Monday, April 30, 2007

Two Dogwoods

For the past five years or so, I've been wanting to add something to my planting strip that is a little more interesting than grass. This year I finally made it happen. On Sunday I headed to the local Seven Dees nursery and purchased a couple of dogwoods. The first one (below) is a tri-colored with white flowers, and I've been told this tree looks most dramatic in the fall. The second one is the typical pink dogwood is the more common variety.

There's something very fufilling about planting a tree. I think I figured it out - the fact that the tree will be there 50+ years after you place it in the ground. However, after I told a few people about the new plantings, they asked if I got a permit. I didn't realize a permit was needed so I now need to look into it. I know there is a suggested list for tree plantings and since the dogwoods won't grow more than 20' tall, I should be okay.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Priming the Panel Wainscoting

This past week I have been priming and caulking the panel wainscoting in the dining room. It's not much to post, but there has been progress. I'm taking my time since I have a few weeks before the floors are going to be refinished, but I know it'll be here before I know it.

So here's the first few stages of the priming:

I even primed my dog, Scully. Actually, she just sat on a drop cloth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Making Feet

From my earlier post, I mentioned that I am designing the feet for my table that I'm having made out of reclaimed timber. To make it easier on everyone involved in the table building, I thought I'd create a template of the foot.

I drew up the idea on AutoCAD of what I wanted then printed it on 1 to 1 scale. Hopefully, my fellow coworkers who may be reading this blog won't report me to the appropriate corporate authorities for using work related tools for fun house crafting projects. Anyway, I cut out the shape on paper, as shown here.I then traced the outline of the shape of the table's feet from the paper to 1/4" plywood, which came as support in the shipment of the tin ceiling panels.
Putting my $20 jigsaw to use.
And the final template....
I actually have to modify this template (or redo it) a bit to make it work with the reclaimed timber that is available, which is just decreasing the height by 1/4". Since the table top is so heavy, Dennis (the table maker) also felt making it a few inches wider would be a smart thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Table Top

On Saturday I met with Dennis at Brave New Wood to discuss the 'new' dining room table design and to take a look at the top for the table which was completed recently. I am having a dining room table custom made out of reclaimed timber, which is old growth douglas fir probably from some old building in Portland. My intent is to get a thick sturdy table that has a 100 year old feel, but without having to find exactly what I'm looking for in an antique store.

I really like what I see so far. There is plenty of character with the knot holes and bolt holes, etc. It will be 'roughed' up slightly, as well as oiled so it will lose that slightly butcher block look.

The next step is to design the feet for this massive top, which is really heavy. I worked with Dennis on ideas to "engineer" a base, as it will definately need it. He's a great guy to work with and I highly recommend him.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cherry Tree - Mid Bloom

Here's that cherry tree I mentioned in a previous post. I'm not sure if it's at it's peak bloom point, but fairly close. Since it's raining a lot lately here in Portland, I wanted to take these shots during some sun breaks. After looking at these pictures, I realize how immense this tree really is and I wonder if I should consider getting a professional to prune it properly.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Oak Tree Tile Trim Complete

The oak tree tile trim pieces finally were ready last Monday and came out surpisingly okay, so this past week has been spent installing them. I just got done grouting them last night, so a little bit of clean up is needed. Other than that, I'd say another chunk of the dining room remodel is complete.
It wasn't a cut and dry install as the surface I was working on wasn't exactly level. In the picture below, it shows how the cap would have looked if I just used 1/4" spacers under each piece. This was fairly hideous, obviously, so I ended up using all different thickness of spacers to get it all level.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This trellis was built nearly 6 years ago, along with the planting of the wisteria. It took about 4 years for the wisteria to finally start budding. That first year it budded, it almost didn't because I almost ripped it out thinking it was defunct. Fortunately, my neighbor informed me these take awhile to take hold. Hopefully, it'll go nuts this spring because I'm getting tired of looking at that bare trellis.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Apple-Gruyere Open Faced Sandwich

This is a slightly different twist to a "house blog", but I just had to share. This last weekend I had no idea what I wanted for lunch. Nothing really sounded good and I wasn't starved but needed something. Then I had this idea of using up some fridge contents and for whatever reason, the thought of apple and cheese sounded really good. I came up with this little diddy - the apple-gruyere open faced sandwich.
I thinly sliced a red apple and placed it on slightly toasted Como bread (italian chewy crunchy sandwich type bread), covered it with sliced gruyere cheese and broiled it in a toaster oven until the cheese was melted. A dollop of chutney was then placed on top (I'd probably lighten up on the chutney next time). But it was... So. Good.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Favorite Chair In The Whole Wide World

This last Friday, I had the day off and what a perfect day to not be in the office. I woke up earlier than I have in months, in anticipation of the near 80° weather and bright sunshine. Even after the hike up to Mt. Tabor, both Scully and I were well overheated. I can't speak for Scully but I already miss the rain.

I made full use of the day and at the end of it, got out the outdoor furniture for a fresh coat of oil. I never though I would enjoy this Adirondack chair as much as I have in the last few years I've had it, but the placement next to the waterfall, along with space to throw the ball for Scully makes it pretty difficult not to love it.

Check out the birds eye view:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Dining Room Table - Embryonic Stage

I've been working on this dining room remodel for a year and a half now, though 6 months of it has been the oak tree tile mural, and today was the first day to meet the table. My intention is to obtain a table that is at least 100 years old, or at least seems like it. I hate shopping and the thought of wandering from antique store to antique store to find some thicked top rustic table seemed more of a chore that hanging drywall, or even painting. Besides, who knows how over priced that ideal table would have been.

Then I had an idea! (yeah, I get those from time to time)... a custom built table from reclaimed old growth Douglas Fir timber.

I came across Brave New Wood through the Architectural Heritage Center in Portland, came up with quick design, and finally met him today where he had sanded one of the boards that will become the tabletop.

It's going to be a trestle type table, like the table I ate dinner at as a kid. Here's a CAD sketch of it, though it's probably going to change slightly for ease of manufacturing:

Friday, April 06, 2007

White Tin Ceiling

This past week I have been priming and painting the tin ceiling, removing it from it's shiny status. From what I understand, the tin ceiling concept was utilized as an economical way of recreating the fancy plaster work found in the more upscale homes. With that, it makes sense to me to have it painted white.

This project would have been completed a day earlier had I used actual PAINT and not primer to do the final touch ups. Label reading prior to opening is so understated.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cherry Tree Pre-Bloom

I have a cherry tree in the front which blooms in mid-April or thereabout. Since it's probably 20 to 25 years old, it's fairly large so in full bloom it's pretty exciting. The last few days I've noticed quite a few changes, so I wanted to capture it in pre-bloom form. Stay tuned for more pictures later in the month!

Monday, April 02, 2007


Crawling. That is what happens when too much glaze is applied on my trim tile pieces and the glaze pulls itself off of the clay piece, I am told. And it's particularly bad with the exact glaze I am using - Downright White. It happened to about half of the pieces that I had glaze fired last week.

My next step is to retouch the pieces that this happened to, take them to get refired and hope for the best. Otherwise, I may be starting all over. This trim tile part of the dining room project has really been a hassle and progress for this is, should I say......"crawling". Here are the pieces that did make it out successfully and I'm pleased with.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Like Shiny Things

For the end of the week, I was busy installing the tin ceiling. First I installed the "filler" around the edges since the main tin panels weren't in yet. Then it was the crown molding and finally the 2' x 2' panels. It went very smoothly and wasn't too overly difficult. The nail gun was a huge help (once again). I'd say the most critical part in the whole process was just making sure the pieces were laid out properly prior to nailing into place. That and making sure the panels were square to the wall, but that just takes a lot of measuring and a few reintalls.

The shiny look is very exciting and I can't seem to walk through the dining room without taking notice with my mouth agape, but I'm off to Home Depot to purchase some white paint. And it has to be oil based paint, or else it'll make the tin ceiling rust because the tin ceiling is really a steel ceiling.