August 13, 2006

Metal and tile projects

We use lots of metal and tile in Honduras. In this climate, wood just doesn't hold up very well, inside or out. There is only one store in La Ceiba with metal furniture and decorations. In my opinion, the products are highly overpriced for the quality and the styles are, well, not my style for the most part.

Soldadores (welders) tell you they can make anything you want but how do you tell them what you want when they don't have samples and you don't have a sample to show them? And what you tell them you want and what they end up making are usually two very different things. So I was forced to make my own designs on graph paper with detailed measurements and material specifications. He still made mistakes....many of them.

This is the design that we used on the terraza (terrace) railings. I found a design that I liked in a magazine but it just wouldn't translate to these shorter railings so I developed this design from that picture.

The top picture is of our front gate. It is definitely one of a kind − at least until the welder copies it for another client. ;-( I wanted something less unfriendly than the heavy iron bars that make me feel like I'm in prison. I adapted this design from the railings.

I designed these trellises to grow flowering vines in front of our windows on the west side. It's so depressing to me to look out the window and see a concrete wall. This is a bouganvillea we just planted. I hope it gets enough sun here. I have visions of seeing fountains of color falling from those trellises one day. (I also have visions of the wall being painted. Sigh)

We needed a shelf in the half bathroom to store extra towels and things so I designed this little shelf to fit a leftover piece of granite for the top. The metal was primarily scraps left over from construction. I gave it an antique look by sponging black, brown, reddish brown, and a little bit of gold paint all over it. Because these paints were only available in high gloss, I finished by dabbing the entire thing with paint thinner to dull down the gloss.

This is one of a pair of small tables that sit on our front porch next to the hammock chairs. I saw a similar design in a magazine and adapted that to fit my flower pots. I "antiqued" the metal by texturizing it with spackling paste and rubbing a light coat of silver paint over black paint.
The top of the original magazine table was made of colored glass in a floral design. I made these tops with leftover tile scraps using a quilt pattern called Mexican Star. Clever! I have other tile projects in mind and will use quilt patterns again since quilt piece shapes are easily cut from tile and there are so many interesting designs.

We needed a shelf in the laundry room to store detergents and things so I designed this shelf and used the same antiquing technique on the metal. This was also made from scrap metal.

Addresses on houses are very rare, but I thought it would be much more convenient when ordering a pizza than saying, "It's the half-painted peach and orange and turquoise house with a teja roof on the corner with the unpainted wall with turquoise
barrandas (railings) and a rottweiler in the yard." I won't grout this until the column is painted because it's very difficult to remove paint from grout. Maybe some year....

When our kitchen cabinets were finally installed, we couldn't get our tile man to come back to finish the job so we tiled the kitchen walls ourselves. This is a little design I made by cutting mosaics out of floor tiles. It is a simple design but adds a little interest to this area of the kitchen.

When you don't have a selection of stores at which to shop, you tend to be a little more inventive. I think you can click on these pictures to open them full size in another window, but please don't, because then you will see the grease spots on the wall behind the stove! ;-)
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