Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tool Shed Doors

This was probably not the most critical project we had right now, but the first part went fast and smooth, so why complaining?

Our toolshed, which probably has been replacing some nice old building, is starting to accuse the age factor and especially doors have started to be disfunctional, especially because they are rottening on the lower part.

Our toolshed in the morning light
We have now a couple of brand new doors that should work out there. 
I "just" need to paint them and they will hopefully fit and work just fine.
The new doors
So, I have another task in the queue....

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wall paintings restoration

Since the previous owner, one of the walls in the entrance has revealed a mystical painting. He also had kindly shared some pictures of the house works he had conducted in the few years he had lived in Bellevue, and few pictures were focusing on those paintings and showing that one of the walls, now covered by the turqoise structured wallpaper had some underneath.

We had started to remove some of the wallpaper to see how it was going here.

The room ready for being treated for restoration.
Sadly, when removing all the wallpaper some parts of the painting were gone under some concrete layer. Some were clearly made when electricity was installed, but a big patch role is still unclear.

Part of the wall with the patches for the electrity and for something we still don't know
Cristiana, the restorer, is working on one of the walls
Also, the wallpaper glue has minor damaged the surface. The structured wallpaper is not the only wallpaper that was there. We have found traces of a wallpaper in grey tones, probably from the 60s and a darker green one, that should have been used after the Svenssons moved in 1974. 

Trying to reconstruct the paintings 
The pattern is quite "free handed" so it was very nice to observe the new creation take place. 
Details over the painting

Of course, the bigger work was to handle the big surface where there was no trace left of any painting, also because the basis was different, material wise, than the original one.
Started to create a background for the new paintings

One can see clearly how the original painting is ruined. The yellow color was the background color of it.

As the wall turned out

Details over the wall. It is almost impossible to see that this is new.

The pictures speak out by themselves, I think. We haven't aimed at having a perfect surface, but rather recreating the paintings and try to melt them in, to make them look a bit torn as well. 

Details of the wall
It is nice to see that what has changed is not only that now we have a more genuine and colorful room (well, not that the turquoise was white, but it was a very "suffocating" color there) but the light is reflecting in a very different way. I often think that someone has left the light on, but it is just how the surface is reflecting the sunlight from the window.
The room is done!
There are few things still to do here. 
One is that the surface is quite brittle, especially where there is glue from the wallpaper and the top color layer is very fragmented. 
We have evaluated using some protective layer or even a wax, but the first would not let the wall breath and with a water leakage (we have above one of the bathrooms) it would be a disaster to fix it up; the second instead would make the color quite dark and would have the same risk in case of leakage.
We will therefore try to find some plexiglass sheet to have at neck height for avoiding that people would be careless with it and hopefully keep it to deteriorate at a slower pace.

The furniture is moving back 
The room looks completely different!
The second is that there are minor details that need to be retouched. Just my usual pedantry, except for one of the electrical cable that is quite visible under the wall. As Cristiana said, one gets a bit blind when working with something like this and needs to take a pause before the final touch.
I believe I was a bit blinded too when overviewing the work!

A before-after serie of pics
This work has brought up some question marks on the details of the room. From the big patch (when was it done? Why? ) to the ceiling, as it looks lowered and the paint on that and the cornice has not many layers. White there would have not worked fine with that wall, as the rest of the wooden parts were dark red (and yes, that needs to be fixed, of course). Possibly there is some original ceiling behind that? 
I wonder if we will find out during our lifetime...!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Minor Garden Archaeology

When working in the garden, one occasional discovers layers of history.
It is then a bit tricky to recover as the whole garden would have to be restored, but some things can come through once again.
Few weeks back I was trying to clean out from weeds some flowerbeds and I had already noticed in the past years that there were some stones coming out. This time, instead of delegating my thoughts to the gardeners, I took a small spade myself and started digging.
View from above, one can see the big stones under the windows. Not the perfect picture, sadly. One has to look down from
 the window to get the right view :)
I have tried to look at the old pictures to see if something was visible of what there was there then, but it simply impossible. In the pictures from the 40s or the 60s the windows were overed by some good layer of vegetation. Earlier the windows were more visible, but understand the flowerbed topology is simply not possible.

Despite the brightness of the pictures, one can see the windowsill of the basement window and the stone just on the flowerbed level

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Another step forward for humankind

As always, our projects are neverending. We are now back to the pool house, where time stands still as everything else takes time, of course.
After the first attempt of getting the downpipe end correct, we finally got them right.
The downpipe is now gracefully ending with water towards the flowerbed.

The other downpipe has the same

As it generally looks, currently
The poolhouse project is still far from completion. If now I have just added to the list the painting of the final parts of the downpipes, doors and windows and other external elements still need to be painted.
Then, finally, we can probably mount the external lamp, put the toilet and the different shelves.
So, gives us a couple of years more? :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Finally, shadow

The project of having curtains in the tv and music room has taken a bit of time. As all the projects, it starts with a need and an idea, for then developing in a mass of small details that need to be synchronized and fixed.
The curtains, few minutes after we had installed them, with a beautiful sprint light shining through them
We have had the curtain rod up on the wall for a while - sadly too long. We needed the blacksmith to come back to shorten it the necessary.
And although the William Morris side curtains have been ready since the autumn, I couldn't ever win an auction with proper and sufficient rings and clamps to hang them with and, considering how smooth it is to put up and down the big curved rod, I wanted to wait also for the white curtains.

The curtains behind the piano
We are still not completely "done". We managed to accelerate the process around the tie backs, by purchasing the screws that will be used for mounting. But this step will take (I know) few months if I won't pressure for making it happen.

Evening light
Apart from that, it is clear that I need to spend more time on some auction to try to get more rings with similar clamps. Let's hope it won't take too much.

The smaller window
Additionally, for the white curtains in the center of the tower room, I think it is necessary to possibly get some double tie-back to hold them together. 
I have tried to look around for something like that but failed, hence, slightly embarrassed because we did just joke about my stream of requests, I contacted again the blacksmith for a "own designed" one.
Today it was not very sunny, so we let the light come in
And if I know how it will be, it will take many messages, chats and some patience to get all three missing parts in place - and maybe I should say four, because I have to fix the wall that got scratched during the previous attempt to install/dismount the big curtain rod from its location.

Detail of the ring and clamp

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

As good as it gets

One of our pain points is the basement.
You need to be a dward to walk in it, the floor is definitely uneven because we wanted to secure water flowing through it in the only drain, the lighting is not cosy and there is some extra ceiling mysterious stuff in one of the rooms that is questionable in choice and beauty.

On top of this, I have the bad habit to try to save as many things as possible that could be reused. In the specific boxes and emballage have got some space in one of the basement rooms.

In the last years instead of having things in order, I have just thrown everything in a big pile, making the room even worse and any chance to play ping pong or fuzzball endangered by boxes or refreshened by some cats "leftovers" (as the cats have felt threatened too, I guess, and decided to mark the territory).

I therefore tried to made it at least accessible and cleaned.

Fuzzball and pingpong. Now visible and accessible through the boxes piles
A room with a view. Not showing much of the room I cleaned but how potentially it could be nice to play pingpong now that there is space

At the same time this season is challenging. Spring cleaning (that for me last the whole year) should peak now, painting and windows renovation is at this best while the whole garden needs attention before the ground elder will take over everything....

Grape hyacinth in a flowerbed spared from ground elder

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


I think I have definitely underestimated this art as I thought it would have turned out almost as doing some standard DIY.

Anyway, for some reason the blacksmith didn't take/couldn't fix the right metal for some of the small things I did request him to fix for us once upon the time.
When I explored how to fix it, so it would look as they were supposed to, I found out that I could use this gilding technique.

I did buy all the material needed and, after waiting few years to mature, I tried it out...
One of the metal details (a small ball) from Oscar's bed as the blacksmith delivered it to us. Few were missing, so we asked him to make them. 
This is one of the ball as the bed came equipped with. Unclear if it is the metal that is golden or it is painted or what. I actually haven't put effort in trying to understand it.

The result after gilding

A better close up
Putting the gold leaf was far from easy. For some reason it wasn't covering as it should so I had to apply and apply and apply. 
It doesn't look too smooth, but I thought that in this case the result was acceptable.

I did the same (but this time by applying a silver leaf) to a handle for a tray that the blacksmith made. The handle should have been probably cromated or something to get the right appearance, but he couldn't do that.
I thought we could use the gilding technique again and I was at least ok with the result on the bed, but when I did the work here, I wonder how can I save it as it now looks as I have put on some foil....

The tray handle is not impressive.
I guess I need to look at some more tutorial to get it right...