scenes from the woodshop

June 13th, 2012

David reports in again from Tim’s remote Smithfield woodshop with visual proof of progress. Right now, it’s all about edge taping the walnut cabinet parts.

First, he rigged up an edge-taping management system…

David’s DIY edge tape dispenser




















Then he whipped up a way to hold the cab parts steady…

let the edge taping begin!




















Then he applied heat…

and the edge tape goes on




















Trimmed off the excess…

trim off the excess




















And VIOLA! Edge taped.

finished panel edges










gah: sakonnet garden

June 12th, 2012

I just finished planting my front hill (which I will share soon) and was feeling pretty good about the progress of my garden… that is, until Shiva and I visited Sakonnet Garden in Little Compton, RI. This amazing private garden was open to the public as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program.

My garden now looks extremely young and inadequate. Here’s why (rollover pics for words and such)…

step through the garden gate



















trimmed up high bush blueberries and ferns


















wow, that’s a really tall box hedge



















take a peek through the hedge



















colonnade of redwoods and asarum (wild ginger)



















go on, touch it



















turn around and look out the opening you just stepped through



















bench being devoured by a massive hedge




















You’ll want to biggify this one…

petasites and rhododendrons circle the pond










this arisaema ringens (cobra lily) is huge!



















sculpture in the garden


















clematis climbing a wall of hedge



















whoa, a crazy fastigiate maple



















did i mention that maple is really, REALLY tall?



















an archway leads to yet another garden room



















this one’s for Johnny: foxglove, monkey puzzle tree, hosta and, um, stuff



















closeup of a curved stone wall



















ooh, magnolia macrophylla (bigleaf magnolia)! tons of them here



















colorful red-leafed banana



















gorgeous Red Mughal Pavilion from Dehli



















a shot of gold weaves through the canopy



















Ganesha danced a little jig for us



















podophyllum spotty dotty... great name, amazing leaves



















the bigleaf magnolias really make this garden feel tropical



















Another one worth biggifying…

looks like something out of a glossy magazine, doesn’t it?











i just love these



















a grassy path past the hydrangeas leads us on



















a freshly stacked log wall frames the archway



















this garden room is all about screaming yellow foliage, like cotinus ‘golden spirit’ and hakonechloa ‘all gold’



















what do you suppose is through that passage?



















weeping black beech arches over the black border



















i don’t know what this is but i love the leaves



















now leaving the garden rooms



















meadow of grasses, wild flag and fern











a closeup of iris setosa, (wild flag), just for Shiva







































Maybe someday, 35 years from now, my garden will look like that. Heh. Yeah, right.

scenes from the woodshop

June 7th, 2012

David sends us progress updates from Tim’s woodshop.

The walnut, cut and labeled…

scenes from the woodshop: walnut cut and pieces labeled




















Pieces selected for the office area built-ins…

scenes from the woodshop: for the office area built-ins




















And pieces for the bathroom cabinet…

scenes from the woodshop: for the bathroom cabinet




















More news as it comes in!

venus as an oh-boy

June 6th, 2012

In case you missed the once-in-a-lifetime transit yesterday…


Also, Bjork. Always loved that song.

you game? Hogan’s Heroes

June 6th, 2012

One of my earliest crushes, Richard Dawson, died a few days ago. Now I haven’t done a board game post in at least a year, but when I think of Mr. Dawson my mind fills with a blur of Hogan’s Heroes reruns from my childhood.

Do I happen to have a Hogan’s Heroes board game, even though it predates my ’70s TV show board game collection? Why yes, I do. For sentimental reasons, of course…












I assume that the man in blue next to LeBeau and Kinch is Newkirk, Dawson’s poorly drawn character…





















The goal, as was typical in the show, is to sneak a man out of Stalag 13…













As the senior ranking officer, Col. Hogan was in charge of the POWs…





















Did you know that although Col. Klink…





















and Sgt. “I see nothink!” Schultzie are Nazis…





















… the actors were actually Jewish in real life? Neither did I.

Turns out that the actor who played Klink escaped Nazi Germany with his family in 1933. And the actors who played Schultz and LeBeau spent time in, and lost family in, concentration camps. Others on the show shared similar credentials.

The show was funny. Real life was not.





















There’s Newkirk again…














































































As usual, the bumbling Nazis are easily defeated and the boys sneak their man out…





















A happy ending!





















Goodbye, Richard Dawson. You will star in my childhood memories forever…

making sawdust

June 6th, 2012

walnut plywood




















The walnut has arrived for the built-ins in the bathroom.

And now David gets to put his mad woodworking skillz to work…

the cutting has begun




















Stay tuned. Thanks, Tim, for the use of your woodshop!

baseboard, how low can you go?

June 5th, 2012

Since the beginning, I’ve been on a mission to put an end to this business…

window trim



















trim around the doors



















stupid trim on the stairs





















Trim. Mouldings. Baseboard. Whatever you call it, I’ve broadcast my distaste for it more than once. I hoped to eliminate its evil existence in order to visually simplify our small spaces and reduce opportunity for dust collection. But… well, sadly it has reared its lascivious head downstairs. Luckily, David and Joe found a way to minimize its profile so that I can live with it. (Not that I have a choice.) Such thoughtful boys.

Do tell, David…


So. The question is why do we need baseboard down here?

Well, the makers of our new cork floor specify a 1/2″ gap between the cork and the wall, because cork needs room to expand and contract with fluctuating temperature and humidity. That’s a gap we don’t want to look at, so it has to be hidden by something: baseboard. Ordinarily trim is an opportunity for decoration but not at our house! We want it simple, plain, and rectilinear thankyouverymuch. That meant we had to customize our own.

Joe and I held the sheetrock up from the floor for two reasons…

where the baseboard will go




















By running the cork underneath the sheetrock, the 1/2″ gap can be between the cork floor and the studs instead of between the cork and the face of the sheetrock. That allows us for more minimal baseboard, as we can move the face of the baseboard inward a full 5/8″. Sweet.

Our test piece of baseboard worked out alright…

baseboard test












Check it out — instead of 1/2″ like the trim we pulled out of here when the remodel began, the baseboard now steps out from the wall only 1/4″…

baseboard now 1/4"




















Here’s how we did it: that L-shaped rabbet at the top of the board wraps around the bottom edge of the sheetrock…

so, this is the new baseboard


Then there’s a gasket on the bottom of the board to seal it against the floor but still allow the cork to expand. It also gives a slight reveal, hides any waviness in the floor (oh yes, the cement floor beneath the cork is slightly wavy), and makes it easier to paint the baseboard after installation without getting paint on the floor. That’s a plus.

Once it all tested out we made up 150′ of it, primed it, and started installing…

baseboard going in




















So that’s the story of the finishing detail on the walls, almost finished. Next comes the part where Brook and I wrestle over what color to paint it. Heh.


what happens in the shower

June 1st, 2012

… stays in the shower. Pretty sure that applies to the fancypants aluminum edging that now divides the tile and the cork ceiling, because I can’t imagine it escaping its new confines…

aluminum edge between tile and ceiling




















Looks good, no?

aluminum edge in the shower too




















There’s still more to be done, so don’t be too judgmental yet. The niche will be tiled soon and there’s more metal edge to come. And grout, of course. But I’m loving how it’s coming together so far!

in the bathroom, again

May 31st, 2012

Overdue for a check-in on the tiling progress. Let’s see how it’s going down there…

Mark and I figured out the placement of the niche. Actually, the placement of the pipes in the wall figured out the placement of the niche for us…

niche placement




















I really had my heart set on a long, skinny niche like this one, but the pre-made offerings were laughably short… we would have had to lay our shampoo bottles on their sides. Once again, had to settle. Sigh…

pre-made niche goes in




















niche gets mud




















However, it is mudded up and ready for tile, so there’s that.

Meanwhile, the tiles on the end wall almost reach the ceiling…

bath is tiled almost all the way to the ceiling now




















And did you happen to notice the aluminum edging?

crisp aluminum edge on the white tiles




















Will make a nice, crisp line between the tile and the mirror above, and between the tile and the walnut built-in going to the right of the sink.

The sink, if I can remind you, looks like so…

our duravit sink




















Speaking of which, I suppose you haven’t seen the rough layout yet…

layout of sink area




















We probably have a nicer scribble than this somewhere… I’ll see if I can dig one up.

Anyway, the top of the white vessel sink will be on level with a walnut box/countertop — the wood will get a heavy-duty coating of something you’d see used on boats. Green? Unlikely. Impervious to water? Most definitely. The box/countertop will be open on the end next to the toilet, so we can stash magazines and toilet paper rolls where no one has to look at them. (No more toilet paper holder like in the drawing.) A walnut shelf will stretch from underneath the counter to the corner of the room where it will also serve as a bench. Behind the bench is a floor-to-ceiling wall of walnut with a few hooks up high for hanging clothes. Built-in storage is planned for the intersecting wall — details later.

So that’s that. Did I mention that the wood for the bath built-ins arrives TOMORROW? Woot!

plant me happy: native wisteria

May 24th, 2012

Do you love the smell of basil as much as I do? Then you might like this:

my wisteria amethyst falls




















Nope, not a basil.

This is Wisteria ‘Amethyst Falls,’ a native form that doesn’t smell anywhere as sweet as its overly aggressive Asian relatives. That doesn’t stop the bees, though. Oh no. They’ve been psyched about this vine since the first blooms appeared in its very first year. I planted it at the end of our veggie garden… that was 2 years ago.

Did I mention it blooms almost nonstop? Crazy, right?

wisteria amethyst falls bloom




















That was something I never expected. Instead of blooming just once in the spring like most wisterias, Amethyst Falls blooms for me off and on throughout the summer and even into the fall. Who knew?

Yes, it climbs, but I don’t have room for that so I just let it tumble over the wall. For a plant I had my doubts about in the beginning, I must say I am thrilled with it now.