Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Birthday America 

Painting continues on our Sybi.  It takes a long time to paint a house consisting of three buildings when your armed with a paint bucket and brush.  A true labor of love.  She's almost finished, more finished than not - most of her blue dress is now gone.  I chose to add just a hint of color to the front porch floor and stair treads, by a happy accident they are a soft, warm coffee color.  I picked out and ordered the paint color on the internet from our local "big box" home improvement store, thinking I was choosing a very pastel soft taupe.  Stopped in an picked the paint up just before closing, never looked at it until the next morning when I was ready to paint. I opened the can - surprise!  Hmm this is not pastel, barely taupe. Oh well, let's give it a go.  I just love it when a surprise turns out well -  Here is our Sybi feeling patriotic.   

Painting the risers and stringers on the stairs is the next project.  Promise! 

I'm a huge coffee drinker, its a little fate that the porch looks like I split a latte! 

Her 1900 Storm Survivor plaque marking that Sybi survived "The Storm" as it is called here on the Island.  The Hurricane of 1900 devastated the lovely, vibrant island of Galveston.  The island at the time was dotted with vivid Victorian homes, it bustled with business as a major port to the US not only for goods, but for immigration. On September 8th, 1900 the storm hit leaving unprecedented devastation; more than 3,600 homes and buildings leveled and a death toll that ranges between 6,000 - 12,000. Records were lost and not kept as well as today, the estimates very widely. It was after that storm that the Galveston Sea Wall was erected and the island was raised 14 feet. An amazing accomplishment at the time.  Our Sybi was here when the storm hit, she witnessed the devastation, along with the resilience of the island. Her little "badge of honor" represents a catastrophic historic event.  A good source of information about the storm can be found here at our local Galveston Newspaper. 

Our Sybi wearing her new white dress, latte porch and treads, accented with a black door, mostly finished, standing where's she's stood since 1884, she's a little bit of American History. 

Happy 4th of July America!  

Wishing you all the best - 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sybi's "gold star" 

We've been painting and painting, then painting some more.  Our Sybi though petite, is actually three separate buildings, which means she has twelve sides, yes, twelve.  It's been just over a year since I decided her "dress" would be solid white.  Understanding painting the field and trim  of all three buildings solid white could easily become boring, I felt she would need some special details to create interest. One of those special details would be her front porch lantern. Sybi has a very busy porch balustrade featuring an "X" motif. 

In an effort to accent the geometry in the balustrade, I chose a Moravian Star Lantern from Pottery Barn named "Olivia".  Ordering the lantern online without seeing it first created some stress.  Would it be large enough for the porch? Would it be too delicate to swing along with the Gulf breeze? I was nervously excited when the box arrived upon our porch. Then my heart skipped a beat when I opened the PB box and pulled the Moravian star named Oliva out, the bronze metal frame features delicate seeded glass panels - stunning.  

Moravian stars are often associated with Christmas as a symbol of the season.  They originate in the Moravian Church from Bohemia in the 1830's.  A math teacher at the Moravian Boy's School taught his students to create a polyhedron star with 26 points.  The stars were used as lanterns during the Christmas season as a symbol of the star that led the three wise men to Bethlehem. The pattern for the stars was supposedly published in the 1880's. Our Sybi was built in 1884. It seemed fitting; a Moravian star to cast soft light on Sybi's porch while beckoning our family home and friends welcome.

After several swatches of paint (blue, green, haint, even golden beige) on the porch ceiling.... I decided to paint the ceiling white. 

Peacock blue sample. Meh.

I thought a lack of color would give a neutral background and allow the star to be the focal point of the porch.  Our porch is a good size, the ceilings are twelve feet tall, while only 8 feet wide, it is over 16' long. I felt this beautiful PB lantern needed a medallion to dangle from, like a bejeweled earring on the front porch. This got me searching the internet once again. I adore sunburst mirrors. I thought what if I took a sunburst mirror, removed the mirror and mounted the light fixture inside?  Hello Amazon - I found exactly what I needed there, a plastic sunburst mirror. I purposefully chose plastic because here on the island there is constant humidity, I feared metal would rust, wood would rot.  

It didn't take that long to install, though it was a little tricky centering the sunburst.  We painted black around the electrical box, so any space between the fixture mount and the sunburst wouldn't be white.  

We've a lot yet to do; paint the porch, the stairs - the list goes on.   Did you notice we removed the curvy post brackets from the front porch? I believed they were not original, a close inspection proved correct, they had been added at some point. The porch looks taller, more stately without the curved brackets.  Those curvy brackets didn't make aesthetic sense to me; curves, angle balustrade.  Of course removal created more work! (Sand, paint the spaces where the brackets were mounted.) We'll get it done.  

We are thrilled with the PB Moravian lantern.  We think it was just the accent for Sybi's porch. I adore the history behind the star. Now, what color to paint the porch? 

Until next time, wishing you all the best! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hey Y'all!  What's been up? - Sybi's White Dress

I've been away some time now.  I began a part-time position at a local boutique a year ago. It was a way to help cover the rising costs of Jr's college tuition, also books.  Have you priced a college book lately? We literally paid $300. for a stack of paper, no cover, we had to purchase a huge binder to hold the paper. You'd think for $300. the stack would come with a cover. I digress.... The little boutique job has gone from part-time to full time. While I love meeting the tourist in our small Downtown Galveston, I've missed the blog.  Here's what's been going on -

We've been painting Sybi white.  It's been a long, slow, arduous tasks of love for her.  Here in Galveston the constant gulf breezes carry with them a little sand, a little sea salt which behaves like sand paper gently sanding your home exterior.  Sybi was a soft grey blue, with off white trim.  The intense rays of the coastal sun had faded her paint to a color the local big box paint store computers couldn't match.  We decided upon white with the understanding that living upon the coast, painting is protection for our sweet Sybi.   We thought the choice of white would be easier to maintain over time.  I felt that since our Sybi is a little Victorian, a little 1940's sprinkled with modern updates white would weave her quirky architecture into something stately.  

We began with the detached garage.  

Scrap, sand, prime, paint.... We have three buildings; original cottage, original carriage house and the detached garage. That's 12 sides, 3 sets of stairs, 2 porches and 2 balconies!  No wonder I've not had time to blog - 

Hired Moses, Matador Construction and his side kick George for some much needed help.  Met Moses shortly after we moved to the island, he was building an arbor for our neighbors, he was literally standing outside out kitchen window, since the house is five feet off the ground, I investigated and met the very talented, also charming Moses.  Thank goodness!  I've shared Moses with friends, and acquaintances alike. It's hard to find an honest contractor. 


Painting the skirting grey, the interiors of the arches black and the ceiling??? Peacock blue?

Sherwin Williams Blonde.  I like this!  Apparently the grey dove and pigeons are hungry...

The grey dove haven't gone anywhere.  They still stop by twice a day. 

Ordered Sybi a new porch light from Pottery Barn. It was deposited upon her porch earlier this week, a little motivation to finish painting the porch ceiling!  Can hardly wait to get it installed.  Um, Honey! Are you busy? 

More to come soon, promise.  So much has happened; the Aiden Gray lamps arrived which resulted in a change to the drapes in the foyer.  I drug home a vintage French Empire style coffee table from a girlfriend's attic with the hope of turning it into a coffee table ottoman for the keeping room. That coffee table ottoman prompted the French daybed in the keeping room to experience a change of "clothes". We were gifted an antique shipping box that we turned into a side board in the dining room. We've been playing a lot - 

 Until next time - Wishing you all the best!