Sea House Warming Hut: International Delivery

Whoa, everyone. It’s the end of the day. We got a surprise shipment of exquisite Canadian wineglasses, and there’s both a chilled Rosato and a Pinot Bianco to try. More landscaping can wait until tomorrow. And look, I finally found what kind of butterfly has been frequenting the poppies. Come sit with me, friend, and give thanks for the light.

Sea House Warming Hut: More Foundation Ruins

I’ve been feeling a little detached from the Warming Hut; new projects (yay!) at work are diverting my focus.

I decided to build the remains of a circular cistern for under the hut, both as a plausible once-functional structure, and as a symbolic reservoir to catch and hold ideas :) It was fun and evocative.

But then of course… it drew attention to the barely seen but now unavoidable eyesore that is the shambling way I attached the front steps to the deck. It’s a *little* space under there — the foundation posts are 3 inches (7.62 cm) tall — and it’s torturous fitting my hands in there now, between the posts, over the boulders. It’s challenging just to get a glue bottle in and shaking spoonfuls of beach gravel. However.

So I measured and built a little wall to close off the under stairs. I wanted it old and disheveled, kind of abandoned mine shaft, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time. I *thought* about doing intriguing doors or more old wrought iron, but really, it’s barely visible.

Here it is all bright. I did more distressing of the bricks before I wrangled it into place.

And here it is in place. I like that it recedes and blends into the background, as it should. The cistern is the center point of interest, holding as it does our random thoughts and stories. But just for a while. Unrealized, they seep back into the ground, and water the deep roots of our imaginations.

Hold on, little cistern!

Blue + Green

Next volume in the miniature color book series: Blue + Green.

Like Pink + Green, it’s ten pages perfect bound, and measures five picas square (.833 in/21 mm).

This one shows found beach glass on a watercolor background, the view from Rattlesnake Ledge in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, afternoon surf off West Cliff in Santa Cruz, California, pool noodles on a wooden bench, and a self-portrait with found fishing lure, Pacifica, California.

Because color is endlessly interesting.

Sea House Warming Hut: Bar Stools Complete

I’ll save you a lot of time: the thing I thought I didn’t want turned out to be the best thing for the space.

What I realized is that the Warming Hut is neither upscale nor over-elaborate; its appeal (aside from location) stems from simplicity and functionality. In the end, I liked the way that the bar stools integrated with the bar, and there was just no good reason to make them anything other than simply utilitarian. Which turned out to be matte aluminum.

Not that I didn’t try. Many things, colors, textures, trims. Thank you all for your suggestions!

For comfort I added a low cushion covered in soft black leather to the seats.

And then, apparently because I had not endured enough challenge and tedium gluing the feet on, I added black furniture glides, to protect the floors and make moving the chairs quieter. That’s 48 more (two per leg) wee punched dots wrangled into place, and touched up with a black Sharpie where the aluminum paint and/or glue extended over the edges.

I turn next to filling the shelves with maps, charts, books, art and maybe even some driftwood sculpture. And maybe I’ll even finish painting the final window, and get that installed.

Sea House Warming Hut: Now We Are Six

Here are the unpainted stools, having a drink at the bar. Seeing them a light color lets me know I want them darker. But not black or aluminum. And because I want to spray them, I am somewhat limited in my color choices. Current thinking is a basilly sage green, and repainting the woodstove to match. Because different greens can clash horribly. But would that be too matchy-matchy, the stove and the stools?

I see several cans of spray paint in my near future.

You know what the hardest part of making this whole set of stools was? Gluing the 1/8-inch round feet on the bottom of the legs. They each needed a good size dot of glue — but not too much — and then they would repeatedly stick to the applicator, the knife blade, the tweezers and/or my fingernail, in succession. At least two out of four instances for each of the six stools.

Sea House Warming Hut: Bar Stools

I’m using Kris Compas’s design tutorial to make the six bar stools. When she first posted it, I made two for the Sea House Pavilion. They’re so perfect.

New vintage chairs for the Sea House Pavilion. Come sit and watch the sun go down.

New vintage chairs for the Sea House Pavilion. Come sit and watch the sun go down.

I used Woodsies rather than illustration board for the seats, because why reinvent a similarly-sized wheel?

I modified the seat back, and printed it out on card stock. I cut all the straight lines with an X-acto.

And then hand cut the curves with scissors.

Kris walks us through the construction process with such ease, it makes her brilliance with deconstruction and solution all the more remarkable.

I used one millimeter leather lacing to simulate the rolled edge of the metal. It’s smoother than crochet thread, and very pliable.

And here’s the first finished chair, ready for painting. Still undecided about the color. I’ll probably make all six, and pile them into to the hut around the bar. I don’t want them to be a focal point, and I’m also pretty sure I don’t want them galvanized. The interior will tell me, after there’s more… stuff.

Sea House Warming Hut: Interior

It’s getting towards end of day here, and sunlight is straying through the fog clouds for the first time today. Join us for a sunset drink at the new bar? The ocean is very sparkly.

I built a cabinet to serve as base and storage for the “zinc”-topped bar that will easily accommodate six. The bar legs are more salvaged pleasure pier wood, stained the same color as the hut siding and bolted together.

The bar stools, borrowed from the Sea House Pavilion, were made from this fabulous Kris Compas tutorial. I will make six new chairs, with a lower profile back. No idea yet what the color will be yet.

One of the things the Warming Hut will have available is local honey, made by happy cliffside coastal bees. I got some of those tiny fingernail jewel jars from the freaky, sad dollar store; they scale to 1:12 quarts nicely. Last night I fooled around making a honey jar label:

but after several iterations it still doesn’t scale well to the wee jar size, and I can’t decide if Sea House can brand retro vintage, or if I should stick to my preferred minimalist modern style (+ quirk).

I’ve filled a couple more notebook pages with sketches and ideas for the hut interior design and contents. I’m anticipating drawing some maps and charts. In Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly, there are some swell folding and pop-up diagrams I am eager to try. I’m also considering native plant seeds and starts, in little flat crates.

The biggest unknown is what the small armchairs around the wood stove will be.

I am very drawn to this chair from called “Design Chair”:


Also considering Jane Harrop’s “Utility Fireside Chair” from her book Thirties & Forties. Its very Danish Modern, and the peacock blue linen I’d like to upholster with will work well. She sells the chair as a 1:12 kit from her website, but I’ve made a few from the instructions in her book.


That sunset drink is calling. Coming by?

Sea House Warming Hut: Overwrought Iron

I decided to use the remaining section of the JMG Miniatures laser-cut panel to make the ruined remnants of a wrought iron railing, as a part of the original brick foundation. I wanted it to be twisted wreckage with a story to tell, but not faux-Gothic macabre.

Several coats of flat black spray paint, glue globbing, lamp black acrylic, “rust + dust” shaved pastels and tiny dots of opportunistic sage lichens. It’s really fun to crap paint intentionally, for once :)

After smooshing them around in a few places, I opted for the back, with the view into the open hut above. I set them in far enough to be visible, but not a statement beyond “What was deluxe becomes debris.”*

And with that, I think I’ll turn my attention to the interior of the hut for a while (except for the ongoing living roof planting and interminable foundation gravel gluing). I’ve been considering the chairs for ‘round the fireplace, as well as other seating and maps and books and beverages.

*A special prize! for all who *know* the provenance of that… lyric. And care to share it. Googling is informative, but totally cheating in this case. Unless it’s to marvel at the poignant brilliance of this perfect song :)

Sea House Warming Hut: Wroughting Irons

It’s a foggy morning here in Nancyland, and the crew is finishing up installing a vintage wrought iron railing and foundation grate, welcome salvage from the Sea House Pleasure Pier.

I have been looking for a well-designed wave pattern to meld into Warming Hut history and decor, and found it in these laser-cut panels from JMG Laser Engraving. (HBS/ carries some of their products.)

For the railing, I cut the section I wanted free, and glued it between two lengths of basswood. After spraying with several coats of flat black paint, I mounted it to the open edge of the deck with glue and brackets made from solid-core black paper. These were bolted with 1/8-inch and 1/16-inch bolts for extra security.

Actually, they’re totally just for appearance.

As it happens, I installed the lower grate first, gently curved and held in place with glue and bolts. I then re-grew the poppies peeking through the bars.

After staring at it for a while, I realized it is far too smooth to be convincing salvaged wrought iron, especially in a marine environment. The railing assembly was still in process, so I mucked it up with tiny dabs of glue and smudges to simulate rust and age. Then I painted it with three different types of black paint. You can kind of see the effect in the first photo of the railing. It’s nice and grody, but well-maintained and hopefully structurally sound. I’ll apply this wroughting process to the grate next :)

After I get my lap back.

Is Napoleon the inspiration for my color palette?

Sea House Warming Hut: Living Roof Drainage

I wanted the rock ley line drainage system to look substantial, but not dominate the living roof. I determined that height was the key, especially so that the plantings did not swallow it.

I measured out a simple grid on the roof, and cut 3/16-inch (5mm) strips of mat board. After gluing these to the roof, I colored them in with a black “Industrial Super Permanent” Sharpie (fine point). Because I am serious.

Then I cut 3/16-inch (5mm)-wide strips of my favorite solid black paper, Canford Raven, made by Daler-Rowney. I put these on the parchment-covered half-sheet tray I use for messy (and/or abstract art).

Ran a stout bead of quick-grab tacky glue.

Then sprinkled them with beach gravel.

After the strips had dried, I excavated them from the gravel.

You might be thinking this is a lot of pictures of tiny rocks, and you’re probably right. It’s because I love them. No, really. I take high-resolution photos, and like to zoom in and look at the individual tiny rocks. Because each one is beautiful.

I glued the rocky strips to the grid frame.

And I’m satisfied with the relative proportions of drainage to (eventual) plantings. I can always trim the mosses as they get closer to the grid if they insist on being too lively.

As for below, I’m almost done with the bracketry. I’ve made like half a million of them.

Also making progress on gluing the gravel ground in, weathering the old brick foundations, and planting California poppies where the wind might have blown them.