Sunday, February 9, 2014

Inventory: toilet paper holder (why I choose what I choose... sometimes)

I picked up this toilet paper holder at BIG Gowanus yesterday.

If you asked me why I bought it, I think my reasons would be unlike most people's reasons for selecting their roll holder.  I wasn't looking for one. I had already paid for what I was there for. But then there it was with some other hardware and it caught my eye and I picked it up and I knew.

Basically, it is big and incredibly heavy (1lb 14oz) and feels good to touch and hold. From the weight, I could tell it is chrome over solid brass. And the chrome is really thick. And the spring in the spool is unusually strong - so strong that you could knock out a tooth if you accidentally let go while squeezing it to install a new roll.  And those flanges on the sides of the spool... Well, they're just so big and heavy. I bought it because it is really well made and a nice simple look. 

So there it is. I'm a sucker for the overbuilt.
When I got home, just for kicks, I took a stab at finding it on the internet. It has no markings on it at all. But I had a hunch. It took me a total of thirty seconds to find it. It is the Yale Club toilet paper holder from Urban Archaeology. No wonder it weighs so darn much.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Transom / Clerestory / Skylight Window - UPDATED

I can't recall if I have spent any time explaining our thoughts about the opening high on the wall that divides the master bathroom from the master bedroom.  Somewhere along the way, I instructed one of our many many contractors to leave a large opening high up on the wall -- so they did.

Here it is, seen from the bedroom side.

And here it is (or a sliver of it at least at the top of the photo), seen from the bathroom.

Here is a better pic taken before the bathroom was tiled.

So, basically, it is a rectangular hole that spans from above the shower to the far edge of the bathroom door.  And, if you stood in the shower and climbed up onto your showering partner's shoulders (which I don't recommend), you could look through it down onto the bed in the master bedroom against the opposite wall.

My thought was that, since the windows are low on the walls and the ceiling is very high, I would want to create as much light high in the bedroom and bathroom as possible.  There is only one skylight in the bathroom and three in the bedroom so I figured this would allow a lot more light to move around over our heads.

But how to fill that hole?

At one point I thought we were going to fill it up with glass bricks.  So, I went and bought a big stack of cool old glass bricks from BIG NYC.  Then after looking at photos of glass brick projects, I realized that glass brick really isn't the look we want - it is so... so... 1980's.  So, we have a couple big stacks of glass bricks out beside the shed.

From time to time I have had visions of stained glass windows or old casements windows in that space - but I really don't know how that would happen.  Seems like a lot of framing to make smaller casement windows fit.  And finding just the right size stained glass is a virtual impossibility. 

Our current contractor is a thoughtful guy - the first we've worked with in quite a while - and he asked me the other day whether he should have the glass guy measure that opening for a window as long as he is coming up to take measurements for the shower door and upper half of the shower walls.  I told him to have the measurements taken, but not to order the glass yet.  I still wasn't ready to give up the dream of something more specific than a cut to size piece of flat glass.

So, what then?

Well, I was at BIG NYC out in Astoria today and I saw this beat-up old door.

It has a couple things going for it.  First, the glass panes are thick and clear and beveled all the way around so they have a really nice tone and light to them.  And all the original panes are still intact and matched - no unbeveled replacement panes.

And second, it is a heavy old solid wood door which means the wood portion surrounding the windowed center section can be cut down without falling apart the way a hollow core or poorly constructed door would.  Also, it is in really solid condition with all the panes and window trim very tight and clean.

The one catch is that I don't know the measurements of the rough opening in the wall, but I took measurements of the glassed center section of this door and just eyeballing it against the photos, I am pretty sure we will be able to trim down the wood and still fit all ten glass panes.  I hope it fits!!  

It was very reasonably priced (far less than a new piece of glass would be) so I figured better to buy it now and return it if the measurements are wrong than to miss out on it.  Turns out I was right because after I paid for it, when I went to put the SOLD sticker on it, there was a couple pawing it and seriously discussing how they would use it.  Why does that always make a purchase feel like a score?  Why does someone else wanting what I just bought seem like a ratification of my purchase?  It isn't like there is any possibility that their particular needs for this unusual item and my own are the same.  But, it does feel nice.  

Now I better call the contractor and get those measurements and tell him not to bother having the glass guy measure that opening just yet.

UPDATE: The contractor just texted and the rough opening is 82" x 23.5".  IT WILL FIT JUST FINE!!