Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas from Piney Green!

It's hard to believe it's been well over a year since I last posted. It's also hard to believe that as of last week we have lived here five years! Here are some highlights since my last post.

In November 2015 we held our second annual art event "The Artists on Piney Green". It featured many local artists and was a great evening. We decided to not hold an event for 2016 but plan to hold one in March 2017.

After losing Coco, our beloved Jack Russell Terrier, in January 2015, we had an addition to our Piney Green family in fall 2015 - his name is Luc:

Reid arranged to have scaffolding set up in early 2016 so he could work on cleaning/restoring the chimney and cypress siding.

We also had some major electrical updates done in 2016, including replacing the outdoor breaker box with a new one in the kitchen. Reid also figured out a place to move the washer/dryer inside the house, so we said goodbye to our outdoor laundry and converted half of a bedroom closet to house our laundry inside off of the central hallway.

Converting closet space to house washer/dryer off of the central hallway

Paneling and doors added to blend laundry area with the rest of the house

Outdoor laundry and electrical panel off of kitchen removed

We've still got some painting of the laundry area to do, and the area outside the kitchen is still a work in progress. Aside from the convenience of indoor laundry, this renovation also opened up the view from the second window of our bathroom.

2016 was a difficult year for Orlando, but we were proud that our community came together:

Also while we prepared for the worst from Hurricane Matthew, we were spared any significant damage:

Boarded up living room window

Piney Green spared the brunt of Hurricane Matthew
Also over the past year and a half we made a complete conversion to a turf free yard. Our zoysia was not doing well, and we decided it was time to make a change. We've instead made use of alternative groundcovers and lots of pine straw mulch!

During Halloween the new witch of our "Hansel and Gretel" House was on display, as was her little dog:

For Christmas we decided to simplify our outdoor holiday display this year compared to years past by using a combination of projection lighting instead of traditional string lights, but we think it still makes the house look magical.

As another year at Piney Green comes to a close, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a most happy and prosperous 2017!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

What's in a name?

Today we had some unexpected and most enchanting visitors! David Nicholson (original owner Mildred Horne's son - he grew up in the home) and his wife Susan stopped by in hopes to check on the house. Reid and I were thrilled and, of course, loaded with questions. We gave them a tour of the home, showing some of our restorations and updates, and getting new insight on the history of the place.

Our visit with the Nicholsons confirmed most of the ideas we had about the history of the home but shed some new light on others. Perhaps most notably: the name! David recalled the place was actually known as "PINEY GREEN" (not "PINE GREEN"). Indeed, when we all took a close look at the front gate that bears the name, next to the "E" in "PINE" there were three small bumps, two above, one below, confirming that a "Y" once fit perfectly in the space. We don't yet know why or how the "Y" was removed, but this afternoon Reid took the time to fashion a temporary "Y" and set it in place. I'm sure we'll add a permanent one eventually to fully restore it, but for now, at least from a distance, it's pretty convincing, as apparent in the above photo. We think "Piney Green" evokes more of a sense of whimsy that perfectly fits Sam Stoltz.

The Nicholsons have lots of original records on the home and promised to send Reid and me some of the information. We're excited at the prospect of learning more about Piney Green's history and sharing it in this blog (which, as a result of today's revelation, now has a new name and new address!: Sam Stoltz's Piney Green -

Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Christmas from Pine Green!

As we begin to close out Pine Green's 80th anniversary year, I realize how busy a year it has been since my last blog entry. So this posting will be somewhat of a "year in review"...

In January we decided to enter some of our camellias in the novice category in the Camellia Show at Mead Garden. The event gave me a huge appreciation for camellias - there is such a diversity of varieties, and some of our "antique" varieties - planted many decades ago at Pine Green - intrigued the experts. We even managed to have an entry reach the "Court of Honor". The Show is definitely worth a visit in January, if only to see the hundreds and hundreds of entries on display in the judging area.

A collection of some of our camellia blooms from this year
In spring I managed to capture a nice photo of the house with the giant apostle irises in bloom:

Over the summer and fall we worked on a few "birthday presents" for Pine Green, in part to make the house ready for a special art engagement dreamed up by Reid (more on this below).

We started with the master bathroom. You may recall from one of my earliest blog entries this was the first major repair we had to do on the house because the shower had a significant leak that had contributed to severe wood rot. As a result we had retiled the shower and the floor. Still, the original awkward configuration and tight size resulted in our reference to it as our "cruise ship" bathroom:

For a while we had envisioned eventually expanding and reconfiguring this bathroom. This appeared feasible because the kitchen had what we can only figure was a "servant" bathroom that consisted of, literally, a toilet in a closet - no sink and very little room. The toilet was not useful, and we went ahead and removed it to alleviate concerns over leaky plumbing:

Bath off of kitchen (toilet removed)
Bath off of kitchen (note the window "looking" into the outdoor laundry area)
Although we really didn't plan to do it this year, we went ahead and committed to removing the wall between these two baths, expanding slightly into the kitchen area, and reconfiguring the sink and toilet locations. The result is a respectable, comfortable master bath that's worthy of the rest of the home:

The bathroom now has twin windows (one from the original master bath and one from the kitchen bath). The window from the kitchen bath still faces the outside laundry closet, so we keep that shade down. We have a plan to eventually bring the laundry inside the house, restoring the view from the window (the outdoor laundry closet is not original to the house).

In between projects over the summer I captured a photo of a brilliant rainbow:

As we wrapped up the master bath we soon moved to the sunroom. Although the floor in the "before" picture of the sunroom below may look fine, what you can't see well is the peeling up and cracking that was occurring, especially near thresholds. This was a vinyl floor that had been applied over the original floor:

Sunroom with old vinyl floor.
This picture shows off the original multicolor staining on the cypress walls.
So we stripped away the vinyl floor, which revealed a wood porch floor (we're not sure at what point the sunroom had been enclosed with glass) in surprisingly relatively good condition:

We debated briefly whether to try to salvage the original wood floor, but there were a few significantly damaged areas, and considering it was designed for a porch and not enclosed space, we decided to go with a multicolor mosaic tile instead. The result is a floor that we think Sam Stoltz might have chosen himself had he originally constructed this as a sunroom:

Many thanks to Bob Boatwright for completing the tile work for both the master bath and the sunroom.

We also decided to go ahead and restore the trim color in the "flamingo" guest bathroom to more closely match the original color. At some point the trim in the bathroom had been painted white:

While this was a neutral color, it wasn't true to Stoltz's original vision, which was apparent by the coral trim color peeking through in areas where the white had started to peel. So we decided to embrace Sam's boldness and applied a coral color followed by a gray glaze to give an antiqued effect:

The new trim now complements Sam Stoltz's original flamingo and weeping cherry tree frescoes that adorn the walls:

Although all of these projects were in our eventual plans, we decided to complete them this year to help prepare for what became known as "The Artists on Pine Green". Reid has been working on his own art work for several years now, and he envisioned gathering a diverse group of talented local artists to place their works on display on the grounds of Pine Green, and then inviting special guests to experience them as part of a private art engagement.

Invitation graphic using an old photo of Pine Green
The result was nothing short of an enchanting evening, as exemplified by the below selection of photos of the event and the artists' works on display:

Sculptures by Jacquelyn Harmeling mounted on the garage door for display

Paintings by Ruth Garry on display on the grounds

Paintings by Clair McCorkle

Paintings by Jim Bronzo

Pottery by Michele Pasternak

Test display during event planning using works by Reid Pasternack

Painting by Cindy Byrd (caught in shadows and sunlight during event prep)

Sculpture by Jacob Harmeling
Many thanks to the 13 artists who participated in this inaugural "The Artists on Pine Green" art engagement:

Ruth Garry
Sir Terrence Hummel
Cynthia Powell-Allen
Joann Raulerson
Noah Sullivan

We had an open house as part of the event, and I estimate I gave roughly ten tours of the home's interior to a total of over 100 guests. Seeing and hearing the intrigue and enchantment that guests experienced as they viewed the home reminded me how very lucky I am to be one of its caretakers.

As we close out 2014, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! And if you happen to be in the area one night this month, take a moment to drive down East Livingston Street and experience a "gingerbread house" moment with Pine Green's holiday display.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy 80th Pine Green!

Date inscription on the front steps
We're not sure if January 11, 1934 is the actual "birthday" of Pine Green, but we figure the date inscribed on the front steps is as good of an official date as any. So with that Pine Green turned 80 years old today, and I thought it would be good to capture this snapshot in time.

This past week we had a couple of trees removed - a cherry laurel that just wasn't helping the landscape, and, unfortunately, a large avocado tree (about 40 foot twin trunks) that unfortunately had contracted laurel wilt disease. At least it produced a great harvest of avocados this season - some of the best in the neighborhood from what we hear. The guacamole was delicious. I haven't decided yet whether to try to propagate a new tree from some of its remaining fruit.

Today, in part to replace these trees, and in part to add some more "pines" to Pine Green for its 80th, we bought three norfolk island pines from South Seminole Nursery to complement the one we already have. In time we think they'll become nice anchor points to the landscape.

It's January and Pine Green's wonderful camellias are starting to bloom, as well as some of its bromeliads. The below photos were taken today in celebration of this special date.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Pine Green!


This holiday season we found the time to put up more holiday lights than last year, giving Pine Green a bit of a winter wonderland and gingerbread house feel. And since it was a bit chilly this Christmas Eve, Reid made a fire in the fireplace to add a little more Christmas ambience.

In 2014, Pine Green will celebrate its 80th year, and we look forward to continuing to care for it and share it with the neighborhood. But for now, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!