Henry ‘Box’ Brown

One of the things I want to do now that we have the house in a comfy livable state is to start exploring Richmond, and the region.  There is so much History here.

Today we took advantage of an historical Original Richmond Walking Tour. It is one of many tours arranged through The Valentine Museum.  It was a very good tour, about an hour and 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of questions.  We took about the full 1 1/2 hrs, it was just Tom and me, and Liz the Guide.


We saw and learned many things, but one I had heard about and was particularly interested in was how Henry Brown, a slave of Richmond, in 1849 gained his freedom.

You can read about Henry here – and when you do come back and look at these pictures –

The first one is for size, that is Tom, and Liz.  The second shows the box interior into which they have inscribed an outline of the position in which Henry would have travelled, 26 hours! And the last is the plaque at the site.

The story is fascinating, and horrifying, and a testament to our desire for freedom.


There were many other enjoyable parts of the tour, and we enjoyed it immensely.

And then of course there was lunch afterwards.

Some scenes from our walk.


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midlo – powder room

small steps, all things can be accomplished with small steps. And just a few days ago we finished the changes to the Midlothian house powder room, aka 1/2 bath. I like Powder Room.

This is how we bought it – unbeknownst to us with not one, but two water leaks, every little project also comes with a surprise.

I love the green of the walls, unfortunately the sink and commode did not have the same color palette and I really hated them together, and look at that floor, eeeschk.

So as Tom was replacing the window, he found water damage because the trim around the outside of the windows had not been properly sealed. So with much extra extra work the window was replaced. And the window is now properly protected from rain.

Then when we went to remove the floor tiles they just lifted right up due to a leak around the toilet bowl. So more repair work, although the ease with which the tiles came up was nice.

We found this great commode at the Habitat for Humanity Resale Store, 35$. And I found the sink, pedestal stand, and faucet on fb, for 20$. gotta love these second hand bargains.

When we went to look for floooring we found these great black marbeled look tiles at .59cents a square, just at 30$ for the flooring, and they were exactly what I wanted for the space.

So just about 100$ for the facelift – I am quite pleased. (that price does not include the window)

And now, come to find out the original sink and toilet are worth about 500$. They are mid century modern style, and Kohler Spruce Green; apparently very sought after. Come and get'em, super cheap!

One more little project completed.


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the mouse house

Friends of ours had a small wooden deck on the back of their house. The back of the house, is sort of like their front door as it is where they mostly come and go since that is where their parking is located.

They didn't like that little wooden deck, too small, uneven steps, and old and ugly.

They had the deck removed and a beautiful brick landing and patio installed. Unfortunately, well maybe not, a small section of siding is now missing as a result. They had it filled in with a piece of wood, and painted to match the siding. Still, I thought it needed more.

you'll have to expand the photo to see the piece of inset wood
So while they've been away this past week I painted a little faerie/mouse house in the missing siding spot.

They get home today, what do you think? Will they like it?

final step was a few coats of varnish to seal the paint



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drive em till they drop

You may remember from posts in May, of our drive from Merida, Yucatan, MX to Richmond, Virginia, USA.

It was quite the trip.

We made the trip in a 1999 Ford Taurus. We've owned this Taurus since 2001, and we drove it to Merida in 2006.

Here you can see it loaded for the trip. It's a good car.

We had already decided that once we got settled in a bit we'd sell the Taurus, it's a great around town kind of car, but no longer what we want for road trips. It really is a great car, rock solid and dependable, and in pretty darn good shape for a 17+ year old car. We just wanted more comforts and reliability for travelling.

We haven't sold the Taurus, yet, but we did go out today and buy a new (used) car.

You all know Tom, or at least know of him, so you know we didn't just run out. I told Tom what I was most interested in, and well, he grabbed that bone and didn't let go. Tom has been researching for weeks, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeks, and had us narrowed down to 2 potentials. One was nearly 100 miles away, and the other only about 60. We drove first to the farthest, then to the next, test driving, inspecting, and assessing.

Once we decided between the 2 we sat down with the salesman and got busy.

So this is what we decided on, a 2014 Toyota Prius 3. We really liked the color package of the one we didn't get, a pearly white exterior with soft grey interior. But the one we chose, even with about 11000 more miles just felt more solid and sound. We have a light grey or silver exterior, and a deep grey interior.

I'm very happy with the choice, and even though it can get frustrating I can't appreciate any more how much time and effort Tom puts in to his research and due diligence. He did a bang up job!

It's funny, we've never been ones to switch up cars, we tend to drive'em till they drop. We maintain them, and try to take care of them, and they have served us well. We only once bought an actual 'new' car. A 1976 Datsun 710 Wagon. That was a great car, we had it about 12 years, when I decided I needed something sporty.

ok, so this one had a short life span, I think I kept it 3 years. I guess it was my penis envy stage, not sure what I was trying to show off, but I guess I got it out if my system. It was great fun while I had it.


So those of you that have been concerned for us with the Taurus, relájate, calmate, respira.

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midlo house – niche

Built under the stairwell in our house is a little niche. The previous owners kept their piano there.

We don't have a piano. But I do have this beautiful trunk that made the trip from Colorado to Mexico, and now from Mexico to Richmond. I knew as soon as I saw that niche that that was where the trunk would go.

so here is the niche, pretty much complete, I may add a few more pieces to the wall, but essentially this is it.

And a BIG shout out to Margo for the faerie lights, I knew there was a reason they hadn't gone up in Merida, they were waiting for this space.



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and the rain exploded with a mighty crash…

I can remember being at activities and events and if it started to rain people would scramble to get home because they had left doors or windows open. Tom and I never had to worry about that.

Our house in Merida was/is truely amazing that way, every opening is protected. Mazimum airflow, minimal direct sun, and almost no rain.

Very cool, breezy, and dry.

Not quite the same in this old Richmond house, which is not a fraction the age of the old Merida house.

Every window lets rain in, and even worse, the storm windows let rain on to the sills so that the water soaks in and leaches down in to the wall.

This old Richmond house has become quite a project for Tom.

The first replacement window he did required practically rebuilding part of a wall because it was so rotted from long term water damage.


Last night there was a big storm, and about 11, just as we were getting ready to go to bed some inner voice pulled me over to the dining room window, the ceiling was leaking. so I grabbed a bucket and rag, and then up to the attic we we went. Tom found a nail sticking through the roof rafters that was allowing water in, the water then entered a piece of insulation and travelled along its fold to where it could escape and ran on to the flooring which then allowed it to seep through the floor and then through the downstairs ceiling.

In Merida, if water came in you didn't worry, everything was cement and stone. You just squeegied it out the doors… And the floors dried in no time at all. Not here, everything is porous, and wood, and takes ages to dry and sometimes creates toxic mold…

and the floors, mop a floor and go rest, it takes 20+ minutes to dry.

ok, rant over. I bet the kitchen floor is dry and now I can move on to the dining room.

oh, and for those in the know, I use a jalador and trapos to clean floors in this old Richmond house.


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Midlo – Dining Room

so I just know you are curious how the house is coming along. And I know this because many of you have asked.

The decorating, and restoration of this old house are coming along in bits n pieces. The house, downstairs anyway, is now quite comforatble to live in. We have more than enough stuff to satisfy our needs.

The Dining Room seems to be the first room that we say 'is done', although we still want an area rug, and I have a stencil idea for around the big mirror that I am working on.

So here is the dining room when we bought the house –

and here it is now –

the beautiful sari fabric that I made in to the window treatment was a gift from our friend Jette, you can'treally appreciate it because of the backlight, but my what a beautiful window treatment it has become, it adds so much warmth and color, and it makes me think of Jette.

you can see in the photo into the kitchen the fabulous shelves Tom built me, the kitchen is small and is quite short on cabinet and storage space, so these are really helping, now I need to find the dishes and glasses, we've been using plasticware so far.

The living room is pretty darn close to being done now, just a few more things to do, then you'll see it.

Still need to hang artwork in the bedroom, and get Tom to put his clothes and shoes away, but it is nearly done too. The 2nd bedroom is my dressing room, it has my dressing table, clothes, sewing machine and ironing board, as well as a reading chair. It is sort of 'my space'. I've never really had a 'my space' before, I must say I am liking it very much. you may, or may not, see that, unless you stop by that is.

so this is it so far – Dining Room done, sort of…


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