The Petty Home, a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne, is being fully restored by Miles Honeycutt. Miles is the same general contracter who oversaw restoration of the Clapp-Ferguson home and Winston's Broken House, both in the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood. Miles is restoring the home in keeping with historic elements of the original house to a single family dwelling. Check back often and watch this great home come back to life.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slowly collecting adult furniture

There has been a nice, long, much needed break after moving in and getting the house mostly livable. We've only just begun to get motivated and tackle new projects. In the works are a lot of big plans for the front and back yard... stay tuned! Inside, the most glaring thing is the lack of our "adult furniture." In this installment, we'll talk a little about the pieces we've started collecting.

This corner cupboard was built in North Carolina around 1810 and came to us by way of a generous gift from Nellie's Uncle Charlie, who felt the piece would do well in its state of origin. Charlie's home in Pennsylvania is full of unusual antiques that he has collected, resorted, and researched. The space left by the cupboard will make make room for another grandfather clock restoration. At various times of the day (and night) the clocks in the house all gong the hour. This cupboard is a wonderful, belated wedding gift. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but it's a really gorgeous piece made of solid walnut, that fits well with the style of our home.

On a recent trip to Greensboro, our good friend Erica introduced us to The Red Collection--a fantastic consignment shop. Nellie found some great old cabinets that were probably intended to be serving pieces in a formal dining room. They weren't in the best condition, but were a pretty amazing deal so we snatched them both up.

All the restoration folks we talked to said the quickest, cheapest, and most rewarding way to restore furniture was to use Howard's Restore-a-Finish. The cabinets weren't in terrible shape but had some water marks and nicks that, if corrected, would really make them shine.

The product just goes on over top the existing finish with no major prep. You wipe it on and then wipe off with a dry cloth. We did take a bit of fine steal wool to some of the more stubborn spots before applying the Restore-a-Finish.

This project did take the better part of our Saturday, but luckily it was a nice day for hanging on the porch.

Nellie is a hard worker on projects like this.

After the Restore-a-finish stain goes on, you're supposed to seal the deal with Howard's Feed-n-Wax which really brings out the shine and helps protect and condition the wood. You basically glop it on, wait 20 minutes, then wipe off the excess and buff. It smells fantastic--orange oil and beeswax.

At this point we thought the project was complete. But upon taking a closer look at the drawer pulls, we realized the black handles were not the original patina. So we brought out the brass polish and got to work.

Here you can see what they looked like before and after. We briefly toyed with the idea of spray-painting the handles, but I'm glad we decided not to. The brass is worn off in a few places and if we get finicky we could have them re-plated... probably not.

Here is the larger finished piece that will live next to the front door!

A better picture of the smaller piece which will either remain in the hall, or get used as a TV stand depending on how it looks.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Squeaky Wheel

Hi Readers! It's been a while. Hope you all had a lovely holiday and are having a fantastic new year so far.

OK down to business. We all know the sidewalks in Cleveland-Holloway are a joke, especially considering our proximity to downtown. When we first moved in, I started fighting a battle with the city to have the sidewalks in our lovely new neighborhood repaired. I know lots of others have been fighting this fight too, but have had little success. When the city decided not to pave the whole neighborhood, I pleaded with them to do just Carlton Ave since it's one of the worst. When this didn't fly either, I decided to selfishly push for the sidewalk in front of our house alone. This too was met with resistance, but it finally happened!

As you can see, our sidewalk was not the worst on the block by far, but not great either. Chunks of concrete were continuing to break off in places, and there was a big patch of missing sidewalk right at the base of our stairs which became a muddy mess every time it rained.

I submitted tickets to the city over and over for weeks. Various city workers came out to look at the problem. There was some concern about whether or not our retaining wall was built over the sidewalk--they thought this might cause problems when demoing the old concrete. Others we talked to seemed to think it was fine. Photos were taken, and we were told that the city would be out to work on it soon. Lies...all lies. Finally, one morning I walked out of my house to find no less than 8 city workers taking measurements. They assured me they would be back in two weeks finish the job. After months of emails, I was thrilled but still apprehensive.

But happen it did! The guys got to work ripping up the old sidewalk with a finesse I have rarely seen with a backhoe. They did an awesome job and our retaining wall remained pristine.

They had almost half the sidewalk ripped up before I had to head off to work.

When I got home, this beautiful sight awaited me. Yay!

This post is mostly to encourage you other C+H residents to not give up hope. Basically, my tactic was constant vigilance. I submitted a ticket every other week or so using this link. From the drop down, pick "sidewalk needs to be repaired". Occasionally I'd get a follow up phone call or someone coming by the house to take measurements or photos. There were lots of promised dates and speculation, but I just kept submitting those tickets and eventually it happened. I know it's not the whole neighborhood, but maybe if we each individually take up arms for our own sidewalk they will do the whole neighborhood. Go get 'em!