Wednesday, October 12, 2016

House Renovation: Art Edition

Our house renovation continues apace!

The construction is done, but now we're working on small details like adjusting some painting and hanging art and figuring out what new furniture is needed and right for the place.

Hanging art and doing design layout is not really my thing. But luckily we have a very helpful designer and project manager in Susan. Susan makes things look nice. But Susan's design view is different than my design view. Sometimes we argue. Here's an example. As we arranged one corner of the kitchen, she selected two pottery goblets that looked nice.

"But there's no story with those," I complained.

"Not everything has to have a story," she said.

"Oh really?" I shouted replied in a calm, reasonable tone of voice.

We compromised. She finally agreed to put our jade Buddha up instead of the goblets. I promised to try and use the goblets in a cool way. Honestly, though, Susan does a great job. I have a sneaking suspicion she doesn't mind having a healthy banter with me. And she helped me win my campaign for a new toaster.

We met with Susan to hang art pieces today. It wasn't easy, but the tough part came when she tells me I need to "edit." I remind her that I'm quite good at editing the words, but this is different. These are my memories. Here are some of our pieces, after already doing one round of edits!

Taiwanese scroll, German calendar,
Spanish clock from Barcelona

Pittsburgh coffee company crate found in an old shed at our first house

Masks from Bahamas, Hawaii, Malawi and Belize

Spanish table top from Granada

Dragon candlesticks from Chautauqua, NY,
brass candlesticks from my grandmother in Baltimore

Pysanky eggs from Pittsburgh

Irish street scene photographs, St. Brigid's cross,
Welsh love spoon, Pittsburgh door hinge, Russian icon


Two original Leslie Belloso paintings,
one original oil from another Eastern Shore artist

Photos from East Berlin, a Joan Miro print

Steel Mill photos from Pittsburgh, printed on metal

 As you can see, it's an eclectic mix that reflects where we've lived and traveled. I couldn't imagine tucking a single one of those pieces away in storage in the basement or *gasp* parting with any. So Susan worked with us to really select the ones that were absolute must-stays and designed a gallery wall in our new open concept living room.

Here's a far away shot.


Here's a pano.


As you can see, many important memories made their way on to the wall. And there's a nice spot above the Miro print for a new feature! I love that.

Although we're still looking for a home for our incredible curved wood carving from Palau, several of the other must-keeps are distributed around the house in new locations.


Instead of displaying our pysankys on little brass holders, I won praise from Susan for arranging them in this redwood bowl from our trip to California.


Our Irish stoneware pottery used to rest on the large easel stand. Now it holds a chalkboard and highlights our cocktail of the day. The tallest piece of pottery is there on the right along with our vase with our seashell and driftwood collection from Gimli, Manitoba.


Check out these floating shelves! Across the top is more Irish stoneware and an Irish teapot. Next you see my beloved jade Buddha and two elephants our designer selected. On the bottom shelf are three more Irish stoneware bowls that will now be used instead of displayed. (We will soon have a new toaster.)


Our clay pot from Belize with the cool head now holds wooden cooking tools. And Maneki Neko is in a place of honor where she can keep an eye on the kitchen.


The Arbuckle's coffee crate is still under design review and I've been ruthless as I edited down our family photos. As soon as we get more furniture in the dining area, I expect to have a nicely curated collection to display. And I can't wait for our table from Bones and All to arrive.

But Susan is right. It's good to do a refresh and reboot and make room for new memories. Come on over anytime and check out the house as it transforms. We're the ones with the bright yellow door!