I haven’t posted anything in more than two months. My wife says, “That’s because you’ve been sitting around doing nothing.”
Oh, the sarcasm.
I’ve been doing quite a lot (which I’ll be posting updates on in the coming weeks), including this. The dining room in our 1848 house in Malden, Mass. was in bad repair: the horsehair plaster walls were crumbling in a few places, and so it was time for a redesign.
At first we considered unearthing the fireplace that must exist inside the wall between the dining room and living room. But after consulting Mario, the fireplace expert, we decided not to do it: besides the expense (upwards of $20,000) it would have required us to cut into some major beams and reduce the size of two already small closets.
Plan B: Call in an old-school plasterer who could repair the damaged walls, rather than putting up blue board over them; Strip the four doors that open up into the dining room of their layers of paint; Paint and glaze the walls and woodwork to give the room an old-world Scandinavian effect; Buy a new rug and curtains; And one thing I wasn’t counting on was replacing an old hope chest with a painted piece of furniture to continue the Scandinavian theme.
That purchase was made last Sunday when I attended opening day at the SoWa Market in Boston’s South End (Be sure to click on the video I created to see interviews with the vendors).
- Doors were dipped at Minuteman Furniture Stripping in Somerville, Mass. They picked up the four doors and then dropped them off. We kept the natural color and had a light coat of polyurethane put on them for protection.
- Walls were re-plastered by Fay Brothers Plastering in Dorchester, Mass. John Fay is an artist and a perfectionist. He and his son, Sean, spent nearly a week working on the walls, paying special attention to a curve in one section. He also uncovering a wooden corner bead, which was the old-fashioned way of protecting corners back in the day. They dug this little gem out and now that it’s painted, it’s a highlight of the room.
- Walls and woodwork were painted by Sitting Pretty in Haverhill, Mass. (978-521-0915). Kathy McCormick specializes in old world painting techniques. We hired her several years ago to match our new kitchen cabinets to the same color and grade of wood as the original douglas fir cabinets in our butler pantry. She’s great to work with and made several sample boards before we agreed on the color and glazing technique.
- The hand-painted antique cabinet was bought at Tula Antiques at the SoWa Vintage Market in Boston.