Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Will the Bamboo Survive?

My mom had some bamboo growing in her yard that she wanted gone and thought it might work for our side yard. The bamboo is tall! It's at least 15 feet tall and plenty to start our bamboo forest. We decided to start with a few clumps and see how they do.

Digging up bamboo is no easy task!
The ground was dry and hard so digging it up was pretty difficult. After watering the ground to loosen the dirt and a little elbow grease we pulled them out of the ground, put them in pots and placed them in the back of the truck. We had to lay them down in the truck bed, but they still hung out the back quite a bit. It was hot out (and not the right time of year to transplant bamboo) so we quickly ran home to put them in the ground.

Live... I tell you, live!
They are in, and still alive after 10 days. We're watching them closely. Hopefully, they will flourish. We plan to get more in September when the season changes and we can transplant them better. We'll have a full bamboo forest in no time!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bathroom Tile Update

The tile is ordered!
It's the custom blend classic tiles from Hakatai (mentioned in an earlier post), and will be delivered in mid-August. Today's design plan includes keeping the tub. We have gone back and forth on whether the tub stays or goes, but now (I believe) we have finally decided the tub will stay. The new-old vanity helped us make the design decision to keep the vintage look of the bathroom as stock as possible. Plus, we had no idea how difficult (or expensive) building a tile shower floor would be.

New design challenge

We ordered 113 sq. ft. of tile... only need about 70 sq. ft. for the tub surround. Options for the extra 40 sq. ft:
1. Tile the entire far exterior wall. This is adjacent to the tub so it will blend right in.
2. Tile the bottom half of the exterior wall and sink/toilet wall. The height will give a nice back splash behind the sink.

I have no idea what we'll do. Any suggestions?

New House Numbers on Order!

We're working quite a bit on the house exterior and landscaping this summer. (Steve's actually caulking and prepping the beams for paint right now!) I ordered new numbers for the front of the house and they will be here in about 3-5 weeks! Yikes! They are custom made... so I don't know why I expected them to express ship in 3 days. Oh well, we have lots to do until they arrive. Um, like paint the house!

We found a great link on the Bonnie Brae Project blog for houses numbers from Architectural Numbers by Weston.
Ordered the 4" Ribbon in Satin Aluminum with 1/4" spacers... so it should look very similar to the Neutra numbers at 1/3 the cost! ($23 vs. $75/ea.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cutest Vanity... in the World!

Okay, maybe not the world, but it is adorable.
Found it through a post on the Mid-Century Modern League forum. And it was FREE! (Thanks, Heather, for the great find! It will be very happy in our home.) Love the rounded corner and shelves. The sink is amazing. It's triangular with the fixtures set off to the right at an angle. Plus, it fits the kid's bathroom like a glove. Steve will clean it up and then determine if the finish needs to be stripped, sanded, and sealed. We plan to replace the Formica countertop—a corner was damaged during demo. (See previous post on Formica.)

Also, picked up a couple vintage bathroom mirrors with sliding doors. Very cool. I'll post pictures of those when I figure out my new camera!

I'm not sure if I'm going to have to sand it down and refinish it, but even if I do, it's way better than trying to find something close at Lowes... or paying bigger bucks for our contractor to build one from scratch. Thanks Heather! -s

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Clean Slate

The backyard is amazing, but extremely overgrown. It is truly a "mature" landscape. We tackled the wisteria last year and need to attack it again. The larger issue, however, is how to deal with all the ivy (it's everywhere) and the huge clematis that grows up all over the pool house. I hate yard work... especially tear-out... but it's gotta go!

The side yard is just outside the bedroom wing of the house... it will be the perfect retreat once the bamboo forest fills in. (Of course, we need to plant the bamboo first!) Thought we'd keep the boat as part of the castaway theme, but it's rotten and we believe carpenter ants have carved out a home in it. Verdict: the boat's gotta go too!

I love that I don't even own a lawnmower anymore (our previous house had a grass only backyard the size of Kansas!), but all these shrubs, trees, vines and their debris/droppings (?!!) take a lot of work to keep under control. The pine trees drop a bushel of needles almost daily. Another neighbor has wisteria (more wisteria?!!) and it tries to grow over a fence near our driveway. (One day... and this is no joke... a wisteria vine had actually started to wrap itself around our truck's driver's side rear view mirror!!! And we had driven it the day before!!! I think wisteria is really from outer space.)
Haley mentioned that she hates yardwork and tearing out plants... this is true. She hired a local high school girl to remove almost all the shrubs & ivy. It looks MUCH better now. Money well spent! -S

Steve braves the ivy mass that has anchored itself to the top of the pump house. You can also see in the background how much ivy there was.

Okay, this poor pump house looked like Captain Caveman covered with ivy instead of hair! It was awkward to remove it all, but I think it's a major improvement. Our plans are to Tiki-fy it... think of it as a future hut from Gilligan's Island. -S

Clematis is cleared away... ready for the bamboo fencing! No more lattice.

I'm going to get a bunch of that bamboo fencing stuff and staple it over the lattice. And I think we'll be painting the railing and maybe adding a few decorative rail accent panels. First things first, though. -S

I trimmed up the Japanese maple. Actually looks like a tree now. (That's Steve hiding behind the tree. He's cleaning up my hack job, and I'm art directing.)

I had a full head of hair before we started this project. Now look at it! It turned white and fell out in clumps!!! -S

I'm working on the plans for the backyard and will post the "re-build" when it's complete. Sneak preview: design plan includes bamboo fencing, tiki hut pump house, tropical plants, rock (lots of rock), a bamboo forest and possibly a 6+ foot tiki water feature that spits into the pond! And that's just the east side of the yard.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Seattle Shopping Spree!

Steve and I took a weekend to get away from all the house chores and escaped to Seattle for our 17th anniversary. I have lived in Portland my whole life (except for the college years) and had never been to Seattle... to see Seattle. We've been up there for band stuff and business, but never as tourists.

My previous experience with the Emerald City has been gawking at The Space Needle while speeding by on I-5, trying to make sense of MapQuest directions to a club I should have been at 1/2 hour ago, playing music, then either looking for a cheap but clean hotel (or crashing at Sweet Pea's Rockabilly Hotel!) or driving back to Portland in the early morning hours all hopped up on Pepsi & frosted sugar cookies. There has got to be a better way to check out Seattle than that! -S

So we packed a bag, threw it in the GTI and headed north—sans kids! We stayed at the Westin in Bellevue. I know what you're thinking... you go to Seattle and stay in Bellevue?

The Bellevue Westin is practically attached to Trader Vics, so we'd thought we do some research for our August trip to Tiki Oasis!

There were two of these guys guarding the Trader Vic's entrance. It's the swankiest Tiki restaurant/bar I've ever been in. The day we got there there were a bunch of limos and a Ferarri Testarossa parked in the front. Nice. -S

I love the menu design at Trader Vic's... wanted to steal it.

The restaurant area was really sparsely decorated. Some nautical stuff, a few tikis, but not really crammed with tiki stuff like I expected. The bar area was more tiki-fied (lots of tikis, hanging globes & traps & baskets, a carved-out canoe was hanging there, too.) BUT it still had an air of something being carefully askew and very modern, y'know? The food was amazing. Go to your nearest Trader Vic's and order the pork. Do it now... I'll wait. YUMMMM!! -S

We did the typical tourist attractions (Pike Place and the Space Needle) but then what? We drove up Aurora (nearly to Edmonds) looking for thrift shops and antique stores.

Haley deftly observed that we are officially off the normalcy grid.

At Pike Street Market there were hundreds of people perfectly content to wander, look at dead fish & over-priced produce (who buys artichokes when they're on vacation?!!) & tables and tables of shiny $50 trinkets (I noticed that $50 is the new $20). But we were totally underwhelmed and wanted nothing more than to get away from the throngs of shuffling zombies.

Our boy has a fascination with impressive architecture (Hoover Dam, Chrysler & Empire State buildings, State Capitol buildings, Claude Oakland homes... ) so a picture of The Space Needle was a must! We originally planned to scope it out for a future family Seattle day-trip, but sheesh.... the line looped around the thing at least three times! And there wasn't any parking either. I took that pic from the McDonald's parking lot.

We felt much more comfortable thrifting, browsing antiques and chatting with regular joe's on the street. Are we really that removed from "normal culture?!" ...and is that a bad thing or a good thing? We were a bit unsettled. Quick... back to Trader Vic's!!! -S


Steve found 9 Trader Vics coconut mugs for 79¢/ea. That's easy to transport home, but then I spotted two Danish modern chairs with chartreuse cushions... $10/ea. Excellent! BUT it gets better. At check out the chairs were half price!!!! We WILL fit these in the car! Took some creative "master packer" techniques, but finally got all our treasures in the car... and our luggage! The chairs will work great in the pool house.

We had tons of fun, laughed a lot and plan to go back sometime soon as tourists with the kids. Seattle is a cool town. -S