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.


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.


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?

Pin on Pinterest2Share on Facebook9Tweet about this on Twitter1Google+0

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook31Tweet about this on Twitter1Google+0

kitchen plan

We’ve been working hard in the kitchen. And I don’t mean cooking. We’re giving this space a makeover. This Eichler Homes ad (via Eichlerific) shows how our kitchen used to be. Sixty years on, ours looks remarkably similar. Minus actors. And with some notable differences.


Our version is understandably tired, battered and bruised, with some ugly thrown in. And despite being a small (by most people’s standards) galley-style kitchen, there’s a lot to do. So, I’ll set the scene, then spread the work over a few posts.


Cabinets, doors and drawers are painted brown/cream. Walls are sprayed ubiquitous off-white. Counters and backsplash are tiled cream with brown grouting –nice. There’s a bulbous vent hood, cream faucet and heavily chipped/stained (then painted) sink. But it’s not all bad.


The appliances, though not ideal, are all new. All the cabinets are original, including the ‘flying coffin’, plus the hairpin table beneath it –most neighbors lost these long ago. You can see both in this old pic of another (slightly smaller) variation on our kitchen.


Sadly, our Formica hairpin table has been altered –recovered with new white laminate and curved-off at one end, presumably to prevent regular hip-banging. Drawer fronts have been painted to contrast with, rather than match, the cabinets.


Our plan –remove tile, repaint cabinets, doors, drawers and walls, install laminate counters and backsplash, replace sink and faucet. As usual, we’ll retain anything original and salvageable, while adding a few of our own touches. More soon…

Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook32Tweet about this on Twitter1Google+0

pre-sale steals

Our neighbors, Kelly & G, kindly gave us a garage sale preview recently, and we picked up some bargains. We love this unusually shaped vase. I’ve used this retro juicer multiple times already. And we Karen had to get these serving trays…though they’ll likely just sit in the cupboard.


We also snagged this minimal gray planter, and promptly filled it with Golden Sword. We love how it looks –shame they didn’t have a matching pair for sale. Obviously an impulse buy, so we’re yet to pick a landing spot. But we will soon.


I’ve saved our best score for last, but I’m only giving you a sneak peek. Clue #1: it looks like a surfboard. Clue #2: it isn’t. Here’s a closeup, and I’m sure you’ll guess what it is. You can also see it needs a little help. And help is what it got.


It was a whole weekend’s work, but the results are worth the effort –I can hardly wait to share. But I will have to wait, as I haven’t written the post yet. I also desperately need to show you what we’ve been doing in the kitchen…

Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook4Tweet about this on Twitter1Google+0

master recap

As usual, we’ve been doing plenty but failing to share it. I’ll do my best to catch you up here over the coming weeks. In the meantime, see Instagram and Facebook for sneak peeks. Anyhow, I wanted to revisit our master, to share some details we added.


First, a quick recap of how we got here. We bought insulation for the external walls, only to discover better stuff already inside. Then we painstakingly restored a wall of paneling behind the bed, replaced trim and painted the other walls, ceiling and beams.


Next, we took our first shot at laying VCT flooring –this went surprisingly well, and it still looks great. Then we installed a solar shade, which makes a BIG difference, helping it stay relatively cool, despite the western exposure. It also looks pretty slick.


Then we got creative, making matching wall sconces, to flank the bed. We made another light fixture for the opposite wall, gave our hallway closets a refresh, and restored the original wood doors, to the master suite and shower room.


Now for the new stuff. We’ve struggled to find quality modern bedding in the US (without spending $$$) so we designed our own. As a result [cue shameless plug] we’ve started our own company, twig+nest, with an Etsy store and website in development.


This is our Nest duvet set, with subtle gray/white crosshatch pattern. We’ll be adding more bedding, pillows, and artwork, while curating/selling lots of other stuff for the home. Well, that’s the plan. It’s a natural complement to our baby bedding business. Plug over.


Elsewhere in the room, this simple furniture project. This used to be an office desk, but it was severely damaged during our move here. I cut it down, removing the affected section, and attached some legs, to make this TV table. Nothing special, but it works.


We also framed this PANTONE artwork. I’d like it on this wall, but Karen would rather it sit on a long, low (as yet, non-existent) bench/credenza. We have a green, orange, gray and brown version of this print too. A couple will likely land in our office, where they should make sense.


A few more things to do. We need to re-upholster Karen’s long-owned brown leather chair (scratched by over-zealous English cats), install a blind for the small window behind it, get the bench/credenza I mentioned, and buy an area rug…which we’re yet to find.


So we’re not quite done, but the room has come a long way. Here’s an early look-see. Note the off-white spray paint, covering walls, ceiling and beams. And the bleh beige carpet. Every surface has been changed. For the better, we think.


We reorientated the bed too. We figure this must be the intended position, as there are equally spaced power outlets on either side –perfect for the wall sconces. Visually, the wood paneling makes an attractive backdrop too.


As a bonus, we now get to look back at the house/patio through the sliders. Our model doesn’t have an atrium (like most later Eichlers) but I love how the living space and master wrap around this side patio.


This orientation also means we get to eye our office (AKA all-purpose room) when we wake up, and contemplate the tough morning commute. It’s a hard life. A busy weekend ahead though. Plenty more updates on the way…

Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook14Tweet about this on Twitter1Google+0

tool shed

Warning: this post might just be as boring as it sounds. But I had to share our triumph, in transforming our tiniest space –this oversized cupboard, off our courtyard entrance. It houses our water heater, and little else. We wanted to give it more function.


Previously, the door lacked a lock, and the hardware was gold. We got a lockable door knob, allowing us to stow outdoor tools and equipment with confidence. It doesn’t match our front door hardware, but it’s in-keeping, we think.


Inside, not much to speak of (apart from the water heater) and the walls looked scruffy as hell. For storage, just a high cupboard –we cleared out what little was in here, turning up a few nasties in the process.


I wonder how long this toxic collection has been hiding in there? I’m pretty sure this fly killer is no longer legal, and requires expert disposal (as yet not taken care of). The oil can is cute. That can stay. Not the spoon though.


We also discovered these instructions for the radiant panel heating, which would have been fed from here. Originally, every Eichler in our neighborhood had Arro underfloor radiant. To my knowledge, all have since failed.


Next, we raided our growing garage wood pile for some shelf-worthy planks. We put these up and painted them gray (what else?) with leftover samples. We also painted the walls and door to match. We added some gray hook strips.


And now we have a fully-functional tool shed. This was a while back, and it’s come in very handy since. Not that it looks like we do much yard work –our lawns are shot. I blame the water rationing. That, and our distinct lack of yard smarts.

Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook10Tweet about this on Twitter0Google+0

bonsai butterfly

Way back, we visited Sacramento’s Shepard Garden and Art Center…and I’ve finally got round to sharing some pics. Technically, we were there for a bonsai exhibition, with our friends Kelly & G. The bonsai was good, but the building was way better.


Originally named City of Sacramento Garden & Arts Center, this A-frame/butterfly roof beauty was designed by Raymond R. Franceschi, and built in 1958 –sounds like I’ve done my research; in reality, I just snapped this pic…


This post-and-beam building looks great from all angles. The exterior is a mix of funky rock and familiar wood siding. I say familiar as it’s identical to the siding on our house –no real surprise, as the Center was built just a few years later.


This ‘wideline’ siding is the same type specified for early Eichlers, like ours. Most later models (I’m guessing >1960) had ‘thinline’ siding (here’s a comparison) and a small number had wider plank T1-11 style siding.


Anyhow, this looks identical to ours. It’s even painted the shade of gray we’d like to achieve (if we can ever resolve our paint-picking woes). And the similarities persist inside. These ceilings look remarkably familiar too, don’t they?


Much as I tried to focus on the exhibition, distraction was everywhere. From vast walls of wood paneling, to abundant clerestory windows. At the heart of the building, a giant flagstone/terrazzo fireplace –I couldn’t get a pic, as it was covered up, but you can see it here.


Some drool-worthy decor too. This clock was high up on the wall –probably best to keep it out of temptation’s way. Anyway, it’d look great in our home, despite the Roman numerals, which just don’t do it for me.


And there’s plenty to love about these gorgeously retro speakers. You can’t judge the scale from this pic but they were huge. We’d struggle to get them in the MINI. Shame about the office-style vertical blinds, but there you go.


Overall, a wonderful mix of materials, textures and angles. And most of the fixtures look to be original. Check out this silver bullet-shaped beauty, suspended from the lattice-work frame overhead. Nice.


And how about this intricate up/down wall-mounted light? The pic really doesn’t do it justice –it’s just stunning in-person. This was tucked away in a corner, and there were probably more little gems I missed.


In fact, I didn’t capture nearly as many views as I should have –we must go back, and I’d urge any locals to visit. If you’re craving more, check out the picture gallery, on the Shepard Garden and Arts Center website.

Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook6Tweet about this on Twitter0Google+0

birthday boy

It was my birthday last Saturday. In celebration, I reset our broken (yet much-loved) flip clock, which can’t advance the date unaided. I might just leave it on June 7th, making every day my birthday. Not that Karen would buy that.


Amid kind gifts from family and friends (thanks all!) I got some stuff for the house. Some of this will pop-up in future posts, so this is just a quick peek. We’ve had this PANTONE artwork for ages (along with multiple other colors) but we needed a frame. So I got one.


Next, this Nelson (repro, we’re not made of money) clock. I spent about twenty minutes, going room to room, before settling on this spot, opposite our front door…the very spot Karen had identified immediately. She’s usually right about these things.


I also got two matching pillows, in gray textured crosshatch. These will sit on our couch, elevating it from ‘uncomfortable’ to ‘almost comfortable’ status. We really should buy based on comfort, but we’re just not La-Z-Boy people.


Certainly the least inspiring share, these legs and angled brackets. I got two sets, for a couple of furniture projects I’ve been planning for ages. Trust me, the end result will be more exciting. At least it’d better be.


We bought another few bits and pieces with gift money (what birthday would be complete without a trip to IKEA?) but I don’t have time to share everything…and you may just fall asleep. What I will share is this, which made my day…


…a handwritten card from my beautiful 5-year-old niece, Martha. So sweet. It’s co-signed by Bert, my dog-like cat (he even plays ‘fetch’) who’s lived with my sister since we moved from England. More projects and house stuff coming soon…

Pin on Pinterest1Share on Facebook7Tweet about this on Twitter0Google+0

6449 s land park dr

Now we’re REALLY getting paranoid –yet more neighbors (and friends) are selling-up and leaving! We’re über sad to see these guys go, but very happy for them, as they begin their next chapter. Anyhow, the house is an absolute peach.


It’s a 3 bed/2 bath 1510 square-foot Eichler Home, built in 1955, as per most of our neighborhood. When we moved here, this was one of the stand-out homes. Happily, we soon became friends with the owners, so we got the tour.


The house is private from the street, with a low cinder-block wall, fence, and secondary front door. This conceals an oasis courtyard, leading to the actual front door. Inside, polished concrete floors, a muted color palette, and tasteful updates.


Above is the main living area. The front door is shown top-left, and you can just see through to the all-purpose room, top-right. The kitchen wall has been partially removed, opening up the space, and revealing views to the outside.


Speaking of which, this home boasts spectacular outdoor space. Sliders from the living area, all-purpose room, and master bedroom all lead out to a manicured patio, which enjoys some much-needed shade in summer.


Around the back, the source of our ultimate envy, a gorgeous pool. With its simple lines, it’s way more minimal (and to our liking) than most you see. This is a great spot to sit and admire your lot, while catching plenty of rays.


This area also has an elevated deck, which has (apparently) been used for band performances, and even weddings, in the past. Love those green loungers too –wonder if they come with the house?


Back inside, everything has been tastefully updated/maintained during the owners’ lengthy tenure. The master is the largest of three bedrooms, and gets some shade from the west-facing exposure in hot summer afternoons.


Check out the listing for more details and pics. This stunning home is offered for $499K, through Luis Sumpter, of BHG Mason-McDuffie. Open houses planned for 11am-2pm this Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see you there!

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.

Pin on Pinterest1Share on Facebook37Tweet about this on Twitter0Google+0

good neighbors

We’re regularly amazed by neighborly kindness. From tool-lending to truck pick-ups, lighting donations to dessert deliveries (you know who you are!) people are SO helpful. Just this week, our friends, Michael and Clyde, gave us three sheets of Eichler siding, following some repairs.


This is expensive stuff, but they insisted we take it. How generous is that?! We owe them, big time. Then our newest neighbors, Randy and Annie (welcome both!) gave us this book: An Eames Primer, signed by the author (and grandson of Charles and Ray) Eames Demetrios.


Turns out they read fogmodern, were inspired by our journey, and wanted to give us a gift. We are extremely touched by this gesture, and happy to have played a part (however small) in convincing them to join our neighborhood. As you may have guessed, we like it here.

Pin on Pinterest2Share on Facebook11Tweet about this on Twitter0Google+0