Archive for January, 2009

Clementines and Genji’s thousandth birthday

Posted in Journal at 20:14

Still life - clementines

Above is a photo I took of a Vallauris ceramic bowl I found in a secondhand shop today (2 euros!). I didn’t have a bowl I could use for fruit; this one is perfect. On that same ceramics note, a friend in Nice recently commented that tomettes are from Salernes, a village in the Var. There’s a site about ceramics there that showcases some very tempting wares from several ceramists. Apparently tomettes are in fact still made there.

Thanks to this post on MetaFilter, I learned that Japan is celebrating 1,000 years of “The Tale of Genji“. The New York Times has an article with a beautiful slide show.

The joys of home ownership

Posted in Home improvement, La France, Nice at 21:29

Entry, before

In a change of pace from floor photographs, here’s the ceiling in my entry. The previous owners — them again! — had put up a false ceiling with three spotlights. Considering their track record of wiring an extension cord for kitchen outlets and putting in a walk-in shower with no waterproofing, I wanted to check this and redo it if needed.

I took this photograph after removing the dozen screws that held the false ceiling to the walls, looking “behind” it and standing in the shock of disbelief for a few seconds. Behind the large pipe (the one that’s dripping dark fluid), there’s an outlet wired to the ceiling. Plugged into that outlet is a transformer (the black box), which is sitting directly on the false ceiling, which is made of wood. All the white debris is plaster; there were some large chunks on it and who knows why or how they got there. The false ceiling, I kid you not, was simply leftover parquet that the previous owners had painted white. In addition to the transformer sitting on it, the ceiling was touching the three central heating pipes that carry heat to the radiators throughout the building. (As a side note, my apartment is very toasty since, in addition to my two radiators, all the heating pipes that supply the building go through it.) That pipe that’s dripping? Is dripping because a layer of its paint is melting. I guess they didn’t waterproof the shower so that when there was a fire caused by their home “improvement”, the walls would be too damp to burn?!

In the entry, I cleaned up everything, removed the outlet from the ceiling wires, and put in a new light fixture. I chose a simple one that echoes the industrial feel that the pipes give the entry, and it now looks rather nice. While I did prefer the cleaner look of the false ceiling, I’ll take a few visible pipes over death by incineration any day. In other news, I’m still removing tile as part of my tomette restoration project, and have finished about a quarter of the living room. So far I’ve only encountered two damaged tomettes, both of which will be covered (and were probably originally damaged) by furniture.