June 27, 2011

Six out of ninety-three

It's been ninety-three days since I've been home, and tomorrow, I am Brooklyn bound. Yes, I'm taking a break. It's time to reconnect, however briefly, with my life back in New York. I miss my house, I miss my cat, I miss my boyfriend. Uh, not necessarily in that order -- at all. I also miss Brooklyn. I miss the sun. I miss not wearing the same dusty clothes every day, and I can't wait to not lace up my work boots for en entire six days.

It's going to be hard to have to leave my home all over again, but I suppose I shouldn't think about that quite yet. A job's a job and I'm determined to get 'er done. So I will look forward to coming back and finishing up. However, I must admit I've been... wearing out. My. Brain. Is. Fried.

So. Brooklyn. I'm coming home! I'm going to cram an entire bike-riding, iced-coffee-drinkin', hanging-out-with-my-boy,  humid-and-sticky New York summer into a single week.

Cause last time I saw it, Brooklyn looked like this: yuck.

Photo accredited to Amelie! The view from our beloved sixteen foot U-haul.

The restaurant will just have to wait. Goodbye for a while, West.

June 24, 2011

It's cyclical: one down, twenty five to go

With paralyzing trepidation, some seriously professional procrastinating, and four returned gallons of various sealers, I finally convinced myself to polyurethane a table top. Here's before:

And here's after {directly after -- no dry time}:

Whew. All that changed was the darks got a little darker, and the warms got a little warmer. All this fear and trepidation was for naught.

Before I sealed it, I had some hard work finally solving the problem of cracks {there are a lot of small gaps and nail holes that need to be filled to comply with health code}. After many samples of putty and fillers, I discovered a water based, paintable, brown caulk, that I simply squeeze out with a caulk gun and smooth with a wet towel. It totally blends in! And it remains flexible so it won't crack out like a wood filler eventually would. I love unconventional solutions!

As for a sealer, I ended up going with a high-use Polyurethane in Satin. I applied two coats, with sanding in between. It looks great! I'm happy. And greatly relieved. And Amelie, it's not very shiny!


June 23, 2011

The old one

The site is constantly growing. It changes every day, and most of what I capture has been details and artsy angles. So I thought I'd pull back a bit and show you what a not-so-average, salvaged-wood-and-antique-filled construction site looks like at any given moment:

I build a table, and it fills up rather fast.

The strange thing about this site is that little corners of it are nearly complete, while other parts have just begun. There are places where finishing touches have already been added, and other spots where it is still down to it's bare bones with trenches in the floor, exposed framing, and completely incomplete beginnings of plumbing.

And another thing I've neglected to divulge for a while: We have a name.

Yep, we chose one. And it wasn't easy. It was late evenings of scribbling gibberish and cheesy cliches, gently arguing about ideas and dislikes and attachments, and me spending late night hours trying to look up cool sounding words in an Italian dictionary. We all knew it needed to be something applicable, something that described both our philosophy, our food, and my design, all rolled into one. At last, it was simply settled by asking Hey, what is "old one" in Italian?

Well, turns out it's il vecchio.

And there you go. We are the old one, il vecchio {pronounced with the two C's hard like a K, so it sounds like vekio!}.

One aspect of building this thing down, five hundred more to go.

June 22, 2011

The issue of color

As soon as I heard about designing this restaurant, I instantaneously got crazy ideas in my head. Or not so crazy, depending on who you are. I can count on both my hands how many people have walked into the site {friends, strangers, passersby} who have looked around, and although they liked what they saw, they still say so where is the color gonna be?

Well, let me tell you, my friends. The color is gonna be everywhere.

Look at all that crazy color! To me, it's in the accents. Color is in the wood, in the different shades of grains. It's in the patterns, the combination of dark antique chair finish and raw sun bleached barn board. Even the white wall is color. It has shadows, it has nuance. No, there are no walls painted Tuscan red or yellow, but that only means that the colors in the space is vastly more complex.

So I realize that showing a paint sample on the computer is pointless. My screen is different than yours, and the camera simply can't accurately capture it. So really, why bother. But aside from that, here is my paint sample for a wall of wainscoting. And no, it's not black. And also no, it's not navy blue!

Hopefully you don't think I'm insane. I have a vision! I'm working on it...

June 21, 2011

Keepin' Montana green in California

It is a little odd that a sign for keep Montana green is written on wood, the very Anaconda Pine which I assume should be keeping Montana green? Oh well. Even though they are a contradiction {plus I didn't get  these from Montana, but instead found them in Virginia} I love these odd things and am working on finding them a nice spot. Amelie and I found these at the abandoned diner photographed here! See that huge pile of wood with my face barely visible {in total glee} behind it? That's where I pulled them from!

And even though I said I'm "done" with the tables. Well, I'm not. Far from it. So today I spent the day adding the trim around a bunch of them. And boy, it's like framing a drawing, it just looks so good, so complete.

While I was doing that, my contractor guy did this:

This is the huge beam I found at a salvage yard for eight bucks. It's nine inches by three inches, and is exactly eight feet, three inches long, which somehow is exactly the length of the huge fireplace. So he notched it in a matter of minutes {yeah, minutes} and we slid it right over these two stones that project out and voila! A mantle!

However, the mantle doesn't photograph well because there is a whole bunch of crap around it. It actually looks pretty bad right now. So, not to tease or anything, but I'll show you later. I just love notched beam photographs, I had to include them!

June 17, 2011

Twenty seven and twenty eight

That's right. I am done. Today I built the last two table tops.

And I have extra oak! I was so afraid I would run out and I'd have to do the last few tops in something different. But once again, without planning or measuring, things miraculously worked out. So I started adding trim around the edges. 

This is happiness.


June 16, 2011

Five in one

I guess giving myself a deadline got me moving. I built five table tops today! Five! I was on fire.

Then I had a proud moment as I surveyed my work. Talk about feeling accomplished.

And I finished the last table just in time to drive home to this:

A beautiful peach and plum tart. With just the right amount of butter in the crust. I love nights when we test out the recipes for the restaurant!

Round two

And two rounds is all there will be.

One for each of the corner booths, which are in opposing corners so are balanced quite nicely. But I'm a little sad that these are the only circles to be made, because they're super fun to build and lend themselves beautifully to triangular patterns.

Oh well, no more circles for me. I'm on to squares, squares, and more squares from here on out. I have given myself a deadline of eleven days to finish all the tables. And yes, that includes building all the bases. Uh, let's see, is that nine more tops and twelve table bases?

I don't even have the wood for the legs yet. Yikes. This deadline was just created and already seems unreasonable.


Wish me luck...

June 14, 2011

Circular saws aren't made for circles

I'm not saying I didn't know this, but considering I was lacking a jig saw and really wanted to build a round table, I went against my better judgment and tried anyway. Worst case scenario, my circle turns out to be rather square and I go buy and jig saw.

After about twenty minutes of slicing straight lines, I must say I'm rather proud of my somewhat circular skill-saw skill.

Heck yeah! Good enough to become this:

Then with a little sanding {okay, a lot of sanding} it got a little rounder. On the table saw, I sliced a long board thin enough to bend, and spent the next two hours impatiently rotating clamps haphazardly in a circle as I wrapped the edge in trim.

So having satisfied my circle need, I went back to making a couple squares.

The flea and what follows it

Once again, I got sun burned at the Alameda.

But it was worth getting a red nose because I got this for ten bucks.

And Amelie, I was totally about to buy you this! -- until I turned over the price tag. Seriously.

For some reason, I always forget to bring bags to the flea, so the way back to the car was awkward and hilarious. Mostly awkward. The huge green lamps were definitely in the impossible-to-carry department. But they were twenty five dollars each! What a bargain.

The whole day was a bargain! The lineup of loot is as follows:

Incredible industrial chair, three dollars. Yeah you read me. Three bucks!

Super cool old stamp that reads Banchero's Italian Dinners, five dollars.

Glass jug, five. Pitcher, eight. Wooden grape press vices, twenty five.

Silver forks {for me!}, ten dollars.

Then, on the way out of Oakland we spotted this amazing house. I pretty much want to move in. Or steal the whole thing. Probably more the latter.

We were super tired and ready to go home, but my mother thought we should take a small detour to see if we could spot any decrepit barns -- possibly to disassemble? {We were inspired by that old house! We wanted some barn wood!}.

So we drove until we saw a pile of wood in someones pasture, and stopped when we saw two people gardening outside. Great! I can go ask them! So I did. And long, long story short, they were lovely, lovely people. They invited us inside. They gave us a grand tour of their converted barn home, and were more than happy for me to riffle through the collapsed shed. To top it all off, they even decided to give me three beautiful old windows that she had been saving. Seriously! This really happened! Here's an awful picture as proof {it was getting dark and my camera just couldn't handle it}.

And out of this incredible and bizarre thing came the most beautiful piece of wood, leftover from their shed, and the only piece that wasn't completely rotted. There it was, just laying on top, waiting for me.