INCESTUOUS WINDOWS

Where should we start?  The very big ideas?  OK.

Artists do not only make art, they live it and in it.  Serious art reflects the ideas, attitudes, experiences and style of the artist.  These things are interwoven and inseparable.  And changeable, but usually the change is slow.  At least that is how it works for me.

Premise 1 in the creating of a style:  Being an artist(s) we don’t have the money that more traditionally employed people do.  We habit the thrift shops and flea markets, looking for shapes and textures and things to repurpose to live in our home.  We sniff out free things in the wind.  We develop friendships with like people and fund each other’s eccentricities.  Old things look good to us.

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To me, the base of this enamel table in our kitchen is awesome.  The lines and shapes scream the 1930s.  This table base helped me solve a financial problem in buying the tile for the kitchen, if you will notice the floor.  I bought the majority of the tile at a sidewalk sale at Lowe’s, but there was not enough for the big space of kitchen and great room.  So I laid tile “rugs” in each room, one under this table.  The tile under the table is lighter than the surrounding, and at each corner of the rug is a corresponding black tile (you can only see two black tiles in this image).  The rug tile was free, and the problem was solved.  The four black squares used in the corners integrate the tile rug with the table base.  The rug under the table is much more interesting than had the floor simply been one broad ecru plane.  So my finances dictate another way to create, and push a style forward with lifestyle needs.

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We needed a shed to house our pool equipment, pool pump, and machinery related to our sprinkler system.  My love of cheap metal (notice the lamp on the stucco column) led us to buying a used grain bin to satisfy these needs, and it was very inexpensive.  We love the little silo that has an apex that looks like the top of a Coke bottle.

Premise 2:  We live in a world that is using up all its natural resources.  This disposable society cannot thrive.  Many, many artists choose to make their work out of waste materials because they are available, are beautiful and otherwise would be in the landfill.  These artists additionally are making visual statements that describe our recent decades.

We built a barn.  Before this time, some restlessness inside of me accepted a whole group of wooden windows from a contractor friend who was doing odd jobs here.  I put them under a roof.  His work often was replacing old wooden windows with vinyl ones, and he kept bringing me the rejects.  He would have been charged to put them in the dump, so the solution was good for everybody.


1-IMG_0011We used 33 old windows for this barn, and saved a lot of money.  Their glass is wavy and beautiful, and since this is studio and storage space and not living space, they do the job here just fine.  And of course, this is South Carolina and we live in a moderate part of the world.  Glenn later added the cool awning above the entry door.

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I hope the case is made for the using of old stuff.  Here is where the incest starts.

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My daughter Brady, (who blogs for Lexington County, South Carolina at Everywomanblog.com and has a cooking blog at brannyboilsover.com) influenced by my love of old things, found this door of windows at the dump and brought it home.  Neither one of us are beyond “diving”.  She often donates at the Goodwill at the same time she goes in to buy.  She installed this on the wall,  and of course there it was for me to see.  A window on a wall as art.  Hmmm.

Some years later, here is my sculptural work.  Before now, the windows had many other incarnations as I tried to use them.  I was getting too fancy.  For me, for now, it is mostly about the interplay of the windows, and bringing these sculptures way out from the wall.  It takes some time to feel one’s way.

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Isn’t experience and influence wonderful?

DETAIL WORK

When my tile guru was here installing the base of the new shower, we looked at a mistake in the shower area.  I laid the tile too close to the wood floor, was in too much of a hurry as always.  What makes a great artisan/craftsperson is attention to detail.  I am too busy creating things and justifying my existence to worry about the small stuff.  It is a  significant personality flaw.

Above is the line in consideration:  the tile is the slightest bit taller than the wood flooring, and if one hits the edge just right coming out of the shower area, the 4″ x 4″ could break.  There are elements that one can install while laying the tile that fit under it and lap over so the tile is protected.  Of course, we could not use that solution here as the work is done.  He said also that the big box stores carry wooden strips that can be installed in this case.  Glenn wants to make his own.  It will be much better, much finer.  And maybe make the mistake not so bad.

We had a similar problem during the construction of the bedroom.  Two of the old doors we saved for the clothes closet were a bit smaller than standard.  If the workers had not cut into the supports on the edge of the closet and sunk the hardware, the doors would have closed nicely.  They did not consider this, dug them in, and our doors lacked about an inch in making a nice closure.  Glenn added a sleek line of contrasting hardwood to one door, and it looks and feels like marquetry.  Good solution.

In my art work, I rarely rip anything out.  Making a mistake, and then altering the plan to integrate the mistake can foster unique solutions that would have never been planned.  I love working this way.

Above is the shower floor waiting for tile and below the walls which need to be taped with grid immersed in thin set.  Then the real fun can begin, although you can see we have already installed antlers on which to hang robes.  They are on each side of the shower opening, and btw, no door is necessary with this shower.

Above is the first shower in this house created with no shower door.  It makes no mess.  I have no idea how shower doors came to be so important.  It may have been a capitalist plot.  All they create is a wonderful environment in which creepy stuff grows.

Above is the second bathroom with no shower door.  All three of these bathrooms have a tile covered four inch by four inch boundary between the shower proper and the floor outside.  Easy.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

Installing the new exterior door created some glider movement.  Now that there are so many here, and considering what I have to pay per quart to clear coat them, a little triage is in order.

Although this glider works well, it has some bumps and bruises.  It used to also have a prime location on the front porch.  Now, not.

It has moved to be with the group under the big oak tree.

All the chairs and the glider to the left of the picture can stay outside.  They have all had the clear coat treatment, even the one on the new little deck.  The pair there still have original paint.

The wonky wooden bannister gracing the little deck is getting so tiring to look at.

Glenn made these two bannisters this past summer.  When he gets the time, something on this order will be on our back deck.

EXTERIOR DOOR

Less work is required if you do two things at once.  As always, new gliders have to be integrated into the landscape both natural and architectural.  This activity is ongoing as there is always more lawn furniture to be had.  Concurrently,  I am making new gardens around the new addition to our old farmhouse.

For years I used an old door native to this house but unused in the house, as a dining room table.  Then that dining room turned into a bedroom for about a year.  The door was shuffled out to the barn.

The other day when sitting and gliding and sensing the new garden space, it occurred to me that that door could be used as a spot of interest in the new garden, which is adjacent to our front porch.  It happens to be red on one side, and I want to include lots of red in the new garden to highlight a red line which resides at the base of our front porch.

Here is the situation of the new garden.  Very blank canvas.  A satellite dish that will be a small pond has been put up on cinder blocks which are hidden by fallen tree trunks.  Cotoneaster has been planted to the left of this image, down the side of the new addition.

The ones here are babies that were pulled from another garden.  A goal for this garden is to use only stuff that has been propagated here.

In the space behind the single lawn chairs will be a pattern of dwarf nandina which gets very red in the winter, and a pyracantha that was propagated this past summer.  I am amazed as it started getting new leaves this fall, and continues now.  This stuff I will plant today.

Second job accomplished?  With the new door in red, and the red line under the porch, we found the perfect place for Ruth’s glider, which at this point isn’t going to be changed, paintwise.  Ruth and my niece gave it its happy paint job.  Since we used the red side of the door on the porch side, we probably will paint the other side for the garden.

USING OLD DOORS

The new master bedroom was designed around many accessories we already had:  the urinal which became a sink, old tile, old windows, and finally sets of old doors.  The whole house has a sense of age to it.  It is not shabby chic (hate that term), but the house retains and shows its history.  Good thing this aesthetic is fine with me, one who wants to use only things that have  already been used before, whether for their original purpose or not.


The cracks and peeling paint will be saved with application of a thick coat of something.  In its current position, the old paint is fairly fixed.  The darker doors will also receive a coat to shine them up and protect them.  The minute my husband drug out these doors last year, it was my intention to put the glider below in the new room because of the simpatico texture.  I am not at this point sure there will be room for the glider.  It would be beautiful.

These doors have been in the big house all their lives.  They retain their original colors and open to a big closet in the dressing room.  The bedrooms they protected no longer exist.

Going around the corner from the sets of closet doors, there is a door made by us for the private commode.  Glenn made it from wood he used and acquired for his former homestead.

See those lights on the ceiling?  We bought seven for a dollar apiece at our local flea.  Used all of them in this addition.

Above is the inside of the door with its beautiful patterning.  The old door knob works, and locks!

NEW USES FOR OLD WINDOWS

Never having considered myself window-crazy,  looking at my past posts may be revealing.  Doors are special; whenever dreaming about my high school, doors and passageways are the predominant feature.  Have been back there twice in the last couple of years, and man, seeing the doors was the highlight!

Now windows are looming large, in my renovation, my furnishing and my art.  Wonder what Freud would say.

In  my 1939 built farmhouse, much of the painted history of the house is left  intact.  This window is one example.  After starting to strip paint at the beginning of the renovation, the act of stripping revealed many colors, and it was exciting to see all the different ones.  I decided to keep many things in a half-stripped state to appreciate the history of color in the house.

Above is a detail of the laundry room window.  Below, molding in the old master bedroom.

The molding in the master bedroom is so beautiful, it was not difficult to leave it the way it was.  But painting the tongue and grove walls was then not an option.  The contrast between newly painted walls and the partially stripped molding would have been confusing.  The answer was to sand the walls as well, revealing several colors that they have been as well (although not as many as the molding—wallpaper had been used in the house a lot).

So here is featured what some would call “shabby chic”, but my preference in terminology is “a shabby aesthetic”.  This is NOT the beach.

Above the image shows the opening between the great room and an auxiliary sitting room, before all the wallpaper was removed.  All the layers were so interesting, and like the linoleum we removed, each wallpaper pattern seemed to be specific to a certain decade.  We were amazed.  With everything on walls and ceilings and floors, (think particle board, 1970s paneling, and worse) we had no idea that we had purchased and moved a total tongue and groove house.  I hate to admit the stupidity of our lack of research.

Above is the same opening which is now framed by columns, and a window is hanging between them to further separate the two spaces.  The columns and window now define a kind of corridor between the two rooms as there are few walls in this house.

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The cabinet in the laundry room is a simple window covering for a series of shelves.

More next time on windows creeping into my collecting, and into my art.

OLD WINDOWS, NEW BEDROOM

The construction crew was nice enough to finish yesterday so we could have the evening to place the windows that are going across the back wall and bathroom of our new bedroom.

Originally, we thought some big windows would be included here, but a bit of homogeneity in the design was required.  Our contractor, who has worked with me on several projects, and is learning to love the unusual and the recycled, came up with a fine idea yesterday that we are going to implement.  For his idea, we will use the big windows that we rejected here.

Above, the windows are laid out the way they will stretch across the back wall.  To the left will be a glass door, which is missing here.

Here is the back wall showing the organization:  three rectangular piled at the left,  and six squares to the right.  The squares will have different divisions and alternate.  These are some of the same windows that we used for the barn a couple of years ago.

We used a recovered door for the entrance to the studio part of the barn.  We have two fine matched pairs for the new bedroom closets.

Glenn bought some bamboo a while back and I have been taught to be afraid of it.  It can get out of hand.  Just coming in from the real experience of seeing how uncovered our new bathroom will be with its windows, it will go in tomorrow.  I don’t think that simple pine trees will be enough cover!

A PAIR OF FINE CHAIRS

My friend Zoe has been my garden guru for years.  She happens to live in a funky little neighborhood in Atlanta, where it seems that many clever people live.  Or, they have clever gardeners.  I am filled to the brim whenever we work in her gardens, almost unable to wait to get home and implement ideas that flood in just by being in that neighborhood.

We have a similar aesthetic, but Zoe goes for the fine old sometimes British things, and I, wallowing among the working poor, have to covet newer things, but cool.  We both like rust.

This pair of chairs is near the back of her fine garden, near the alley.  If I had these chairs, they would be inside, used as side chairs.  This is the difference between Zoe and me.  Her side chairs, recently acquired, are from the French countryside and are leather.  They tour old barns in France!

I am pretty sure that she picked these up off the street.  Much of her early morning time is taken up with exercising and street cruising for good junk at the same time.  She finds the most wonderful stuff.  It is truly amazing what some people choose to throw away, but no complaints here!  If it weren’t for the bad decisions of other people, this hacienda would be bare.

The swinging movements in these chairs are intact and moving well, made more amazing by the fact they are always in the weather.  The series of lines that make up the seat are body-loving and feel great.

Opposite the chairs, and still back by the alley is a sturdy little structure that is the potting shed. Made years ago by Zoe and her husband, it houses tools and pots and the roof is open.  The plan for this year is to put some kind of opaque plastic roofing material on the existing structure to close it in a bit.  It now has an inside door for its outside, and it is weary of the misuse.  That will be replaced, although still attractive in its disintegration.

It is amazing what one can incorporate in a small city backyard.  The potting shed is not the only roofed structure in this one.  The second one is near the house, separated from the house proper by brick pavement, hand set.  Below is a picture from the kitchen, looking out to the screened structure to gauge the distance.

You can see a bit of the screened building over the hydrangeas and the purple bottle collection.  It has a tin roof, and houses a table for outdoor eating.  Right now, it has cat bones in it waiting for reconstruction.

Above is the back of the  screened building from the garden.  It has a weathered tin roof, and the climber on the screens turns red in the fall.  Japanese climbing fern is on the arch in the foreground.

Wait!  I just thought about a great idea for my garden here…

NEW AND OLD SURFACES IN A RECYCLED HOUSE

Moving and renovating  this house is the most creative thing I have engaged in.   And an experience like this one was one of the oldest things in my memory.  When a child in Denver, maybe five years old, a house was dropped in big chunks down Colfax Ave.  It seemed those chunks stayed in place for weeks, and whenever we drove by, they looked like some kind of a mark of death to me.  It was impressive.

Always having remembered this,  I did not think about it long and hard until my own house was moved,  realizing then what primal place in my being moving a house was.  I even saw a mansion being moved down the Inter-coastal Waterway in Florida one time.  Man, that was a double-take, but the story made the papers and television the next day, so it was not a dream.

Below is the house that we moved over three miles down the road.  You can see the traces of the new foundation in the sand, and the house is being placed over it.  The roof, in good condition, is what saved the house from the elements.

This house was originally built in the tongue and groove style, and we saved all that we could in the interior.  When the house was purchased, we had no idea that the walls and floors and ceilings were ALL tongue and groove.

Below is what we saw in places:

Or this:

These three patterns plus many more were installed in layers over the tongue and groove floors.  Asbestos, probably, and we had to remove all the layers.

In the image above, you can see some fine 1970s era indoor/outdoor carpeting as well.  If you know about pattern, you can tell the decade in which the lino was bought.  Oldest nearest the floor.  I cut two by two chunks of each example and saved them.

When we got to the actual floor, there was some good wood and some not so good.  There had been a bad fire in the kitchen fireplace (which was non-existent when we bought the place), and the floors and ceilings were burnt and scarred.  I went through all the wood, saving the good stuff, tossing the bad.

How did the former owners deal with redecorating the walls of the house?  Same way.  I scraped layers and layers and patterns and patterns revealing some really nice tongue and groove walls.  That statement should be taken within a certain context.  I like walls, floors, gliders, whatever to show remnants of their history.

Many of the walls in the interior of the house were removed and not replaced.  Most of the openings in the last two images were made larger.  This house is really built for one person, and the only existent doors are for the bathrooms.

Some problems were bigger than simply requiring sweat and labor.  At the front of the house, a shotgun, the  door had been covered over, intact with sidelights, by plywood to create an interior bathroom wall.  Plywood was applied to the outside and inside.  The door and sidelight were removed by us, to use in the laundry, leaving a gaping hole.  A custom window was ordered, cement board was installed, and I started creating a composition.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

We are adding a room to our home; a new addition.   Just like with actual pregnancy, with additions we never remember the bad parts from other times we have done this, just the good parts.  An addition provides a new canvas on the inside and the outside. More space to fill with fabulous junk!  Another mass to wrap gardens around!

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Outside these doors and sidelight made by my friend Betsy (the only person I know who had her own personal zip code) will be a new master bedroom, bath and deck.  When the house was renovated  in 05, a little porch was created, but the steps up to it to use it never materialized. Well they did.  They had been out in the woods for years, and their future was to be with this little side porch.  Turned out their future was to cover a well head.  Stairs to nowhere, and now just halfway covered with tile.

The french doors and Betsy’s sidelight will stay in place, and close off the new room.  On the opposite wall, the end wall of the bedroom,  will be a mass of old mismatched windows making up that whole plane.  That wall looks into the woods, and there is nothing in any way near but woods.  No privacy issues.  We used old windows for the barn we built last year; saved a lot of money and they look so much better.  Below is a detail of a used window in the front of the barn in the studio area.  The windows were free and I think there are 27 of them.

So what else will we integrate into the new construction to save money?  I will stucco the foundation walls.  That is so easy.  We bought seven unused overhead lights at the flea market last Saturday for seven dollars total.  Six  will be placed all around the bathroom, one, bigger than the others, will be the overhead light in the bedroom proper.  I will make a tile composition in the shower from what I already have in my color inventory. I will also use “found” objects.  We have learned already that shower doors are totally unnecessary, so that expense will be eliminated.     We already have five beautiful,  old six panel doors that will be used for the closet (four of them, two pairs) and the commode area of the bathroom.

This porcelain over metal fixture is old.  It is 48 inches wide and they were used both as sinks and urinals.  They have holes in the base to accommodate either use.  It will just fit into our vanity area, and it is free!