Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Inspiration" with an Accent.

This is Andrea reporting:

All I said was,"This room is not inspiring at all." 

Then the wheels-in-his-head start turning.  Next thing I know, I’m dreaming up colors for an accent wall for the room we refer to as my art room /eventual guest bedroom.  It was like the rest of the house; all original wood trim and plaster walls with bumpy and lumpy texture painted over them in drabby white.

George did his magic and removed all the paint from the door trims and baseboard then sanded and restained them. He even repaired the door jamb that hadn't been repaired in decades.  He skim coated over the plaster walls and lightly sanded them to give it a smooth finish. 

We first rolled on a base coat of a very light peach called 'Naive Peach'.  Then used Vintage Purple and Sunkist Peach to sponge over the base coat. Individually, the colors were nice but sponged together didn’t work so well. Then I saw a peachy rose on the cover of my gardening book and that became the inspiration for my next color selection. I used Orchid Rose and then added Sunkist Peach again over the previous layers. It brightened up the room tremendously and looked very marble-ish.

The other three walls will eventually be a single coat of light ‘Naive Peach’ color. There is a lot more to restore in that room, including hardwood floor under the carpet but I think it’s off to a good start. 

We did a  little furniture rearranging and have now made a quaint sitting area!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Reporter from 'Oakland Local' Comes to Piazza Aguilar

 A fun series of online developments led to a reporter from Oakland Local to come over and take a tour of our nascent backyard( we sometimes call) the Neo-Victorian garden.

'Oakland Local' covers exciting developments happening around Oakland and you can find out about cool things that the "regular" media outlets don't cover.  If you are not familiar with Oakland (or worse brainwashed by the negative PR), this is a good resource to get a REAL picture of the great, new things happening in Oaktown.

Here is the link and photos courtesy of Irene Florez of Oakland Local.


First 10 pics are from our garden

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reporting from Piazza Aguilar

It's a beautiful 81 degrees here in Oakland and I wanted to try and compose (and send) my first post from "Piazza Aguilar".

It has always been more enjoyable for me to be outside in nature and now I have the laptop out here in our "new" 2nd patio area.

You might recall the urbanite project from a few weeks back.  Well, since then I tried a few different ways to work with the left over slabs I cut to make room for our new tree.  Andrea talked about it a bit more and we decided we would add more slab pieces until it "connected" with the main patio area.  I finally was able to move and install most of it in "Piazza Aguilar", an area directly across from the "Carnegie" brick area I did last year around this time.

This urbanite patio is a mixture of old, leftover bricks, cut slabs of old concrete with all the cracks and seams filled with smooth stones and sand.  It looks a bit "harlequin-ish" but it seems to suit our backyard. Actually, it blends in real well with the concrete that remains and the surrounding old brick flower planters.  Again, we thought it best to install hard flooring this way since we live in earthquake country and trying for the "perfect" cement patio just wouldn't be realistic.  Plus we save money by not having to hire anybody to haul away this stuff.

Oh, and btw, I built a whole new fence!  A nice 30 foot long dog-eared fence was installed over 4 days replacing the possibly 50 year old redwood fence that was falling apart.  I did save a few good boards and they now make a nice table to hold the potted plants in our 2nd patio we call "Piazza Aguilar".

What I like about this new area is that it is a very private spot in the back and a great vantage point to watch the birds fight in the bird feeder (yes, they DO fight!)

Our secure wireless signal works great out here too!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celebrating Oakland's Tool Library

Those of you who regularly follow this blog are probably already familiar with Oakland's great, Temescal Tool Library located about 1 mile from our house.   How many of you know that it was created in response to the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991?  The Tool Library helped affected residents rebuild from that disaster no matter their economic status.

Today this free tool equipment library has been one of the best resources in helping us rehabilitate our 112 year old Vic.  Since we began our blog 2.5 years ago, nearly every facet of our renovations/rehabilitation/rescuing has involved the tool library in one way or another.  We've used their tile cutter to redo our bathroom, their heatguns allowed us to melt off paint from all the beautiful moldings, their cement cutter allowed us to cut out old cement in our backyard for a new tree a few weeks ago. Mostly, we check out a variety of tools that we would need to use maybe just once or twice, in order to get something done.

Not only does this help keep our budget down, it also keeps alive the spirit of community sharing that is sometimes lost in our consumerist, technological culture.   The Tool Library is also much more than the tools that are provided, it is the smart, dedicated people who staff the desk ready to help you get you what you need and teach you how to use something safely and properly. 

Now there are the  'Friends of the Tool Library', a group of dedicated volunteers who work with the Tool Library to help support its efforts as it continues to weather the vicissitudes of  our budget slashing times in Oakland.  The 'Friends' have started their own website that hopes to connect more people with this wonderful resource and to provide support and advocacy for the Tool Library.  Check them out here.

This past weekend featured their "first benefit fundraising event/party for the Oakland Tool Lending Library, which featured a wide array of tools and gift certificates from local vendors, for a silent auction."

Andrea and I went early and enjoyed meeting new people, eating the various potluck meals provided (including delicious snacks made from other peoples' backyard fruit or veggie gardens), and purchased a few small tools that were no longer needed by the library.  We also brought our weed whacker ( a gift from her dad) to donate to the auction.

A surprise early visitor was Mayor Jean Quan who has been instrumental in helping keep libraries operating in Oakland. We chatted briefly and then she went and bought a few tools to show her own personal support for the Tool Library.

We enjoyed ourselves and everybody seemed to be having a good time in what felt more like something you would experience in the main square of a very small town.  Being around other people who work with their hands (and head) building or gardening  was refreshing and it was nice to see people come out to show their support, including the mayor.  I think the 'Friends' did an excellent job on the event and I hope to hear about it more at their regular, monthly get together at the local tavern, which you can also join via their email list on the website.


CREDITS: All photos on this page courtesy of Teresa Mora.  See more photos from this event on