Several friends have recently bought big old houses; they've gotten them renovated within months, in a blitz of interior and exterior makeovers. Our time frame is more "geologic"–say, 30 years. But we're getting there.
Early this year, for example, we finally got the hallway plastered. This epic task will be covered fully in another post, but suffice it to say that your Stablemistress decided to "do the trim herself." That would be: 15 paneled doors and one zillion linear feet of molding, all encased in at least 90 years of chipping, cruddy paint. Many moldings have phone wire embedded in them and painted over; the doors bear brutal gouges from multiple mortises for countless locks. Yep, no biggie there.
So I've started scraping off the loose stuff, or as the Daughter puts it, "scratching at the walls," and adding a coat of pop-white Ben Moore "Chantilly Lace" to the creamy golden "Soleil" on the walls...a lot of bang for the buck, considering that we've looked at this soul-sucking dirty-white for all those years.
Yesterday, as I cleaned up the door to the living room, I scraped off something that had always puzzled me—a small, square, round-edged patch that old Mr. Chang in typical fashion had simply rollered paint over. (He also painted over wads of gum on the floor.) The top layer of latex almost popped off as the patch fell into my hand.
This, folks, is original detail, Crazy Stable style!
When we first moved in, a former resident had left behind a pinup calendar in what is now the Daughter's room, opened to "Miss Hawaii." I like to think that an earlier generation of bachelor made this little statement, turning his lonely room into a bit of Hef's mansion. And speaking of mansions...
...the other day I stumbled on the original ad for the Crazy Stable in the New York Times real estate section. I had completely forgotten that it was billed as a "one-family mansion." (It was, in fact, basically a flophouse.) The price was a ludicrously low one even at the time and went lower; the "TLC" is ongoing. But the playboys are gone.