notice, so we had to make do with what would fit. We need a bigger car. Or a trailer. Or maybe just a roof-rack. I digress…

5664-greenridge-toddler-2

We supplied the toddler bedding and bed, and the mobile came courtesy of our Sacramento-based retail partner, Brian Schmitt, of Schmitt Design. We stock this mobile, along with several of Brian’s others.

5664-greenridge-mobile

This home has just been listed for $850K –more pics and info here and here. Bay prices are crazy right now, and competition is stiff in this neighborhood as it is. But with those views? As they say, better bring your checkbook.

5664-greenridge-back

While there, we took a walk around the neighborhood, to steal landscaping ideas appreciate the homes, while snapping  a few pics –I’ll share some of those with you in a later post. Listing photos courtesy of Thomas Westfall.

Disclaimer: I am a Sacramento Eichler owner, with no realty affiliation. Observations are my own. Prospective buyers should conduct a thorough home inspection, through a licensed professional.

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paint it black

We’re big fans of Rustoleum paint –the finish is great and it’s so darn cheap. So much so, I’m always on the lookout for stuff to spray. At the weekend, I bought a six-pack (not that kind), rounded-up the latest candidates, and got to work.

black-rustoleum

You might recognize these bullet lights –I previously sprayed them gray. As we’re painting the exterior gray, we figured they might be too ‘matchy’. Black should make for a better contrast. This pair will throw some light on our back yard, eventually.

painted-black

In the center, a collar for another wall-mounted globe (like this one) we’re installing by our patio. On the right, two former office bins. These were old and scratched-up (no ‘before’ pic, sorry) so we’ve reinvented them as planters. Now, what else can I spray?

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surf and sand

Time to share the coffee table project I’ve been hinting at. This early sixties Lane surfboard table was embarrassingly cheap, thanks to our wonderful neighbors, Kelly & G –they’d been sitting on it (not literally, thankfully) for a year or so, planning to restore it.

surfboard-before

They knew we ‘needed’ a new coffee table, and that we’d give this one a good home. So we paid ‘mates rates’ (just an English expression?) and set to work. Main issue was the top surface –it’d clearly lived in a coaster-free home.

surfboard-before-close

It also had a bad case of ‘the wobbles’, there were scratches/dinks on the frame, and the lattice shelf looked rough. We detached the top, re-glued all the joints, and fixed the lattice. Then we brushed-on Ready Strip Pro, left it overnight, scraped and hand-sanded.

surfboard-sand

The coffee rings and blemishes were still visible, so I finished with an orbital sander, then thoroughly hand-sanded the frame, and cleaned everything with mineral spirits. Next, I used pre-stain conditioner, followed by ‘special walnut’ stain.

surfboard-tabletop-after

I applied a couple of stain coats, followed by several coats of wipe-on poly, lightly sanding between each coat with 220 grit sandpaper. It came out beautifully. The grain really shines through, and the coffee-cup rings are completely gone.

surfboard-after-overhead

I wasn’t sure about the long strip of lighter wood grain at first, but now I really like it. Down below, we had considered flipping the lattice, as it looked so rough. With a good clean, followed by stain and poly, it looks like new. Almost.

surfboard-lattice-shelf

This coffee table is huge by the way –almost seven feet, end-to-end. To start with, we were concerned it might be too large for our living room, but now we love how it works in the space. And it certainly makes a statement.

surfboard-sofa-view

It’s also a big improvement on the ‘modern’ glass coffee table we’ve had for years. That gets a new spot, out on our patio. Being glass, it makes the perfect weather-proof table. And we can just hose it down to clean it.

glass-outdoor-table

Back in the living room, I can’t stop taking pics of the table. I love how the top appears to float above the legs, and it looks great from so many angles. That said, it’s difficult to do it justice. It looks much better in-person…but you’ll have to take my word for it.

surfboard-after

We finished the table a few weeks back, but have only just started using it –it looked so good, we were afraid to touch. The lattice shelf is incredibly useful, and we even place the occasional coffee mug on top. Coasters are mandatory, naturally.

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