Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Armstrongs V. Wallpaper

There are always surprises when buying your first home, especially one that's 116 years old. So far the biggest surprise has been just how many layers of wallpaper were under the the 90's-tastic wallpaper on the walls AND ceilings throughout our "new" home's 3000sq feet. Wallpaper removal of this scale is not for the faint of heart or the weak of arms.

But under all these layers we've discovered beautiful plaster, the work of skilled craftsmen in the late 1800s, well preserved by nearly 12 decades worth of plaid and/or floral and/or striped and/or metallic and/or seashell and/or paisley and/or faux wood and/or Navajo-patterned prints

And though several people recommended we just skim coat over it all and add our own wallpaper or paint layers, my artist heart wasn't content with that idea. There's something freeing about getting down to the soul of an old home, uncovering the original walls and the floors and woodwork and the hidden fireplaces (there are SIX in our house begging to be revealed!) that the original designer intended.

 (Above: The studio after we pulled up the carpet. Below: The studio after I peeled off the top later of green wallpaper and painted the floor....still a work in progress but much better!)
 (Below: The entryway---previously linoleum floors, wood paneled walls, and wallpaper ceilings....now a beautiful "Lincoln Cottage Black".)

Six months into our life in this new old home, we've definitely had to switch from sprint mode to marathon mode. We're restoring this house to its original glory literally inch by inch. Which means every room is in some state of undone and there are scraps of wallpaper littering every floor.

But we're on a mission and thankfully we have allies in our war against wallpaper.

Slowly I'm learning to be content in this marathon, to appreciate progress and keep my eyes on the prize. It's an increasingly beautiful home where we'll continue to raise our three (very soon four) boys, host family and friends, make art, rest, and play.

This post, by the way, is a part of Urban Compass's Starter Stories series. Urban Compass is a real estate platform in NYC that connects folks searching for apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste. If you're looking for a home in NYC or just want to learn more about it's culturally diverse neighborhoods check out their informative neighborhood guide!

And if you're handy with a paint scraper then come check out our walls. They'd love to meet you : )


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Where I've Been


A slight (six month) hiatus from ye olde blogge but I'm back. 

"What the heck, Arian," you say. "I've been clicking refresh on my browser non stop waiting for an update! Where you been, girl?"

Thanks for the dedication. A couple big life changes---1. we are now home owners. We bought a 116-year-old house in need of "just" cosmetic help. Turns out, though, when your face is 3000 sq ft big and you haven't had a makeover since before the dawn of Hammer Pants, "just" cosmetic help is A LOT of work!

Thankfully under all the carpet we found (mostly) pretty wood. It "just" needs refinishing.

Unthankfully under all that wallpaper we found MORE wallpaper (and more and more). Wallpaper is now enemy #1 and despite the countless hours we've devoted to scraping inch by inch, there is still so...much...more. Anyone looking for a free upper arm workout look no further. I've got just the job for you : )

And, what the hay, lets go ahead and rip out some walls while we're at it.

But progress IS happening. Not on the timeline we originally hoped but it is happening.

Some walls are finally stripped and some walls even have a few pretty coats of Lincoln Cabin Black paint on them.

And this chandelier now hanging in our entryway is a reminder that even prettier things are yet to come.

Also still to come---Armstrong boy #4! Due mid March. I'm feeling a healthy mix of excitement and "oh my gosh what are we getting ourselves in to?!?". Which is better than the yucky mix of nausea and hormone-induced depression that plagued the first trimester.

So this past summer/fall was a very busy and overwhelming season. And now Christmas is just around the corner. Our house is covered with a substantial layer of dust, wallpaper scraps, legos, crumbs, and glitter. We've got some big tasks ahead but it's all good.

I hope you're enjoying the chaos of the season!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Heaven On Earth

It's been exactly 4 years since our father/daughter meet in Asheville trip. I had two kids, Andrea had none. Now she's getting ready to have boy #2 and we wanted to get away before it's newborn season again.  So we hopped in the car and headed down to meet dad for four sweet days away.

Getting six hours of uninterrupted conversation time with this girl on the way down AND way back is sister GOLD. The rolling hills of Kentucky to the mountains of North Carolina, iced coffee, a cooler filled with La Croix, Andrea's killer playlist, laughing, and non-stop talking. Perfection.

 We ate delicious slow food at every meal (that someone else made!), wandered aisles and aisles of antiques, poured over magazines, drank coffee for hours, and explored the streets of Asheville.

 And! AND! We went to my new favorite place on earth---The Biltmore. Magical. Literally heavenly. As in, I went back to our room at the end of that day and re-read Revelations 21 and felt like I had seen a tiiiiiiiiiny glimpse into the beauty that is to come. (Also John 14:1-4)

I mean, seriously.

I don't know when I'll go back but, oh, I'll go back.

This is the souvenir I brought back--a silky vintage grey slip with lovely pleated lace details. When I'm not wearing it, I'm pretty sure it will be hanging on our bedroom wall. It's art.

I think the trip changed me a bit. It inspired me to be more intentional about raising our boys to be cultured gentlemen with a love for art, music, literature, history, travel, food, and adventure. It reminded me that I serve a very extravagant God. Every castle, every designer gown, every ornate silver serving dish set, every epic feast I've ever had the pleasure of pinning on Pinterest ; ) is quite plain compared to the stuff God comes up with.  Read God's detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle---it was faaabulous. He knows what He likes. I spent a lot of time thinking and talking about God as a designer. I mean, Genesis 1:1---this whole thing starts as an epic story about a (the) Artist. And He's very VERY good.

Arian : )

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Follow The Good King poster

I usually don't hang my own art up on the wall. Not sure why, exactly. But as soon as this poster arrived back from my local screen printer, up it went! I love how the metallic gold ink looks on matte grey paper. And the printing process captured my brushstrokes perfectly. I'm itching to get more things screen printed!

If you love it too it's now available in my shop!

A little "in progress" shot : )


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Good King Opening Night!

Oh man, Friday night's opening of my first solo art show The Good King at Fort Thomas Coffee was soooo sweet. When I first decided to do a solo show, I contemplated not doing an opening night because, well, it's risky. What if no one comes?? But man, people came! There was a steady flow of folks the whole evening--old friends, new friends, family, strangers. So. Cool.

Andrea manned the square and took orders all night long.

I can't wait to show you pictures of all my new products, including leather goods and super cute baby things. Til then I've added new The Good King prints to the shop!
 (Heads up, I have plans to do a more ethnically diverse line of these son/daughter prints!)

I hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend! 

My boys gave me chocolate. They know me well : )


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Come Say Hi!

Two weeks from tomorrow! If you're in the area or feel like making a road trip I'd LOVE to see your face! I've been working very hard on so many new things! Can't wait to show them to you all!

Here's the Facebook event if you'd like more info!