decorating · home repairs · rennovations

Joy and drama

Our condo is in an old building in a historic district.  I’ve lived in historic buildings my entire life, and I can’t imagine things being any other way.  I love the sense of history and the old neighborhoods.  Our building was built as a private home for an architect in the 1890s, and the two side wings (where we live) were added in 1920.  It’s in remarkably good shape, despite some shady remodeling by some previous owners.  So before I start complaining, let me show you some things that I love about our home.

The windows in the hallway

These and the cute little arched front door are pretty much what sold me on the place.  Well, that and the fireplace and balcony.


But… I mentioned the questionable taste of some of the previous owners, right?  Well, they rennovated the kitchen.  I almost wish they hadn’t, because what they left behind is pretty bad.

You see what’s going on here, right?  White laminate countertop, which is coming apart, combined with off white laminate cabinets (also peeling.) Plus a white sink.  Dear god I hate that white sink.  It never looks clean to me.  Plus the cabinet doors are hung all wonky, as you can see, and are contributing to the peeling of the drawer fronts.  And then there’s the window…

Apparently what happened is that there used to be an airconditioner in this window (don’t ask me why,) and it leaked all down the wall over a very long period of time.  The plaster will come off in your hand if you touch it, so I try not to.  You can also still see some of the heinous blue paint that used to be covering everything in here – yeah, I know, bad paint job here, but my goal was just to cover up the damage and hope it holds as long as we live here.

In spite of all this, including the ancient appliances, I do love the kitchen (check out my happy green walls!)  I keep planning to refinish the cabinet fronts, but the thought of all that sanding terrifies me, so I decided to just replace the knobs for now.  The old knobs looked like this

And now, through the magic of 10 minutes with a screwdriver, they look like this:

Check out the ring of grime I need to scrub at some more.  And my favorite part – here you can see that they didn’t install white counters with off white cabinets – the cabinets used to be white!  Mystery solved!

*sigh* I seriously don’t know what to do here.  I just don’t have the space to do the cabinets, but I’m really tired of them the way they are.  I guess I should get used to doing work – we’ve been here 6 months, so we won’t be selling for a couple years, but when we do we will buy a house that’s much more of a fixer-upper than this one was.  We need more space, but I adore this area too much to move somewhere cheaper.

I’m not complaining though – I really do *heart* this place, and I’m so glad that we live here.  All of its flaws give it character, and give me a challenge.  So the ceiling fan in the guest room shocks you if you try to change the bulbs.  So there isn’t any closet space.  So the bathtub has peeling paint and needs refinishing – so what?  I would hate to live in a new home – I’ve always had work to do, and I kind of enjoy it.  Don’t tell anyone… but it’s possible that I’m kind of handy.

crafts · knitting

IW knits winter 06/07

The Interweave Knits winter preview is up here   .  Much better than the disappointing holiday issue. I like these projects


I adore vests and blazers, and geometric prints for lace are my favorites – plus, yay for rectangular stoles – I find the triangle shawls to be so useless to me.  There are some questionable looking patterns too (what the heck is up with that “yoke” sweater?) but overall it looks like a nice issue.  I don’t know if I’ll buy it – I’ll check out the library’s copy first.

I’m making progress on the cardigan – I’m past the two increase rows now, and I’m very happy with my decision to rip back – you can hardly see the increase now!  To anyone making this pattern – do not do a “make one” increase – it will leave a hole!  Use the increase described in my last post.  I used the right side on, and it turned out great!

Of course, now I’m worried that it’s too big – I can try it on, but it’s impossible to tell until the edging goes on.  Yes, I’m a paranoid knitter.  Hmm… maybe I should rename my blog “the paranoid knitter” – I’ve been looking for a change!