Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There's Treasure at the Habitat ReStore!

The Habitat ReStore in Richmond is another one of my favorite places to shop.  Builders, remodelers, homeowners, and retail stores donate new or gently used building materials and supplies of all kinds, and profits from the store go to the Richmond chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  I never know what I'll find there, and it's always something I just can't live without.

I fell in love with these chairs.

What is a Habitat ReStore?

You can get lumber.

The following is taken from the Richmond Habitat web site.

"The Habitat ReStore is a retail outlet offering building and home improvement supplies for sale to the general public at greatly reduced prices. The new, gently used, and salvaged supplies are donated by individuals, contractors, and suppliers.

How about a bathroom sink?

"The ReStore participates in Habitat for Humanity International’s overall environmental goals by diverting usable materials away from the waste stream, while promoting responsible stewardship of natural resources. Last year alone, ReStores diverted thousands of tons of usable building supplies from landfills.


"Not only does the ReStore fulfill its mission of environmental stewardship and allow people of limited means to renovate their living spaces, but it also channels all profits into the building of new Habitat homes.

Lights?  Most of these look like builder-grade lights, but the price is definitely right if you need one.

"Habitat ReStore functions much like a thrift store for a wide variety of building materials and is open to the general public Our prices are well below retail and specific pricing depends on age, condition, quality, and quantity of the item. If you have a project in mind (or are looking for a project), shop often and bring your measurements."

Doors!!  Interior,  Exterior,  Hollow,  Solid,  Paneled,  Slab ... you name it.

I had a crush on this red door ... but no place to use it.  :(

"Shopping at ReStore is an adventure! Every day we have new inventory to choose from, including furniture, flooring, architectural items, cabinetry, fixtures, wallpaper, appliances and more—at prices up to 90% below retail! Some items are new, some gently used, and others come from deconstruction. Not only can you find some beautiful items and great bargains, but you are helping the environment and low-income families at the same time."

Chemicals of all kinds ... most are only $1.   I wanted to buy this huge can of paint stripper, because it was practically free, but I'm not doing any projects right now that need it.

What did I buy while I was there, you ask?

I bought this huge tray for the ottoman in our Family Room ...  (I'll tell you about the ottoman itself another day.)

... a pile of decorator fabric samples for a sewing project that I'll show you on my other blog ...

... and THE CHAIRS!!  There are 8 of them (You can see the other four with the ugly formica dining table in the upper left?)

Everything in the store this past weekend was 25% off.  These eight chairs, which only needed to be wiped down, and the ugly table, came to grand total of (are you sitting down?)  $90 +tax.  I didn't need or want the ugly table, and the store wouldn't separate it from the four chairs that it was displayed with, so I paid the price and left the table behind as a re-donation. 

If you have a ReStore where you live, go in every now and then to see what treasures YOU can find.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... The Beautiful Mutabilis

I make no secret of the fact that the China rose 'Mutabilis' is on my short list of favorite roses. 

Mutabilis has SOOO many wonderful features that keep it dear to my heart. 

By now, You all KNOW that my very favorite flower form is the Single ... the simple beauty of 5 delicate petals, with a cluster of stamens in the middle, is irresistable to me.

I like my rose bushes to be BIG, and Mutabilis has the potential to comply.  I have been told that Mutabilis has reached its mature size when it is as big as a VW Bug!  Mine is about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide right now.

You have probably already noticed one of Mutabilis's most unique and endearing characteristics ... the flowers completely change color and form as they age. 

Newly opened flowers are cream-colored, with an apricot blush on the edges of the petals.  Look at those stamens!!

By the next day or two, the petals have darkened to a deep pink and they are longer and thinner.

This is what the flowers look like right before the petals fall off.

Mutabilis is a PROFUSE bloomer!  There are always flowers at each stage of bloom found on the bush at the same time. 

The Mutabilis in my garden was a gift from my friend Rick.  (Remember Rick's garden that I shared with you HERE?)  It started life in his mother's garden in Florida ... a climate that China roses LOVE.  After she passed, he dug up the rose and moved it to his garden. 

Rick's yard is small, and he doesn't really have the space to devote to such a large rose, so he made the difficult decision to remove it.  This was made easier for him knowing how much I love the rose and that I will take good care of it and treasure it for the story behind it.  Rick tells people that I have the only Old Garden Rose that he's ever given away.  (He replaces and rearranges his modern roses all the time, but antique roses in his garden are considered permanent.)

I planted Mutabilis in a VERY prominent spot, so it is the first rose I see when I go through the gate into the Rose Field.  I have given it a very large space, so it can grow and become the star that I already know it to be.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome to Our Foyer ... A Work in Progress.

It's been a while since I shared part of our house with you.  Today, let's take a tour of the foyer.

This is what you see as you enter through the front door.


I stood on the front porch to take this photo.  The foyer is wide and roomy, and is a great space to greet friends and guests.  There are parts of the foyer that are completely finished (mainly the walls), but most of it is a work in progress.  As I show you around, you will see lots of stripped wood and trim that is waiting to be sanded and painted.  Eventually, these projects will rise to the top of the list.  Until then, they're fine just the way they are.


This is what it looked like the first time I walked into this house, when we were touring it with our realtor in the summer of 2002.  The stair runner at the time was too narrow and worn out, and I have always called that light fixture the "Bug Bucket".

The door to the family room is on the left.  I showed you the Family Room in THIS POST.


And the living room is on the right.  When we bought this house in 2002, the door to the living room was missing.  We found it in a pile of junk, as we were cleaning stuff out of the loft of our barn.  Who knows how long it had been there.  I used a heat gun and a scraper to strip off many layers of peeling paint, revealing the original colors of cream and green (See the green on the corner blocks and the door panels?)  We keep this door closed because the living room is nowhere close to finished, and we use it for storage right now ... such is life when living in an old house under renovation.


The front door is huge and heavy ... 42 inches wide!!  There is never any problem getting furniture into or out of the house through this door.  It took me over a week of solid work with my heat gun and various scraping tools to remove all of the built-up paint from the door, sidelights, and transom.

Here's a before shot of the front door, showing the white paint (it will be white again one day), and the gold flocked Japanese-style, 1960's wallpaper.


This mirror was a gift from the family we bought the house from.  They left it for us (in the dining room) because the wife thought it should stay.  I love it, and I moved it to what I think is the perfect spot behind the front door.


This is the staircase in 2002.  Notice the curvy trim on the side of each step, and the ogee molding that surrounds each wood panel.


Right now, all of the trim is in the basement.  It's stripped and sanded, and it's ready to be primed and reinstalled ... whenever I get around to it.  I removed half of the balusters because it is easier to strip them if they're not in place, and to make it easier for the floor refinishers when they did their job on the stair treads.  The stair railing and newel post wear their original finish, which I protect with the dedication of a mother bear.  I have threatened more than one tradesperson working here ... warning them of the possibility of immediate, violent death if anyone were to damage the finish. 


From this angle, you can see the wool runner we had installed after the steps were refinished, the chandelier I restored and installed, the mahogany clock that we bought as a present to each other on our 25th anniversary, and an aerial photo of the house.


I found this chandelier online, at a shop at Ruby Lane Antiques, and it is PERFECT for this space.  My father-in-law disassembled it, I painted and antiqued the pieces, and he rewired and reassembled it.  From the look on Alice's face, I think she approves.


The clock was built for us by Irvin Rosen, of McKinley, Virginia.  Mr. Rosen was in his late 80's when he built our clock (and another one identical to it for someone else).  He is an exceptional cabinet maker, with a workshop full of wonders.  We have two more Rosen clocks (a banjo click and a pillar and scroll clock).  I feel priviledged to have met him, and honored to have such beautiful examples of his work in our home.


The aerial photo of the house was taken some time after the addition was built in 1967.  It appears to be a hand-colored black and white print, and it has never left the house.  Each owner passes it to the next ... a tradition I will keep, if I were to sell the house ... which I'm not going to do.


The door to the basement is under the stairs, facing the aerial photo.  It hasn't changed much since I took this photo in 2002.


This oak sideboard is the very first piece of antique furniture that my husband and I bought after we married.  We are now using it as a place to drop keys and whatnot, and we store our shoes in the bottom section ... to keep Daniel from eating them.  On it, you see two oak humidors that once belonged to my husband's grandmother, and a miniature Lane cedar box from a furniture store in Fredericksburg.  These tiny boxes were given by furniture stores to graduating senior girls, in hopes that the girls would visit the store to buy their 'hope chests'.   I collect these boxes, which are stamped with the company name and address, from local companies whenever I find them.  So far, I have Fredericksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, and Orange.  (all Virginia, of course)


As we go upstairs, this is what the view to the downstairs looks like from the first landing.  If you look carefully, you can see Alice lounging on the rug by the front door.


This small flight of stairs leads to the upstairs landing and two of our four bedrooms ... the doors are closed to protect the innocent.


In 2002, before we moved in, this landing had the same gold flocked wallpaper as the foyer.  After removing the wallpaper, stripping the paint off the doors, walls, and trim, repairing the plaster and painting the walls .... it now looks like this.


The French doors lead to the roof of the front porch.  They were installed in place of a window during the 1960's renovation.


Here's a photo showing all of the stairs, and Dorothy coming out of the Family Room.  Alice is still on the rug.


Back downstairs (there's Dorothy again).  This doorway leads to the dining room and kitchen (which I'll show you some other time.).  It was cut into what was originally the back wall of the house.  One side of that line in the floor is original 1848, and the other side is 1967.

As you have seen, there is still a lot of work to be done in the foyer.  The doors and moldings are stripped of all their globby, built-up paint, and I have to give them a final sanding and who-knows-how-many coats of paint.  The stairs will have their trim and balusters primed and reinstalled.  Don't even get me started thinking about the work that's going to be necessary on the front door.

Even with all of this ahead of me, I look around and I fall in love with our house all over again.  Can you imagine how many people have walked through our front door in the 160+ years of history in this place.  Each family has made changes, some good and some awful.  I'm trying to sort out these changes ... keeping the good ones and repairing the mistakes ... on our home's road to restoration.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Very Successful Plant Sale!

What a frantic pace I kept this weekend!  The plant sale in Richmond was Friday and Saturday, all day both days, and I worked by myself.  Whew!!

The weather was fabulous!!  Blue sky and wispy clouds, though the temperature on Friday was a bit warm in the afternoon. 

Though it's a ton of work, I love taking the roses on the road like this, because I get to meet and talk to many more people than I can when I'm open here on the weekends.  Folks I met ranged from experienced rosarians to complete beginners.  You all KNOW how much I love roses, and I love TALKING about roses almost as much.

The photos of me in this post were taken by my friend Jim, who volunteers at the garden.  He snuck around like some sort of photo sniper, snapping photos without my knowledge.  Jim is such a darling ... there's no way I could be anything but delighted by the attention.

All of the pots on the tables are primped and staked, and alphabetized so I can find them easily.  I made sheets of photos and descriptions and hung them clothesline-style, to show customers what the flowers look like, and to help them decide. 

When people are shopping here at the nursery, they can walk the garden to see the mature-size roses.  Few people are really familiar with old garden roses, so visual aids are a great help.  On Saturday, I brought a vase of roses with me, cut from the garden that morning, so everyone could see the flowers in person and experience the FRAGRANCE.


As you can see, I am NOT a gifted flower arranger.  It didn't matter, because I was taking this arrangement apart all day, handing roses to people to smell.  In the vase in this photo, I see Felicia, Maggie, Rose de Rescht, Angel's Camp Tea, Madame Caroline Testout, White Cap, and one yellow petal left on Zeus.  (Hot and sunny conditions are not good for cut flowers.)

Jim liked how I hung my hat on a bungie cord while I set up on Friday morning.  After everything was in place, I wore it the rest of the time ... the clear sunshine would have fried my fair skin in almost no time.  (Sunblock is a totally essential part of my morning routine.)

In the end, I sold a few roses, answered TONS of rose care questions, held a few hands as customers made their choices ... and I was so glad to get home each day to get off my feet.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

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