On April 15, 2008 we closed on a 1955 Mid-Century Modern home in Merriam, KS that was custom designed by the late Donald R. Hollis of Hollis + Miller Architects. We will be sharing our journey as we update the house to make it our own, while trying to stay as close to the original design as possible.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

One project always leads to another!

We were watching a DIY show the other night, and had to laugh when they started talking about how one project always leads to another.  This one homeowner remodeled his kitchen.  When he looked around, he realized that the old windows and doors stuck out like a sore thumb compared to his brand new cabinets and countertops.  So he ended up replacing his door and windows. We can certainly relate.  When does it all end?  So we found ourselves looking at the family room ceiling as the next project.

It has been a good two months since we finished our kitchen, and we are quite pleased with the results, but the acoustic tile in the family room stuck out like a sore thumb.  The tile in the family room ceiling were dingy, and probably contained asbestos.

The other item that stuck out like a sore thumb were the nasty 1980's ceiling fans.  Not only were the fans out of place, they also made the ceiling feel lower.  Because the basement is already 10 degrees cooler than the upper level, the fans were not really needed.  So we removed them.

We thought about painting the ceiling tile, but it has textured grooves, which would not be easy to tackle with a roller, and we did not want to tape and cover everything for spraying.  We also considered covering it up with additional acoustic tile (with a smooth surface), or gluing faux tin tile to it (no, it's not what you think-there are actually flat, non-embossed faux tin tile available).  I suggested a third option: 1/4 inch drywall.  LD was not too thrilled about the dust or the out of pocket expense we would have to incur by hiring someone to install it.

In the mean time, we ordered a couple of sofas for the living room a few weeks ago, and we decided we should get the ceiling done before the furniture gets delivered.  We priced out the cost of installing acoustic tile, faux tin tile, and called our handyman for a drywall estimate.  Putting in drywall was certainly higher than what the acoustic or faux tin tile would have cost us, but it was within our budget.   We decided to go with drywall because it would give the room a cleaner look.

We had to lightly sand the ceiling, vacuum and mop up all the dust, and paint the first coat of primer.  Several areas will need some additional mud, then we get to put on two coats of ceiling paint on top of that.  I hate painting, but I especially hate painting ceilings!  We are exhausted.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MCM Teak Buffet from the Mount Airy Chair Company

Unfortunately one of our neighbors passed away last year, and her family decided to sell the house. So they held an estate sale this Spring. We needed some furniture, and I went in hopes of finding some pieces for our home. Much to my delight, I spotted a buffet that had some interesting MCM lines. Delia was out of town and I did not know if she would like it or not, so I did not pull the trigger right away. I spoke with Delia later that day, and she told me that if I liked it I should buy it.

Fortunately it was still there the next day, and everything was marked at half-price! I guess it was meant to be. When I moved the buffet from the wall, I read the label on the back. It was made out of teak by the Mount Airy Chair Company. I was completely stoked!

The top was water stained and chipped, but I didn't care. Delia said she would help restore it.

At first I thought the knobs and slide door hardware were brass, but they are actually all wood. And the top drawer is lined with velvet. We bought some nickel finished hardware to replace them, but I think we are going to keep the original hardware.

I tried looking up some background information on the company and found this information:

This from the Mt. Airy Chamber of Commerce.
The Mount Airy Furniture Company was formed in 1895 by J. F. Yokley, C. R. Merritt and E. H. Kochtitzky and it manufactured case goods including bedroom furniture, executive office furniture, pie safes and various cabinets. Through the years it expanded to include dining room and occasional chairs in its production. It merged in 1966 with the Mount Airy Chair Company which had been formed in 1921, by the Yokley brothers, Bruce and James. An article in 1928 states the manufacturing output included drawing room and dining room chairs, dining room furniture, and bedroom chairs. Unfortunately, on June 9, 1997, the Mount Airy Furniture Company was completely destroyed by a devastating fire.
I couldn't find much else, except that their furniture was also made out of mahogany and cherry. I also found that one of their buffets (not sure what year) was made with a black marble top. Ours is veneer.

We had some people recommend Restor-A-Finish, so Delia bought some and tried it out today. It helped a little bit, but not much. We are going to strip and finish it at a later date. So I guess I will have to wait a little longer for it to be fully finished. It's not a priority at the moment because we still have lots to do in the house.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Voila! Katy on Purina Dog Food Bags

Photo and layout taken, designed, and created by McCord Design Group for Purina

Here's what the layout will look like with Katy! They are going to print the bags in a few weeks. It is all so surreal.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Great Wall of Walnut!

Before-the "wall" was made of frosted textured glass with painted studs. I kind of liked the look, but it was just too much for LD. So we pretty much gutted that space, including the vanity (located behind wall) and sink. Harold put up a new wall and installed our new vanity, but we asked him to leave the backside unfinished because we wanted to do something creative with it.

After taking a break from finishing the kitchen, we decided to tackle the big yellow wall in the master bedroom. We had been living with it since we moved in (mostly because we could not decide how to finish it). Our initial plans were to put in sheets of walnut veneer plywood, but we started having second thoughts about it. Then we considered birch veneer plywood, smooth cement board, rough cement board, and Inhabit embossed wall flats.

A couple of months ago we were shopping around for slate for our sunroom. We decided to check Factory Surplus (where we purchased the limestone for our entryway). Unfortunately they were bought out by Worldwide Liquidators, but we decided to go ahead and check them out. We did not find anything we liked for the sunroom, but came across some walnut hardwood flooring at a good price. For some reason we both paused when we came across it, and we were both thinking the same thing. We can use it to cover up the big yellow wall!

It was a relatively simple project that involved fitting, cutting, and nailing. You might be able to make out our signatures in this photo. Halfway into our project, LD came up with the creative idea of putting a message inside the wall. So I wrote up a short letter and we placed it inside a Ziploc bag. If anybody ever tore down this wall, they are in for a nice surprise. I decided to take it a step further, and sign the big yellow wall.

Around 6 hours of work later, we ended up with a beautiful walnut wall! After our experience with the Minwax Helmsman Urethane on the pecky cypress wall, we definitely want a low or no VOC finish. We are considering trying out vinegar, a beeswax finish, or maybe some chopping block oil. Stay tuned.