Friday, March 30, 2012

To Santa Fe and Back

We just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Santa Fe, chosen once again because we love the food and scenery, with mountains and high desert and green and red chilies on every plate of food, three big meals a day until we couldn't eat another bite.

One goal was to find some ideas for our fence, which Cheryl does not like all, saying that it looks like an English country garden fence and not at all appropriate in its proximity to our house, which though wrapped in stucco is still very different from the typical Santa Fe house with its rounded corners and beams, but I was hopeful to find some ideas because there are countless stucco walls in Santa Fe.

Finally I saw something that made sense, a way to create a fence gate that recesses into an alcove and is covered with the same barrel roof tiles as the main portion of our roof, so as to create a sense of continuity and ease Cheryl's discomfort.

And for the gate I got an idea from the store front and its nice geometric pattern that would be effective on a gate door, I think.

Details to come.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tea and Good Fortune

Sometimes fate and luck intersect at just the right moment, just when you are actually looking for it, a thing that points to destiny, guardian angels, divine intervention or maybe just to a vague sense that something supernatural has just occurred and, this time, for the good, like winning the lottery or sinking a hole-in-one.

Normally I agonize over these projects, and I suppose I get an odd pleasure in doing so because it allows me to resolve my many doubts: Is it too big, too small, too dark, too light, strong enough? Will it fall over, blow over, explode, fade, crack, decay, burn up? Am I really a hack who has no business doing this stuff? (OK, I'm pretty sure about the last one.)

So with the pagoda tea-house project, I could see months and months of this, working through all of the details, which is OK but a little tiresome with such a big project. I couldn't even find a design to start with, a picture, of what I wanted to do.

So this morning I gave it another shot and went browsing for designs. I'd done these searches several times already over the past few weeks, but nothing had popped up. Then an entry on Google caught my eye. I clicked and there it was--exactly what I had pictured in my mind. Better.

I showed it to Cheryl and she agreed that it was perfect. A miracle, to find something that Cheryl and I immediately agree upon. Haley's comet comes by more often.

But there's more. I scrolled down the page. This site would sell the detailed blueprints for the pagoda. Amazing! I'd found the perfect design and the plans.

How cool is that.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Looking ahead a few weeks, after we return from our vacation, at a time when I assume that I'll be rested and ready to start a new project--no, not the big Pagoda project in the yard, but the minor and deceptively simple job of fixing the cracks in the hallway walls and getting the surface textures right, and then replacing the damaged floor boards in the hallway and my office.

The previous owners just smeared wood putty into the damaged areas of the floor, something that lasted for a while. But who really gets down on their hands and knees to inspect a floor when buying a house? The floor in the kitchen was horrible, and the owner was offended when I pointed this out, but by the look on Cheryl's face I knew that she was in love with the house and would be crushed to not get it, so here we are.

Notice how the wood putty has crumbled to dust in one sections while a little of it still remains to the right, a sign of some severe termite damage. These boards must go. I have plenty of replacement boards in the garage. But here's where the tricky part comes in. I want to keep the general patina of the floor, that look of character that comes only with time, not unlike the charming picture I see in the mirror, that sea of countless defects and cruel jokes, not that I care, but at least I can do something about the floor.

So I'm researching once again, this time to find the best approach for refinishing the floors while keeping the patina and blending in some new boards. Vacation first.