Thursday, July 1, 2010

Little Shed & Garden House

Welcome to our home. That's the Manager on the left, and the Boss on the right, at a big birthday party we had not long ago:

That's a little joke shared between my Mom and me. When anything needs to be done around the house, she says, "Let me check with the Manager." And before I undertake any changes, I say, "Let me check with the Boss." After 15 years away in NYC and Europe, I came back to Laguna a few years ago, and it has been a treat and a responsibility to have all of us in this house. I deal with all the maintenance and upkeep for my parents now.
The house was built in 1923, with a later addition in 1931, with a towering brick and stone chimmney; the fireplace inside is made from a ship's keel with timber and stone. This is the 1931 part; those metal posts near the bottom of the chimmney are hitching posts from downtown Laguna circa 1900-1910. There are lots of little unusual things like that all over the house.

There are extensive gardens, mostly low-water Mediterranean, here the citrus trees with the stone archway in the background:
There are arches and doors and stonework everywhere:
with statuary and shells sprinkled about:
This weekend, I am going to sketch out my fall projects for the house; I brought out one of my favorite books, Bunny Williams' An Affair with a House to help me think, and I adore her Conservatory. She is not really "my style", except that everything in her house looks comfortable, and she has an incredible amount of stuff, like we do, after 5 kids, 12 grandkids, a bunch of dogs and 40+ years in the same house. I also love Bunny's narrative; it's a huge amount of work to restore a property, and the maintenance never ends, I suppose as with any house. I keep meaning to buy Saladino's Villa book and might track that down now that the villa is for sale.

After the markets on both days; I am going to camp here with a few books and a pad of paper; this is our loggia, you've seen it before:
The project that has come to the fore is the tool shed just out of view to the left of this loggia; it's from the 1950's and is a total eyesore:
The inside is no better; it's crammed full of junk: BBQ gear, brooms, garden tools and pool supplies mostly. When we moved into the house, the rather large patio with square terracotta bricks was covered up in the turquoise indoor-outdoor carpeting you see on the floor here; everything was stripped and then sandblasted; I wish we had gotten rid of this shed then, but it's still here!
So that's project #1. Project #2 is a garden house. Someplace where I can store all the pots, tools, supplies and plants which are out of the rotation. I have no garden workspace, and I hope this area will become a functional area; it now is an almost fully-enclosed green room where I store junk like tomato cages and extra tables and doors and landscaping materials, out of view; I did the redwood steps myself a few years ago, and I'd like to brick them in and line them with boxwood: From the other side, you can see the space better; the big pom-pom tree serves no purpose; even the Boss suggested it's time to get rid of it.
I want both structures to fit with the house. I have been gathering components for awhile; 3 matching 1923 leaded windows + 1 smaller one found at a garage sale down the street; I don't understand why anyone would remove these; I couldn't believe it, $25 each: They are almost perfect matches for some of our other leaded windows in the house, and similar to the alcove in the dining room:
I have a pair of tall French doors sitting down in the little green room, much to the irk of my Dad; these will probably go for the garden house:
As for style, I'm thinking stucco to match the house for the shed, and a red tile roof. The accents around the house are all either white:
Or black like the lanterns:
I keep watching this pair of doors online: they are narrow, but together a little wider than a regular door, and they would just fit for the little shed; great little brass letter slot; I'd paint them glossy black you like these?
Most of our doors are white, but I wonder if black wouldn't be a good change?
This post has been a good way for me to start to organize my thoughts; I'll show you later how the projects progress...


  1. Can you see me jumping up and down clapping my hands and saying "Yes! Yes!" I have seen several small conservatories in blogland made from old windows and doors.

    I would love to see color on the doors which are destined to be yours. I have said the Ebay/First Dibs prayer of the unsainted shopper.

  2. You are off to a great start!
    Yes, definitely get Villa. Every page is filled with inspiration.
    I love Bunny's book as well. It sounds like we are both in love with our homes.