December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2010

Philly Architectural Salvage Locations... p3

The last Philly salvage place we check out was ReStore.

Overall: A. we'll definitely be back.

We got lucky and snagged a street parking spot right in front of the place. I'd imagine that any other time but in the evening you'd be able to find the same, since it is on a residential street.

It is a mid-sized loft-ish type warehouse where everything is super well organized, the place is well lit with natural light and the surroundings feel nice. The major bonus is you're not paying for the "nice feeling" surroundings, everything seemed fairly priced to me.

Vintage door knobs are pretty much automatically awesome in my book, but I went nuts for these milk glass knobs! They are pretty unique and are just gorgeous in real life. There was serious restraint on my end to hold back from purchasing them for the price of $30 a set. Only slightly higher than the normal brass or crystal sets they also had on the table.

Pete caught me eyeballing up antique tiles for our eventual fireplace(s). I'm leaning more toward old, original (and slightly ugly-ish, they are a brown and green tie-dye look) tiles for them while he like something less authentic but nicer looking.

Windows galore! Doors Galore!

I'm so glad we took the time to check out these Philly salvage and antique places. Not only are they so close to us, but they provided us with the chance to talk more about the upcoming renovations for the Wee house. Talking about the reno always gets our creative juices flowing again, especially when they have been stalled behind a long time of garage building. Makes me so anxious to get the garage done and move on into working on the house!

December 15, 2010

Dining Room Seating- Check!

Confession: After buying our fabulous new dining table in May, we moved the old dining set into the living room, with every intention of putting it up for sale immediately. We sold the set on craigslist in November.

Even I'm giving us the side eye glance for waiting so long on that one.

However, that means we did finally settle on seating for the new table. It was a really long process where we sat in countless chairs at so many different stores, brought home four options (that ultimately got returned), did hours of online browsing and had at least 3 blog posts ( here, here , and here ) devoted to the dining room alone. What can I say? I either make extremely fast snap decisions based on emotion or I like to beat an idea to death with thorough research and pro/con lists.

Our search ultimately ended with me sitting in a Home Goods chair looking extremely dejected and frustrated. Taking a thoughtful sip from my Starbucks, I looked up at Pete and went "Lets go with the couch and the stools. We both really like them and I'm tired of dealing with this crap."

Couch and stools. Um Eva, you're missing the "chair" part...

I'll backtrack to the start. It all started with this picture that I found floating around the blogosphere last year that eventually got sourced back to Everything about the picture looks so inviting to me. I loved the smaller in stature wood and metal table paired with the upholstered loveseat. Everything about this set up makes me want to plop down and have a cozy dinner at the table with Pete, something we rarely do.

When we came home with our new table, this picture popped back into my mind. So while searching for chairs, I also expanded my search to include an armless love seat. Which is why when I came across this love seat on overstock, I was uber excited to show Pete an example of how we could interpret the look from the inspiration picture. The loveseat was pricey at $300, but I figured if we ever tired of it at the table that I could easily find another place in the house for it.

Since we need seating for more than two people at the table we grabbed the another idea of using stools in place of chairs. That would open up and be a good balance to the bigger love seat.

The stools would be the CB2 Contact Stools I wrote about way back half a year ago. Pete loves them and now that we have then, I'm a fan myself. With their small size and simple look I thought the stools could pull furniture double duty by being movable seating and act as side tables if the need arose.

They are a great as seating option for kids because they are super solid, spin in circles and can be wiped down. A few days after ordering the stools showed up on our front porch. We almost had an "oh no" moment after placing them at the table, because they came close to not fitting. Thank goodness that even despite not measuring the height of the table they did end up working just fine. You think we would have learned that by now, but always freaking measure!

Which is how we ended up with this:

Next instalment: I'll tell the story of how we did eventually end up with two chairs. The search restarted with a comment from my friend who mentioned that she'd cut someone in order to snag a spot at love seat at our next girls night....

December 13, 2010

Philly Architectural Salvage Locations... p2.

I'd grade the Antiques Exchange a B-, depending...

Not horrible but I doubt we'll be jumping up and down to get back to the place. The place just didn't fit well with us and our needs (budget) right now, but there we do think it is worth another look at a different time.

Major bonus is that this is right down the street from Standard Tap.

(Go and eat there. Delicious food and great beers)

I'll start off with my biggest problem of the place- everything was really overpriced. Which is why you all you see are price tags that have faded ink and have started crumbling. You know when the tape yellows and starts to flake away? Lots of tags just like that. I also liked the "hold" on an item from June of 2009. Just a hunch, but I have a feeling that they aren't coming back.

The other thing that really got me and knocked the grade down was that I'm pretty sure a large amount of certain items they had were reproductions. Really crazy cool looking reproductions, but I take issue whomever is trying to pass a modern piece as an antique. Especially when you're talking a cost of multiples of thousands of dollars.

Other than those negatives, we did like poking around all the floors and saw some neat stuff.

Our favorite was the door section, where we found some awesome old pocket(?) doors that had glass inserts with the original rolling hardware attached. Love them and the fact that they aren't something you always come accross while shopping. When it comes time for the Wee house, we'll definately try to come up with a place for a door like this.

I really adored this Victorian fireplace surround. Something about its smaller size and toned down details really attracted my eye. I forget the exact price, but I do remember it made me laugh.

This cooper antique coffee urn made us stop in our tracks with its large size and shiny looks. However we didn't love the $1,4oo sticker price. Shame that is so completely out of our budgets, this would look awesome in an antique kitchen or dining room.

The top floor was really cool, it was amazingly bright with natural light thanks to the skylights, but was really run down ( complete with graffiti). You could tell it was the area where things went when people stopped caring about them.

If these pictures pique your interest or you're planning on visiting Philly for another reason, then I will say it won't be wasted time or effort to plan a quick stop at the Antiques Exchange. Just don't bank your hopes on it and bring a fat wallet. Info in case you want to check it out for yourself:
715 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia

December 8, 2010

House of (Holiday) Cards

From: Eva
To: Peter
Christmas card?

From: Peter

That is really funny. I like the hat. I don’t need to be in the Christmas card anyway. Leave it solely up to the Jewish girl :)

From: Eva

I figured that you could be on the inside of the card. Maybe even the back!
And it is not my fault you didn’t want a picture with the hippo at south of the border!

What about this one?


Maybe we should take a picture with the garage? Since that is really our baby this year?

From: Peter
Are you really thinking about getting a Christmas card this year of just us? We never send them out. That sets an expectation for the next 100 years you know.

From: Eva

I am contemplating it... I feel like it is my job as a wife or something to send them out...
I loved getting all the cards from my friends last year. They made the house look so festive!
I’m seriously getting into the holiday spirit this year. Be prepared for major January Post-Holiday sadness.

Plus, Shutterfly is offering 50 free cards to bloggers.

I like free.

From: Peter

I agree. But I spent many years setting the negative precedence that cards are stupid. I like to expect them, just not give them. You know, like any selfish person would do!

****End of Email Chain***

* edit... Shutterfly, you disappoint me by punking out on the free card promise. Despite that I shilled your products like a two bit table dancer on my measly blog I got nada from you.
sad cardless eva

December 7, 2010

Wrapping up for the holidays!

Much like a lot of people, Thanksgiving was the official kick off to our holiday season. We took a long look at the December calendar and saw that it was packed with obligations. Which is when Pete and I decided that it was time to pack up the garage work for the winter. There are people to see, presents to wrap and champagne to drink every weekend! Sad as it is to have halt the work that was rolling along I would be lying if I said that I didn't need a break from the garage. Cause I really do.

As much as I love the garage and am having fun building it, working outside in the winter on construction is a hard way to spend all your free time and every weekend daylight hour. Work goes slower cause you're slower to get things done. The wind hurts your face. You come home with sniffles everyday. The sun sets before you know it. And we have a lot of limitations on what we can do because of the weather (such as no painting).

No one really gives you a medal when your eyeballs freeze or snot pours out of your nose all day long on job site. And I'm not into doing things just so I can say I did and be a DIY Topper.

Example of the DIY Topper: " Well I worked outside on my garage during the biggest snowstorm the east coast has seen in a 1,000 years."

One cold and windy Saturday we double layered and headed over to check off in our pre-winter to-dos for the garage.

I moved our considerable sized stash of awesome old oak planks out from the rusty and crusty lean-to, into a much more suitable home in the garage.

All while Pete worked on a temporary winter wall for the back side of the garage.

We towed in Pete's someday project car, the '72 Land Cruiser. It proved especially challenging because of the one flat tire. But now the Land Cruiser lives in the garage until Pete has time to work on it. Which will be in about a decade.

And then we put up our winter " garage doors", which are in the form of plywood.

I'm ready to change gears for a little while!

December 1, 2010

Philly Architectural Salvage Locations... p1.

Even though our feet are firmly planted in the demolition part of the wee house renovation, we still can't help ourselves when it comes to checking out items for the future rebuilding stage. We like to look for the items we know we'll need or want (eventually). Shopping architectural salvage/antique places really helps to fuel the creative process for us and we get a ton of light bulb moments while browsing around. Almost like we're building an inventory or mental check list of certain things.

Because of our constant searching regarding anything house related that is old and awesome, we try to check out almost every salvage place we hear about within a few hours of driving distance. Unfortunately that means we've hit some dud places along the way, in addition to our perpetual fave spots. Which is why when we saw Provenance featured on a DIY network show we wrote down the name so we could a) remember it and b) make plans to check it out.

There is a small parking area outside the warehouse and you just walk right in the open door.

The warehouse for Provenance is large, but not huge and overwhelming. Something I appreciated because those monster sized warehouses tend to feel a little creepy when you get to a dark corner.

I LOVED how nicely everything is arranged inside. It is about as neat and organized as I think a architectural salvage place could ever be. Makes it about a million times easier to shop the place when you don't have to constantly dig out items just to even take a look at them. I'm not a gal that is afraid to wade through the muck and get her hands dirty while searching for a gem. But I know not everyone is like that and that some people don't always have the time to hunt down that *one* item. For those that don't like a hot mess of a salvage location- this is the place to go.

I want to make out with this door because it is just that awesome. It is almost exactly what I want to put in the front of the wee house (eventually). I die for its transom. and the hardware. I wonder if the house wants this door as a holiday present...

Just a few old glass knobs...

Small mantles...

Big mantles....

Antique heat registers, something we're definitely planning on incorporating in the Wee house.

The outside area....

and there was so much more inside that we didn't snap pictures of.

We got to chatting with one of the partners for a bit and he filled us in on the business and how they operate. Provenance definitely is a place we'll be going back to, and I'm thrilled that it is so close to us and walking distance to one of our favorite burger places in Philly, Standard Tap. Makes me so excited to move on with the Wee house renovations. Now if only the garage would ever get itself finished...
* this is all based on our own personal experience and you must be out of your gourd if you think I got compensated in any way for writing this. I just like spreading the good renovation word around.

November 30, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

You may think we're a little nuts, but Pete and I LOVE heading out on Black Friday! We don't wake up super early to hit up the door buster sales or even have a marathon list of people to buy for. Our only goal is to get out there and see as much as we can while enjoying a free day together. Often we'll pick out a major destination that we want to explore and then build a game plan around that location.

For example: In 2008 went up to the Crate and Barrel Outlet (awesome) in Cranbury, Nj. From there we went on to the Fortunoff Outlet (not awesome) on Long Island. After that we checked out the Roosevelt Field Mall. Afterwards we decided to head on into Manhattan and experience the Herald Square Macy's where the two of us spent hours checking all nine floors of the building. Ended the night with some delicious Magnolia Cupcakes before heading home on the NJ Turnpike South.

Mixing things up this year, we decided to head west and spend some time learning new places in the familiar area of the Philadelphia region. A quick search in Google for Architectural Salvage Philly gave us three really promising sounding businesses to check out. So we based our day around visiting them first...

The plan:

Brunch at
Sabrina's Cafe , highly highly recommend. Delicious.


912 Canal Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
( A+)

3016 East Thompson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Architectural Antiques Exchange
715 North Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
( C+)

... it took a few hours by the time we explored all three locations but the day was still young! So we loaded up on an amazing hoagie from
Campo's and yummy drinks from Starbucks while heading out to the King Of Prussia Mall. Since we both work about 5 min from the KOP mall, we know that area like the back of our hands. Which was awesome because we were able to scoot right around all the massive traffic in the area and got a primo parking spot!

After KOP we hit up the Limerick Outlets, I mean Philadelphia Premium Outlets, quickly. Woah it was packed! I can imagine it was super scary that morning. The Nieman Marcus Last Call used to have some really neat home items, but not this trip unfortunately. At this point we had enough time to get one more location in, The Lancaster Outlets which is home to our favorite outlet store, The Pottery Barn Outlet.

By the end of the day the only thing we purchased was a new GPS system for our car from Best Buy. However, we had TONS of new house related ideas filed away in our brains just waiting for the time to come for us to use them. I can't wait to hit my new favorite salvage places again!

Anyone else have a black friday tradition like ours? All day shop-a-thon, or do you spend the day warm and snug in your house far away from the crazy crowds?

Pictures and detailed reviews of the architectural salvage locations coming soon!

November 29, 2010

A Fall Miss

Today I am thankful that we're ok.

Last weekend Pete fell from the second story of the garage onto the cement floor and landed on his feet. Right in front of where I was standing, narrowly missing me by about 6 inches.

One second Pete was upstairs, then BAM he wasn't and there he was-standing in front of me looking a little bewildered at what had just happened. Turns out that the plywood he was standing on slipped off the framing and magic carpeted itself off down to the ground. The ground where I was headed to right at that very second to work. My poor giant head almost got squished by plywood and Pete.

It could have been really bad, but it wasn't due to sheer dumb luck and good timing. Pete has some bruises on his arm and sore leg muscles when he walks down stairs, I am so beyond thankful that those are the only issues resulting from the fall.

Oh, and my bff the air nailer is now broken due to the fall. Pete dropped while falling and it hit the cement floor with quite the clatter. Fingers crossed it can get fixed or we can find a killer deal on a new one.

Learning curve: Never work directly under someone on a construction site.

November 24, 2010

Houston, we have a roof!


I'm a wee bit excited about it, in case you couldn't tell...

We started the days work with Pete getting up on the roof and working on the lookouts, while I cut the wood to size on the ground and passed it up to him.

Originally we thought that the back wall needed to get up in order for us to get the final two roof panels up. With talking to some old timers of the construction trade they gave us to schematics to make what is called a "chicken ladder" which should solve our problem of getting the panels up without a wall. Why is it called a Chicken Ladder? Cause you're too chicken to get on the roof and do the job without one.

I made the ladder out of 2-2x4x16, a few 2x4's and a bunch of little 1x's for the rungs. It took about two hours to get the wood cut to size and screwed into position before it was ready for work.

The idea behind the chicken ladder is that it hooks onto the roof. To get the ladder on the roof required Pete climbing up the purlins with me pushing the ladder from below until it got to the peak, then we could hook it on and place it over an already down roof portion. Once the ladder was in position we could grab the last panel and start our normal process of getting them up on the roof. Instead of walking on the roof purlins like before though, Pete used the chicken ladder to safely screw down the panel.

As expected the last two panels did give us the most trouble. We came the closest to losing one over the back side as Pete pulled it up, those panels are slippery little suckers! I've also never thanked my freakishly long arms more while on the job than I did while putting up the last panel. Because of the slope of the land at the very back of the garage there is about an extra foot or so of height that we have to deal with. To counter that we had to put the ladder on cinder blocks, which made it suspect to instability and was still a little bit lower than I felt comfortable with, as I had to hold the panel up with essentially just my finger tips. When Pete got the first screw in on that panel I was seriously super happy!

How are we getting the ladder off that roof you ask? See the rope? This weekend we're going to pull it over the side and hold our breaths while hoping that it doesn't break. Fingers crossed.

November 22, 2010

Front garage wall is up!

Three sides are up, one to go!

As for the garage doors, we'll be nailing plywood over the openings over the winter. During that time I plan on painting and prepping the doors to get them ready for a spring installation. We have to tweak them a little bit to make them perfect, a usually side effect of buying them used and saving boatloads of money.

November 18, 2010

Weather Thanks

Today I'm thankful that this fall has provided us with mostly mild weather. Mainly because I overall hate being cold, but also because it gives us the chance to keep working on the garage as long as the weather holds out. November is always iffy weather wise here in NJ, so it was a crap shoot how much past the first of this month that we'd be able to stand working outside for long periods of time. Especially since the house isn't heated in the least bit, so you get no breaks from the weather or chances to heat up. So I'll take the 50's and sunny!

November 17, 2010

In this edition of:

Old crappy houses I happend across and loved.

For those that have just started reading the blog, I'll fill you in on a little factoid. My husband Pete and I are seriously obsessed with crappy old houses. Nothing gets our blood pumping more than taking a peak at a run down and saw better days a centuary ago gem of a old house. We'll almost immeadiately start dissecting it, discussing the work that would have to go in and all the ideas for the house to make it what it should be. It's a sickness.

We love peeping on shitastic grand old homes in historic areas. Even though we have two lame ducks of our own, there is a strange need to talk about the what ifs and the what could bes for these strange and beautiful houses. Nevermind the fact that the two of us have never even done a restoration of house of such a grand caliber or even done a true historic renovation at all. We still can't stop talking about how fun it would be to someday touch and shine up a home like the ones we saw while in Savannah and Charleston.

The first house i feel for was around the perimeter of Forsyth Park in Savannah. Facing the gorgeous open space of the park, I couldn't help but to fall fast for the brick exterior and front porch that looks over such a historic green space. Couple that with the bumped out window on the second floor? Give me a book and I can bet you I would never leave that little window nook.
If you look closely at the picture, you'll see my little fist ( the one that is not clutching on for dear life to my much needed coffee) clenched in excitment as I look over to Pete with my " I love it, we should move to Georgia and buy it" face.

Next up is the grand mansion that we happened across on a walk around the permiter of the town. It was such a stately home in bad shape that I really wanted to move right in. Bonus, as this one was actually for sale. Not bonus, no way in hell we could buy it. The back gardens were overgrown and snarly looking, but if you looked past the vines you could see the old fountains and lawn. The house was just HUGE, I'm sorry we didn't grab a better picture of it. Since it was empty and for sale I didn't think they would mind if I ran up the steps and took a quick picture.

Something as simple as a great power wash would seriously transform this place. I hope whomever buys the house treats it the way it should be treated! I'm sure they will though, Savannah seemed to be on the ball with preserving its homes.

Finally, my favorite of the bunch. This house was in Charleston and was right across from the park in the Battery area. I can't even imagine how much this house is worth even in this condition. It is a shame, but this house is crumbling down and really needs a preservationist to get their mits on it. The brick driveway I posted yesterday, the one in bad condition, is the driveway of this house. The amazing columns are likely worth more than my annual income to repair and made me weak in the knees when I looked up at them. Pete basically had to drag me away from this house.

When ever I see a house like this, grand and historic in such a wealthy area, I try to guess the story behind it. How did this house, which is clearly worth a ton of money and in such a prime location, end up like this? When its neighbors have manicured lawns and fresh paint. was it Divorce? Death? Caught in a legal battle? Old owners who have fallen on hard times but own the house outright and have nowhere else to live?

November 16, 2010

Vacation Inspiration

We took a few things away from last month's trip to Savannah and Charleston when it came to house and garden design. These are the things we're storing those ideas away until the time comes to implement them in our own home.

1. Glossy black paint. We can't wait to crack open a can of super high gloss black to paint to really make our exterior accents stand out at the Wee house. All over both cities Pete and I would constantly notice and point out to the other anything architectural that was coated in black paint and caught our eye. I got especially excited over the blue, black and white combo below, because those are the serious contenders for whenever the Wee house gets painted.

2. Tea Olive Trees. I am fully obsessed with this sweet smelling flowering tree. At some point one of them will be planted by our patio off the dining room ( neither of which that we have right now...) so I can spend my late summer evenings in pure scent heaven. Since we're way north of the sub tropical location of Charleston, I plan on getting the hardiest version for our NJ garden and wintering it if need be.

3. Brick driveways. Even though brick is a costly material to use for a driveway and will likely cripple me during our eventual DIY installation project- I'm completely sold on it! My favorite look is the two smaller lanes of brick, heading up to a fully bricked parking pad.

4. Garden design. During our tour of some great older homes of Charleston, we went gaga for some of the private gardens. No pictures we're allowed on the tour and they were sticklers for it, so I have nothing to share from the ones we saw then. Picture romantic, private and inspiring natural rooms that make you feel like never leaving because your bones have relaxed into mush from the surroundings. I'm pretty surprised that I'm not still there. This is an example of a great garden that we snapped from the street.

5. Big mo-fo gilded mirrors. I love them. Not sure Pete is on board with the giant mirrors the same way I am.

Stay tuned for the "Crappy Houses that Pete and Eva fell in love with while on vacation" blog entry...