Monday, August 30, 2010

I Only Panic When There's Nothing To Do

Yes, it took nearly the entire month of August to accomplish, but the renovation of our downstairs record room is FINALLY (almost) complete. Rest assured, lots of painting, carpet-pulling, tile-laying, name-calling and tear-shedding ensued. The above photo is the blank canvas, as it was presented two years ago when the house was first purchased.

Here's your first peek from the staircase.

A wider shot. Please note the absence of the room's original carpet and the newly introduced Vinyl Composite Tile. It took five (grueling) days to get the 400 square feet fully covered—adhesive invariably finding its way into any/all available crevice(s). An entire day was also spent applying coats of sealer and finisher to the VCT, until it shone like spun gold! Many thanks to our friend Kevin who was kind enough to help us with getting started, and our numerous subsequent consultations.

The replacement tiles for the drop ceiling are another dramatic improvement. Fortunately, we hadn't brought any of the furniture back in before we attempted to swap out the originals
—a cloud of dirt, dust, fiberglass debris and other misc. nastiness exploding and blanketing the floor upon removal. Good times!

Two more shots of the lounge.

One of the driving forces behind this renovation was our recent procurement of modular Umbo shelving from the early 70s. Our pal Justin, knowing that we were aggressively seeking out any examples, casually mentioned to us that he'd finally seen some in person ...and in the least likely antique store in Atlanta! Somehow, amid all of the candelabras and suits of armor, the store's proprietor had chosen to erect an 8' x 8' monster shelf. He also informed us that he had extra pieces laying in a dank breezeway in the back. After two days and three filled-to-capacity sedan rides later, we had 90+ individual pieces securely placed under lock and key. Needless to say, we are thoroughly convinced that Justin is the absolute best!

The shelves, which were originally used for display in some long-since-forgotten department store, were grimy after years of disuse, so we spent 20+ minutes on each individual piece (36 of 'em pictured), scrubbing the thick ABS plastic in an attempt to resuscitate 'em. We'll eventually get 'em professionally repainted at an auto-body shop, returning 'em to their original albino glory.

Also, plenty of stools're placed nearby to aid Valery in reaching that top tier.

This also represents the merging of our record collections. We're left sitting on nearly 500 duplicate LPs and 45s (not pictured). Plans are currently underway to sell these off next year in anticipation of our honeymoon. A link to the sale(s) will be posted.

Another modular shelving unit—designed by Olaf von Bohr and produced by Kartell—got the deep clean and now houses our furry friends.

Here are the majority of our 45s. We were really pleased when we realized the boxes we settled on fit our built-in shelving so perfectly. One of the few things that worked out without any hassles.

Two Bertoias, a Herman Miller table and a space age umbrella stand manufactured by Artemide flesh out this side of the room. Dig the Drumbos!

Saving the most agonizing part for last (literally), the spiral staircase represents one of the most infuriating aspects of this entire process. It was originally painted a delightful mauve (as seen here), as was the room's trim, and required a thick coating of spray-paint and many (many) touch-up jobs. Did we mention that we forgot to address the staircase until after we'd already painted the walls? Torture. All paint-related kudos are explicitly due to Valery's nimbleness and unerring precision with a brush.

Despite the fact that the room is technically unfinished
we're still working on the staircase (thanks in advance, Kevin!)we successfully welcomed our new addition with local friends (Tim and Christine), a wayfaring Mississippian (Collin) and a couple of errant Canadians (Fen and Jeff). We were very happy to be able to celebrate this massive undertaking with friends and we're truly grateful for all of the help!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Picture Book

We've decided to take a break from our home renovations and introduce you to some recent arrivals from Japan. Circa 2002, my buddy Mike gave me the thief (center) as a birthday gift, figuring (rightfully) that he'd be a welcome addition to my home. At that point, I knew nothing about the figure or its creator, Mr. Ryohei Yanagihara. A long while later, when Valery and I first started dating, she spied the li'l jailbird and fell in love immediately. Thus began the search for other figures and further information concerning their creator.

We'd soon discover that Mr. Yanagihara had been a popular illustrator in Japan, and that he'd made his creative mark through advertising and book covers. Some of his most recognized work was for the Suntory Whiskey company, where he created Uncle Tory in 1958—the character would later manifest itself repeatedly in print ads, TV commercials and collectible advertising figures.

The two figures at top are vintage promotional items that originally housed toothpicks. The three toys in the foreground were part of a series that was released in the early 00s. We're both eternally grateful to our Japanese pal, Hidehisa, who was kind enough to navigate auction and retail sites in an effort to help us procure these four items exchange for records, of course! Thanks again!!

Here's a link to a great blog post with plenty of info. Below are more favorites:

Should anyone have any Yanagihara toys or promotional items that they'd like to get rid of, please don't hesitate to contact us! We're especially interested in any of his viking figures!!

For those of you who care, the record room is almost done. Be on the lookout for an update toward the middle of this week! Now it's time to get back to work.