Enfilade, Remodeling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

Some scenes are best framed formally, with a doorway. Think ‘enfilade’ — a group of rooms with doorways in line, like this view at the Tate Britain.

Enfilade - Tate Britain

Yes, you can see all the way to the gift shop.

Or sometimes framing can be informal, with a portion of the surroundings —

Pulteney Bridge, Kayaks on the Avon in Bath

Kayaks under the arch of Pulteney Bridge in Bath, UK

But back to ‘enfilade’ — I’ll segue now to garden, and use this example from the tour to Glastonbury that Sam and I took in May.

Entrance to the Chalice Well Garden, Glastonbury. And yes, we tasted the water.

Entrance to the Chalice Well Garden, Glastonbury, UK.

I learned about enfilade from reading Tara Dillard’s blog.  

Meanwhile, on the homefront, there’s another kind of bath — the bathroom. This one has no kayaks and things are not so pretty. One bathroom is being demolished as I write…bang bang bang just overhead. Here’s the state of destruction at lunchtime…

Bathroom remodel during demolition

Framed by the doorway — gutting the bathroom, and oh how it needed it.  See that green strip on the bottom where the tub was framed in?  You can see that previous owners had it refinished from avocado green to white.

I used to think I could wait until avocado green and harvest gold were in again.  Now I realize that may not happen in my lifetime. I’ll stand by this quote from one of the comics in the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago…

Everything I have is in that awkward stage between outdated and retro.

(“The Lockhorns” August 21)

What do you think? Do you favor new, or should I have waited for retro?


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Preparing for Bath Remodels and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

In this house full of accumulated stuff, I thought there’d be nothing so rare as an empty cabinet, but now I have two empty vanity cabinets plus an empty medicine cabinet. The occasion? — bathroom remodel starts next week.

Empty medicine cabinet

Medicine cabinet with 3-way mirror — it was handy, but hulking.

This poor old cabinet is coming apart, but I’ll keep the glass shelves long enough to see if they might be useful to someone. I’ve been diligently sorting out what’s still usable, what’s recyclable, what’s never-used and can be donated, and what must be discarded, all the while trying to keep track of what I’m keeping.

Just to keep myself entertained, I held a “Goofy Stuff I Found” contest — here are the winners.

— Most prolific find — safety pins. Nearly all these came from one drawer in the dressing-table. I think they’ve been breeding in there. The first runner up on most prolific: match books. There were twelve. Two were empty. (?) Next would be the eight manicure scissors (Bob’s) and at least that many nail clippers (ok, some were mine). We must have had a fear of not being able to keep our nails short after the revolution.

Many many found safety pins

Apparently, I am very interested in safety (at least in pins).

— The oldest finds  — Flouride gel, expired 2/1989.  Prescription, expired 5/1998. SO last century. Luckily, collection of expired medication is no longer a once-a-year event, and I can drop these off with a bag of others I’ve set aside.

The oldest things found in the medicine cabinet

I’m trying to dispose of things responsibly, but it isn’t always easy. I ended up with a small grocery bag of trash, and a LOT of stuff I need to use up. That includes what I cleaned out of another cabinet a while back, posted here.

On the topic of throwing things away, quoting a comment on an Apartment Therapy blog from last week, “There is no away.”  –Good to remember.


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A New Retaining Wall, and Two Weekly Photo Challenges (Morning and Fun)

I thought this morning might be the last for my old retaining wall, but it turns out I’ll have it until Monday.

Old Retaining Wall made of railroad ties

Here’s my “before” — the old wall, sadly, long past its expiration date.

It’s been a happy home for termites, chipmunks, ants, spiders, and probably lots of other critters, but I’m finally giving in and getting it replaced. Years ago, when we moved here, we said, “That retaining wall needs attention.” But there were other things, like health, that needed attention more. The retaining wall didn’t (quite) fall down, so there it still is.

As for the demolition? — Here’s what arrived this afternoon…

Dumpster gets backed up the hill into the driveway

Here comes the dumpster. I hate to see things going to the landfill, but in this case, there’s no choice.

I have two more remodeling projects stacked behind this one. Is it going to be fun getting through the next few weeks?  Maybe — stay tuned!  Meanwhile, I’m planning some sorting-out days to keep me busy while I listen to the drumbeat of timbers falling (thunk) into the dumpster.

Have you ever had your own dumpster?

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Surprise Lilies, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

Here’s a favorite flower that I just can’t seem to grow in Georgia. In the midwest we called them “surprise lilies” aka hardy amarylis.  Here’s a close-up —

Surprise Lilies/Hardy Amarylis

Surprise lilies, photo taken last week on a trip home to Northwest Missouri

And what’s so narrow about surprise lilies? You judge —

Surprise Lilies/ Hardy Amarylis

This clump is just beginning to bloom. And, they are fast growers. When we walked by the following day most of the new stems had shot up to the height of the old blooms.

Look Ma, no leaves. The foliage comes up in early spring and dies down shortly after, all about the time spring bulbs bloom. Then, surprise, in July or August the narrow flower stems pop up.

One reason I can’t grow them is that I can hardly ever find them for sale. But even when I think I have, I plant them and they never come up (and that’s no surprise any more, since I’ve tried several times). To me they’re an heirloom plant, a childhood memory and symbol of home.

I can’t complain too much, since right now I have a backyard full of phlox and four o’clocks and black-eyed susans, but a few surprise lilies in the mix would be comforting. Like the peonies and lilacs I got from my mother and grandmother, they don’t grow well here, and they’re now a potent memory of the yard I had in Kansas City. And, speaking of hoarding (which I hadn’t got around to mentioning yet), that yard was full of plants I hoarded, er, collected, all my life. I need to remember that even though I had to move on, the plants-of-my-life are still going/growing strong in yards all over the midwest, and I can still drop by and enjoy them.

Are you missing some favorite plants?

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