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.

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