Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Frugal Victorian: High style look at low cost. Design Series

Lets face it, if you read our blog you like Victorian style and everyone would love a high end Herter Étagère Filled with exquisite Tiffany pieces and high end collectibles, but that is far beyond the average persons budget so I thought we would demonstrate how its possible to take a low cost items, group them and create high end look with low cost.

The Étagère is simple in design and serves as a good base for our example.
In this case we used a simple  ebonized spindle Étagère (for sale in our shop for 125.00 and create a high style spot in your home for around 250.00 or less with accessories.
Layering add depth an dimension.

We took a gray sheet for a backdrop but you could use any fabric you might have laying around. To create visual interest we layered it with a piece of scrap gold paisley material (purchased for 5.00) and thumbtacked to the wall to create a swag. We them added a simple framed print in a gold frame to repeat the gold theme and provide a focal point and to balance the higher part of the Étagère. As you can see using backdrops already makes the piece more elegant. If you live in an apartment and can't paint, this is a great way to create visual interest on wall without damage

3 Items per section is a good limit
Creating groupings are important and care should be used to use no more than three different items in an area. More than that, can look too cluttered. Vary the height of the items also adds visual interest. Here we contrasted off the gold fabric with a dark green Iridescent vase. Old Photos with their own built in stands are a great decorating item (4-10 ea in our shop).

All three items have shades of grey and black in them
Playing different textures off each other is another effective tool. Here we took a silk fan and played it off the silver cups and another photo. The black and silver and the greys of the photo all work together and the gold in the fan ties with the frame above it on the wall and the gold swag.

The tall area of the Étagère needs at least one larger item to visually fill the space. In this case we used a glazed vase with a grey color with some reddish browns tone found in the swag, We used some  smaller items in silver with it to create some 'sparkle. without overpowering the vase 

The lower shelves use less significant items to fill the rest of the Étagère but not overpower the focal items at eye level as you walk by Note the use of the Rec Tassel with the Oriental plate and the depression glass bowl (Depression glass can be found in our shop from 5-10 per piece) the shelf below it uses a simple framed print and a postcard with red to continue a repeat of color from the shelf above. Antique postcards (5-10.00 are a low cost decorating idea ) The lowest shelf used a heavy silver tray and book to help fill the space and weigh the base of it down. We recommend any tall item like this should be wired to the wall with some wire and a small screw eyes to prevent tip over.

So there you have it a creative exotic corner for your home done for less than 250.00.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Grand Hall: 10,000 or so stencils and we will be done!

I try not to count, as it would only drive me crazy (crazier?). Our Aesthetic Movement hall required the creation of  patterned main field, in gold of course. Fortunately, I elected to do a large sheet of about 50 flowers in the stencil, given the overall length of the wall, number of painted flowers required per sq ft, and we are somewhere slightly in the neighborhoods of 10-11 THOUSAND images !

As the first panel came together I have to admit I am pleased with the overall look. The 'bloom' of the pattern as you move by it especially at night is incredible and I can imagine how this might have looked back in the day with the hall lit by FIVE gaslights (we found where each one was located on the ceiling) Our plan is three lights but we are adding some wall sconces in the hall so we have flexibility as to how much light the hall needs at any given time.

With the ebonized trim we know the wainscot would be dark as well as the wainscot was always Painted darker to 'anchor' the room, was wood or sometimes marble. Well, we could not afford marble, so I elected to do a stylized marblization over the black paint and this gives it a depth and reflective quality that elevates the room to a higher level.

Of course its a looonnng hall and lots to do but its some progress. But of course an inlaid hardwood floor will be a necessity WHICH will be another project.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Burgman Restoration: The Great Stencil Project continues !

The wall field section taking shape
The  "Grand Hallway" because of its length and width are about the equivalent of doing 3 normal size rooms in most houses not to mention the 12 ft ceilings. However to accomplish this feat will be quite the challenge and its occupying a lot of my available free time.

Essentially we are following the Aesthetic Movement ethic. This requires a more elaborate approach that typical stenciling . In our case will  have the  marbleized wainscot, a multiple bordered mid-range field panel that consists of multiple bands and inset small paintings with 3 different stencil elements, gold leafing/gilding and a large upper wainscot that will feature more color bands (each stenciled differently) and a large frieze.

At this point we are working a on the first panel as one comes to the top of the stairs and it will feature all the decorative elements of the other panels that go down the hallway although each small  half round painting will be different. So the first section is where we determine all the color interaction and shades to get it just right.

A key focal point are the 'stained glass panels' in opposite corners, this follows a design ethic you often see on English Aesthetic transfer ware china and tiles where corners are anchored by a decorative element. These panels are based on aesthetic stained glass and take elements from the design for the stained glass window that will be at the top of the stair window.

Within the "clay colored border" are two small paintings one at the top and bottom, again slightly offset 1/3 into the wall panel width on opposing sides . These follow the same basic colors as the "Crane mural" on the curved wall we discussed in the last post. they are loosely executed and will eventually be 'aged' to look "period" for the age of the building as will everything else.

The Golden Tan of the main panel is being banded with a stencil executed in a period pattern in a light green color that takes its cue color wise from the colors in the mural and acts a balance color wise between the clay, Pompeii Red and gold. This along with the gilt stripe band create a elegant display.

Next Time? The "clay border" and gets its stencil and the Golden Tan panel gets its stencil design

Monday, January 23, 2017

Working away at the Burgman Building: Stencilling and murals

First post of 2017 and we plan on getting back on track on postings as we know those of you following the  restore want to know what is going on. We also plan on bringing back our Antique of the Week and more Preservation articles. Of course we still are completing end of year stuff  so we are very busy. We had a great holiday and were very pleased with shop sales.

Upstairs we are working on the "big hallway". Over 50 feet long and 4 ft wide with 12 ft tall ceilings it is more that a way to get to the front formal rooms it is an opportunity to showcase Victorian style and design. One of the key things about this hall is a curved wall that transitions from the  top of the stairs area to the long hall leading to the Parlors and formal dining rooms. This curved wall is the perfect location for an piece of art and true to the period and our love of the Aesthetic Movement we have decided a Crane scene with stream is appropriate . This design was common in high end entries such as the now gone Lux mansion in San Francisco which had similar curved wall. Far from done with it but I'm beginning to get a feel for how this will look.

Another design decision is what to do with the woodwork? We know that the wood was originally faux grained but the last owner had taken all the trims off has it stripped, this raised the grain and had to be sanded. More importantly he had not labeled anything and we spent weeks getting the door trims back to the doors that they belonged to. Also the baseboard has not been taken off and was painted . Removal of the curved baseboard (based on our experience) would have been ill advised We decided to do an ebonized wood treatment and a Herter Bros theme gilded stencil, again following the principals of the Aesthetic Movement.

To this end we chose  a design based on some inlays used in a Herter Bros piece we sold several years ago. We have a total of five doorways and one window to do, so its an on-going project.

We have not forgotten the downstairs and we are now working on the upper frieze stencil in the shop space too.

So there is a lot going on and more updates will be coming sooner than later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Busy fall days, Many projects, Burgman Building

Well fall is upon on and I have about 1/2 the things done I wanted to at this point, but I always make a long list, so really, we have got a lot done.

Landscape work has paid off and the corner looks great, we have even expanded around the side a bit and was able to get some ornamental Switch grass planted and some bulbs and tubers for next spring

Inside the Garland Parlor is the quiet place to sit and  read a bit in the evening. So a little bit of proper space in the residence is just what I need.

Window restoration has been a big priority and while I didn't get as many done as I wanted we have a start.

In the Dining Room we have begun the paint removal process to get down to the original paint finish which has been shellacked and would have made any new painting impossible without getting down to original paint. Its slow going and the perfect project when you do not what to think about anything.

The big score of late has been this Neo Grec Gaslight which will wind up in either the Dining Room or Garland Parlor, haven't decided yet.

More to come

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Saving Midtown: Tipton School Site and saving it from out of town developers

Naturally even in a small town there are forces determined to change things and not always for the better.

Such is the case in Midtown in Logansport, as Crestline Property Management out of Indianapolis, is seeking  a PUD (Planned Unit Development) in our neighborhood at the old Tipton School Site. The site represents an entire city block that once housed this grand school. Later on they built an elementary school on part of the site and it too was town down. The site now runs from 15th to 16th.

As we can see the school occupied a large part of the site and in fact most of the massive stone foundations are still under that site under the parking lot as in the old days they just collapsed it and put fill over it.

The commercial district on 15th street tells us a lot about the neighborhood. There was a Meat Market and a Barber on the corner at 802, S 15th street,   two residential buildings and large long building that was a foundry of some sort. These buildings were demoed years ago and again, just dropped and covered. So what does this mean? Well in means this is likely an archeological dig site and that should be considered as a part of any digging on the site. This is something the developer are  overlooking and something that we, as preservationists need to be sure is addressed with any development on that site. Important pieces of Logansport history are on that site and they must be preserved.

One of the major concerns of the community is the proposed size of this project is 69,000 sq ft and goes from one end of the street to the other. It would house 42 apartments and be over 40 feet tall. It will tower of the smaller cottages built between 1860-1890 and will negatively impact them,  of particular concern is the negative impact to The Shondinger building at 825 and the small one story at 805 (now a garage )that was originally a Tailor shop as it project will literally block out the sun.

Similarly this will negatively impact the homes on Wright street.

The smallest house is on the NE corner of Wright and 15th  is a 600 sq ft one story shotgun cottage circa 1865 (restorable).

This illustrates what this house might resemble post restoration:

On the opposite NW corner is a yellow brick 1 story storefront that would be part of the Midtown 15th street revitalization project which envisions a future community retail or shop use and redesigned sidewalks

There are also Victorian era assets along Wright St including small 1 1/2 story cottages circa 1875 cottages and a two story (circa 1885) on the  corner of Wright and 16th that still have a high level of interior architectural integrity and just need exterior restore including correct sized windows.

This shows how these street might impact the community if restored.

This is the point.  A large scale 69,000 sq. ft. 40 ft tall, 42 unit apartment building (low income), with only 43 spaces will overwhelm the neighborhood, create traffic and safely concerns and negatively impact the quality of life in Midtown which is why we must oppose bad development.

This project will require state tax credits to move forward and it will be up to the community to let officials know that large scale sprawl is not needed in our community. We can not have historic single family neighborhoods in small towns over run with large scale buildings and traffic.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Year Two: The shop feels "right".

A recent acquisition: displayed, as always, in a room vignette to help you visualize how it might look in your home
We just recently started Year two of our shop, Our first day was August 29, 2015. We started with just the front room, It was a "little sparse" as we were still bringing things in.

When we opened we had a lot of blank floor space. Today its a different story
The shop has been an evolution and the naysayer's who said your crazy to open in a small town have been proved , well wrong, To date people have made pilgrimages from 22 states.

Now with two showrooms, and a full inventory, we can offer you a great shopping experience
Our goal is , now and always will be Victorian Furniture and Design and we will always provide a variety of price points for our clients. We understand that many of you are sinking your life savings in your historic home and Antiques are a bit of  a "nicety" that always take a back seat to saws and paint stripper and the inevitable "unforeseen" event that goes with old home ownership.

So as we enter year two and head into our second holiday season we are cautiously optimistic that we "have it right" and we thank you for your support and patronage.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Burgman Building Restoration: A little more outside work FINALLY!

None of this was here when we bought the building. Flowers all transplanted from other places on site.
It's been oppressively hot and the shop has been very busy with people shopping, so work has been limited.

The lattice wall defines the garden space.
A cool day gave me the opportunity to do a little more outside work. We installed the picket fence but needed to get the 'lattice screening" in the back. This lattice will support the grapes that will be planted along the back wall of the garden space.

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The lattice now creates a backdrop to the pond and once it gets grown in it will look great.

We eventually plan on re-installing the windows that were in the garage so in the mean time I have done a little art project by painting the boarded windows with what else window painting.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Burgman Building: Landscape Restoration "we have another pond"

We knew there had once been a pond on the North side of the building , we just didn't know where as it had been filled in years ago. Well we found it while clearing out some concrete that was sticking up near our garden spot.

An afternoon spent we had a huge hole and a pile of rocks.

We used the broken concrete and dirt to build a hill for the upper feeder pond and we ran our pump test yesterday to se how it would flow.  Next steps are to fill it the rest of the way up and plant some aquatics but I plan on taking it easy today after moving over a ton of stone.