Free your mind and the creativity will follow...

Free your mind and the creativity will follow...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Frog [Prince]

Once upon a time in an artsy land not too far away; well okay maybe/probably far from some of you, there was a yucky little 950 sq foot 1946 beach bungalow in Venice Beach California. We first rented it until we found our dream house on a hillside nearby. In this pic, you can't even see it through the overgrown jungle!

That was in 1994.

Back then you could still hear gun-shots in deep Venice until Julia Roberts moved in and ‘there went the neighborhood’, & with that to-do came the police to clean it up.

Flash forward a wedding, two kids, several career changes, a green card preceding a citizenship, about three cars, a partial reconstruction of the garage into a rumpus room/guest house/T.V. room/roof terrace, many cramped visits from wonderful forgiving friends and family members, and finally a HUGE dream.

It’s now year 2010…The Frog, (thank gawd for our sanity) got kissed.

And so, our journey into construction hell (did I say that?) I mean bliss begins.

The Hack That Jacked My Maple

Does this look like 900 square feet of wood to you?

So, we decide to pull out the floor a few days before demolition of the building. Erik, the owner of E & K Vintage Wood tells me it will take two days to remove it, take out the nails,prepare it for reinstalling, and store all the pieces in the room where it is to be reinstalled later.

I arrived at 8am to meet the folks who were to do the work armed with the deposit check to get started. Then I waited. And waited. The story just gets worse from there. My own contractor nearly split a gasket with aggravation trying to reason with E & K who not only never completed the work, but turned what's left of my floor into worthless toothpicks without apology. Visions of the 'expert' floor removal guy's inexperienced nephew hacking away at it while the walls around him were being dissolved torture me. He alone braved the task abandoned, as was I, by the company's owner who vacationed conveniently somewhere out of phone range.

Hardly enough vintage wood is left to tease me in my studio space where there was to be just enough to fill the room with pride in having recycled memories as well as an era.

So for all of you reading and wanting some advice, Definitely research all your work prospects! I knew better and just because 'I liked them', I didn't do what I knew I should have. So now my broken heart is lying in my garage with my broken vintage floor.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heartbreak And The Vintage Maple Floor

Yucky, small, and just plain gross as our little beach bungalow is, it's still our first house. It's sentimental. It holds the memories of our lives together before we were married (yes folks we lived in sin), it is where our future was planned, it's where we raised our babies, fought, made up, laughted, and cried.
There's nothing redeming about it, but I do want to save and recycle as much as I can. On principal if nothing else. My solid wood floor, it turns out, is an amazing vintage maple with fabulous holographic details and the perfect patina. Hey-I wanna save that! And my round window.
No one, not any of the contractors we interviewed were interested in my nostalgia except for Hank (our chosen contractor). He's willing, and I decided to find someone who specializes in vintage floors to take it out and re-install it in my studio where I alone can sniff old moldy wood and re-live my memories.
So, I found E & K Vintage Wood in Venice to do the job. The floor comes out just before the house is demolished.
It all seemed like a good idea at the time...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let The Games Begin

People keep asking if we'll be there when they tear the house down. I guess for many, that sounds like such a thrill. But I wasn't sure I could watch 15 years of memories go down in a matter of hours. It was extremely emotional.

I ended up having to be there because of the whole floor ordeal, and after the actual walls were down to studs, & it didn't look like my house anymore, I felt detached. THEN I could't believe we lived in a space so tiny for so long! Without the actual walls the space just became one room! This photo is from the back door looking toward the front of the house. This was once 2 bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and dinette!!!

I took this photo from inside the existing addition across the yard from the second floor. We toiled over the new layout because I wanted to keep the yard (heck - 5 blades of grass is still grass), but Sweetie-The-German wants more interior space. We had the biggest fight of our marriage over where the staircase would go. The brilliant solution from our architect is to do a reverse floor plan and raise the yard and put the bedrooms downstairs.
When it's done, this view will become 2nd floor french doors sharing the courtyard with the living quarters of the house.

I remember standing on a chair while pregnant with Sophia painting those blue faux "sky" walls! I must have been crazy, but I was so determined to have the babies room finished by the time she arrived.
Now the real sky shines through the ceiling! Ahhhhh...I can hardly see the light as the whole process seems so far away. I wonder if she'll want those walls in her new room. I wonder if I can still get up on a chair to do them!

This is the inside of the living room. I wonder if I shoulda saved that shell lamp?