Sunday, June 13, 2010

June's Coming, Going, & Staying

Coming: Cadet Kinley, on leave for 3 weeks, greets GF arriving from Colorado!

Going: Jeff, Davis, and awesome guys boarding their plane to London where they will spend a week in rural England encouraging fellow teenagers in local schools.

Staying: Mac the Labradoodle demonstrates "there's no place like home" in Hillcrest Cottage.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Mr. Kinley, Tear Down that Wall!" - Part Three

The plaster on Hillcrest Cottage's wall between Kitchen and Dining Room seemed to be in excellent condition. There were no major cracks, damage, or any signs that would indicate the need to cover the wall in a more modern gypsum board.

Hmmm... we wondered.

"Oh, look at these water spots on the flowered wallpaper, " observed Mr. Kinley.

There must have been some sort of water problem, but above is our bedroom with no source of water. That certainly didn't make sense.

More tearing. More revelation.

The 'water' spots began not at the top of the Kitchen wall but in the middle.

Hmmm... we wondered once more.

Notice the 'water' spots appear to be not water spots at all, but coffee drippings flowing down from a divot in the plaster. The divot is where part of the green leaf is missing. It's obvious that a coffee cup had been thrown across the Butler's Pantry!

The Great Coffee Revolt of 1946 sent overactive Kinley imaginations into overdrive.

Did the second owner (H.G. and Birdie who purchased the house in 1941) anger a servant by tapping his foot buzzer one too many times? Did something more gruesome happen after the coffee anger management incident that would necessitate a cover-up? Or, perhaps Birdie had wanted to fly the coop?

The secret had been hidden for 74 years... Hillcrest Cottage alone knows the true story.

And... as all other Hillcrest Cottage stories have gone, only part of the truth will ever be known...

the rest is mystery.

"Mr. Kinley, Tear Down that Wall!" - Part Two

"Oh, my gosh! Look at this!" exclaimed Mr. Kinley taking a break from his wall demolition.

A quick explanation is in order. Most of Hillcrest Cottage's walls are plaster. This wall between the Kitchen and Dining Room had modern wall board placed on top of the plaster, a standard practice in lieu of much-needed plaster repair.

I hurried into the very dusty kitchen and gasped out loud upon viewing this:


The hydrangea pattern upclose:

And... underneath the 1940's paper was a classic 1930's nod to the Orient complete with apple blossoms and birds in cages and sparkled art deco flourishes. The 1940's paper was firmly pasted upon the 30's paper, so a complete pattern was difficult to obtain, and the colors were very muted.

Underneath the 30's paper, and much more difficult to see, another layer of 1920's paper which seemed to match a swatch of 20's linoleum previously discovered on the kitchen floor.

Of course, anyone who had renovated an old home knows that it eventually all comes down to some shade of green. Notice the horse hair incorporated in the plaster on the plaster's right hand side:

This shade of green is actually going to be the the new kitchen's wall color. Full circle back to the original color.

I think the bank president's wife would approve.

Tomorrow... I will reveal : "So, that's why they covered the plaster wall with gypsum board!"

"Mr. Kinley, Tear Down that Wall!" - Part One

Once upon a time, Hillcrest Cottage had three rooms (well, there were more rooms but only of these three are we now speaking): Kitchen, Butler's Pantry, and Dining Room. The Kitchen was very small with access to both a servant's secret stairway leading to the upstairs and a servant's exterior back entrance. The Butler's Pantry was equally small, but well- equipped with a small, modern gas heater for chilly weather (the white porcelain type that I had previously only seen in 1950's bathrooms) and a window.

The Dining Room was high-tech with a servant buzzer placed strategically on the floor at the man's end of the dining room table. Such was the life of a 1920's-era bank president and his family. In the age before TV, I have trouble imagining how the cook and waiters in white coats would spend the time in the small Butler's Pantry in between foot-buzzer summonings.

With the passing of the servant-era, the first wall came down, and the Kitchen and Butler's Pantry were united as one room. An educated guess is that this happened in the 1960's with floor evidence indicating a free-standing stove with no built-ins.

The cabinets, cook top stove and built-in oven were a 1970's update. At this time, the Butler's Pantry window was made into a french door leading onto the hip and new 70's 'deck'. Everyone was building a deck in the 70's! I can hear Lynard Skynard amidst the sounds of hammering and saws right now.

Hillcrest Cottage became the Kinleystead in 2000. By this time the hipster deck had seen its better days. Icy oak limbs during the fierce 2001 ice storm brought the deck crashing down, and, since that time, the Kinleys have had the infamous 'Door to Nowhere'. One of my favorite stupid comments by visitors is, "Why do you have a door that goes nowhere? You should build a deck!"

A typical response is, "We don't want a deck. That's the door through which we invite visitors- who- ask- stupid- questions to exit." This comment usually brings a chilling silence to those who don't understand our quirky sense of humor.

One day...I dream of a door which leads to a screened-in porch. One day.

Hillcrest Cottage has had major traffic flow problems. Whenever we entertain...which is sometimes 2,3,4 times a week, guests entering the cottage flow straight into the Kitchen straight to the food prep area causing the cook much frustration. I have tried everything to entice guests out of the Kitchen and into the Dining Room which included moving the Dining Room table into the Living Room. But... no one would flow!!!

Year 2010: "Mr. Kinley, tear down that wall!!!"

Come back tomorrow... the story is only beginning. I'll explain what caused Mr. Kinley to say, "Oh my gosh... look at this!" and "So, this what they were trying to hide?"