Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nine months later....

We have moved into our new and improved Two Sisters Cottage, just a little over nine months after closing on the deal. It's been a trip, for sure, a huge learning experience and a dream fulfilled. Yes, parts of it were nightmarish, but I'm so glad we did it.

I'm still unpacking and will be for quite some time. I have been taking photos, and will share them as soon as possible.

Thanks for all your kind comments and support; I really appreciate it!

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I hope I don't live to regret telling Husband it's OK to put a lot of the old metal stuff from the cottage out on the curb for the recyclers to pick up. Piles of venetian blinds from 1960 are mixed with old stove pipe, old gutters, old galvanized plumbing pipe that came out from under the house, aluminum trim from bathroom walls, around the tub and kitchen sink, etc. We've already recycled much of it, but it still accumulated in the little cottage out back. Now that we're planning on moving in on Monday, we need a place to stash our six cats while the movers bring in the furniture. So the metal stash had to go!

One especially hard thing to give away is the original sink from the kitchen--an odd sized 12 x 30" cast iron monster that weighs a ton--and is rusted plumb through. I fancied making a small garden pond out of it, or using it in the greenhouse. Nah, that would never happen. For one thing, it's just too heavy--then there's the rust. Still, I feel a bit sad about not keeping it. It's a part of the history of this house.

The old cast iron sink as it was when we bought the house

I have to remind myself that never did we plan on doing a period restoration. Still, the sink is one of the things I noticed when I first set foot in the house, and the only thing I remembered weeks later when we came by to take a second look. I even asked Rudy "Now, which house was it that had the old sink?" I think it stirred some deeply buried memory of my great-grandmother's old house in Handley, Texas. I only visited there once, but still remember her 1930's era kitchen and a sink very similar to this one.

Metal is a hot commodity these days, and I know some wandering recycler will consider himself (or herself) lucky to drive by and see the "Free" sign sitting by the pile. There are many people now around here who feed their families from the money they get through recycling. I have to remember that when I get wistful about an old rusty sink that weighs a ton.

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Front Door Fiasco & Kitchen Island Update

Dear friends,

One feature of our antique house is that it has two front doors. There are varying explanations for why so many of the older frame houses had these. Some experts say that one of them is a "Pastor's Door" -- the front door where you welcomed the pastor or preacher from your church. Presumably, you kept that room clean. The other door was for the farmer or homeowner to come into when they had muddy boots or shoes. That room, ahem, wasn't special enough for company. Personally, when I have muddy boots, I come in the back door, but that's just me. LOL.

Either way, since we are turning one of the front rooms into our bedroom, suffice it to say that I didn't want a front entry door right smack dab in there. For one thing, it's drafty, and noisy. So Husband and I pondered, and he came up with a solution. Block the door permanently. Since we aren't doing anything to the exterior of the house now, fixing that will have to wait.

First, he removed the doorknob. Yes, it's a gorgeous antique door. We have a matching one in the other front room, which is the combo entry and my little writing nook (the blue room).

Before -- Door with knob removed.

Then, he added a sheet of insulating foam, with a little indentation cut out on the other side for the escutcheon around the doorknob:

Fitting the foam in place, with notches cut for hinges.

Yes, I know it's ugly now. The master plan is to caulk all edges and cracks, then add beadboard paneling (maybe to the ceiling) and in front of that, we're putting an electric fireplace/media center with a new flat screen TV hung over it. The TV will be covered with some sort of framed in cabinet, hanging artwork or tapestry. We're sort of designing this as we go. OR, we'll use our existing TV armoire with will just barely cover the trim around the door. Either way, I'll post more photos as the project progresses.

LATER, THAT SAME DAY -- We have the finished door, ready for some big hulking piece of furniture to sit in front of it:

We also have curtain rods up--a small thing, but necessary. Shown are temporary Dollar Store curtains.

Oh, on the outside of the new covered front door, on the front porch, I have a screen door with a decorative metal trellis thingy hung over it. In front of that, a potted oleander bush sits. The back of the foam board is metallic, and shines in the sun just like glass might. The plan for that is to add painted stationery louvered shutters, much like houses in New Orleans have. I think it goes with the black metal wrought iron on our porch. This will also help to block the wind and noise from the front street.

Another project we were going to build was a small kitchen island, for storage, and as a place to chop vegetables. The thing about galley kitchens like ours is that sometimes they're a bit too wide to be efficient. I say "were" going to build, because we walked into BigLots! yesterday and found a perfect little red cart, just the right size. Discounted because it was a floor model, it has room in the bottom for the mixer (which we use frequently for homemade bread), and a little shallow drawer that's perfect for knives. AND a towel bar at the end, which we desperately needed in there.

Since I'm going with a fruit theme in the kitchen, this adds a nice bright spot of cherry red. Yes, I prefer homemade cabinets and furniture, but since Rudy's list is a mile long, we figured this would be just functional enough for now, and it looks good, too. Later on, this could be rolled anywhere in the house and used -- in the utility room, in the greenhouse/garage, etc. I always think of future uses when I buy things like this, since I almost never get rid of furniture.

I also like the stainless steel top, which matches the front of the refrigerator, the range hood and the trim around the range.

As for outside the house, check out new garden photos at The Earthly Gardener, my garden blog.

More later!

Happy trails,

bobbi c.