Friday, July 31, 2015

Burgman Building: Facade painting and dining room projects

We have been so busy working I noticed I haven done a post in 10 days so here goes.
We continue to work on the front façade, I have gone up about as far as I can with the step ladder so its time to bring out the scaffold. Overall we are pleased with colors . The capital painting is the obvious next step.

The Dining room has been a project we wanted to tackle, just off the Garland Parlor and the Persian parlor it is a good size for dining but suffers from two many doorways. We think that doors to the hallway and the Garland Room were added at some point, with the closets being gone for the new kitchen we eliminate one doorway but ultimately all the doors need to be gone.

The hallway was very dark as a result too, so we made a decision to open up the doorway to the hall to 6 feet and in its place will be fretwork and Portieres, the doors to the Garland room and new kitchen will also do and be similarly treated with Portieres.

The small door was a closet added at some point it will go away completely. The door to the right is to the new kitchen and will become an opening with portieres
Here we have started the process of opening up. This was a non load bearing wall.
New opening really adds light into the hall
We are adding salvaged wainscot and there will be a chair-rail and baseboard for a more finished look
We removed the transom window in the hall to add height to the doorway and replaced it with fretwork made from a salvaged piece someone gave us.

The fretwork adds elegance but keeps things open and visual
We restored this piece which had been in basement for decades. We like free things!

So we have been very busy! More to come!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Burgman Building: Hallway project and moving in.

Its been a  pretty busy weekend, moving more stuff and actually staying at the place. One things that immediately struck me is how quiet it is at night.

Couldn't resist taking some night photos with things lit up.

We also painted the dark cavern of a hall which had been painted dark tan/brown, we chose alight blue (period for the time). Still have some ceiling repairs to do then we can start thinking about wallpapers and stencils. Because of the size of the hall there will be two chandeliers with polychromed medallions and we plan on installing some crown molding period to the time period.

And wonders of wonders we have our internet back up with few glitches so I can try to do more blogging (faster speed) and maybe even upload some video of work being done

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A study of Victorian Design: The Persian Parlor

With everything going on, getting the shop space ready, moving not only inventory but our own stuff...and we have a lot of stuff...the Persian Parlor sits. I had placed one chair in it so I could occasionally take a break and sit there and marvel at its artistry. It is a 17x23 ft work of art and my job going forward will be to conserve and lightly restore it while preserving its "aged elegance". This week we began finally moving some things in to the space. After all we are moving in so it proves me an opportunity to study the space more and as we bring things in, determine how to "set the stage" and find the best selection of items from our collection for it.

What we know about Victorian design  comes from photos and some historical accounts of the era as well as books about "design" which often were personalized tomes about one persons opinion on what was good design. Colors of the era were 'described' but only when you have a "document room" like we have at the Burgman Building can one see first hand exactly what it looked like. Furniture placement in large rooms is often difficult as there are no records describing how this room was furnished so its a calculated and educated 'guess' at best. Most likely this room had a double parlor approach with two distinct seating areas under the two gasoliers that were originally in the space. In my minds eye I know how it will eventually look but at this stage it is introducing things into the space and then studying how they will work and play with the room's walls.

A good design trick is to take a photo of a space then edit it down to black and white. If when you have done that it looks like you are looking at an old photo and the balance of the shade of grays looks "period" you probably have it right. As we can see from the same photo in Black and white and color this balance looks right.

So over the next few weeks we move some stuff in , move some stuff out, mice things around and at some point things will be just right. But for now I am still packing and moving so this exercise will be a work in progress.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Burgman Building : Facade painting and other projects

The front of our building is wonderful. Unfortunately the two tone pastel pinks and green combo (since 1985) does not do it justice. The property deserved a 'formality' that the colors on it didn't project. The green (added by the prior owners) was fine, but it needed more to compliment it and accentuate the detail.

We elected to us black for the columns (we may faux marble the lower sections and we are undecided at the moment). To pull out detail we used a gold color called "butternut" which closely approximate the golden ochre colors used in the Victorian era. Once we get more painted we will likely add a crimson or burgundy accent color as well. So far I like the new look and we have had several compliments about the new paint scheme

The Hostas and Lilies are blooming and the gardens area sea of blooms.

After a many hours of work the old green kitchen wall in what was an "open space apartment" is being transformed into a proper master closet for the new master bedroom suite. Gone is the dark green replaced with a creamy ivory. These built ins were totally unsuited for a kitchen but they are ideal for a gentleman's closet and dressing room. I will be adding some period crowns molding and trim and the hanging lamp gets replaced with a more period appropriate lighting, but this is well on its way

We will use a combinations of custom baskets and open storage but it should serve us well when complete. Some cabinets may get cedar lined for closet storage but initially I think  we will live with this for a while, get stuff moved in and see how it works and then tweak it a bit, but some drawers will be added , I'm already sure of that. because of the master bedroom suites size 24x37 feet., we have huge space to create a grand master bedroom and provide generous closet space and a master bath all done in a 'period framework'.  The design ethic here is to create a grand space that is both comfortable and scaled to the size of the room. Hopefully we are on our way,

With everything else going on? We have new inventory coming in, This is a unique piece that appears to be a top for a buffet or even could serve duty with a fireplace, or even incorporated into a small back bar or wine alcove. Lots of possibilities with this piece and I love the beveled glass.

Another "Grand Piece" . This slate mantle was tucked in an attic in a local Logansport home for decades. This consigned piece is part of an estate liquidation. Wonderful design, and  a superb example of Victorian painting artistry. It is missing the top, but we have a slate top that would work with this and we can custom finish it to match. Contact us for details .

More blog posts coming, as we find the time!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Burgman Building: Weekend Update: Stencilling and landscaping .

So much going on I can only touch on a few details. In the shop space I have begun the stencil process of the wall borders and I hope to start field panel stenciling soon.. Its a tedious process.

We are using a  border stencil from our Neo Grec stencil line and it will serve as an example of what we do in terms of decorative stenciling.

Given all the rain lately we had a rare, and I mean RARE day of dry weather and we headed outside to work. The "courtyard area' between the garage and building had been long overgrown and neglected and we transplanted some stuff to a more sunny location where it can actually bloom. The AC units will soon be relocated to the roof ( we have to call in the alarm people to deactivate the alarms systems for relocation), and this space can be better utilized for an outdoor entertainment space but it sorely needed a facelift and that's what we did.

Behind the building we addressed an overgrown area next to the building pulling out a lot of Virginia creeper and Ivy. We re-mulched the beds, re-laid border brick, and transplanted more stuff from the "back forty" where we virtually have our own nursery. We still have to re-lay the brick on the other side of the walk, and mulch, but with everything we do, it brings a real smile to our face to know we are bringing the building back.

Restoring some 'order' to the space has been rewarding and I am starting to see the vision of the Burgan's had with the gardens.

Other great news: the closet built-in is being painted,  a bed is in and we are moving in soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Burgman Building Restoration; sales counter work and hidden pathways found

In a perfect world I would have loved to have a period store counter and I may yet find one, but to get us open I have had to be creative and use recycled material to come up with something. We are 'almost there" with some trim work left to do but it should serve us well.  Its sort of "Victorian updated" but most will come in and not notice it and in this case 'blending in' is a far better alternative to some wall slatted commercial pieces I seen in other shops . I used an old IMAC left in the garage as a visual about how much space our POS monitor would stick up. Still have to finish the "screening" of that area but I think its going to work. We will have a ton of storage space for wrapping paper and boxes under the counter and I'm working on building out shelving and storage.

Upstairs Greg has been busy stripping wallpaper from the "Grand hall" as we call it . 53 feet of hallway from the stairs to the Reception Parlor just before you get to the Persian Parlor...bye, bye,  1990's wallpaper border, this space will soon be transformed back to period elegance.

Days on a ladder painting have meant...what else? a break from ladders and we spend a day doing some yard work. I have resigned myself to it taking some time to fully restore the grounds on what we like to call the "Burgman block" since we own almost an entire city block of land. One of the pleasant discoveries was this stone path leading from the back yard to the back door. It was discovered when I found a stone covered by ivy and just started cutting away. This garden archeology is fascinating to me and we are just beginning to understand the thought Mr. Burgman put into his garden.We even found the old well pump base to the cistern

Although you can't tell, there is a two level pond under all that ivy! We have started cutting back the ivy off the gravel path that wound by the two level pond, but trust me it will take a lot of work and discovery to get things looking the way they looked back then.  But that will be future project! Some of our neighbor's who have lived there for decades have vague recollection's of sneaking back in "The Grotto" to play in the pond area. It was a favorite "hide and seek' playground for the kids in the neighborhood back in the day.

We also came across some paperwork. A printed listing of the house on Historic from 2005! at that time (pre 2008 real estate crash), the house was for sale for 94,000.00! In the listing it talks about how the site (3 lots) was used  as beer garden back in the old saloon days! Its a fascinating insight back.

So tomorrow? Work continues!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Burgman building: More moving and painting

One thing we have done is paint the tin appliques in the showroom window space an aged copper finish like that on the store counter and it impart an elegance and depth to the space.

Meanwhile we have been painting the other side of the shop space including the round window areas . Ultimately I plan on trimming the windows out with wood casing ( a more finished look) but for now I need to get things ready to open so we continued the color banding around them.

We keep moving stuff in and its getting full fast which will drive the timetable on the rear shop space so we can be ready for the holiday sales season. We also  put some notices out on Craigslist and other places about our impending opening and people can be seen peering in the windows daily to see what's going on.

A pleasant surprise as the Clematis' is in full bloom. We have had so much rain lately and I'm dying to do more work in the yard.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Burgman Building: Shop window display space work

One of the things we have been working on is the storefront window display space area. The shop windows are great and period with beadboard on the raised shop area panels which makes for great display space, however the walls in the display area are a bit plain. Currently the inside of the windows and the double doors are painted a not very attractive  yellow, doing a little paint research shows they were a medium green (the same as the frieze area in the store was painted originally) and our plan is to go back to that, at the same time we want to unify the wall space at a the display and differentiate it from the main walls. To do that we found a "tin style' material which is a glue up and will be painted to match the trim. This will give the store display windows a more unified look. This tin style material is made of polymers and comes in 2x4 sheets and once painted will look like we have tin wall back in the display area

We should be ready to install hanging rail as soon as we finish the wall panel paintwork and change the frieze area color at the top to the original shade of green that was there.

Overall making, progress and moving in more stuff everyday.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Burgman Building: Inquiries and moving stuff

Seems not a day goes by without someone peering in the shop windows to see if we are open yet. So even though we have tons of stuff to do, we at least staged the front of the shop so when people peer in they will see some of what we have to offer. Yeah, I'll have to move it several times as we paint walls, stencil, rework various mechanicals, but it helps build interest and it's sort of free advertising until we do open.

As it is, I have been switching out stuff in the front showroom windows.

One thing we "inherited' with the property is a bookcase, while not our style it does make a good display piece for small stuff. Boy was it heavy and even after we removed all the shelves it was all we could manage to get move it from the back room to the front.

Of course we have all sorts of interesting 'big things' coming everything from square grand pianos and pump organs to huge pier mirrors and architectural salvage so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Burgman Building: Another multi project week

Starting the build, lots to do
Well we are getting closer to getting the shop together and part of that is building retail counter. While I'd love a period store counter, we cant find one, so using some stuff we already had and we are putting one together. Still have painting to go some trim work and the new wood counter top to go on.

Lots of insulation.
Everyday is a discovery and we checked out the attic to find its well insulated, dry and well ventilated. I do think we will add some thermostatically controlled vents however when we get around to exterior work and replacing the wood panels that were removed whenever this project was done.

Some great, some good, some shot but a lot of this is salvageable.
One 'fun thing' has been the basement actually its more like a cellar. Over the years as "improvements" were made , woodwork simply got tossed down there. Damp basements are not particularly  kind to wood. There was some stuff that had been down there many years that was pretty much shot BUT there was also some more recent stuff that was good. We located some good door trims, and a lot of beadboard.

Things are blooming now there is some sunshine.
Just to "get way' from restoration and construction I've been going out and working in the "grotto" and doing some pruning and weeding. Now that I have opened up some sun by some recent pruning, things are starting to bloom.

You can see the remnants of an old metal arbor, You'd never know you were in town.
We have also located part of the concrete barn floor which was once used a patio hidden from view by all the trees bushes and ferns. It will take some work to restore it back but we will eventually get there.

Inventory is starting to be moved in even though we will have to move it around while we work but the sooner its moved in the sooner we can open.