Friday, December 5, 2008

Window Re-Glazing

The downstairs windows were original to the house and the double pane windows were no longer sealed. If you cleaned the windows inside and out there was still a film between the glass. I had the windows re-glazed with Low E double pane glass. You can't really show a picture of nice clean new glass so I just have a picture of the windows before showing the film between the glass that was clearly visible when the sun hit the glass in the mornings and afternoon.

Not shown but it is a really clear view.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tequila Worms and The Great Agave Meltdown

I have several very large Agave americana century plants in the front flower bed. I knew they would die one day when they shot up a magnificent flower stalk 25 feet in the air as part of their big bang reproduction. I did not realize their death would come sooner as a result of the Tequila worm in the Great Agave Meltdown. (actually it would be the Mezcal worm)

My agaves were attacked by the agave snout weevil (a beetle, Scyphophorus acupunctatus). The female weevil enters the base of the plant to lay eggs in the spring. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the core of the plant. Bacteria are also introduced which rot the plant. Then the core of the infested agave eventually collapses due the combination of being eaten and rotting away. There really isn't anything you can do to save the plant. In the case of my agaves the two biggest ones and their pups are dead and the other big one in between looks like it will soon follow.

The beetle larvae, or grubs, are the same larvae found in some mezcal (not really tequila) bottles. They also caused the increase in price of tequila when the agave fields in Mexico became infested.

Last picture of the big agaves before I removed them:
Close up of externally visible damage:
Close up of the agave weevil:
Close up of a larva (tequila worm):

Dissecting the fallen agaves was a mini biological smorgasbord. The rotting tissue was filled with weevils and their larvae, flies and fly larvae, staphylinid beetles and their larvae. So if you have a fallen agave go out and dissect it so see the living microcosm. A curved bill thrasher was gladly helping itself to the exposed larvae while I was pulling the plants out.

close up view of candy dish and cypress root

Close up view of the scrapped missile dome candy dish:
Now that is one expensive candy dish!

Close up view of the cypress root (The only thing done to it was to rub it with tung oil.):

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Finally Furniture!

I finally have furniture in the living room and dining room. It took a lot of time looking at furniture, multiple trips to stores, waiting a month or more for the furniture. The majority of the furniture came from Contents Interiors and the sectional and Ekornes chairs from Copenhagen.

I have all of my furniture now with one exception, I ordered a Natuzzi storage chaise. I'm not expected to get it until the end of March. I ordered it in a non stocked leather grade and color (navy blue) so they have to make it in Italy, hence the 4 to 5 month wait.

Here is a picture:
This will go upstairs in the"extra room". I didn't want the room set up as an extra bedroom but still wanted an extra sleeping space. The chaise can be used as an adjustable back chaise, a twin bed and it has storage for blankets and sheets. I have looked a long time for a solution to this space and this storage chaise is an excellent solution.

Pictures of the living/dining room:

Dining Area:
The barely discernible pieces of painters tape on the far wall by the stairs outlines a future art project to add color.The pictures are ones I have taken during my travels. I converted the pictures in Photoshop to a color between B&W and sepia. They are not as brown as sepia and not true B&W. I have a professional matt cutter and do my own framing.
The orange color really is not this bright of an orange is just always appears that way in the pictures. It is more of a burnt orange and definitely not as bright.The table top is recycled peroba wood from Brazil. The legs are Mahogony.
The same materials are used in my console table shown below.
They are both from Environment Furniture.
I think I am going to get copper cut into rectangles with rounded corners and a patina finish to use as place matts for the table. They will compliment the copper top bar.

Fireplace Sitting Area:
I made these coffee table cubes with drawers. Originally I wanted three custom made mesquite sloped cubes but the price was ridiculously expensive and would be a 4 to 5 month wait so I decided to make some cubes myself and added the drawers for drink coaster and magazine storage.
The chair to the left is called a grasshopper chair since the legs look like a grasshopper. I really love this chair and it is very comfortable. I love the contemporary pattern and the touch of color is brings. This chair and the dining room table set the whole design of the rest of the room.The console table holds a cypress root from SC that I have had for years and a scrap missile dome candy dish.

Corner Sitting Area:
(Eventually I will install a LCD TV on the fireplace column to be viewed from these recliners, the barstools or from the kitchen.)
These are Ekornes Orion recliners from Norway. I have liked these chairs for many years and always wished I had one. They are amazingly comfortable. These chairs have been around since 1971 and there are people who still sware by their vintage model.

The big plant is a fiddle leaf ficus and on the accent table there is a vase with two bambo sticks. The accent table is made of bronze but it has a darker anodized finish.
The Replogle Trafalgar floor globe has a LED light above it for viewing pleasure.
I installed the hanging light above the recliners.


All of the area rugs are handtufted wool. Fringe is very good about staying off the rugs. (Cazie is a different story)

I have to finish accessorizing. I'll probably look for things at the gem and mineral show the end of January.

I have a large convex germanium lens with a reflective coat by the front door. It is really cool reflecting a fisheye view of the room. On the other side of the door I have a "Margy IR (Infrared) Warhol". I took one picture with the IR camera at work and then made the other three color panels in Photoshop.

Dog house prepared for winter

I finally installed the bolts to hold the door and wood chip retainer for the dog house. I used slide bolts so they are easy to install for winter and remove for the summer. I filled the doghouse with wood chips and placed a very cheap sleeping bag on top. Fringe does not sleep outside at night (instead with me) but she is spoiled. In the winter the tile floor would be cold. I also installed a solar landscape light in the dog yard to illuminate the area in front of her doghouse since it gets dark so early in the winter.

Detail of door installation:

I also made the wood frame for the "Doggy Roy Lichtenstein" Beware Spinone GRRRRR! poster I made for Fringe. The frame has an open slot at the top to easily replace the sign when weathered. I laminated the sign for weather protection.

Dog House with sign:
Closeup of sign (has too many reflections):
Detail of Doggy Lichtenstein Poster:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fireplace Painting

Turns out I hate this but so Far I haven't taken it down to start over.

The fireplace column is two stories. I was tired of looking at the bare space and wanted to add some color. The space was large and I wanted an inexpensive solution so I decided to paint an abstract triptych. I built the panels. They attach to each other with bolts and hang from two hooks by chain and a snap hooks. I textured the panels with some texture paint I had left over from the guest bedroom project. Bob thinks it is completely ridiculous and stupid, Jim likes it and those at work who have seen pictures seem to like it (or maybe they are just being nice). I sort of like it and it is growing on me. It does it's job of adding needed color. Besides I can always take it down and repaint the panels or make new ones.

Detail of texture:


The previous owners installed wood baseboards themselves. There were some problems with them such as the mitered corners did not line up properly ( I don't think anywhere) and in one corner there was a 1/2 gap with no baseboard ( I assume they ran out of board). Another problem was that they did not use baseboard at all. They used door casing instead (a sad waste of real wood). The room has a cathedral ceiling and diminutive door casing does not cut it. They were also not installed securely and popping off the wall.

I installed slate baseboards. The slate ties in the slate around the fireplace, on the stair risers and around the skylight and window ledges. The slate is 4" high, much better than the small door casing. Another great thing about tile baseboards is it is easier to clean you can mop and bang the vacuum around recklessly ;-) and since the grout seals the bottom of the slate to the tile there are not any hiding places for things. Since their was a gap between the wood baseboards and the tile floor and at places with the textures walls I found lots of spiders behind them. In the corner joining the living room and kitchen I even found a dead mummified mouse.

The worst part of the whole process was cleaning the grout before sealing. There is still some grout dust lingering. I guess it will take several times vacuuming.

Some people may wonder about tile baseboards but they are great and really make a visual difference in a whole room view and everyone who has seem them in person likes them.



Why haven't there been any posts recently?

Since I have lived here a year and a half and still without any downstairs living room/dining room furniture I decided it was time to get some. Buying nice furniture is a time consuming process. Multiple trips to various stores, decisions to make (which furniture and then choosing the leather and fabric), and when a decision is finally made you have to wait a month or more to get your furniture made after ordering. There were two pieces of custom furniture I considered and would really like but it would have been 4 months on those. I decided I was not going to post any new downstairs furniture pictures until I have my furniture. By the end of this coming week I will have everything that was ordered. I still need to pick out an end table and an accent table. I am waiting on a light fixture as well. I have also started to accessorize by getting frames for some of my photos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lazy C Blog Wordle

I created this wordle (using the site from all of the text on this blog since its inception. Not surprisingly "house" is the most mentioned word.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Landscape views from my house

To see what the views from my house are like go to...

Click on a red triangle to see the view in that direction.

This isn't setup exactly how I want it but it will do for now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Update: Plants Under the Fountain

On April 6, 2008 I posted on the fountain area. This weekend I changed the plants. The previous plants did not like the heat and limited water (although there is irrigation to the bed I didn't want to put drippers in providing water). I planted candelilla a desert evergreen euphorb that is very tough and withstands harsh conditions. It is also pack rat resistant.

I then added small landscaping rocks and some petrified wood (gift from an optics professor's ranch near Winslow, AZ - north of the Petrified Forest N.P.)

Here are the new pictures:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Grill

I bought the new stainless steel (everything inside and out) BBQ grill (Barbeques Galore Turbo STS), finished the tile around the opening and installed the grill.

The Grill Area Modeled by Fringe:
Outside Grill Detail:
Inside Grill Detail:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grill Area

The BBQ grill area had "lumpy" mexican tile with large and lower grout gaps and the surface was lower at the back toward the house wall. When it rained the water pooled toward the back and in the grout lines. The grill was also very old and rusting out. There was also a stupid looking arch of tile.

I knocked off the arch of tile and had to replace it with something to cover the marks left on the wall. Since I needed clearance for the grill lid to open up behind the grill I didn't have space for real rock (the preferred option) so I used "cultured" rock. I wish I would have used a different kind (dry stack look) but it is done and I didn't feel like spending hours tearing the new stuff down with a hammer drill. Since the top was so uneven I used leveling cement to level the top with a very slight slope so water could run off. I tiled the top with 18" unfilled travertine (called walnut colored). With unfilled travertine you can really manipulate the look by the color of the grout you use for the joint and it also fills in the voids in the travertine. The perimeter edges are tiled with multicolor slate. I still need to get a replacement stainless steel grill. When I install the grill I will finish the top off tile in the grill cutout area. I installed a fluorescent floodlight on top of the ramada column by the grill. A box with wiring was already present but not being used (can be seen in before picture). There was already conduit running to the top of the column. I attached a box, pulled wired and installed the light and switch.

After (but before new grill):

Dog Shade Area

I forgot to post a picture of the dog shade area I made after I finished the doghouse. It consists of a simple column of block (on a concrete footer). The top block is loose and just sitting on top - I'll explain why later. Eye hook bolts are anchored in the concrete filling the block at the outside diagonal corners. The second to last block is not filled completely. I cut a groove in the block by the anchors so a metal cable has a slot to rest in. The cable is attached to the wrought iron fence and to an eye hook for each open edge. Sun cloth is attached to the fence and the cable with ties and then screwed between two blocks of wood (larger attachment point to prevent tearing) that are concealed in the second to top block. This allows easy replacement of the sun cloth when it becomes degraded by the sun over time. This is topped of by a solid block that conceals the eye hooks and blocks holding the sun cloth.

(The mesquite tree just dropped its seed pods so the dog yard is covered. Fringe likes eating them. The pods provide food for javelina and other desert animals and must be tasty enough for a dog.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Upstairs Wood Floors and Stairs

I never liked the white carpet upstairs and planned to eventually replace it with wood floors.

Tucson dust + dogs + carpet harbors disgusting things anyway = skanky white carpet

I installed solid 3/4" thick nail down white oak hand scrapped flooring. The stair treads are red oak stained with Minwax early american. The stair risers are multicolor slate just like the slate used elsewhere in the house. I wanted thicker and taller baseboards than what you can buy so I made my own baseboards using select pine 1x4's and my router to chamfer the edge. The baseboards are stained english chestnut (Minwax). Pine stains differently from oak and this stain on pine matched the floor. The stair treads and baseboards were finished with coats of Varethane water based floor poly (this stuff is nice, 4 coats on the treads and 2 on the baseboards).

I removed the not so stylish 80's mirrored closet doors with gold trim on the closet. Eventually I may add more contemporary closet doors but it is not an urgent matter. I installed a Closet Maid track system (after I painted the components anodized bronze) and then made shelving out of oak stained english chestnut to match the paper holder I made earlier.

The flooring/stairs/closet project took me 2.5 three day weekends and about a week and a half of weeknights after work.

The previous owners left the twin bed which is now in the extra room.

Previous work not blogged:
I added lights to the two fans that did not have them. The switch plates & outlet covers are satin nickel and the vents painted to match. The windows are S and W facing so I had Huper Optik Drei window film applied which really cuts the heat and blocks UV to prevent fading. The blue walls are Behr flat enamel Newport Blue and the extra room is Gobi Desert. The walls of the stairwell are Harvest Brown like the living room. The inside of the closet is Harvest Brown.

Before pictures of white carpet and stairs: After Pictures:
View from top of stairs. (black picture frames for my travel pics. I haven't decided which ones.)
Top of stairs looking in:
View of Office Area:
View towards stairs from office area:
Wood Floor Detail:
View of "extra room" from office area:

Speaker Wires:

I also ran speaker wires through the walls for the rear speakers.