Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Paperwhites with Periwinkle Shells

Posted on | November 21, 2011 | 12 Comments

The tide was way out on Sunday morning and the periwinkle shells grouped together in a long curving band the length of the beach. I gathered a few in my hand inspecting all the different shapes and colors. I thought, “What could I make with these?” I dropped a few handfuls into my bag and kept walking. I spotted a group of perfectly round dark smooth rocks at the end of beach; dark grays rocks are a particular favorite. I have bowls with different collections scattered around the house.

When I got home I filled a large glass footed urn with gray rocks mixed with broken mussel shells. I nestled five paperwhite bulbs in a circle within the rocks and filled the container with fresh water; making sure I didn’t add too much because my bulbs could rot.

The tiny little periwinkle shells got a cold fresh water bath while I planted individual bulbs in dirt. I picked up the the terra cotta urns from a recent trip to Snug Harbor Farm in Maine. I scattered the periwinkle shells around the bulb just covering the dirt. I liked the contrasts of the rough bulb, tiny twisting shells, and smooth terra cotta. I added a few more and watered the bulbs. Hopefully by Christmas I’ll have paperwhites blooming in my windowsills and on my kitchen table.




Related Posts:
Make An Antique Terrarium
Typeface Drawer For Beach Treasures
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Restoring Door Jamb

Posted on | November 17, 2011 | 19 Comments

Snapshot of the den on November 17th, 2011. I still need to finish painting the walls, restore the firebox, line the chimney, strip the floors and add interior shutters.

We’ve never talked about how we restored the door jamb in the den, so here it goes. When we bought the house the original jamb had been cut out and removed on the right side. We assume this was done to fit furniture into the house—the doorways are only 26 inches wide.

We removed the frame and realized the wall was crumbling. Paneling was carefully removed and the wall was gutted to the corner beam. We went back and forth on whether to keep the doorway expanded because it was more convenient and it allowed more light into the space or not. Many of you shared your opinions on this post from January—the widen doorway was more favored.

We found three doors in the basement that were mates for the den. Greg decided he wanted to restore the door and use in the space. I like the idea and thought keeping the symmetry of the room was the right move. When the renovation is complete we’ll be able to close all three doors and light the fire on cold winter nights.

The molding profile that was removed was difficult to source because it didn’t match anything modern. We got a tip that Blue Anchor Woodworks carried many of the knives used to cut historic molding profiles found in Marblehead. We were able to match the molding with a knife in their inventory and bought 32 feet for $200. Having a custom knife made would of been a lot more expensive.

When we replaced the beams in preps for a new ceiling we also built out a new wall and installed the molding. Blueboard was hung in the wall cavity and then plastered over. The molding has been painted and you can hardly tell the difference between the old and new. Well, except that new molding doesn’t have nearly as many dings. I’ve taken care of that and made it more authentic by accidentally knocking it a few times with the vacuum cleaner.

We still need to fix the little gap between the top of the door and the molding. Can you even see that or does it just glare at me? I think the best tactic is to fill the gap with some wood and paint it green so it blends. Below photos of the project.

Den when we first bought the house.

Removing ceiling, stripping paint off molding and removing damaged door jamb.

Doorway expanded allowed more light in but I didn’t like that it threw off the symmetry of the room.

After we removed the ceiling and replaced with new beams we also put the door jamb back in. The paneling in the corner is original.

We had custom molding made for us at Blue Anchor in Marblehead to match.

Making sure the corners line up.

Carefully nailing the molding into place.

Adding molding to opposite side.

Blue board was installed and then plastered over when we did the ceilings.

View of the two doorways restored.

View from library looking into den with doorway restored.

A close-up of the corner after plastering.

Priming molding and painting the walls in the den.

Den this morning on Nov 17th, 2011. I still need to finish painting the walls, restore the firebox, strip the floors and add interior shutters.

Related Posts:
Expanding Doorframe in Den
Base Coat Plaster Ceiling
Narrow Doorway
Fixing Doorway & Ceiling Conversation

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