22 June 2014

Painting, painting, painting. . .

This photograph shows the dark red -- not really right for a smaller room -- that was the old color.

The Grand Duchess and Young Master return sometime Monday evening, barring delays along the way due to predicted strong thunderstorms of course.  Yours truly has been busy the last week or so with some surprises for them, including repainting the upstairs bathroom as well as uncluttering (decluttering?) the living room and library on the first floor.

Of the two of us, I am really the more domestic.  While the Grand Duchess makes some fantastic things in the kitchen, I am the one who does our laundry each week, makes the beds, and keeps the first floor of the house straight and vacuumed.  It will come as no surprise then that it has occurred to me in the last 18 months or so that the rooms on the first floor could look even better with some careful rearranging and through simply putting away other various smaller items.  You know, getting rid of that cluttered late Victorian over-decorated look.  Bare surfaces, free of encumbrance are attractive and almost zen-like by comparison.

And let's face it.  Unless one is fortunate enough to live in a 20-room house, you just can't display everything -- the nick-nacks, the trinkets, the tschatschkes, the STUFF you acquire in adult life -- on every surface without it beginning to look junky after a while.  No matter how skillfully it is arranged.  You know, like the set of Sanford and Son on TV back in the 1970s (the American version of Steptoe and Son to you British and Commonwealth visitors).  Nope.  Clutter is the devil.  The devil.

Here, you can see the still wet first coat of the new color (Olympic -- Green Tea Leaf latex in satin finish) all done and in the midst of drying.

So, during the last marvelously quiet three weeks without wife and child, I've been able to 1) hear myself think, and 2) move a few things, put lots of stuff away, hang or rehang a number of pictures, step back, examine things, reconsider, and start again before finally getting it just right.  I was also able to move the lion's share of the books from the living room shelves into the the library -- where the Grand Duchess likes to work on her laptop while reclining on her maroon and gold fainting couch -- which only makes sense.  

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately?), I sold and/or gave away about four additional boxes of non-fiction and fiction books pertinent to my subject area the summer after I finished graduate school back in 2003, so that particular task was not quite as arduous as might have been the case.  Whew!  While I admittedly wish I still had the books now, the fewer one has to move, individually or boxed up, the better.

Anyway, all of this work is meant to be a surprise for the Grand Duchess.  Our eighth anniversary is on Tuesday, the day following her and the Young Master's return, and while I have a small gift for her to open, my various interior decorating activities are part of that.  I haven't said anything about it when we've spoken on the telephone.  Hopefully, she'll approve of everything that has transpired in her absence.

Finally, here's some fun stuff!  The first five wagons and carts almost finished.  Just a bit of detailing on the horses' harnesses, straps, and reins, then I can finish the humans and do something about varnishing and a tiny bit of ground work.

Last but not least, I've also been plugging away, here and there as time has permitted, on those first five wagons and carts, which you can observe in the final photograph for today just above.  They are very close to being finished.  Needless to say, with all of those harnesses, collars, and straps, painting up a supply and pontoon train isn't something to undertake lightly.  I now recognize why I have not yet bothered to add limbers and horse teams to my various artillery contingents!  

After examining quite a few photographs on the net of the harnessing and reins for draft/draught horses, I decided simply to wash the areas in a dark brown using a new #4 round brush with a good point.  The girths (around the horses' middles), however, were painted with a much lighter 'leather brown,' a small plastic bottle of Ral Partha color that is about 17 years old, believe it or not, and still going strong.  The gaming shop on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin where I bought it and a few other bottles of acrylic hobby paints that are still with me is, needless to say and sadly, long gone.

Today (Sunday), it's on to the front hall downstairs, which gets the same gray-green (Olympic -- Green Tea Leaf latex with a satin finish) treatment as the second floor bathroom.  I've done a bit of research online to find fairly authentic (correct) interior colors for craftsman style houses, and this particular green is the one I like best.  Not too dark, light enough to make a room seem bigger, and visually more interesting than bone white.  Green is also a calming color, which is something I desperately want and need in my life.  Calm.

The previous occupants of our house, students whose parents lived in another city and actually purchased the place for their son (and friends) to live in during his university 'experience' -- Talk about spoiled! -- painted most of the first floor in a light cocoa brown, which isn't a bad color, but when every room has it on all four walls, well. . .   It's a bit monotonous.  The painting was done rather sloppily too, so after six years of living in the house ourselves and making mortgage payments to our bank, it's time to fix things and do the job like it should have been done in the first place.  Know what I mean?

-- Stokes

Later. . . 

Here are two shots of the finished and put-back-together bathroom on the second floor after the inevitable and damnable small painting touch-ups late this morning followed by clean-up.  I like it, although it does call to mind those old photographs of doctors' and dentists' treatment rooms during the first half of the 20th century.


Bluebear Jeff said...

I like that green, Stokes. I think that the Grand Duchess will too.

-- Jeff

johnpreece said...

Well, I think it looks great, but you are a brave man to change the colour scheme and alter the ornaments on your own initiative.

Good luck.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you, men! Into the Valley of Death and there but for the grace of God go I, eh John?

Best Regards,


Fitz-Badger said...

Looks good all around! Both the macro and mini painting.

Steve Turner said...

Good grief Stokes! Keep it down will you? Or you might give some dangerous ideas to "she who must be obeyed". She's been regularly hinting at (me) redecorating the bathroom since christmas.
You wouldn't like to book a flight to the UK and come over to paint ours would you?

Steve Turner.

PS Like the colour by the way, just wish my efforts came out as good.

Paul Robinson said...

What's this a man being domesticated. Does your good lady know how rare this is? I was trained by my wife not to leave a trail of clothes from door to laundry basket but that's about as far as I go with laundry.
As for the interior DIY I believe she will be impressed.

CelticCurmudgeon said...

My Dear Heinz-Ulrich,

In the unlikely event that the Grand Duchess does not approve of the redisgn of the Ducal Palace, I shall offer prayers for your immortal soul.

Prayerfully yours,

Gerardus Magnus
Archbishop Emeritus

Prufrock said...

Hmmm, if you could just magnetise that wall you'd be able to play campaign games while in the bath! A project for another day, perhaps?

Best wishes,


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