Sunday, March 23, 2014

European Country Antiques

Let's take a tour of European Country Antiques in the Huron Village
area on Cambridge's west side.

The store is at 146 Huron Avenue near the corner of Concord Avenue.
Huron Village is primarily a residential area but within a few blocks of this
intersection are some of Cambridge's finest independently owned shops.

But once you step through the door, you're in a different place and time...
a place that embraces you with its warm honey-toned woods, beautiful
painted antiques just waiting to tell you their personal stories.

The shop's website says the shop captures the authenticity of
true European countryside shops, the ones stacked to the limit with
furniture, where every time you move one piece you discover another.

Many of the antiques are in their original form.  Oh, how I wish I
had a place for this large cabinet!

Other pieces, such as this kitchen island, have been built from
reclaimed antique furniture pieces into modern forms.  There is storage
on one side, room to tuck a few bar stools on the other, all capped
off with a butcher block top with tons of patina.

There a lots of great lamps, these made from old balusters...

...urns and other architectural fragments...

...lots of great vintage and antique accessories...

...wonderful rustic tables....

...and unique case pieces to display your finest wares...

...all with incredible details.

This is another favorite piece.

A great Scottish chest of drawers.

And a nice selection of mirrors.

This trestle table is from one  of the store's custom lines.
Their tables come in two different woods, three different leg styles
and in a variety of finishes.

If you've been searching for that one special piece to finish of a room and you
don't find it here, talk to store manager Angela, or owner Ed Stuart, about the
possibility of making a custom piece designed just for you.

European Country Antiques is about a mile from Harvard Square.  On a nice day,
I would walk down Brattle Street to see all the old mansions, particularly the Longfellow
House where George Washington lived for a short time during the Revolutionary war.
Take a right on Sparks Street and walk to the end which is Huron Avenue.  ECA is on the
right just past Concord Avenue.

But I would drive so you can visit all the great shops along Huron Avenue.  There were
several that were now to me so I can't wait to get over there and explore again.

Be sure to tell them I sent you!

European Country Antiques
146 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, MA  02138

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Kitchen Armoire

My armoire was delivered a few days ago so I've been busy
unpacking more boxes and moving dishes from the dining room
that served as my temporary kitchen during the renovation.

If I widen the view, you can see the armoire sits in the corner of the kitchen between the 
dining room and the French doors to the porch.  This makes it convenient both to get dishes to
the dining room table and to put them away when they're unloaded from the dishwasher.

Let me show you some of the details on this beautiful piece.

All of the original hardware is in working condition.

The armoire, I believe, is French and is a "knockdown" or "breakdown"
armoire meaning it breaks down into pieces so it can easily be moved up
the tiny staircase to your pied-a-terre.  The block of wood above the raised
panel slides back and forth and actually locks the top and side together.
I love the oyster color of the interior.

I'm looking for stemware racks that I can mount in this upper portion
of the armoire so I can really optimize the storage space in here.  

I love the alligatored finish.  And notice the mortise and tenon
joint and dovetails on the upper corner.  You just don't see these
details on new pieces anymore.

I've put all my dishes and serving pieces in here and still have about
half of the space open so I'm trying to figure out what else would make
sense to store in the lower shelves.  You'll notice in the upper photos I
put a few of my English fishing creels on one shelf that I can use for
some hidden storage.  I like the texture and color they add to the piece.

I mentioned in an earlier post the piece came from European Country Antiques
right here in Cambridge.  I was really impressed with the shop and the service
they provided so, next time, let's meet over there so I can show you around.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Moving Back In

The grouting is done...and it's white.  I have no photos of the process
because it was tough.  It's been several years since I last grouted anything
and I've never done such a large area.  I wasn't sure how long I would have
the time I started grouting until it set up so I moved quickly.  It was difficult.
It was messy.  I broke out in a sweat.  And I might have cried a little bit.  

Once I had about one-third of it done, I stood back and was certain I
made a mistake using white.  It should have been gray, I thought.

But once it was all done and I'd wiped off the white haze, the subtle
color difference and texture looked beautiful and my attention went back
to the cabinets which is where I thought it should be.

(I should note I'm not done painting the cabinets.)

This was what the kitchen looked like on Monday night after I'd finished the
grouting and I started contemplating what I'm going to do with the window
casings and sashes.  I'm going to paint the French doors on the opposite wall
the same as the cabinets so I think I need to have some of that darker value
on the windows to balance them.  Having the dark gray above the white sink
will also make a nice composition I think.

Everything needed to be cleaned out of the kitchen for a final coat on the 
floors.  I understand that it makes a lot of sense to leave a final coat until
all the work is done--there were a few scratches that happened--but it was a
drag having to keep the cats barricaded from the room while the floors dried.

But all the workmen are out the house and I can start moving back in. I had
to wonder, after living with the bare essentials for the past seven months,
what was in all the boxes that were stacked in my front hallway. I'm taking
a critical look at everything and making tough choices about what I keep.
I'm a hunter and gatherer by nature and giving away doesn't come easily.

I recently discovered my neighborhood had a "free table."  Anyone can
drop off or pick up from the free table.  It's a great place to drop things off
that wouldn't really warrant to trip to Goodwill or selling at a yard sale.
People leave books, clothes, boots, housewares, artwork, all kinds of things.
Even the worst of things seems to find a new home.

I have some vintage stuff I can send off for sale but a good deal of this
stuff will be going to the free table.

I've never really been an organized person.  The house
might look presentable but I have screwdrivers in my sock drawer
and paint cans in the dining room cupboards.  I want that to change.

I gathered up all my gift cards and headed to The Container Store
where I got all kinds stuff to pimp out my cabinets.  I got several
of these pull out drawers so I can make better use of the space.

In some of the cabinets, I can fit two.  I thought
the lid racks would also be good for cookie sheets
and cutting boards. 

I wanted to have a pull-out trash and recycling combo 
but the bins were so small, the really didn't make sense.
So I got a trash bin and there will be room left over for
a paper grocery bag to sit next to it for recycling.

And I got a few of these dividers for the deep bins
to store smaller pans and cutting boards.

I'm kind of spring cleaning as things move around. After
several months of renovation, the house is just filthy and I
can't take it anymore.

My armoire will be delivered this week and I'm really looking
forward to getting all the dishes, serving pieces and glassware put away.