Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wanescote In the Privys

"Privy" really means "outhouse".
The privys here at Our Retro Bungalow are far from 
the old notion of wooden planks with a hole,
concealed behind a swinging wood door 
with an open crescent shape cut out.
But that's what Mr & Me call our half-bath and the private little room
with the commode in our master bathroom.
In addition to this little prelude...
I've mentioned on several occasions how, as a little girl, I loved traveling
to and spending long, humid, blissful summer days at 
my great-grandparents farm back in Waldo, Arkansas.
I, however, may have never mentioned that the only running water
in that little farmhouse was at the kitchen sink.
And that didn't come along until maybe a decade
before my birth in 1963.
Granny and Papaw Burke bathed every night standing in front of 
the kitchen sink in the dim light of the low-turned wick of a kerosene lantern, 
taking what folks from the south call a 'spit bath'.
Us children (my sister and I and our cousins) were bathed in 
a large galvanized tub on the kitchen floor.
Granny heated water in a kettle on the propane stove and mixed it into
cool water from the well just outside the back door because
drawing water from the well was quicker than filling the bucket at the kitchen sink,
which was pumped from the well.
No bathroom.
No indoor toilet.
And when Granny Burke passed away on that old farm 
in 1987 there were still no such modern convenience,
with the exception of my Granny's (her daughter) double-wide trailer
that had been planted just yards to the east a few years previous.
When a person (or persons) would arrive to stay for an overnight visit 
or longer, Granny would always remind them
"your suitcase is under the bed".
This was Granny Burke's polite way of saying,
"There's a chamber pot under your bed. Use it if need be."
Because nobody...NOBODY...better think once about 
using the "privy" in the night for fear of meeting up 
with a snake or skunk or some other not-so-friendly 
creature of the dark whilst on the trail outback
that leads to the wooden plank with the hole cut-out
concealed behind the swinging wooden door.
And, no, their outhouse door did not have a crescent cut-out.

with that little bit family history behind us,
shall we get on with today's subject?

Before we even had the sill plates down, I knew I wanted a
wanescote in the little half bath in the back hall way and I envisioned 
board and batten.
When it finally - finally - came time for me to order our
finish materials from Wheelwright, I ordered enough length 
of an appropriate baseboard 
(different from the baseboard for the rest of the house)
for that board and batten.
And then, of course, I changed my mind.
I decided I'd rather have a v-groove wanescote.
No worries.
That length of baseboard meant for the board and batt
got used to trim out another of my ideas -
an idea that I actually followed through on.
When it comes to following through on my ideas I average about 50/50.
How else is my good husband supposed to learn patience?
We got that wanecote complete the first part of this month
and it turned out 
We hadn't originally planned to do the master privy too,
but it got thrown into the mix and boy are we glad.
And jus' so ya know...
(cuz some folks don't)

This is v-groove
This is beadbaord.

V-groove and beadboard are not the same.

The guest privy (or half bath) before:

Actually, these are 'during' photos.
I forgot to take 'before' photos.

The guest privy after:

That's just like Miss Em - always in the middle of everything.

The master privy before:

The master privy after:

We're just about out of indoor projects!
There are a couple more on the burner and
we'll get those finished and/or started soon,
but we've still got plenty on the horizon.
And Spring is just around the corner,
so there'll be landscaping to work on.
No rest for the wicked...
or the daft.

Thanks for comin' to visit.
We're glad when you do.
No 'suitcase under the bed' here,
but your welcome to use our
charming little guest privy if need be.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bungalow Kitchen Backsplash

I've been trying to get this post done since Sunday afternoon,
but there's been quite a bit of interference around here.
But not all interference is annoyance.
There's such a thing as happy interference too, ya know.
And that's just the type of interference that's been constant
over this-a-way.
A long Sunday afternoon nap, our kids dropping in to visit,
a last minute day of tending our Cowboy and Cupcake are a few
of the happy distractions that have kept me from getting this done.
Let's see how this go-around turns out, shall we?

Going into this whole "let's rebuild an old house" business,
I was very excited about the prospect of choosing every detail.
And I'm blessed to have a husband who trusts me completely to do just that.
Well, I'm over it.
I'm thrilled to be done (98%, anyway) with all the choosing and deciding.
I really just want to get on with the more important business of
living a normal, balanced life.
Choosing the kitchen back splash tile was nothing less than grueling.
I was really quite certain I wanted to go with white subway tile and a very dark gray grout.
I was plagued with second thoughts.
I feared it might look too much like a bathroom back splash.
And too stark.
I wanted warmth and charm.
So, I decided natural stone would be fabulous,
but ultimately I couldn't bring myself to commit to that either.
One thing I was completely sold on was using the set of
hand made art tiles I had purchased from Emu Tile back in Kent, Ohio.
I reset my thinking, clearing my mind of old ideas and opened it up to some new ones.
Without further adieu,
(because, seriously, I just know I'd better just get on with it at the risk of interference, happy or otherwise)
here's what I came up with.
Mr & Me installed it the week after Thanksgiving.
And we both

This is the Emu art tile set called "Birds on a Branch".

I'm assuming your monitor doesn't do the color justice, but it's
called "Salvia". For those not botanically savvy, salvia is a type of sage;
therefore, think of a sage green if you cannot see it on your computer screen.
The grout color is MAPEI's "biscuit" - nice and warm.
So, that crackle finish?
Be still my heart!!
That's it.
Another happy ending to another Retro Bungalow project.
I've got a few more up my sleeve to share,
so stay tuned.
Thank you, as always, for your love and support.
It really blows our minds when we think back on what we've done.
It's been so wonderful to have all your positive feedback and encouragement.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Meaningful Decor - Postcards From the Past

My husband is half Italian.
His paternal grandparents, Achille and Amelia,
(or "Kelly & Meal", which were their pet names for each other)
were both full-blood Italians from a long line of full-blood Italians
from the Italian region of  southern Switzerland.
Achille immigrated to America through Ellis Island in 1910 
with his Zio Guiseppe, or 'Uncle Guiseppe', as we say in America.
He was 16 years old.
Amelia was born to Swiss-Italian immigrants from the same canton (district)
in Swizterland that Achille came from. They settled in Northern California.
In 1950, after decades of hard work, Achille retired and with the money 
he'd managed to save over those decades, he and 
Amelia embarked on a journey back to the land of their heritage. 
They took a train from California all the way to New York and then 
boarded a French cruise ship called
We are privileged to be in possession of most of the 
photos and souvenirs from that journey.

This is a photo postcard of the ship they sailed on.

I adore these photos they took of each other aboard the ship wearing life vests.
They were simple folks that lived a simple life, 
so this experience was really quite extraordinary for them.

I'm not certain what their exact route was, but I believe they docked 
in southern France, made their way to Italy, then north to Ticino.
At least based on the many photos I've gone through, that makes sense.
When traveling north from Italy to Switzerland, you go through
the Como district. At the Como district you pass over the border
and soon find yourself in Lugano.

Dean and I have traveled this very route.
It is simply stunning!
We stayed several  days at a lovely and very, very old house that, 
in modern times, had become a sweet hotel/bed and breakfast.
Achille and Amelia also spent time in Lugano before heading 
further north to the tiny village in the mountains where he was born.
Amelia purchased several postcards in Lugano.
I put my favorite ones in a frame and hung them in our bedroom.

I love the memories of our trip to Italy and Switzerland these vintage postcards give us.
I love these mementos of part my husband's grandparent's history displayed in our home.

Amelia and Achille spent most of their time with family they hadn't seen
in many, many years in Carena, Giubiasco, Sant'Antonino and other 
Swiss-Italian mountain villages,
but they also spent time in places like Milan and Florence.
We did too.
Hanging on our bedroom wall, not far from Grandma Mossi's postcards,
is this painting we bought from a street artist we passed on a piazza 
every day during our several days stay in Florence.
After stopping to watch her paint a few times, we decided on our last
day there to buy one of her paintings.
I tucked it carefully into my suitcase all rolled in paper and had it framed as 
soon as we arrived home.
That was September 2004,
going on 12 years ago. 

The windows, the flowers, the buildings in Florence are all so beautiful
This street artist captured all of that in her painting.
See the reflection of the duomo (cathedral) in the window?
Lovely, isn't it.

There's something really wonderful in adorning our homes 
with meaningful things.
It makes them special and unique.
It sets each of them apart from all other homes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


We finally got our transom window design submitted to our stained glass artist in October.
They were ready for pick up a few weeks later.
We got them installed just before Thanksgiving.
We are very pleased with Patrick's work.
And the entry to Retro Bungalow looks
Come on in and see...

This is your view if you're standing just inside the front door.
The little dangly doo-dad you see hanging under the transom to the right
 is the felt mistletoe my sweet friend
Jan gave me for Christmas.
She's got an etsy shoppe called
"Fibers and Twigs"
and if you're a crafter/sewer you should check it out!
I'm not a crafter/sewer and she knows I'm not
so this darling piece was created by her for me and
I adore it!
than the 'real thing' that's imported from California
 all dried out, crunchy, crumbly and spray painted.

This is a view from the kitchen/dining room.

The design for the transoms is taken from my design for
the little window just inside the front door on the south side
of the entry.
Here's a photo of that window...

If you'd like to meet Patrick or need any type of glass work done
 in Ogden or the surrounding areas,
click on the short video below.
He also did the beveled mirror for our retro style
medicine cabinet in the downstairs bath
and the ginormous mirror over our master bath vanity.
And if ever we need any other glass work done,
he's our go-to guy.
I'm actually thinking about taking a stained glass class
at their shop.
I'll just add that to my already 10 mile long bucket list.

Short and quick post today
(I always regret short & quick posts when I go back and read them later and cringe at their lack of thought and effort)
 due to me needing to get back to work on our current project -
one of the last before we can officially say
"we're done!".
It's been a wild ride, baby.

Thank you for stopping by again.
Another fun finished project post coming up real soon!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Guest Room #1

I haven't logged into blogger for nearly six weeks.
There's some catching up to do.
I've got a few fun projects to share that we've completed here, 
but today I'll back way up to the end of November.
I started this post shortly after Thanksgiving when our lovely
"Louisa May Alcott" guest room was occupied for the first time 
by Dean's sister, Kaos Karen,  for five nights.
It was wonderful to have her here for Thanksgiving!

Dean's brother, Kevin, Karen in the middle, and Dean.

When we were out back living in our trailer, I had the notion to give each
of our two guest rooms a theme.
I know.
Maybe that's a little silly.
Or eccentric.
But I like the notion and I'm forging ahead with it.
I love books.
I love reading.
Therefore, each of our guestrooms will be appointed accordingly.

There are more details to be added to this charming guestroom
and hopefully I'll get to those details before long.
I've already started on the other guest room, though.
That's basically how I roll.
Dean is convinced I need medicinal intervention for ADD.
He's probably right.
Moving right along...
Come on in and I'll show you around our
Louisa May Alcott room.

Since it was Thanksgiving, I added a few autumnal touches.

Even a real pumpkin on the dresser!
But really, I had oodles of real pumpkins, big and small, distributed 
all over the house.
I've a bit of a pumpkin fetish, I do.

This is a mere sampling.
I had quite a collection of glass, ceramic, wood and metal
pumpkins, but our Retro Bungalow is much smaller than
Casa di Mossi so I gave most of those away for lack of storage space.
I do love decorating for Fall with the real thing, though.
And Judy's horses LOVE getting them for treats when I'm
done with them,

I searched high and low for just the right bedspread and finally found it
at JCPenny.com, of all places.
Bonus: it was on sale for half off!
A good deal always makes me happy.
Underneath that lovely spread is a cozy eiderdown, just like the one
 on our bed upstairs.
Right now the only details I have to set it apart as the
Louisa May Alcott room is the book on the night table
and the print I had mounted and framed by Chris at Bennion.
I'll soon frame and hang portraits of Orchard House, Louisa
and a copy of her poem

'To the First Robin'
"Welcome, welcome, little stranger,
Fear no harm, and fear no danger,
We are glad to see you here,
For you sing "Sweet Spring is near."
Now the white snow melts away,
Now the flowers blossom gay.
Come dear bird and build your nest,
for we love our robin best."

If you even happen to travel this-a-way,
please know that we've a lovely guest room
ready and waiting.
And if this theme happens to be a bit too feminine for you...
I think you'll appreciate our Guest Room #2.

Thank you for stopping by.
We appreciate your interest and support.
Stay tuned.