I Love Lamp: Hallway

Our upstairs hallway is getting a bit of love. Here’s what it looked like Tuesday afternoon before I decided I absolutely needed to fix it that very instant.

Which I totally did in just one day!

Or not.

I know I keep posting “Before” photos and no “After” ones, but that’s because we’re kinda “Somewhere In Between” on just about every house project at the moment. Which by the way is driving us a little NUTS. I nearly screamed into a pillow Tuesday afternoon when I was trying to open the bathroom window so I wouldn’t die from wallpaper remover and paint fumes and for life of me could not do it because it had been painted shut from the outside.

I called my mom and felt better, then Steven used his super strength and opened it for me. Aka, support systems are very much necessary when renovating an old house.

It’s so tempting to just want to be DONE with all the work. But what is “done” anyway?

Ok fine, fine, I’ll take “very nearly finished”, how’s that??

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

 

I Love Lamp: Baobab Interiors

I came across the Tumblr Baobab Interiors and it was almost too much.

Whitewash? Moroccan riads? Certain kinds of statement chairs? Concrete floors? It simultaneously filled my heart and made me feel the teeniest bit sad. Sad in that way when someone else nails so many things you love and it makes you realize, “Oh right, I’m SUPER ORIGINAL.”

It also kind of reminded me of this hilarious bit about having too many gummy bears.

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

Minimum Wage For Artists?

Hyperallergic just ran this fascinating interview with the folks of W.A.G.E, aka “Working Artists for the Greater Economy”.

The heart of the idea is to stop the race to the bottom when nonprofits pay artists by basing compensation on the company’s overall annual expenses. (As well as the race to the top interestingly enough..)

As someone who has participated in art shows for “exposure” and done excruciatingly low pay design work for nonprofits before, this seems like an amazing idea because at the very least it’s a place to start.

A lot of time these companies are good at valuing other services– accounting, legal, even catering– but anything remotely “artsy” becomes a too nebulous for them. “What is art worth?” they start asking, when really they should be asking, “What is this person’s time and the function of what they will produce for us worth?”

It reminds me of all the important issues Robert Levine brings up in his amazing book Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business, And How the Culture Business Can Fight Back.

Check out the full interview here.

I Love Lamp: Saddle Up

When we moved up here 10 months ago, I made a list of things I wanted to fix in the house within the first year. And I wrote it down because it’s really, REALLY easy to just get used to things. “We’ll fix that soon” becomes “we’ve been living with that for five years” very easily for even the most design obsessive folks.

One of the things on the list was the doorway between the kitchen and the living room.

Back in February we painted the kitchen, made small bar, and hung our barn door to create a separation. But we called it a day before finishing the saddle and frame. Mostly because we weren’t quite sure what to do.

But after 10 months of taking an awkwardly large step over this gaping hole, it was TIME.

The old beam is kinda cool, but the bulbous insulation and inevitable dust bunny collections were not. And while the stratigraphy of the frame fascinates every contractor/carpenter who comes through, we were pretty sick of looking at it.

So what to do?

The previous owners left a big stack a cedar barn siding which we’ve turned into everything from the Inn’s bar to the tables to my desk. Not to mention a TV stand, a nightstand, a day bed…. haha! So naturally, we decided that cedar would do just fine as a frame and saddle.

Steven measured, cut the pieces, and drilled some guide holes for our screws so as to not split the wood.

And no, it’s not exactly traditional to use screws for this kind of thing, but we’ve got a rustic enough look going on and down the line we might want to remove the wood and use it elsewhere when we do a deeper kitchen renovation.

We started with the top part of the frame.

Moved to the side pieces, several of which we had to notch to fit the irregular shapes going on.

And then fitted the saddle, which involved some “poor man’s planing” as Steven called it. Yes, that’s his Swiss Army knife.

He added supports since we didn’t want the saddle to bend when you stepped on it. They look like they were installed by a 3 year old with a hammer but the erratic placement is actually quite precise to fit the uneven surface.

And voila!

Steven also decided to add a small bit of trim to the part in the kitchen where the wall otherwise very unevenly meets the frame to finish it off.

Tada!

I love it, love it, love it. Though it’s really kind of bizarre how luxurious having a continuous floor feels. Naturally we keep stepping over it as if the saddle still isn’t there. I’m sure we’ll happily get used to it soon!

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

I Love Lamp: Steven’s Office (Before)

As the exterior of the house is being painted (photos coming soon!), I’ve been a busy bee (between check-ins and bar tending and laundry and and and…!) brightening things up inside the house.

I started with Steven’s studio because he got jealous of mine after I’d gotten jealous of the hotel rooms. As you can see, while his room was spacious and full of windows, it was dark and often felt cluttered despite lots of tidying and reorganizing:

It certainly didn’t help that his mountain view became a dumpster view for the past three and half months. And while we never took that shot from the inside, you can see here what it looked like from the outside. His windows are the bottom four:

Not pretty.

I painted his built in shelves a blue-ish grey back in January, which helped a bit:

Oh man was THAT a labor of love. So much taping! And awkward climbing and bending! It actually made painting the rest of the room seem quite simple by comparison which for whatever insane reason I decided to undertake the Monday of Labor Day after all of our long weekend guests checked out. Because, you know, that wasn’t a busy weekend or anything like that…?!

All the while Steven made some more cedar contraptions which I’m looking forward to showing off next week in my “after” post!

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

So How’s It Been?

We’ve been open over a month now (woohoo!), so the number one question I’ve been getting lately from friends and family is:

“So, how’s it been?”

“Great! Everything I’d hoped it would be and more! Tiring! Satisfying! A little nutty! Fun!”

Then most folks rephrase the question or follow with, “No, but really– how’s it been?” and I have to reiterate that really and truly I meant what I said. Often I have to soothe people by listing specific things I like about it all so far like:

“We’ve met so many cool people! Everyone’s been so supportive! Nearly every weekend is full through October! We got our first repeat guests! No one’s trashed a room yet! It’s so exciting to finally be doing this thing I’ve spent the past two-plus years working towards!”

“Yeah, but [insert that person's specific worry here]?”

It’s quite sweet actually. Because what I’m hearing when people ask me these questions is that they want me to be happy and they want me to succeed. They want me to mean what I’ve told them and I do. It has been all those things so far, and sometimes I feel so damn pleased that I catch myself wondering, “Is there something that I’m missing? Something else I should be worrying about?”

Sure there is. There’s all kinds of tedious bureaucratic stuff that goes along with opening a business that we’re still slogging through, but it doesn’t keep me up at night the same way any more for two main reasons:

1. We’re open! I’ve got much more immediate and satisfying things to worry about like who’s checking in this afternoon, who’s celebrating an anniversary this Friday and needs champagne, how to publicize that party we’re having next weekend, when the wine and whiskey is being delivered…

2. I “sleep the sleep of the entrepreneur” as my friend Stephanie who co-owns Community Bookstore says. Aka, I basically black out the moment I put my head on the pillow. Poof! There goes all the worry-time.

And now I should take a moment to thank everyone who’s come up to visit, who has sent friends our way, who has called and written to ask, “So how’s it been?” because actually you are all a huuuuge part of why what on paper should be the craziest 6 weeks of Steven’s and my lives has been so damn fun. So thank you! And come back soon, keep sending friends and family and cool co-workers, because this place is a living thing and thrives when its filled with happy heartbeats.

See you soon!