Testing, testing

Lest you think all we’re doing is buying random antiques (exhibit A and B), I dug through my “to be posted” list and came up with this safety reminder. As with any “pre-owned home” that was built in the mid century, we had a few concerns about potentially hazardous materials lurking within. Three materials were causing us to worry a little.

Upstairs the original paint (see red and beige in the living room) made us wonder what kind of lead was within.

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We also had a few asbestos concerns. The plaster in the upstairs living room:

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And some original pipes in the basement:

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Before diving into the upstairs living room overhaul, Aaron took to the internet and found a company that would economically test all of our materials. (We have since lost our reports and the name of the company… because renovations.) He grabbed a few samples of each area for testing.

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A few weeks later we had our results. Paint in the living room:

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Lead free!

Plaster in the living room:

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Asbestos free!

And pipe wrap in the basement:

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Womp, womp! We’ve got asbestos.

Honestly, this was the material we were most worried about. The good news is we have no plans to disturb these pipes, so we can coexist without fear. The bad news is that if those plans change, we’ll be in for a hefty asbestos removal bill.

Eames chair

We’re probably getting quite a reputation for hoarding mid century gems. We’ve got a fireplace in storage that we’d like to put in the master bedroom, an embarrassing amount of lights that will become awesome lamps, lockers that will be put to good use in the workshop, and now this:

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Back in April, The Future Antiques (TFA) launched some social media efforts and we both spotted a “needs restored Eames Plycraft lounger.” This chair has been on Aaron’s wishlist for quite some time, but based on price it fell just below “an original Ansel Adams print.” I knew he’d get it eventually, but not any time soon.

Even though we visited TFA just a few days after the picture was posted (and scored a coffee table and some side tables), we both thought there was zero chance the chair would still be available.

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After talking ourselves into the tables and negotiating a 10% discount on the set, we headed for the clearance section and saw this beauty was still waiting for us. I took one look at the price tag ($200!) and knew it was coming home with us. The owner even extended the discount to our entire order, so we only paid $180 for this chair. Giddiness ensued.

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Once the chair was home, Aaron turned to Ebay to find a foot stool in need of repair. He picked one up for just $60.

The plan is for Aaron to restore the wood and then turn it over to Jose (who did a masterful job on our couch) for the upholstery. We’ll ditch the camel color, but we’d like to keep the original feel, which limits our options to black or white.

It’s in waiting mostly because we don’t have a home for it right now. Eventually it will probably live in the downstairs living room. (Can we not talk about how it’s already August and we’re not getting as much done this year as we hoped?)

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Ok, fess up. What are you hoarding? Vintage or new/big or small?

Radio silence and random buys

Usually when we take a break around here it’s unintended. This time was no different. After what seemed like a Herculean effort to finish the carport turned garage, Aaron turned his attention to real work, like shooting and editing images for the lovely people who hire us for their weddings.

It’s all part of our natural ebb and flow with renovation projects. Right now energy is low and other priorities are taking center stage. We’ve also been drinking in the occasional free weekend in our wedding season. That means firing up the smoker (I’m still drooling over the beef brisket we inhaled a few weeks ago), hitting up the farmer’s market, grabbing brunch, spending some time on the most lovely couch in the world, and strolling through a few antique malls.

A recent trip produced quite an array of finds. Let’s take a look.

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It funny to see it all laid out because it seems like a true slice of our lives: construction, photography, decorating, adult beverages and cooking.

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These crocks are my favorite baking vessel when I’m making cherry crisp for the two of us. After shattering one, I was on a serious hunt to re-complete my set. In the very last row of the antique mall, I stumbled on two crocks as part of a larger set for just $8.

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These glass drink stirrers will look fabulous on the new bar we’re planning. We grabbed two sets for just $5 each.

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I’m a little obsessed with ALL the white dishes. I’ve been eying custard cups like these for a while. They are the perfect size for dip-able condiments. These six white cups with zero chips were just $5 so I snatched them up.

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We’ve gotten very picky on which decanters come home with us because our collection is quite large, and we don’t have the right bar for all those bottles. This one stole our heart with its simple, curvy lines. I think this guy was just $15.

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One of the things I love about antique malls is that you never know what will strike your fancy. These stone bookends jumped out to both of us. We have a growing collection of books, and one house can only handle so many stacks of books. The warm tones and clean lines on this set will play perfectly in nearly any room. At $25 we felt like they were a steal.

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Speaking of books… they are constantly on my scouting list. I love picking up over-sized tomes at antique malls, where they cost a fraction of the price of new books. My favorite to date is the one living on our bar that says “WINE” on the spine.

We’re partial to photo heavy books and this National Geographic book featuring lakes, peaks and prairies instantly caught our eye. I always, always look behind the dust cover because I know it’s coming off when we get home. This book won with a simple design cover design, a publishing date in Aaron’s birth year, and a low price tag.

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We love the shape of this glass piece. Ultimately we think it will be a lamp, but the “tea storage” label makes it a piece I’m happy to display as is.

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We love fondue. It’s a thing. It’s coming back. $3 for vintage forks = yes, please!

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After years (literally) of searching for a Viewmaster in good shape at a reasonable price, Aaron finally scored one a few months ago. So when we saw a rack of reels, we scoured them for interesting images. A few national parks and the Art and Space Exhibit at the Smithsonian (a nod to Aaron’s love of all things space related) were easy choices at just $1.25 a pop.

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At antique malls, we always gravitate toward “old man booths.” Old guys keep the most interesting stuff. And when it’s time to get rid of said stuff, it creates a booth that seems like you’re digging through your grandpa’s garage. In this booth, we nabbed some corner braces and string for just a few bucks.

So that’s our recent antique mall spree. Is anyone else beating the summer heat by killing a few hours at antique malls. I’d love to see your finds!

How we get into the garage and staining the backside

Apparently we caused a little confusion with our ipe garage post. I didn’t actually show you how we get our cars into the garage. My bad. The post was picture heavy and I really wanted something to chat with you about this week. Projects are slow because w-editing. That’s short for “editing wedding images” for those non-wedding photographers out there… of which there may be many more thanks to our recent feature on Apartment Therapy. Hi, new readers!

I digress. We can, in fact, get our cars into the garage thanks to the alley access on the backside of the building.

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Part way through the ipe wrap we got garage doors, which was a happier day than I ever imagined.

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Then we grappled with how to finish the alley side of the garage. We L O V E the look of the ipe and we usually choose aesthetics over… well, over everything else (specifically time and money.) But the ipe wrap had turned into a very tedious project, and we questioned whether the alley side really needed that treatment. We were also really happy with how the stain on the fence posts turned them into a deep brown the mimicked the tone of the ipe.

Stain (and common sense?) won. While Aaron worked (tirelessly) on the ipe, I spent a few hours on a few weekend days to coat the exposed wood with Behr Semi-Transparent Weather Proofing All-in-one Wood Stain and Sealer tinted to chocolate.

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We are really happy with the results. It gave the wood a rich feel that ties in nicely with the ipe AND it was a project I could tackle. It’s always nice when I can get in on the renovation and take something off of Aaron’s plate.

Here are a few angles: pre-doors, pre-stain and finished.

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These two pictures (above and below) are a good example of how the light (cloudy above, sunny below) affect the appearance of the cor-ten fence.

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A few people asked for pictures of the interior of the garage. I’m giving you an IOU for that, but I promise it’s not very exciting or photogenic. More to come!

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The garage is done!

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After yesterday’s recap, I don’t have a ton of words for you today. I’m basically in awe of the finished project, and you don’t need some cheesy “OMG!” exclamation after each shot. But rest assured that every time I scroll through this post, that’s what’s going through my head. Let’s take a look at some before and after shots.

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I am beyond in love with this project. It’s a far cry from where things were just a year and a half ago…

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Boom!

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As with any project, “done” is a relative term. The garage (it’s crazy to call it that) still needs a handle on the door and electrical. We also have some big plans for the space between the garage (!!!) and firehouse, which we’ve dubbed the courtyard. Hopefully, we’ll tackle some of those update when the weather cools down in the fall. We also have some excess ipe that is destined for furniture! For now, I just want to drag a chair outside and stare at this beauty all day long.