Ultimate Power!

I’m a Star Wars geek. While I can’t wield the force, I still can have unlimited power. In preparation for the kitchen remodel, I bought the tour-de-force of garbage disposals that any Sith or Jedi would be pleased to grind bantha bones in. It’s not even in yet and it has me shouting:

You may be asking what’s this have to do with mid-century modern design. My answer is … absolutely nothing. However, we do live on the Space Coast and this machine has some series NASA-like ingenuity. Named the InSinkErator Excel Evolution, experts call it the largest residential-use garbage disposal one can put under a sink (Cue the Tim “Tooltime” Taylor grunts!). Hard-core rubberized connections with four “stomachs” encased in silencing fiberglass with a ONE FULL horsepower engine for grinding food waste, sharpening spears for an entire Ewok village or just mulching a flower garden. Things just got real, folks.

Did I mention FOUR stomachs? This thing has four stomachs like a cow or an ox or better yet: A deer! That’s right I said a deer. But a ferocious deer! A cunning, quiet, voracious deer … like this one:


The Devil is in the Details

About a week ago we gave the ok to have the cabinets ordered for the kitchen.  The estimated date of delivery is somewhere around August 16, give or take a week.  So we have been trying to make sure that we have all the details ordered so when it comes time to install everything we have it and don’t have to wait.

Today’s task was to pick out a faucet.  Who knew there were more faucet options out there than there are stars?  One handle or 2, 8″ spread or 4″, 1 hole or 4, maybe 3 holes, low profile or high goose neck, maybe a pot filler.  Just plain crazy how involved a faucet is.  But I didn’t go into this blind.  I knew that we are going for a  mid century inspired kitchen with a Danish feel.  With that in mind I narrowed the search down to a low profile faucet with 2 handles.

After stopping first at Retrorenovation to get an idea of the silhouette I wanted, I then ventured on to Home Depot.  Most of their faucets just didn’t fit the bill.  There was this one:

I wasn’t fond of the handles.  So, I went back to Retrorenovation and dug deeper.  I found this post about which faucet Pam used in her own retro kitchen.  She used a faucet from Chicago Faucets:

I liked the look of it, but knew that I wanted 2 handles.  I spent the next hour or 2 searching Chicago Faucets website trying to narrow it down to what I wanted.  I eventually got it down to these 2:

I like the handle design on them both.  They remind me of little rocket ships and since we do live on the Space Coast I figured that would be a fun touch.  I wasn’t fond of the metal piece that the first faucet sits on, but I did like the curve of the faucet.  The second one doesn’t have that piece of metal, but the faucet is a bit higher.

I ended up choosing the second faucet and ordered it, but now that I’m sitting here writing this I’m wondering if I made the right choice.  Maybe I should order both of them and return the one that doesn’t fit with kitchen.  Maybe I should stop stressing, I mean it is just a faucet right? Ugh.

I think too much. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

The Dust Storm Continues

More dust. More noise. More hiding in bedrooms.

The tile backsplash came down today.  I thought, silly me, that the work would be done with some sort of delightful chisel with minimal noise.  Nope, it’s done with a small jack hammer that knocks the tile off the wall, were it falls to the floor with a very loud crash.

This is where we started this morning:

No, if you push on  the medallion behind the stove nothing magical happens.  No secret doors or hidden treasure. Not even a giant boulder that tries to roll you over.  Nothing! It’s very disappointing. Notice the dust outlines of everything that was on the counter yesterday.  Yes, we had to wash EVERYTHING in the kitchen.

Here is the after:

Again, silly me, I thought walls would still be up after the tile came down.  I didn’t realize we were going to the studs.  Everyday is a opportunity to learn new things.

Note that the trash can is not white, that’s dust.  That’s what the whole house looked like.

I’m not sure what that white area in the wall is. The dining room (we made it an office) is on the other side of that wall.  Maybe it was a pass through, a door, maybe a window and the room on the other side was added at some point?  Who knows.  The mysteries abound.

The Sunset


To escape the dust we decided to sit out on the dock.  I’m so glad we did.  Just a reminder to stop and watch the sunsets.  Hope you have a great night!



A Trench Runs Through it

Today we voluntarily let 3 men into our house who preceded to jack hammer a trench in our kitchen.  I of course use the word kitchen loosely since there isn’t much there, but after today there is even less.  Part of the kitchen plan is to turn the kitchen from a U shaped kitchen to a kitchen with an island.  So in order to do that they have to run the water and electric under the floor.  It’s no fun having the water pipes run along the floor, you know, tripping hazard.

So this is where we started this morning:

As you might remember from this post there used to be a countertop that spanned this corner.  They took it out yesterday and moved the sink over about a foot today to get ready for the giant cement saw to come in today.  After lots of noise, dust, and the horrible smell of burning cement dust we ended the day here:

Doesn’t look bad does it.  I should have gotten pictures of the during stages, but we were hiding out in Sarah’s room.  More on that in a later post.  Do you notice the grey splatter on the wall under the copper pipes?

That’s splatter from the saw.  They kept it wet to keep the dust down- I would hate to see this place if they didn’t do that. I’ve found this splatter all over the kitchen and the front hall.  This place is a gross dusty mess and I’m refusing to walk around barefoot.  They are coming back tomorrow to remove the tile from the backsplash, so more dust.  We will clean the house after that’s done.

This is what it looks like under the boards.  It’s weird seeing dirt floors in your kitchen.  But I guess it has to get worse before it gets better, maybe?  Thanks to this process we did learn that we don’t have terrazzo hidden under our tile.  Oh, well.

Our contractor wrote on the wall to let the guys know how far to dig the trench. We had to add our own writing on the wall as a reminder (las isla bonita).  Now to try and relax, ignore the dust and rest for what’s left of the night. Tomorrow is more dust and noise.

Dressing up the Dresser


About a month ago, before we knew we had the house for sure, we decided to start buying furniture.  When we moved from Virginia we sold everything except our mattresses and a couch to make the move to Florida easier and cheaper.  We found a mid century bedroom set at a local antique emporium that was marked $400 with 50% off.  We offered them $150, which isn’t too shabby for 6 pieces.  It included a long dresser, a mirror, a tall boy dresser, a queen headboard, and 2 night stands.

Here’s the story of the tall boy dresser.

There are 2 large drawers on the top and six small drawers on the bottom (3 are hidden behind the sliding door).  But there were some issues with it.  There was a build up of dirt or cleaning materials (not sure which) on the corners of the top.

There was a piece of venire coming off along the edge of the top.

There was a big chip/chunk taken out of the top in the other back corner.

Since most of the issues were with the top of the dresser I decided to repair them and then paint it a high gloss black.  I didn’t feel too bad painting this piece, since it isn’t solid wood and I was just painting part of it.  To balance the black on the top I decided that the door needed to be black too.  It would add a graphic element to the piece, and since it was going in my son’s room it would be easier to clean off if it was high gloss paint.

So armed with my tools of choice, I went to work.

I used the Gorilla Glue to repair the pealing venire.  Just got both sides of the piece to be repaired wet and applied a very small amount of the glue.  I used painters tape to hold it in place while it was drying.  I had to keep a close eye on it to make sure the glue didn’t expand out past the area being glued.  I would just wipe it away when ever I saw it doing that.

I patched the other corner and any other small chips in the venire with paintable wood putty and sanded it smooth when it was dry.  I could have been more patient with this part, but patience is not something I have when doing projects, so it didn’t turn out perfect (but that’s ok, I was paining it anyway).  I used the putty knife to gently clean the build up off the front corners.  And when it was all done and the glue was dry I sanded the whole top to create a good surface for the paint to adhere to.

Next came taping off the areas that were not going to be painted.

Using my Rustoleum high gloss black spray paint, I gave the top and door several light coats.  I let it dry a little between coats to prevent runs or puddles of paint.  It’s hard to tell, but the door has vertical groves in it like pin striping.  It made it a little trickier to get the paint in those lines without getting runs.  Brushing the paint on might have been a better choice, but I wanted to use what I already had.

When the top and door were done  and I removed all the tape, I felt like it was missing something.  The top and door looked great, but it just needed something else.  I forgot to take a picture of the piece at this point.  I was lost in thought.  Then it hit me.  Paint the knobs too.  So I pulled all the knobs off and painted them black too.

I was very happy with the final result after washing out all the drawers (they were lined with paper and LOTS of baby power), putting the knobs back on and getting the drawers back in.  It looks so dapper.

I keep wondering if I should have painted the legs too.  I don’t have any plans to go back and paint them, but maybe one day if I run out of projects.  I really like the way it turned out and plan on doing the rest of the set like this (except the mirror and headboard- those are going in my daughters room and will be painted bright girly colors).

I’ll post pictures of the room when it is pulled together more.  We still have to paint, get shelves, closet doors, a rug, etc., the list goes on and on.  This was a fun quick project (took a 3-4 hours including drying time and a trip to the hardware store to get more paint) and it will look great in the mid century Star Wars room.

Legends of the Hidden Temple: Part Two

The shed is cleaned out.  It was hot dirty work and not for the faint of heart.

First, let me blow you away with the after photos.  If you need a refresher of what how bad the shed was check out this post. Lets start with the left side of the door when you first duck in.  We decided to keep the sliding glass doors.  We have a couple of sets of doors that will eventually need replacing and these might just fit.  I’m going to reuse the metal shelves and baskets (after I clean all the grime off of it).

This is looking to the right of the door.  We haven’t tested the fridge yet to see if it works, but if it does it will be getting sold on Craigslist.  That little pile in the back corner is brand new tile.

The pile next to the door is also tile.  Possibly replacement tile for the master bedroom.  We are going to keep them just in case.  Never look gift tile in the mouth.

We plan on finishing the walls and adding vintage looking linoleum tile (or at least that is the plan of now).  The shed will be part art/photo/etsy studio for me and part something else since I don’t need all that room.

During the clean up I kept finding lizard eggs.  I moved them all, trying to be careful to keep their orientation right, so they wouldn’t get swept out with the rest of the trash.  I found 20 of them.


There were lots and lots of lizards.  I guess it’s possible there were only 10 or so and I just kept finding their hiding places.  Which ever it was they did not seem to appreciate all of my hard work.

We cleaned out a lot of trash.  I really tried to only throw away things that were broken and not possible to use.  Everything else is going to be donated.

Now on to the hidden treasures.  These weren’t as small as the Home Depot card, so they weren’t as hard to find.  First we found 3 Clifford Pascoe chairs.  You can read a little bit more about the history of them here.  They need a lot of love and attention.  We might sell 2 of them and refinish the third, but not sure yet.

And the best, most amazing thing that we found in the shed is …

…a feet stool with Mickey Mouse socks!  Don’t try denying it, you know you want one.  I’ve already scared myself once with it.  Those shoes glow in the moon light and it was the last thing I was expecting to see standing outside the back door at 10 p.m..  I just need to shine the shoes and vacuum the seat and it’s already for my dad for Christmas!

The Shed

There is a very large shed in the back yard.  It is the thing nightmares are made of.  Who knows the horrors that lie in that simple wood building in the yard.

I didn’t get pictures of the garage before it was cleaned out.  But it’s your lucky day.  Come on a tour of the shed with me.  Just inside and to the left you will find…

…tires, sliding glass doors (not sure what they are for), tile, lizards, old paint, grout, bags of cement, chair cushions, chicken wire, hubcaps, insulation, old VCRs and VHS tapes, speakers, window screens, containers of who knows what and some metal shelves.

To the right you will see…

…a refrigerator, more tile, more thinset, more old paint, an old beach chair, one of those fun exercising bands that Josh Brolin used in Goonies, life jacket, lots of feathers, a suitcase, lizards, fake plant centerpieces, saw blades, a broken plant stand, florescent light bulbs, boxes of stuff, lots and lots of stuff.  Lets look closer.

Tennis rackets, bags of cement that have turned into cement blocks, old caulk, lizards, bondo, kerosene, Raid, more tile, a light fixture, paint, spray paint, patching stuff, enough floor sealant and feathers to tar and feather the neighborhood…

…old pictures, documents, bank statements, wheels with wires sticking out of them, newspaper, shopping bags and lizards. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.   The only thing I didn’t see in there was the kitchen sink.

This is my mission today.  It will be cleaned out by the end of tomorrow.  I’ll share the after photos and some of the treasures I found that can’t be seen in these pictures (because that would ruin the suspense if I showed them now).

Christmas in July

It was Christmas in July. We were fresh off being awarded the keys to our new mid-century home after waiting nearly seven months through a short sale. What a better time to cut down a Christmas tree?!

I know it sounds crazy. A bright sunny Florida day – 88 degrees and more humidity than many parts of the Amazon – and I was off to cut down a Christmas tree. In our backyard!

Now I hear you. Douglas Firs don’t grow in Florida, zipper-head! We’re not talking about a traditional Christmas tree but a Brazilian pepper-tree. During the 18 months that this house has sat empty, a tree that mid-18th century residents brought to Florida as a decorative tree for Christmas because of its berries that reddened during the month of December had grown nearly 20-feet tall. These days, the State of Florida sees the Brazilian pepper-tree as the Al Qaeda of agricultural tropical south.

This particular terrorist ate our dock. Well, part of it anyway. Our new house comes with an alleged canal-access with a nice view up to the river but the pepper-tree grew beside and under the dock with its thicket of branches wrapping and ripping their way through the fence at the edge of the dock.

Self-deputized with a handsaw and a fistful of determination, I set out to rip this tree to its roots.

As you can see from the pictures, I’m happy to report that despite one wasp sting and a few nibbles from some recently-evicted and ornery fire ants, I grinched out the unwelcome Christmas tree and reclaimed our dock.




Yard Circles

We knew our front yard had a cool walkway, but 18 months of little to no lawn care made it very hard to tell.

We could tell that the stepping stones were circles.

I started by using the shovel to cut the grass away from the edges of the stones, getting on my hands and knees to clean away all of the grass and built up dirt.  Next I used the hose and a scrub brush and cleaned all the excess dirt.  I did that over and over and over again for the better part of the day today.  And I’m so happy I did.

It looks amazing!  I was blown away by how big the steps were.  The big ones are about 3 feet across. We also had no idea that there were more stones along the front of the house.  They were completely covered in grass and bushes.  So we cut back the bushes and repeated the process from the front steps.  Please ignore the messy, over flowing garage.

And this is where we uncovered hints of previous owners.  Buried deep under leaves and bushes was a little decorative stone.  When I first found it I was a bit scared that it was a gravestone for a beloved pet.  Love does indeed make all things grow.  I’m thinking of keeping it as an ode to the love that this house has experienced. And if it is a grave stone I don’t want to have a pet cemetery  situation on my hands.

It was hard work.  My shoulder is still burning from all the digging, but it was so worth it.  Eventually the front will be fully landscaped and the house will be repainted, but we need to figure out what the house wants to look like first.

Have you ever unearthed any ancient artifacts when landscaping/reclaiming your yard?