Sunday, July 3, 2011


Why do something the easy way when you can do it the really, really hard way? It's my fault, of course. I admit that right up front. We were just supposed to clean and paint and decorate. Basic, non? Well, I found this tiny crack in the stucco behind the double doors leading from the living room. A quick revisit to my vision of the entire length of wall along the street to be in stone flitted through my head. I picked at it, just like that scab that you know will leave a scar but you can't help yourself. A swath of cream--could it really just be the stone, right there, so close? I called Remi in, sheepishly. We started picking a little more, then a little more, looking for the stone's joint. No such luck, it was just plaster, but the more that we dug, the more that we could see that in some places, the stone was visible.

Days later, the stucco is off of the length of the wall. I assumed my rash act and did most of the grunt work with Remi polishing and brushing down behind. He also took care of the covered over placard, which has a lovely faint greenish tint. I had hoped that when we were finally able to open the top half that there would be a hidden treasure stashed inside--a forgotten Van Gogh perhaps?--but in vain...

How fantastic to be rid of that linoleum in the bathroom! The tiles beneath, though not the loveliest brown are a close enough match to the rest of the tomettes in the apartment. I proposed a whitewashed parquet to go over it but that idea has been nixed...for now. I also took care of one of the sillier things that had been done--the charming glass panes in the bathroom door had been painted over--not any more! Yes, even with the addition of a sheer curtain, those windows will let in light to the hall.

My hands are ripped to pieces and my whole body sore but it feels wonderful to bring out the finer aspects of this beautiful space that has been mistreated for far too long. Remi is over at the apartment as I type, mixing the pigments and materials for the lime-wash that we will hopefully put up today. Then we will get rid of the garbage bags full of stucco and attack the paint. Did I mention that this upcoming week is the Rencontres International Photography Festival and we have friends coming to stay? 


  1. Great story!!! Reminds me of me:)

    Have a wonderful time with your friends.

  2. Thanks Bruce--love your new photo--have a great weekend!

  3. Oh you are a brave soul indeed but with such wonderful results. Can't wait to see how it comes along!!

  4. Merci mille fois Q! Maybe more of a siily than a brave soul, the results will tell.

    Wishing you a glamorous and Happy 4th!

  5. The hard work will definitely pay off! It's not fun though, is it? I found out I'm not really all that fond of fixing up places hahahaha! The end result is so worth it though. Best of luck!

    ~ Clare x

  6. Merci Claire, I have to say that Remi is now doing all of the painting as the stucco is too rough for me to manage with my girly arms--oh, the shame! It is looking pretty though!

  7. I was laughing with your post or more with you I too have to "pick" to see if there's treasure hidden underneath. Hey, a 22o+ year old house is sure to have a treasure or two right? I know your new place will be just beautiful no matter what because you'll be with the ones you love. I loved this post! Enjoy!

    Hugs! Debra

  8. Are you actually living there at the moment Heather? If so, you must be camped in one tiny corner beyond all this!

    I know exactly what you mean though about not being able to resist peeking at just a little just never know what you will find!

    The stone on the wall is amazing. And call me a heathen, but I rather like the half-plastered/ half-not walls in the photos too.

  9. and isn't the really good stuff under the obvious, always?

    thinking anti-inflammatory thoughts in the direction of your finger bones et al.

  10. Thanks ladies! Debra, after all of the amazing renovation work that you have done, you know what we are going through!

    Virginia! Yay! We are leaving them like that--we love it. Very baroque and not everyone "gets it" but the patina is amazing. And no, we are still living at the apartment with the garden--moving day is in less than two weeks though! And have I packed anything?

    Well said Trace. I have been missing your comments here! And my knuckles are all healed up. Bises!


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