Friday, 17 October 2014

Spode Rosalie

I took these before Thanksgiving dinner. Here are our new (old) dishes, Spode's Rosalie. I think they suit our LBH perfectly.

Spode Rosalie
Thanksgiving Dinner Table, Complete with Our Youngest Child's Turkey

I must mention that my mum and I found this pattern in North Vancouver's Echo's China. It's an amazing little shop with a huge selection of beautiful, discontinued china and silverware. It's most certainly a dangerous place to visit.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

We Finished Insulating the Parlour!

The parlour at our Little Blue House is pretty much insulated now. My husband deserves credit for this, as he's the one who did all of the work cutting styrofoam panels into the quirky shapes you see in these photos. After our contractor raised the ceiling and insulated it, we were able to finish off this next phase.

Now we are waiting for the room to be vapour-barriered and strapping installed. I am "cautiously optimistic" that our electrician (MIA since early summer) may get our wiring done. When? I don't dare take a guess. I simply do not have time to learn to do it myself. Once we have new wiring, our contractor will be able to put plywood ceilings up and drywall on the walls. After that, we plan to install tin ceiling panels (nail-up) and wallpaper... eventually.

You can see the windows leaning against the wall in the picture below - the one on the left is a vintage storm window we found in the falling-down cabin on our property. The one on the right came out of the bedroom. I cleaned, primed and painted them to use as storm windows. More to follow on that later!

Parlour Chaos
Front Door
Mostly Finished

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Autumn Walk at Pine Creek

Now that winter seems to be kicking all of us in the ass in the Yukon, I feel it's necessary to share the gorgeous fall pictures we took in Atlin last week. We went for a walk on the "Crocus Trail," near Pine Creek. Our kids love this walk, it has amazing views, is relatively short, and as a bonus, part of the path is called the "Pompom Trail." That's because of the pompoms that people have attached here and there to trees along its length. In the summer, a friend of ours was kind enough to spend time making more pompoms with our kids, and then they hiked the trail, adding their new creations.

Sadly, although we had a fantastic hike last week, we were disappointed to see that most of the pompoms had been removed from our favourite trail! I guess we'll have another project next time we hike there. I should remember to get some yarn...

Atlin Lake
Crocus Trail
Looking up Pine Creek Valley

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Bedroom Window

We finally replaced our parlour window! Our contractor was able to install the new, triple-pane, wood frame casement window in the bedroom of the LBH. I had to choose paint colours for the sash and trim, and paint it prior to installation. I settled on Benjamin Moore Origins paint, in Aspen Bark (how appropriate!) for the trim and Beyond Midnight for the sash. My husband laughed at that, and commented on how perfect a colour that is for a former brothel.

The air was blue as I single-handedly wrestled the massive crate into submission. I keep meaning to call the manufacturer to complain about how it was crated. Should you have to use a pry bar and hammer to remove an $1800 window from its crate? Really?? It was all stapled with those big, industrial staples, not screwed together even on one end so you could safely open the wooden crate to remove the window. I was glad that our kids couldn't hear the stream of profanity emanating from the bedroom. Once I settled into priming and painting the window, it was a little more meditative, and I was able to calm down.

We are pleased with how it looks, although we've been hesitant to replace any of the 116-year old home's original leaded glass windows. But the fact that both panes were broken we took as a sign that we were "allowed" to replace this one. Not to mention that a nice, energy-efficient window will make that bedroom super cozy in the wintertime. :)

Bedroom Window Before Replacement
Bedroom, with New Window in Stupid Shipping Crate
Window After Coat of Primer (Tinted Primer for Black Sash)
Here it is!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Parlour Ceiling Raised!

The ceiling in the parlour has been raised, insulated and strapped. We were super happy to see this development, as it meant that we could carry on with insulating the walls before winter sets in. Our contractor and his team did a great job with it (we decided that the ceiling work was way beyond our capabilities)... I have many more photos to post, and will do so in the coming week!

Higher Ceiling, all Snug!
Still Missing a Parlour Window Though...
The Woodshed, with Construction Stuff!
Playing Soccer Amongst the Aspen Leaves

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

More Insulation

Now that the mouse nests have been removed, and wall cavities bleached and cleaned up, we are installing styrofoam insulation panels. They're in big sheets, 2" thick. My husband has a system for measuring & cutting the pieces. We explained to our kids that it's like Tetrus, and they didn't know what we were talking about.

It is satisfying though, when the parts fit together, especially in these irregularly shaped spaces in our ancient walls. We put two pieces in each space, so it's 4" of insulation. This is followed by spray foam in the wee gaps and corners that remain. We finished the gable end wall, on the front of the house. We've lots more to do!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Paint Schemes

Check out this blue house I saw this afternoon in Dawson City, Yukon! I've been admiring Victorian painted ladies lately (you know the ones I'm talking about). Our LBH needs jazzing up. I think painting will happen next year, but I am researching colour schemes... What do you think of two blues, an off-white and brick red? Plus, we shall keep our existing black window sash colour. Let me know! Our wee house should be a painted lady, to honour her shady ladies.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Raging Queen

After some tinkering, a few F-bombs, a friend taking apart our kicker motor & putting it back together, minor bloodshed, and some cajoling, the Raging Queen II took to Atlin Lake once again. Oh, did I mention that our retro motorboat (it came with the house) is named after the boat my family owned when I was a kid? She was named the Raging Queen, the original and one-and-only (I think).

Boats are like racehorses, right? You can call them absolutely anything.

Atlin Lake, August 2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Ceiling Comes Down in the Parlour

My hubby went to town with the crowbar in our front parlour. Now the rafters are exposed, along with the attic... It wasn't as bad as we expected, although he was covered in dirt from head to toe afterwards. There are a myriad of ancient wasp nests up there, but at least this time there weren't any bones in the attic! Our contractor was lucky enough to experience that in March.

After removing the rough hewn lumber ceiling boards, my husband cleaned up the room and hauled most of it to the dump. We will have our contractor raise the ceiling in the parlour, just like he did with the home's original bedroom ceiling. It will be insulated and vapour-barriered, and we'll end up with a foot or so of extra headroom. He is going to re-install the parlour window for us, too. That will all happen before mid-September, so we can spend some time insulating the room with styrofoam insulating panels... 

One of our main obstacles now is finding an electrician to install new wiring in this part of the house. We had an electrician come in, and he promised us a quote within a week. That was about 3 months ago now... It's a trick in the small town of Atlin to find people to do work like this. We really can't afford to bring an electrician in from Whitehorse to do it. I'm not sure at this point how we will overcome this challenge.

Front Door of Little Blue House, from Parlour
Some Wasp Nests
Parlour Attic Exposed!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Antique Bed

I finally cleared out the back bedroom enough to assemble this vintage bed. I found it on Kijiji last year. It was a steal! My husband made a platform to fit inside the frame, as it came without support rails or slats. It's an antique European size, a small single. We had to order a custom foam mattress to fit it. It's in this corner somewhat temporarily. I thought I'd share it with you though, because it looks pretty nice, doesn't it?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mouse Haiku

Century of Mice
Dusty rodent scat rains down
Bleach burns my nostrils

Parlour Haven, Formerly for Harlots, Now for Mice
A Mousy Hole

Monday, 21 July 2014

Parlour Demo...

We are fully committed to our parlour renovation... Check out the strange studs inside these walls!

Some Interesting Framing
Pulling off Boards
More Mousey-Ness
Wallpaper Layers

Friday, 11 July 2014

Fixing a Hole, Where the Rain Gets In...

Our backhoe operator is amazing. He recently spent a couple of days putting things back where they are supposed to be around our Little Blue House. He was very precise and gentle as he placed 2 feet of gravel around the perimeter of the house, and then backfilled the area with all of the soil that has been heaped around it for the past year.

 The photos below don't even do it justice, and more has just been done to finish it off since I took these pictures. The kids will be a bit sad that their giant dirt pile is gone... It isn't really gone though - it has been flattened into a different, less fun shape. Somehow I don't think the kids are going to dig that explanation. Get it? I know, that was a really bad pun, but I am tired and it made me laugh.

The house doesn't look like it is sitting in a hole anymore, slowly sinking and sagging back into the earth. We are making progress!

I have so many pictures to post, as we've done a ton of work lately. I am behind with my blogging, and I apologize. I will catch up! Lots more to follow in the coming week!

Backfilling Work Begins
Flattening the Kids' Dirt Pile
More Dirt!
New Culvert

We decided that we didn't want a ditch right in front of our LBH anymore! Our new porch (which will be built to resemble the one from our archival photo, will have stairs leading straight up towards the house. We don't want to end up in a ditch as we descend the stairs. We bought a section of 12" culvert and a collar to connect it to the existing culvert to the south of the LBH. Then we had an extra truckload of gravel brought in to cover it. Nice!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A Twin!

Look at the blue house I saw today in Dawson City, Yukon! It's definitely related to our LBH in Atlin. Maybe they're cousins, both born in 1898.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Vintage Storm Windows?

Hello, what have we here? I think these must be the original storm windows from the Little Blue House. We must try them out. My husband discovered them in the falling-down cabin on our property, along with a couple more in the other cabin (now woodshed).

They say that a vintage window combined with a storm window is at least equivalent to a double-paned window, in terms of energy efficiency. Plus , these windows have loads of character. Here's yet another project!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Tarring but not Feathering

Man, tar is nasty stuff. Fortunately, my husband and dad both "volunteered" to apply all of this goop to our Little Blue House. They finished in a day. The first coat was very thick, applied with a putty knife to seal all cracks, knot-holes, seams, etc. The second and third coats were of a thinner type of tar, applied with rollers and brushes to the new plywood and cement foundation.

First Coat of Tar
Partway Through First Coat

The exposed wood you see in the photo above is where the rotten siding was removed from the exterior of the home's original bedroom. That part of the house was sitting in the dirt, with rotten beams and floor joists. The rear corner wall was also rotten, so you could poke a hole in the wall with your hand. We will need to find some cove siding to fill in some gaps...

They did an amazing job - the house already looks much better. Oddly enough, they completed the task right at beer o'clock!
The Final Photo, Before Back-Filling

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

New Wallpaper Disoveries...

The Little Blue House keeps revealing her secrets, slowly but surely, telling us perhaps some of her stories. I think the front parlour of a brothel must have been an opulent place at the turn of the last century, even in a small Gold Rush town such as Atlin. This would have been where Eva Daniell, the madam, first entertained guests. I imagine the tiny, smoke-filled room, with the gramophone playing (we've seen it in the local museum - it was Eva's) and people drinking and talking, the walls covered in expensive papers imported from Paris, the shady ladies dressed in their finery...

You can almost feel it, peeling back layer after layer from these old walls, the faded beauty attempting to show itself once again.