Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Design Thoughts

While painting an oil painting, my mother-in-law just sort of popped into my head...probably because I was looking out the window at the "Lily in Denial"...see following post..anyway, there she was. She's amazing; I cannot tell you how old she is, as she would kill me dead; but, she's in great shape...Here she is, getting ready to take a brisk (and I do mean brisk) walk.
This poster is of her, taken in the 1940's, when she was a high-fashion model in New York City. I used it in a presentation I was giving on how to be inspired by things around us in order to pull color schemes together....She was and still is beautiful. Now, to the point; a couple of years ago, my brother-in-law met an untimely death. He had lived in the lower level of her house for thirty years, God love him, and had smoked three packs of cigarettes a day during those thirty years. Nicotine stained everything; the ceiling, there was paneling, everything.
I decided to redo the lower level for her single handedly (she did help, and she was a trooper). In order to get rid of thirty years of nicotine, one has to paint at least five coats (this was done by moi) over the paneling, ceilings, and walls of good old Kilz, goes on like paint.. Otherwise, it would bleed through any paint put on it.

There was little to no hope for the bathroom. Horrible, outdated vanity, lights; the floor was cracked tiles. Since she is on a tight budget, we kept the outdated blue toilet and the tub and shower insert were blue, but in good condition. I put a white shower curtain over it, and it disappeared.
At Lowes, we found an inexpensive vanity, new lighting, peel and stick floor tiles to cover the cracked ceramic tiles, and one of the best problem solvers in the world: Beadboard. Beadboard is our friend. After stripping the wallcovering, I realized it would be next to impossible to get the walls in condition to paint, so I hired a couple of fellows to cut and install the beadboard. I ran it three-quarters of the way up the walls, and put a finishing piece on it. Then, I put wallcovering (very simple, of clouds) around the top. I had the fellows build a small bench to fill in the vanity space, and we made a pillow for it. It is hinged, so it can be used as a hamper.
I have done million dollar homes, and high-end bathrooms, but when I saw the look on my mother-in-law's face when it was finished...I am most proud of this bathroom.

Latest From Texas

I used to have a pretty, ceramic platter, that I would put birdseed in, and a lovely, vintage glass bowl for their water...That lasted about two days. Now, I have a cast iron griddle, and an ugly, plastic dish...We have "critters" with no table manners whatsoever....A bluejay, who thinks it's his personal bathtub (this is shot through the window, so a bit blurry, and yes, that's a deer in our woods), three squirrels, who eat sunflower seeds so fast, that sometimes, they just have to lie down and rest, assorted varieties of birds, an opossem (named Blossem), who visits often...leaving a terrible mess, and a racoon, who is totally nonplussed when one turns on the porch light and says, "go away"..eventually, it ambles off into the night.

Our "Lily of the Nile" is in bloom, and that's very exciting, as the deer eat pretty much everything I plant...they wiped out my Bee Balm (trying to attract bees), but have left this one (actually, two blossems) alone...My mother-in-law, God love her, calls it a "Lily in Denial"

Our first fawn of the season. We've named it "Zoomy", for obvious you see him, now you don't...
Thanks to wonderful Lady Bird Johnson, we can enjoy wildflowers all over Texas, and learn and enjoy about wildflower gardening, and gardening in general at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center....

This is an Enole...not sure how to pronouce it, but they seem pretty unafraid...My cat, Raisenette Funicello Buttafuco thinks they are tasty...poor babies.

If I weren't still painting like crazy, I'd get in the car and drive out to The Wildflower Center, as they don't allow deer there....