Beautiful Things: Cedar Chest

Cedar Chest. It’s more of a cabinet, but the label inside says Chest, so I’m going with it.

The cedar shelves slide out like drawers. There are three shelves, with more than enough room for all my t-shirts, jeans, and sweaters.

The original labels were on the door. I’m keeping them there too. Date of manufacture: Jan 1956



A friend came across a local book that described the features and significance of historical houses in the area.  He copied these pages and gave to Ben the other day.  (Thanks, Trevor!)  This information was prepared August 1990.

The historic name: Charles Lindstrand House

Architectural style: Late Victorian

Present physical appearance: This two story home has clapboard siding and building end boards. The cross gabled roof features boxed cornice, return eaves, frieze and brackets. The front, center of the home is extended forward and features two, two sash, double hung windows on the first and second floors. On the ground floor, single, double hung windows with plain molding are found at the house corners.  The end boards fan into a decorated triangular overhang above these windows.  A porch stoop is placed on each side of the front extension.  They have truncated hipped roofs and columns.  On the right stoop is a single, double hung window with plain shelf molding, on the left is the front entry with rectangular glass door with lower wood panels.  A single story addition is placed on the house rear.

Construction date: 1903*

Architect: unknown

Builder: Fred & John Ayer

Significance: This house was built in 1902 by Fred & John Ayer, for Charles W. Lindstrand, who came to America from Sweden in 1890, at the age of 21.  he began work at a mill & lived in a lumber camp cabin, doing his own cooking & housekeeping.  In 1902 he began working as a mill carpenter at Korbel.  It was at this time that he commissioned the building of this house, complete with extensive exterior ornamentation.  In 1910 he sold the house to Edward P. Worthington, whose family lived here for many years.  In the 1970’s the house was being restored when fire destroyed the second story, but it has since been rebuilt, & is a fine example of late Victorian Architecture.  Notice the similarities to this house and in the Ayer House (#19).  Both were built by Fred & John Ayer.**

*Wait a minute!  1903?  Not 1893?

**And which house is the Ayer house?  Structurally, our house is similar to the DeMarks’ house, but their house is prettier with all the lovely trim and exterior ornamentation (where is ours?), and of course their house has no vinyl siding, cinder block front steps, or chain link fencing.

Beautiful Things: Blue Drop-Leaf Table

The color matched nothing in our house, but as my style motto goes, if I love it, it fits in.

Blue drop-leaf table in our living room. Those are the dining room chairs, but keeping them in here helps the kitchen stay open.

We found this at the same estate sale as everything else, and the price was perfect (was it $5? $10? I can’t remember).  I had no idea where it would go, and just thought it would be stashed on the back porch until we needed it, but we put it here for a party, and haven’t moved it since.

The living rooms.

Do we sit here? I don’t think we do. Except for that one night when the older boys were out at friends’ and Ben and Sam and I had dinner here, with Booker looking on.

Someday we’ll play cards here.  Or something.

The Staircase (Part 1)

We’re taking our time with the stairs.  It’s probably bad feng shui or something, being right off the main entrance to the house, and of course, the part of our house that joins the two floors.  But we’re OK with it for now.

After the carpet was pulled, we found these old painted stairs. The bottom stairs are original redwood. It's probably lead paint. (geezus. I don't want to know.)

The carpet was hard to remove. Back-wrenching and hand-blistering.  The top layer of green shag was mostly nailed on, with a few staples here and there. That wasn’t so bad, except for the incredible amounts of dust.  The layer beneath was stapled with a thousand staples and… I think I mostly just want to forget that process.But even after the carpet was off, there were another 603 staples to remove. (Purely an estimate.)

Upper flight is all plywood, presumably rebuilt after the fire. Plywood is really difficult to de-staple.

The railing shows the color of the trim throughout half the house (starting at the front door and all of upstairs).  I thought by now, surely and absolutely, that we would have completed painting.  Ha!

The banister is not original.  It is not redwood, and has less than 5 layers of paint on it.  One of the balusters was snapped in half by one of the kids (it’s called stairway gymnastics), and it was obviously quite modern (i.e., cheap).

Staples and dirt and dust and staples and bits of carpet and sharp, pointy nails and dust and splinters. There were about 20 of the bigger staples per stair after the carpet was up.

 The landing was covered in linoleum (under the carpet), which we assume was also upstairs before the fire. (The linoleum saved the redwood floors!)  I loved finding the floor underneath the linoleum.  The wood is redwood, and we will leave it just like it is.  [no picture; sorry]

There were (are) about 30 little staples per stair.

  We’re still removing staples.  10 here, 20 there. They’re mostly on the face of the stairs at this point, as we had to quickly make the  stairs safe for barefooted children.

Endless little staples and the dustiest place in our house. I drag the vacuum up the stairs about twice a month. We'll get a hand vacuum someday and it will be the kids' job.

Beautiful Things: The Buffet

Of course I wanted a house to hold our family, to shelter us, to keep us warm and safe.  But I also wanted a place to fill with beautiful things.  I have always been drawn to antiques, fascinated with the personal history that things carry.  When I was a girl I would wander through the antique store in town, touching elegant leather gloves, trying out the crinkly satin fans, gliding my fingers over tables, sitting in prim little chairs.  Inevitably, the store owner would shoo me out, and I’d leave with my head filled with the musty and rosy smells of cedar and lace, dreaming of big, elegant houses with heavy doors and dark furniture.

This beautiful buffet kept me pacing and hemming and hawing at an estate sale for more than an hour. I was looking for something for our kitchen dining area. This was too big, but I couldn’t stop looking at it.   Eventually, I fixated on a couple other pieces (and hemmed and hawed about many others, still kicking myself for not picking up more), and decided I would be happy with what would fit in the van.

As soon as we got home, we saw where the buffet should sit in our living room.  Fuck.  I called the woman running the sale, even left a Facebook message on her store’s page.  I wanted it.  I really, really did.

It hadn’t been sold.  We arranged for the purchase the following week. I couldn’t wait.

It is Thomasville, year unknown.  Walnut veneer faces on the drawers and cupboards, and mahogany everywhere else.  There are a few scratches and dings, but it’s mostly a well-loved and cared-for piece of furniture that loves our house.

The drawers pull out smoothly, and the drawers and cupboards hold a big loot (my vases and china, serving platters and bowls).  The two smaller drawers on either side have dividers for silverware and are lined with purple velvet.

We learned quickly — nothing goes on top, lest Booker stand up to investigate with his sharp claws digging into the finish.

It sits here, it talks to me, it smiles when our house is filled with friends.  It makes itself invisible when the kids are roughhousing, and it screams when the dog goes near.  When it’s quiet, it whispers about its past tea parties and big family dinners, and it waits, waits to be filled with more family china, more stories.