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Monday, December 19, 2011

Salvage Love

So it turns out I'm a bit of a hoarder.  Not of cats or coupons or canned goods.  But of twists of rusty metal, glass jars, and wooden crates.  Since we've started this horrific restoration/renovation project, I've found myself scrambling up piles of scrap metal at the salvage yard and digging through dusty root cellars at estate sales to find objects I can re-purpose.  I'm not much of a crafter or seamstress, but I can go to town with iron wool and a palm sander. 

There is so much cool stuff out there, guys! 

Above and below are photos from Housewerks Salvage, the most bad ass salvage spot in Baltimore.  Jon and I have become building material tourists, and unfortunately the result is a bit of hoarding blue balls (sorry, Dad).  We see amazing things when we're traveling that we have no means to bring home with us. So instead we take pictures and caress old doors and metal lockers lovingly, mournfully.

My latest project is a redwood window frame with peeling green paint.  I found an old, huge mirror at a yard sale that I'm going to cut to fit the window.  It's going to be awesome and look something like this:

This is Jon's latest project, but I couldn't resist mucking around. 

He found an algae-covered clawfoot tub (without feet) at a used furniture store that's going out of business.  The proprietress basically begged Jon to take it away, but she thought it would be too heavy for us (ahem, ME) to lift.  We hauled that sucker out and away like it was nothing. Jon wants to turn it into a fountain, but until then I'm scrubbing layers of mud and green gunk off the cast iron.  I'm thinking of leaving some of the green, though.  I reminds me of the well in the Princess and the Frog. 


If you need me, I'll be rooting through your trash.

Phase F#$*ing Two!

This blog has been dark for a while, not because we've taken any time off from the Coat Shop.  Rather, we've been bringing new meaning to the phrase "DIY." 

As it turns out, DIY doesn't just mean tiling your own shower or sanding your own floors or making cute little sconces out of wood chips.  DIY also means shuttling your own blueprints to the city building department, taking copious notes on the detailed reasons the city is rejecting your plans, and then crying a little in the bathroom of City Hall. 

During the past few months, Jon and I have become intimately involved with the City of Eureka.  We read fire and building code at night on the couch.  We got to be on a first name basis with the Fire Marshall and the Chief Building Official.  I'm pretty sure they finally approved our plans because at some point they were just ready to see other people.

Once our plans were approved by the city, we brought our business proposal (written on the beach in Maui by Jon on our honeymoon) to our local credit union.  We were terrified that they wouldn't approve our construction loan due to the economic climate.  But the credit union's VP came to the Coat Shop and took a tour.  He said he was really impressed and has since helped fast-track our loan.

Now things are moving at light speed.  We're lining up sub-contractors (because at this point neither of us is willing to turn the project over to a general contractor, we're still steering this ship ourselves) and tenants and re-drawing plans and begging friends to join our demolition crew. 

We're doing a week of major demolition and then two weeks of framing and floor laying and then HVAC and electricity and plumbing.  We're moving in at some point after the floor is in but before the basic utilities are hooked up, because we like urban camping.

We have a hundred decisions to make.  We need to figure out where to put the heating vents and how to remill the redwood and whether to spend $4000 on the gas fireplace Jon is currently obsessed with. And amidst that chaos, it feels like things are working out. 

We have been preparing for doomsday since Day 1 of this project.  What will we do if the economy collapses? If the walls fall in? If the basement floods?  We have laid in bed and mapped out worst case scenarios, along with second-worst case scenarios.  We have meticulously planned for doomsday and and it has not arrived. 

While that worst case scenario might still occur, I will be surprised if it does.  As opposed to opening the door, sighing, and saying, "Oh, there you are.  Come on in.  I've been keeping dinner warm for you."

Happy New Year!