Thursday, April 22, 2010

Relevant Market News

Happy Earth Day and some good news for Oakland :) George heard this on the radio and I found the article on the SF Gate:

Six out of the top 10 ZIP codes in the United States where homes sold above the asking price in the first quarter of 2010 were in the Bay Area, and four of them were in Emeryville and Oakland's moderately priced areas, according to a report released Wednesday.

The second "hottest" ZIP, as defined by ZipRealty, a national real estate brokerage, was 94608, which includes neighborhoods in Emeryville and part of North Oakland. Read more:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cuttin' it up

After finally arriving at a vision of the bathroom, we could now install a floor and paint the walls. Previous posts showed the original redwood wainscot hidden for decades behind old gypsum and tile-bord and we were able to clean it up and re-stain the wood. First we added a wood preservative compound to help rebind the wood fibers and then applied stain and sealer. Here are a few sneak pics of our bathroom remodel which is truly taking on a "less is more" approach. We mostly remove the junk previous owners had installed and revealed the original walls of the house. The old, ugly vinyl floor now freshly updated and this once dreary bathroom is now the happiest, brightest place in the house!

Time for a Visit

Finally my sister Sylvia and brother-in-law Bill came for a short visit to see our house and they brought very interesting gifts. One of my favorite is this dinner gong.
During the 19th century, it was customary to have an aperitif in the drawing room before dinner. Ladies and gentlemen always wore formal dress for dinner, even if it was just an ordinary affair of five courses (soup, fish, meat, sweet and savoury courses). When the dinner gong was sounded, the ladies and gentlemen would rise and file into the dining room in a previously-arranged pattern of precedence. Each gentleman took the arm of the lady who would sit on his right, the host and honoured female guest entering first, the hostess and highest ranking gentleman last.

How the times have changed! What's fascinating to me about some antiques is how they have become obsolete yet retain a certain aesthetic that add interest in modern times. We think we have found useful ways of using these gifts that seem to fit the house well and yet don't add a feeling of clutter. Here is a Victorian hat stand, an ornate plate holder (holding the dish Andrea), and the very pretty, strange table is now a makeup vanity in the bedroom.

Thanks for wonderful gifts Bill and Sylvia and we'll see you soon!


Hello Dolly!

Being an artist and filmmaker, it's easy for me to envision something in my head. I always thought everyone had that ability to think creatively and see a 'picture' in their head of something they want to make. Time and experience has shown that this is not true for most folks which is why one would find all sorts of catastrophic art, designs and builds simply because people couldn't see their final creations. Add to that the difficulty in communicating to others what you 'see' and you get a picture...a picture of problems.

Fortunately, creativity is in my family DNA. Picturing something is easy for us but many times it is better and smarter to actually build a model of what you want to create because you could overlook something in the final design. I use the HGTV Home and Garden Design program that lets you easily build a 3D model of any home, build and move walls, paint, add plumbing...anything that you could do to a real house without actually doing it just yet. In this demo clip, you can see the way I use this program and other programs like Photoshop to help me figure out exactly what I want to do to the house.

Now my sister Sylvia takes an old-school approach by using a Victorian Doll House to mix and match wallpaper, area rugs and furniture.

Whatever your approach to renovating or designing your home, it's a great relief to work out your idea in either of these ways as they will eliminate problems later and you can share them with others to get vital feedback. We actually liked my sister's very Victorian take on the parlor and will use it as a guide as we continue to remodel.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


We are making progress on the bathroom. George did an amazing job building the frame to extend the bathroom. These are a few of the latest touches we've made:

Ceiling light in the new part:

A built-in shelf/cabinet

A stained-glass look on the window

I'm happy to report that we did most of the bathroom painting (w/faux glaze & sponge painting). After a number of paint samples, we decided on this color scheme:
Whisper Yellow, Apple Crisp, & Mojave Sunset. (talk about transformation! Frankly, I love the way the Tuscan Yellow/Van Gogh Sunflower/Haystack color brings out the beautiful wood George restored.)

p.s. The Santa Rosa Plum Tree we planted it Winter is donning green leaves a couple flower buds :) And... George discovered a little rose bush which has just started budding!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Decorative Faux Sponge Painting

Hello. I'm trying to come up with the right color scheme for 'sponge painting' the bathroom walls. George has them all prepped, spackled, and will finish the sanding soon. So far I know I should use a satin finish paint.

I'm trying get a nice combination with aqua & copper and experimented on a small board, but my first attempt of sample colors didn't produce the desired effect. It could simply be a shade adjustment, I'm not sure yet (at least you can buy small sample size cans for $3 so it's not a total waste).

We want the wall colors to enhance the beautiful wood-wainscoting and all the old-growth redwood trim that George has so diligently restored. Any color experts out there? Perhaps you might share some tips or suggestions.

I've been googling images for color ideas..... and found this helpful informational video for exactly what I'm planning to do: