Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey - Galveston

This morning Harvey has moved Eastward toward our neighbors, Louisiana.  My heart goes out to those in his path, as well as all affected by him here in Texas.  We are lucky on the island, there's been little flooding, for the most part.  Our small world, here at GDC is in tact, less a few minor injuries, to our beloved Sybi.  Before the storm she stood steadfast -

Harvey's outer bands began to show up, the skies began to darken, the wind began to blow -

The storm raged off and on, as bands whirled around to us, passing over us, then circling around again. There were nights of tornado warnings every 15, to 30 minutes. It was a bit stressful; the buzzing of our cell phones, "Shelter in place".  Being from Austin, Hurricanes are something we have little inexperience with.  We did the things we thought we should; bought water, batteries, candles, matches, non-perishable groceries, also filled cooking pots with fresh water for the all important necessity - coffee.  We sand bagged the lowest doors -

We were all nervous, Puppy was looking out the keeping room window with great anticipation, followed by a bit of frightful "You know there's a storm coming? Should we evacuate?" Sitting behind me on the daybed, leaning against my back, she truly couldn't get any closer.  It was as if she knew, Harvey was going to be a historical storm.

The Gulf began to roll -

Harvey hit with wind driven rain, literally, it was raining nearly horizontal.

The rain began to collect, the sandbags were a good idea.

We fed the grey dove, also the squirrels upon the driveway, each time a band passed and the rain stopped. Silly, I realize, I thought the birds could pick up the seed easier off the driveway, than in the flowerbed. Yes, I know, silly. My heart was in the right place.

We were "riverfront" for a while -

Downtown Galveston was struck harder. The downtown area of Galveston is upon the lower side of the island, where the water flows off.  When Hurricanes pass, the spinning winds tend to push the water from the bay back, preventing drains upon the island to drain into the bay, therefore, the water builds-up in the streets of downtown. 

The Avenue we live upon

The front page on Sunday of the oldest paper in Texas, The Daily News, in Galveston -

You gotta love a guy with a sense a humor -

What do you do when there is a storm raging outdoors, the electricity is still own, thankfully, your off work because there is water in the boutique where you work?  Sew. Yes, I am taking this time "off" to make pull shades for the master bedroom bay windows.

The master needs some help, I've been working on it for awhile. Slowly, layering elements to the room, there is a lot left to do, pull shades will help.

I'm still sewing.  Harvey is moving eastward.  The ocean is calming.

This morning the skies are turning from grey to blue. I think it's time to remove the towels from the window sills; wind driven rain, 120+ year old windows, Sybi gave in a little.  We are thankful, grateful, also hopeful. 

Our Sybi protected us, she sustained only minimal damage.  We'll lovingly mend her wounds. 

We'll do what we can for our community, also those in need.  Despite what you see on the news reports, Texas is a friendly place.  Personally my roots run deep. Texans have big hearts. We bind together, despite our differences.  Our neighbors to the north, Houston and the surrounding metropolitan area stand in ruin.  Houston will rise up, we are nothing if not resilient -

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Harvey - Have I lost my mind? 

My cell phone, email, have been pinging at me all day. I'm fortunate to have so many inquiring about our well being.  Living upon the Texas Gulf Coast, you understand in your head that you are at risk. Yet you wander the streets of Galveston Island, taking in the stunning Victorian ladies who stand gracefully alongside one another, and you think, "Their still here." -

Strolling past an arch topped iron fence, framing a charming garden, at the feet of one of these lovely ladies, an angel stands guard, the carved spindles within the porch railing beckons you welcome -

The yellow beauty stands almost as a promise that all will be well.  She appears sturdy, steadfast, resolute.  Arches spring from carved post creating the framework for a covered porch, also balcony. Those archways are repeated upon the fence.  I wonder if originally there was another French window on the left upstairs?

A stunning beauty graces a corner, her intricate fretwork mimics icing upon a wedding cake. Peering at her splendor, my mind wonders how long it must have taken artisans to create the woodwork.

Each window is framed with a carved wood casement that includes accents. The bay windows feature paneled bottoms, with pilasters accented by rosettes, layers of crown, also dental molding, around clear ,as well as leaded glass.  She's truly a work of art.

A few more steps down the walk, a rusty iron fence creates a barrier. Palm trees sway in the breeze, their bright green in direct contrast to the rusty red fence.

Another golden yellow Victorian lady bids ado from across the street; fish scales fill her gable, also trim her window, twin porches are dressed with unusual carved balustrade, while gingerbread brackets hold a pierced gallery with quatrefoils.

Coming home to Sybi, walking past the flowerbeds we made, dug out, planted ourselves. The shrubs are beginning to mature, also fill in about her feet.  

Her geometric railing, not as graceful as some others here on the island, welcomes me home. I adore the "X" motif, the square post, the way the light plays with the railings.

The squirrel that lives in our Southern Oak tree out front, scurries down to greet me, in hopes of sunflower seeds. 

The Victorian homes have stood steadfast for decades.  While my heart races, my stomach knots much like that feeling you have when riding a rollercoaster; the click, click, click pulling the train upward upon the incline, the anticipation of thrusting downward on the other side, the unknown.

Perhaps it is my romantic self that beckoned us here. My lovely neighbors who greet me with warm smiles, hugs, then inquire about our small world, gifting us the feeling that we matter.  Galveston survived the worst storm in American history (storm of 1900), like a phoenix she rose from the ashes, many of her jewels in place. She's endured many a storm since, Sybi has stood steadfast all the while.

We are after all simply curators, there will be others who will call Sybi home, who will feel embraced by her railings, and beckoned by her charm.  Yes, we live in harms way. Do we worry, or course. For us, wandering the streets past historic, graceful, beauties; also living amongst people who make us feel special - is home.  Hopefully, we'll stand steadfast with our Sybi -

Wishing you all the best -

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Foyer Update

After being one of the lucky winners on the Cote de Texas, Aiden Gray contest, I thought a little foyer update was in order.  After all, fabulous lamps from Aiden Gray need a lovely home, don't they?  A worthy home. 

Our foyer has been through a lot.  Originally, it was a portion of the front porch!  Lastly, before we purchased our cottage, Sybi, there was a doorway directly across from the foyer door.  The previous owner, who renovated our cottage, chose to wall up the doorway, creating a niche, he added shallow shelves. Additionally, the bottom of the niche was filled in with lapboard.  In "walling" up the doorway, a single sheet of sheetrock was used in the doorway.  This thin sheetrock left us with little opportunity to hang anything in the niche, the shelves were approximately 6" deep.  Shallow indeed.

Initially we removed the shelving, along with the lapboard base to the "doorway niche". 

I applied antique French book pages to the wall using wallpaper glue.  My thought was to create interest, without needing to hang art upon the wall.  Keep in mind, as you enter our cottage, this doorway niche, is the focal point of the room. We trimmed the niche neatly to finish. 

We took a remnant of a dining table, a pair of legs, with about one quarter of the gallery attached, and fitted the base to the niche. Then we added a wooden table top to create a console table.  My motivation was a serving bar, for wine, or treats while we entertain guest.

I was never content with the design plan. One thing that bothered me in the plan was a makeshift transom window at the top of the doorway niche.  I felt the transom interfered with the over all design of the niche, cutting it off, making it appear odd on top.  We strive to mindful of Sybi's history, built in 1894, we don't want to remove original architectural details. The transom did not appear to be original to Sybi. There was no glass installed in the transom, no channel for glass.  With the award of Aiden Gray lamps I began to ponder a new design update for the odd doorway niche.  After a great deal of thought, I decided the transom needed to go. Removing the transom would create more height, and simplify the niche.  Being the focal point in the space as the door is opened, I feel it is important for the niche to make a statement.  In design school one "rule" taught to me by my professors; the foyer is the most important room in a home, it teases of the design to come, and provides the first impression of the homeowner, and home itself.  This odd little niche, for me, wasn't giving a very favorable first impression.  I felt my design plan hadn't been successful.

Our wall paint throughout most of the cottage is Sherwin Williams, Accessible Beige.  The color is a  a warm gray, or greige. I wanted to bring that color into the foyer.  I also wanted a surface in the niche that would allow me to display art upon the wall.  Mr. GDC removed the niche, then filled the space with plywood. The plywood backing would provide a surface to mount art.  I upholstered the back wall with a cotton canvas paint tarp, using staples, stretching the tarp over the plywood.  The color of the canvas is similar to our wall paint, bringing the color from the dining room to the foyer, "marrying the spaces".  The simple cotton canvas, creates a lovely, clean backdrop for art.  We trimmed the canvas with quarter round, painted in the foyer color.  The trim finishes out the niche nicely, giving a clean edge.   Finally, I feel the height of the room is accented, the odd little niche more a graceful reminder of Sybi's past, than an "what is that?" perplexity.

We mounted the console table back into the niche. The dark espresso finish pops against the neutral canvas paint tarp backdrop.

The finished niche provided clean, simply lines to the already very busy foyer; exterior lapboard, an original porch post, six French windows, the foyer door with side lites, also a slanted ceiling with the original fascia board running across the ceiling!  Yes, Sybi's foyer is a has a lot of elements to take in. (I apologize the photo is dark, taken at dusk, once we finished our project. You can see how the foyer light chandelier prisms throw light about the room.) 

How to dress the door niche?  I decided upon a combination of art paired with a starburst mirror to bring a bit of shine to the door niche.  I used a pair of pewter finished garden stools in the foyer as coffee tables.  Adding the mirror here, repeats the shiny silver finish, carrying it across the room. Of course, I adore starburst mirrors, I may be a little obsessive about them!  I think they are always a good idea!

This small print is a section from a much larger print I had cut down years ago.  I took the remnant, then cut it to fit this ornate vintage frame.  The colors are soft, the subject impressionistic.

We've had this Glycee Giselle print for many years.  He's graced every house!  I wanted to mount him upon a canvas so he would have no frame. I wanted him to look old.  I painted the edges of a thin art canvas with grey chalk paint. I applied warm water to the back of the print, peeled off the heavy backing leaving a thin layer of the front. I applied the print to a canvas using adhesive.  I purposefully created wrinkles, and accidently a hole or two!  Finally I polished him up with a layer of Annie Sloan's dark wax. 

I think he looks antique, although he's only 20.

I'm content with the new doorway niche design.  I think it is Aiden Gray worthy. What about that lamp table?  Hmmm, I feel another project coming on -

On a personal note, I apologize that it has been so long since I blogged. I've missed blogging. I took  a part-time job. I'm learning to juggling a little more.  I'll be back soon, promise.

Until next time, wishing you all the best -