New Finds… and a Sordid Past!

New Finds… and a Sordid Past!

Tantalizing bits of information about the house continue to surface. In addition to a few recent finds (shown below) we've learned that the house was reputed to be the scene of numerous poker parties at some point during the years of prohibition (from 1881 to 1948 --...

Original Bay Window Paint Colors!

Original Bay Window Paint Colors!

Today I finished priming the bay window. It's all white and kind of boring, but it looks better than it did before and the wood will be protected during the winter months. I still have some (a lot of) caulking to do, so don't look too carefully! The scraping,...

A Quick Update…

A Quick Update…

It's been seemingly forever since I last posted; it has been a busy time. Recently I took time off to visit the Decatur County Last Indian Raid Museum, which serves as a repository for local history, in the hopes of finding more information about the house and its...

The Porch Supports Return!

The Porch Supports Return!

Today the house regained more of its dignity! Jim has been rehabilitating two of the beautiful -- but very decrepit -- porch supports off-site, and they have now recovered fully. It was time to bring them back! As you last remember, the house was looking quite sad...

More Clues, More Details

More Clues, More Details

I got an unexpected break yesterday when my chiropractor, after adjusting my back, forbade me from doing any ladder work right away. So, instead of working on the bay window, I explored the house a little bit more. The flash on my camera is working again (finally!)...

Porch and Bay Window Restoration Begin

Porch and Bay Window Restoration Begin

With the days getting shorter and the exterior trim on the house getting more weathered, we decided to tackle the most vulnerable features of the exterior before the weather changes. Jim is working primarily on the porch and I'm working primarily on the bay window. In...

Anomalous Details and a New Project…

Anomalous Details and a New Project…

The goal of finding a house to restore which was both architecturally and historically interesting has been simmering in the background for some time now. Life has a way of distracting us from our goals (most recently getting involved with the renovation of someone...

Salvaging a Farmhouse

Salvaging a Farmhouse

The 1880's farmhouse we looked at last month is scheduled for demolition this week. Jim and I got there first to save what we were able to. If you don't want to see sad images, just skip this post. I understand. We salvaged all of the doors and their surrounding...

Revealing a Hidden Bay Window

Revealing a Hidden Bay Window

It's been over two weeks since I posted about a big old abandoned farmhouse that is destined to be demolished.  Jim and I have been salvaging interior woodwork, doors and windows for use in a future project.  The first floor has been salvaged, and we're working on the...

Anatomy of a Plastered Archway

Anatomy of a Plastered Archway

Archways in plaster walls - without a traditional wood casing surrounding them - became highly fashionable in the 1920's and remained popular with builders into the 1950's.  They are most likely to be found in Tudor Revivals and Spanish Eclectic houses of the period,...

A Door Inspired by Bruce Goff

A Door Inspired by Bruce Goff

One of my favorite movies, a close second to "Mars Attacks!", is the slightly surreal Goff in the Desert by German documentarian Heinz Emigholz.  The video has no narration; it is simply a series of video shots taken around 2002 of various structures designed by Bruce...

Backdating Wall Cabinets

Backdating Wall Cabinets

Why would anyone update when it's just as easy to backdate?  After all, there's not much appealing design out there these days; design from the early 20th century is almost always a sure bet to be more interesting than whatever has been marketed for the past 40 years....

Making Progress….

Making Progress….

Boxes are being unpacked as time allows.  The bookshelves are nearly full!  An acrylic swag lamp from the 1960's now graces the Black Hole.  I had hoped to slip an antique desk into the niche, but it was about 1/8" too wide for the opening and I'm not about to alter...

Moving Is Not Fun

Moving Is Not Fun

The past few days have been on the chaotic side.  Moving is never fun.  I'm really tired. But this move has been a learning experience.  I have learned that I have too much stuff.  Especially too much heavy stuff.  Below are photos of the newly renovated basement as...

A Built-In Desk

A Built-In Desk

The room is now completely wired and the desk is installed... all that is left is an application of sanding sealer to all of the cabinetry followed up with varnish.  Fortunately, the bookshelves have already been varnished.          ...

Transparent Siding!

Transparent Siding!

In an interesting experiment, a decrepit barn is getting an unusual update.  It was desired to immediately utilize the building as a workshop and storage, but the numerous holes, cracks, and missing chunks of wood siding made it drafty and vulnerable to moisture....

More Storage; New Old Light Fixture

More Storage; New Old Light Fixture

The large storage unit is now almost finished.  It still needs a plywood panel where it connects to the desk and the entire thing needs varnishing.  Like its smaller mate on the other side of the room, this one has electrical receptacles in the base and on the top (to...

Storage Unit

Storage Unit

The first storage unit has now been built.  It still needs to be varnished, however.  The sliding doors are awaiting recessed round finger pulls... I am still trying to decide if I want to place the pulls in the exact center of each door or place them at opposite ends...

Bookcases and Lighting

Bookcases and Lighting

The basement renovation is crawling along... the bookcases are now installed (complete with edgebanding) and the recently acquired 60's ceiling light has been installed.  The first photo below shows the bookcases before the trim was installed on the face:  ...

Making the Bookshelves

Making the Bookshelves

When renovating a house, it is always good to keep in mind that everything will take longer than you think.  It's been a busy winter, but the last few days have been unseasonably warm so it was a great time to start ripping plywood for the bookshelves.  Once...

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

A very small mile-marker today, but still progress.  A new circuit with lighting along the east wall... the future location of a continuous desk/work surface.  Simple porcelain lamp holders (complete with pull chains!) are in place now - but after I find the perfect...

The Black Hole

The Black Hole

Back in October I posted images of the somewhat awkward built-in china cabinet.  It was encased in concrete block which served as the foundation to an upper level fireplace which was never built (in an upper level which was never built).  When the basement was gutted...

Paint!  It’s only temporary…

Paint! It’s only temporary…

This past fall I did something that I haven't mentioned yet.  I painted the house.  I haven't mentioned it yet because it's not a REAL paint job - it is more of an emergency cosmetic maneuver.  The large expanse of bright white siding paired with orange concrete...

Primer!

Primer!

The basement walls have now been primed and are ready for painting.  The final paint color won't be substantially different from the primer, so there won't be a dramatic change after painting. After the paint goes on, I'll start building storage units and bookshelves....

Window Jambs

Window Jambs

The basement windows now have jambs!  I made them out of pine nailers salvaged from the roof of an old house which was being remodeled; they closely match the color and nail-riddled texture of the ceiling.  The best part is that they cover up much of the hideous white...

Detailing the Sheetrock/Joist Junction

Detailing the Sheetrock/Joist Junction

I knew I would regret this when I committed myself to the idea, and I was right.  It is a tedious process going around the room and filling the gaps between the sheetrock and wood joists where I fit around them.  Most likely I will still have to skim over some of...

Mud and Tape

Mud and Tape

The sheetrock is in place and the joints have received mud, tape and sanding (Thanks, Jim, for mudding, taping, and sanding... I hate that part).  Next project: wood jambs for the windows.      

A Painted Floor

A Painted Floor

Recently, I decided it was time to do something about the basement floor.  Not only was it ugly, but because of numerous irregularities and textures, it was awkward to sweep and keep clean.  Even though I'm still hanging sheetrock, I decided to go ahead and paint the...

Waterproofing and Insulation

Waterproofing and Insulation

With the ceiling cleaned up and the new windows installed, it's time to work on the walls.   The basement has had a history of dampness, and the problem spots became rather apparent once the wainscot was removed.  The lower part of the foundation wall is of poured...

Moral Dilemmas

Moral Dilemmas

I hate this part.  You know - the moral quandaries that are an inherent part of any renovation project.  This post will cover two recent dilemmas - one involving a built-in and one involving basement windows. Dilemma 1: The former living/dining area was originally...

Removing the Insulation

Removing the Insulation

As you last remember, the basement had been gutted.  When the ceiling came down, batts of "Balsam-Wool" - a type of cellulose insulation - were revealed.  The product had a very handsome label:   There was a similar label in green, and I saved all that were in...

Demo Time!

Demo Time!

Before we get into the demolition, I would like to point out that I have been an ardent preservationist for my entire life (starting at age 5 when I retrieved from the trash barrel original hardware and lighting fixtures which my father had just discarded from our...

A Peek Inside…

A Peek Inside…

And now for a quick tour of my new project.  It's not pretty, but with a little elbow grease it will become comfortable.  We'll start at the front door...                         And that concludes our brief...

In the Beginning…

In the Beginning…

Since childhood I've been obsessed with old (19th century and earlier) houses and was fairly certain that one day I would find the right one.  Imagine my internal anguish when, after buying, living in, renovating, and selling several Victorian-era houses, I...