Thursday, November 29, 2007

Attic Update - We Have A Floor!!!

I have been trying to get some pics of the new attic floor for some time and finally did it today.

The floor has been installed for over a month now, but will not get it's carpeting until the whole thing is finished.

About two weeks ago we allowed friends and family to finally come up and see the place for the first time. Our nieces and nephews thought that this was "the coolest" room in the house. Not bad coming from a bunch of rug-rats ranging from 4 to 13!!

My best friend's wife thinks we should turn this into our master bedroom - NO WAY!!!

While taking the pics it dawned on me that I've never really gotten a good pic of the stairwell, so here it is.

As you can see, there are still lots of tools and spare flooring lying about. At the top of the pic you can see a section that has no floor yet. It has been left this way so that we can have easy access to the main electrical wiring junctions for the attic. Once the wiring is installed it will be covered over with a hatch.

All along the two sides will be low bookshelves that will act not only as book storage, but also as seating.

This is perhaps my favorite spot up here. During my 'down' time I will sometimes come up here and read, work on my lap-top (like I'm doing now) or just visualize the space once completed.

Notice the chair? That should give you some idea of scale. The back of the chair is 3’ tall.

We found this chair in the house after we took possession and couldn’t believe it got missed during the auction.

For some reason no one likes this chair - but I do. Annette even wanted us to burn it or throw it out. I'm not about to do that!! The chair’s got character and is extremely comfortable. All it needs is new upholstery (I have an Egyptian army blanket over it now) and it will be as good as new.

Here is the spot I will use for gaming / modeling storage.

If you look close you'll see some of the floorboards are not screwed down yet. I've done this so it will be easier to work on the electrical and gas. Once that's done it will be screwed down.

The boards you see, in various piles, are the beginnings of the shelving and knee wall that will go around the edge.

More of the same spot.

See the big black cable? That will be snaking down to the basement within the next few weeks.

The flooring material to the left of the pic is more of the stuff I'm going to build the knee walls out of.

This is the big, bright, open area that we are not sure what we're going to do with.

The wife would like me to build a hanging chaise lounge (think hammock only stiffer). She likes the idea of lounging on it while reading.

Another view of the same.

To the right of the pic you can see the chimney stack - I have big plans for that thing!!

To the left you can see some of the roof framing. Actually it is around the other window like this one also (see the pic with the chair).

Since these need to be left intact, we are going to utilize them by making shelves in them.

I never can seem to get a good picture of this spot, but this is where the brunt of my books will be going.

Since there is no window in this area, I figure the books will be safe from sun light and any damage that could be caused if a window breaks out during a storm or some such.

Here's a somewhat better view.

It will look better once the bookcases are built and some lighting installed. Just wait till you see the tacky thing I'm sticking in the corner!!

The Day of Shattered Glass

Yesterday was a bummer of a day. Before getting to work on the kitchen I thought I'd better install the temporary window in the attic. The weather forecast said that it would start getting colder within the next few days and I figured now was as good a time as any.

We are installing a temporary window because the replacement one will need to be special ordered AND we will have to remove part of the outside window casing to put it in. Because of this we thought it would be better to install the custom window at the same time we paint the house.

Anyway, while I was up in the attic I figured I'd better check the other windows to make sure they were tight and had no wind coming in. I also decided to clean the windows to get some pics of the view from each one (I'll post those latter).

Well, the west-facing window was so dirty I just took it out to clean it. While doing this I noticed just how bad the glass was. There were a couple of cracks and it was so dirty the glass had become discolored. So I cleaned it as best I could, took the pic (Figured the pic would be better without the dirty window) and reinstalled it. While putting it back in, and reattaching the stays, I thought to myself "next Spring I will need to replace the glass".

As I walked away the dang thing just fell out! Glass went every where and the cats ran for cover.

So, I now had two open window wells in the attic and it was 3 in the afternoon. The lumberyard closed at 4 so I had to hurry.

To shorten the story up a bit, I had the new glass installed by 6:30 and the temp window installed an hour latter.

Oh well...on to the pics!

This is the north-facing window well.

To our knowledge there has never been a window here; the previous owners had a large fan instead.

Do you see that piece of paneling covering the hole? That is a sample of the paneling they used in both bathrooms when they remodeled them around '73. Ugly isn't it? In case you can't tell, it's a bronze metallic on a gold background.

There's the opening, sans paneling.

I'll show you the view later.

BTW - this is where my painting table is going to go.

Window installed!!!

All that needs done now is the trim pieces put up. I hope to get that done this weekend.

SWMBO, as well as myself, were amazed at just how much light this window added!!!

Oh!! The horror!!

Can you believe it landed like that and stayed balanced?!

New glass installed....

New window installed!

Done....for now anyway....

Views From the Top

Okay, a few weeks ago a friend asked me if I would take some pics from the windows in the attic so that they could see the 'views'. So, here they are, plus a little extra.

Northern view from the new window.

This is what I will be looking at while painting.

During the Spring and Summer you not see past the closest set of branches.

If you look to the left of the pic you will see the 'Home' side bleachers of the school football field.

The light grey swatch of ground, between the house and field, is an extra, gravel, parking area for field.

You can also see the garage.

Looking south.

The view isn't the best - that's the high school parking lot.

You should be able to tell by now that our house is an island in the land owned by the school system.

On the bright side, at the beginning of the school year, if I look towards the right of the school, I have a GREAT view of the cheerleaders practicing!!

I know...I know...dirty old man.

This is the view to the east looking from my chair.

The reddish building in the distance is the local Methodist church. The empty lot between them and us is theirs. Believe it or not, all of this, including the church and the football field, use to be the yard of this house!

There is also a good view of our driveway. It is the only piece of the wagon road going from Wellington (south) to Wichita (north) that has not been paved or destroyed.

BTW - our property goes about 10 - 15 feet into the empty lot.

This is looking west from the window that broke.

The light grey area is the main parking lot for the football field and is gravel. This was also part of the house's original yard.

Funny story about this parking lot, and the other one to the north. When we bought the house those were sold to us as well as the house!!

We, as well as our agent, knew that the property had been given to the school a few days before the auction, but the auction house didn't!!

These next few pictures are taken from the roof of the house. While waiting for the glass to be cut for the window, I decided to crawl out on the roof and snap a few.

The view looking northwest.

That's more of the parking lot. Our property ends where the gravel begins.

The northwest section of the back yard.

The little red barn is where I hope to one day have a woodworking shop.

The greyish square, with the green squiggles on top, is our well house.

You can also see bits-n-pieces of the various sidewalks that were in the back. The one leading towards the red barn goes between the two trees, turns to the left, and heads to where the out-house had been.

A better view.

We don't know why the driveway stops where it does, but we assume the previous owners had intended to make a circular drive.

You also have a better view of the 'Home' side bleachers.

I figured that while I was up here I might as well get a better pic of our fire pit. It's the grey smudge just about in the center of the pic.

The view looking straight down.

If you look real close (a better view is in the 1st pic) under the garage window, you will see a sample of the fence we will be putting up this coming Spring and Summer.

Looking to the northeast part of the backyard.

If you look hard enough you can see the outline of the herb garden. We will probably move it at a latter date.

Extreme northeastern corner of the backyard.

From this view I am about 8 feet from the very top of the house and the wind is beginning to pick up.

Still looking north.

Another view looking due east.

I'm about as close as I can get to the very top without getting blown off the roof!

Here's a view to the south-east, over looking the house of our neighbors who are just as nuts as we are for old houses and antiques (a polite way of saying 'junk').

At this point I'm at the very top of the house (you can see the roof at the bottom of the pic).

The wind was so bad I had to lay down and hold the camera above my head to get the pic. Not sure why it came out so dark.

In this pic you can see the only other structures in the area taller than our house - the grain elevator and the water tower (the water tower is that little nub on the top left end of the grain elevator).

The wind was getting so bad I felt I needed to get inside before being blown off. Next time I will get some pics of the southwestern view from the roof!

When I got back inside the attic, this is what I found.

The wife's tailless cat had crawled inside the plastic bag holding extra insulation pieces and fallen asleep.

I poked him to make sure he was alive...he was not amused!!

Speaking of Views.....

Okay, following are a couple of pics I thought I had posted before. Since I hadn't, here they are now.

I have crashed through the ceiling (the one separating the attic from the 2nd floor) twice and have also had a 'near miss' (knocked a lot of ceiling plaster off though). The interesting point about this is that all three spots are within a 3 to 4 foot diameter of where the video of "Percy" was taken.

You can see (kind of) one of the holes and the 'near miss'.

The hole is rather large and I've covered it with cardboard so the insulation won't fall out.

I will be patching these within a month or so.

Here is the second hole.

It's kind of hard to see because it's inside the closet in the library.

As you can see, I took out the light fixture and my foot came to rest on top of the second floor fuse box.

What you do not see is the web of electrical cables the foot that came to rest on the box went through and my other foot got tangled in. For those interested, there are 600 volts going through those lines!

Oh well....just another day in paradise.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cutlery – Not Just for Eating Anymore

Here are some photos for 'grins-n-giggles'.

Last week the news kept reporting that cold northern winds were heading our way. As all of you know, some of the interior windows are out so we can sand them.

SWMBO was adamant that these be reinstalled even if it was just temporary. So, I needed to come up with a quick, and easy, way to put this back in yet make sure they wouldn't fall out.

Below, you can see the solution!!! Works very well and only takes seconds to remove and replace.

SWMBO was pleased.

Window Surgery

Hello Everyone!

Well, turkey day has come and gone and not much happened over the holiday week-end.

Annette and I did manage to do a couple of days of antiquing (or as we like to call it 'junking') and found a few items for the house.

On Sunday we did get motivated to do some work on the kitchen. I started the process of working on the main windows. I had to remove these zinc/tin runners that were added to the window sometime in the late 20s. Underneath them we found the portal that allows access to the cast iron window weights; surprisingly, all of them were still in the wall. So, I will reattach those before too long.

Anyway, here is a pic. Sorry for the quality (we need a better camera!!).

The main thing I needed to work on was the sagging bottom meeting rail of the outer window.

Additional meeting rail parts made of zinc/tin (part of the zinc/tin window trim system mentioned earlier) were installed at the same time as the other.

Over time, these parts became warped and filled with crud and each time the window was shut it forced the outer, bottom, meeting down.

This eventually made a downward bow in the wood and was causing the joints of the meeting rail and vertical stiles to separate.

So, I decided to try and fix the problem. First thing to tackle was cleaning out all the old crud and paint that had built up over the years in the space where the wood parts had separated. Then a liberal dose of wood glue was applied. After this, a bottle-jack & tackle system was installed (pictured).

Due to the age of the wood and glass, caution was used when jacking the meeting rail back into place. Each side was jacked up enough to move the rail. The pressure was held and then backed off. By doing this, the window was allowed to 'rest' at times so that a lot of pressure didn't get built up and shatter the glass. It was very nerve wracking when we heard the creaking and cracking of the window. We were just sure the glass would burst, but it didn't.

Eventually the joints came back together, however, there is still a slight bend in the center. I have a couple of ideas to fix this problem, but need to think on it some more. I will keep you posted as we go.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Watch us strip!!

HEY!!! We ended up having a striping party Sunday night!!!

My best friend Lee was planning on coming over to pick up some old wood boards that came out of our attic so they could use them in their attic. We told him that if he came over to get the stuff he had to stay and work.

When we do this we are usually kidding, especially if it is going to be latter in the evening.

Well, when Lee showed up, and after the wood was loaded, he insisted on helping us sand!!! WOOWHOO!!!!!

Forgive the quality of the pics (we really need a new camera). I took these shots as an after thought using my phone camera. The pictures are also blurry due to all the dust in the air!!! That's why they are more hazy than usual.

Here is SWMBO (Annette) sanding one of THE worst parts of the kitchen. It has this distinction due to location and complexity of the window sashes.

SWMBO was NOT happy once she found out I was taking her pic; pointed out the fact that my sander was not being used.

This is my best friend Lee.

We gave him the job of sanding the built in cabinet.

As you can see, he really gets into the job at hand. Not only has he found a way to lay down on the job and work, but also he seemed to enjoy wallowing in the dust.

Do you see how white his arms are? He normally has a very healthy tan! That should let you know how bad the dust was.

Some would say this is Lee's best side.....

I really have no comment on this because it's my best side too!

Not much happened....

Well, not a whole lot happened this weekend in the way of the house.

I started feeling a little like I was getting sick Thursday and Friday started with a bad soar throat and congested, stuffy, head. So I spent the Friday taking drugs and taking it easy so we could hit it hard Saturday and Sunday.

Well, Saturday came around and SWMBO and I just didn't want to work on the house - it was way to nice outside to stay indoors!!!!

So we went to a friends house who was having an open house at their furniture restoration shop/showroom. After this we walked next door to SWMBO's parent's house (the friend that does the furniture has lived next door to Annette's parents for over 30 years) to see the work that had been done on their basement. We then went home and decided we SHOULD work on the kitchen. Well, as soon as we got home I laid down and crashed. Guess I wasn't as well as I thought I was.

Anyway, after a couple hours napping we decided it was STILL too nice to work inside and ended up working in the yard and having a bon-fire.

We ended up having our best friends over, as well as the wife's kid brother and his wife. Along with all of these were there kids and my brother's youngest daughter.

So, Saturday wasn't a complete waste. We got to rest a bit, do some much-needed brush burning and enjoyed time with family and friends.

Sunday we decided to actually do some work on the kitchen, yet it was still so nice outside!

Well, guess what - nothing much happened in the way of work on the kitchen but the entire day was not lost!!!

As some of you know - I LOVE JUNK!!! SWMBO calls me a pack rat, I call my self a 'collector of the trans-mundane'.

Anyway, I offered to take the wife's car to have it washed and on the way I found a pair of chairs thrown out by the side of the road. I drove by several times and 'looked' at them, but that was about it. On the last 'drive by lurk' I saw an older couple out in the yard that was next to the curb the chairs were on. So I stopped.

I asked if they were getting rid of the chairs and they said "that's why they are out there', so I brought them home.

Here they are!

At first I thought they were going to be some of those cheep ones you can buy at big-box furniture stores, but these have turned out to be very nice, solid wood and heavy. These are not cheap chairs!

Now the cushions have been replaced at some point and really don't look good. I plan to restore these puppies and put better seats on them.

Once they’re done we might keep them or sale them.

What was so interesting about these were not the things list above but the fact that they were more of a 'sign'. I have been kicking around for ideas of starting a sideline business I can do out of the house. My wife, as well as the furniture restoration friend of ours, have pointed out numerous times that I have a 'knack' of finding quality furniture pieces. Bill, the furniture guy, has been trying to get me more into furniture restoration to compliment this 'knack' of mine (unfortunately - the furniture I find is usually the wrong style for us but the right style for others). Anyway, after visiting Bill, and his wife's, furniture restoration shop on Saturday Annette and I once again talked about getting into furniture restoration and selling.

Well, finding those chairs on the side of the road was as much of a sign as I need to give it a shot!! It doesn’t take a brick hitting me between the eyes to give me a clue. I will post pictures of these once they are underway and completed.

We did get one other project done inside the house we have wanted to do since we bought the place.

Remember this picture? You can see a mirror and a file cabinet under it (as well as all the junk around it).

Believe it or not, there IS a window behind those!! The file cabinet is actually hiding a an air conditioner window unit that was installed sometime in the late 60s or early 70s.

We decided to get rid of it.

It was not as easy as it sounds. The previous owners put that thing in to stay. It took aver three hours just to get it out.

Then it took the wife and I about two extra hours to clean the 35+ years worth of dirt, grime, cobwebs, dead bugs and spiders cleaned out of the windows. The dirt and dust was so bad you could not really even look out the window. The glass was like a permanent, double layer, of shear curtains!!!!

Can you believe this is the same window?!?!

We were amazed at just how much light come into this room now and how much bigger it looks!!

The light is so bright now it was hard to get the picture.

So, Sunday was not a complete waste!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Edwardian Classicism" a Primer

Once purchased, we wanted to figure out WHAT style of house we had. Some said Victorian; some said Prairie; and others even suggested Arts and Crafts. Unfortunately the house had design elements from all of these styles and then some!

We then came across a descriptive term that fit better "Four Square". The Four Square house, named because the house was essentially composed of four square rooms on two levels, was extremely popular. Examples of this house style still exist throughout the United States and can be found in just about any populated area.

However, we had a feeling that there were different styles of Four Square houses as there are different styles of Victorian houses.

After countless hours, days, weeks, and months of research we have finally discovered the ‘style’ of our Four Square: Edwardian Classicism. This style roughly covers the years between 1900 – 1914, but some extend it out to include the years 1890 – 1920.

Virtually all of the information that follows has come from the works of numerous people, but the sources I have relied on the most are as follows: the English firm of ‘Bricks and Brass’ and Johanne Yakula with ‘From Times Past’.

I will HIGH-LIGHT and ITALISIZE the terms and features that apply to our house.

The Edwardian era is named after the reign of King Edward VII, and is technically between the years 1901 – 1910. Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, reigned between 1901 and 1910. Stylistically the changes began in the early 1890’s and ended at the beginning of the WWI (some say it continued till 1920). The style is a precursor to the simplified styles of the 20th century.

Towards the end of the 19th century, people began to tire of the excess ornamentation, public display, and rigid rules of conduct both inside and outside the home that society demanded. What did not change so quickly were the Victorian ideals of home, and family. When Edward VII ascended the throne in 1901, the English-speaking world was ready for the dawning of a new century -- and a new age in interior design. It was time to jettison the dark, heavy clutter of the Victorian era for something lighter, freer, and altogether more exuberant.

Many of the classical features – colonettes, voussoirs, keystones, etc. - are part of this style, but they are applied sparingly and with guarded understatement. The underlying themes of buildings and interior design of the Edwardian era were for expensive simplicity and sunshine and air. Finials and cresting were definitely out. By 1900, most architecture was reflecting a revival of some sort from pre-Victorian style such as Colonial, Georgian, Classical, and Gothic. Edwardian Classicism provided simple, balanced designs, straight rooflines, un-complicated ornament, openings are fitted with flat arches or plain stone lintels. Colours and detailing were lighter than in the late 19th century, and looked back to the eras of a century, or more, before. These houses were generally known to have many windows as well.

Compared to the homes during the height of the Victorian era, those of the early 20th century were very different. Advances in science and technology influenced the Edwardian way of life significantly. Improvements in medicine, and hygiene cut infant mortality rates, and extended life expectancy. Home design changed to incorporate the new building technologies, heating by furnace, plumbing, and electricity, while still integrating the symbols of hearth and home. Louis Pasteur’s experiments in 1882 proved the connection between germs and contagious disease and this also affected home design.

Interior layouts of Edwardian style homes were vastly different than the preceding era. During the Victorian era, rooms were accessible through a central hallway and broken up according to specific uses: dinning room, parlor, bedroom, etc. Larger homes had even more single use rooms such as dens, libraries, poolrooms, sewing rooms, or nurseries. The Edwardian era saw more of an open plan. Dinning rooms opened into living rooms, and living rooms were accessed through open vestibules or entrances. Grills and arches created a feeling of separation yet kept the open feeling. Some homes had hidden pocket doors between the living room and dining room. The fact that these doors were rarely used and cost more to incorporate into a home caused them to fall out of favor. Central heating negated the need to "close off " rooms in order to retain warmth, however, fireplaces (wood burning stoves in our case) were still in evidence in most rooms.

Those owners of historic homes who curse the size of the kitchen must understand that this room was never meant to accommodate more than those few working in it. The efficient kitchen of the time was based on the model of a factory, and keeping it small meant the cook had to make fewer steps to get the work done. Electricity, for those who could afford it, was of additional benefit, even if this meant a bare 25 watt bulb hanging from a nine foot ceiling.

It became a status symbol to have indoor plumbing. Bathrooms, large rooms during the Victorian era, became smaller in response to the ideals of efficiency. However, the well-appointed bathroom of the era was anything but spartan with its heated towel bars, mosaic floors, shower, hipbath, bathtub and toilet in a separate closed off area.

A new hybrid to emerge during the era was the sleeping porch. Good ventilation and fresh air (we have lots of windows for cross currents) was linked to good health, thus the population was encouraged to lower the heat, wear nightcaps and heavy bedclothes and open the windows at night. A sleeping porch was ideal. In many Edwardian houses, windows were larger than those of preceding eras because large glass panes were cheaper. Stained glass was sometimes used, particularly for the upper lights in casement windows.

There are several other developments in home design that came out of this Edwardian idea of efficiency in home design that we take for granted today: the closet by the front door, the broom closet in the kitchen, the linen closet in the upstairs hall, and the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Just like the interior layouts, discussed above, interior decoration vastly changed as well. The understanding of the correlation between germs, diseases and dirt created an almost paranoiac response. Gone were the heavy layered window treatments of the Victorian era. These were replaced by simple lace panels, which allowed light and ventilation into the room. Gone was the wall to wall carpeting, replaced by full hardwood or linoleum floors and area rugs that could be removed and cleaned by "beating" with a special tool. Gone was the wallpaper that covered every wall, including the ceiling of every room. Painted ceilings and walls could be cleaned. If wallpaper was still desired, it was varnished to keep it washable. Gone were the dark colors associated with the late Victorian era, and hello to our love affair with white. Dark woodwork was painted white. Bathrooms and kitchens were whitewashed on a regular basis, on the premise that dirt could be seen against white, therefor would always be cleaned. Spring-cleaning became a ritual, of necessity because of the effect of gas lighting on the contents of the entire household. As electricity became more commonly available and affordable, this need was relaxed.

The desire for cleanliness continued. As gas and then electric light became more widespread, walls could be lighter as they did not get so dirty and looked better in the brighter light. Decorative patterns were less complex; both wallpaper and curtain designs were more plain. Light, air and simplicity of detail were the unifying principles of this mix-and-match revivalism. There was less clutter than in the Victorian era. Ornaments were perhaps grouped rather than everywhere. Colors were fresher than during the Victorian era: pastel blues, lilacs, leaf green, muted yellows, pearl gray. Floral fabrics and wallpaper were complemented by the liberal use of fresh flowers in informal arrangements.

Doors, skirtings, ceilings, panelling and picture rails were often painted using the new bright white enamel paint. Colours were quieter, carrying on the trends established by the Arts and Crafts movement, and helping achieve the Edwardian ideals of freshness and light. Houses in the Georgian revival style were decorated in appropriate colours, typically pale blues, greens and greys.

Although the main areas of walls and woodwork were generally painted or papered in pastel shades, ornaments and details were highlighted in strong colours, for example black woodwork might have had gold or silver gilding to emphasis details.

In the hall, typical colours were greens, blues, terracottas and dark gold.

The dining room continued to be in the richest hues of all the rooms. For example, red and gold with yellow and white ceilings, and a cream cornice.

The drawing room might have had pale blues, with stenciled or painted rush and grass designs. It was often repainted every year. Other typical colours were lavender, rose-pink, pale lime green, buttery yellow, soft cream and off-white.

Edwardian houses used wallpaper, paint and wood panelling. The Edwardian era saw extensive use of stenciling (you can still see the original stenciling above the front door), particularly on the frieze. An alternative was the pictorial wallpaper. When wall-coverings were used in most Edwardian homes they were of paper. These were often imported from Britain or France. Decorative designs were more often than not florals to match fabrics used for curtains and furniture, as well as Art Nouveau designs. Relief paper, such as Lincrusta, was still used in the hall, on the landing and on the staircase.

The Edwardian period saw a major revival of chintz. This is a printed, multi-coloured fabric with a glazed finish. The term derives from a 17th century fabric imported from India. Chintzes were teamed with matching floral papers. Other fabrics were often luxurious, for example satins, silks, and lace. Fabric designs from the late 19th century from companies such as Liberty & Co were popular. These included Japanese and Indian designs on silk, as well as fluid Art Nouveau patterns. These designs came from people such as Christopher Dresser, Walter Crane, Lindsay Butterfield, Voysey, the Silver Studio, and, after 1900, Harry Napper.

Edwardian rooms, although less crowded, were still cluttered. To go with the eclectic nature of the architecture of the time, the furniture available was an eclectic mix, and many homes will have mixed the styles too. Some furniture was mediaeval in style, heavy and in dark woods. Arts and Crafts-influenced furniture was lighter and simple in design. The organic forms from the Art Nouveau vocabulary appeared on other furniture. And then there were pieces taking their inspiration from French and English 18th century designs. Along with Sheraton, Chippendale, Queen Anne and even Baroque reproduction furniture, wicker and bamboo began to be widely used, adding further delicacy to the style. However, much of the furniture was light, elegant and delicate. The materials used included pale woods such as oak, walnut, and cherry, and also wicker, cane and bamboo. Inlays were used to add decoration. Furniture was sometimes painted in soft colours or with highlights in gilt. Armchairs and sofas were still well stuffed but with loose covers in flowery chintz. Covered furniture and curtains were further decorated with fringes and tassels.

Okay, so there you have it - THIS is what our house SHOULD be like. However, if you just can’t visualize how the interior should look, watch the James Cameron movie ‘Titanic’ and pay specific attention to the 1st class areas.

Talk to you all later!

Monday, November 12, 2007

House Plans - Kind of Anyway

Thought I'd post something a little different this time. Some of you out there have asked me if we have any floor plans of the house. Well, yes and no.

What follows are some plans I quickly threw together using the paint program on my PC. We do have an excellent CAD system, but when we had PC problems a few months back I had to remove it. So, at some point I'll get it reinstalled and build some 'accurate' floor plans for all of you.

These plans are basically accurate; at least in regard to proportions. The house it's self is about 32'x34' not counting the wraparound porch or the utility porch. So, that works out to about 1088 square feet per level. Based on that you should be able to get a good idea of room size.

I will start you off on this tour with the basement.

Okay - to the left is the basement. It is divided into four sections.

Starting from the bottom left quadrant, lets go clock wise.

The first quad is the room we turned into something I call "the Grotto"; otherwise known as our TV room.

On the left side of the room is the staircase I built that contains built-in cabinets and TV shelf. There is a door, half way up, which leads out side.

Also the hash mark on the left hand wall represents windows. There are three on that side of the basement. One of the windows is in the corner area of the stairs where they turn into the room.

The next quad up is the maintenance / storage room. The red square is the chimney and the large oval is the furnace.

The third quad is "the cave". Some say this is the scariest part of the house. You will notice what looks like a shelf the forms a backward 'C' all the way around the room. This is a dirt platform that goes around. It was formed when a floor space was dug out of the dirt. This part of the house use to be just a crawl-s[ace. The doorway leading into this section was literally broken through to get to it. Looks like something out of a bank robbery movie. Based on the area's location, and the raised dirt, we think this was used as a root cellar. We use it as deep storage. I tell my nieces and nephews that this is where we will be burying family members.

The last section is nothing more than a crawl space with only about 3 to 4 feet of clearance. We have no plans for this area.

Next up is the main, ground, floor.

At the top you see "Ut.P" which stands for "Utility Porch". We do have future plans for this, but right now it houses the washer, dryer, freezer and a few other things. I didn't bother with the window hash marks on this room because the three outer walls are all windows. So, it is actually more of a sun porch.

Next is the kitchen. The little room off of it is the powder room. Next to that is the door leading down to the basement. One thing I did forget to draw in are the large windows on the left hand side.

After this is the foyer, which leads into the living room / parlor (there is a columnar doorway between them). In the upper left hand corner of the room is a wood burning stove. We plan to replace it with a period appropriate fireplace. The wood burner is straight out of the 70s and is ugly.

From here you go through a set of French doors and enter the dinning room. The bay (on the right) is exactly like the one in the living room, with the exception that the right hand window is a door. The windows on the north side of the room (top of the drawing) are only about 3'x3' each so that a sideboard can be placed under it.

You can see some of the dinning room in one of the other posts showing all the junk in it from the other rooms being worked on.

Let's go up the stairs to the second floor now.

At the top of the stairway is the upstairs hall. I didn't really draw it in, but right next to the door leading into the master bedroom "MBr" is a little built in linen cabinet.

As you can see, there is a master bedroom "MBr"; bathroom "B"; guest bedroom "GBr"; small bedroom "SBr" (we use it as a hobby room right now); and a fourth bedroom we use as a combo library/ den "L/D".

The stairway leading up to the attic is accessed through the library.

You might also notice that the stairway leading to the first floor is fully illustrated. This was not an accident. The stairwell extends all the way up to the second story. So, from the bottom of the first landing (in the foyer) to the ceiling of the stairwell is almost 20 feet.

Last, but not least, is the attic.

This space is slowly becoming MY space, affectionatly known as "the War Room". This is going to be my hobby room for gaming, painting, fly tying, excercising, and general relaxation.

In the pic you can see the stairwell and the red chimney. The line that conects the windows together was drawn so that you could see how close a 6' tall person could get to the underside of the roof before needing to bend over.

So, there you have it, our 'Folly' in a nut shell. As time goes along I will post pics showing all the rooms. Since these drawings are rather rudementary let me know if you have any question or you need clarification.

Don't Mind the Mess

Recently, a cyber friend, from Missouri, and I found out we have something in common. We both have houses that are virtually identical. So, through several e-mails we have been comparing the two homes.

Two of the main differences between the two homes are architectural features that his house has and we want on ours. The bay windows in his house extend all the way up into the second story and his wrap-around porch has an ornate pediment over the front entrance.

Anyway, I snapped a few pics to send to him. They are of rooms on the ground floor. Sorry about the quality, I'm using my phone camera. As soon as I can I will get better pics and post those.

This is our front door. Nothing too special about it.

However, I am really dreading the work that needs to be done on this room.

First off, the part of the floor, right in front of the stairs, has been eaten away by termites. It is just as bad as the damage in the back door.

The termites also ate the woodwork that the right hand window sets on. Not sure how that will be fixed.

Also, notice the big patch of white plaster on the wall where the stairway starts? That is not original. We do not know when the work was done, but a gent in town believes the plaster was put there in the 50s. He was in high school at the time and helped hang the wall paper and he remembers it.

Anyway, it is there to replace the original plaster that was destroyed when termites ate away the lathe that holds the plaster. We do know the wall will probably have to be replaced. As you can see, most of the wallpaper has been removed.

Now you can see the north side of the foyer where the stairs go up to the second floor.

See the wallpaper that's still on the wall?

For some reason we can not get it to come off so we are thinking that there might be some plaster damage behind it also.

If you look right up at the top of the stairs you can barely see the bottom of the mid-landing window. We are hoping to put a stained-glass element there.

While your looking; keep the triangular part of the wall, which the stairs are on top of, in mind when you look at the following picture.

Okay, let's get the triangular wall taken care of first.

Remember the problem with the termites eating the lathe?

Same problem here.

We try not to use the plug-in receptacle you can see because when we unplug something that part of the wall wants to come out also.

The picture also shows the first of three landings in the stairwell. It isn't noticeable in this picture, but the window is made up of leaded, diamond panes.

You can also see more of the termite damage on the floor.

This picture also shows how the walls were originally painted. The bottom half of the wall is a greenish color while the top is a parchment color. We were fortunate in being able to remove all the wallpaper out of the stairwell with no problems.

In this picture you can see one of three matching chandeliers.

This one is the smallest of the bunch.

The double sconces in the stairwell, as those in the kitchen, match these.

You can also see what's left of the wallpaper that was applied to the ceiling. Originally it was painted to match the walls.

A little word about the original paint application. It is a fresco style, i.e. the paint was applied while the paint was still somewhat wet. This allowed the paint to absorb into the plaster. This is also the same type of technique the Ancient Romans used in their homes.

This is the last major pic of the foyer.

It shows the coat closet as well as the detail of the wallpaper.

Okay, now keep in mind that we are in the middle of renovating this place so PLEASE don't mind the mess!!!

This pic is looking into the living room from the foyer.

Here you can see the right hand column and base.

You can also see one of the other chandeliers.

Here is the left column.

Living room bay and more crap.

We have decided that most of this stuff is going 'bye-bye'.

In fact, most of what you are seeing is already boxed up for a garage sale!!

Here is the doorway that leads into the dinning room from the living room.

You can't see them, but there are French doors attached, there just opened into the dinning room.

This doorway actually had pocket doors.

Not sure why they were removed, but all the hardware is still in the walls.

We think they were removed in order to make room for the central heating.

You can also see part of the chandelier close-up.

This is the last shot I will bore you with tonight (I think - LOL).

The windows match the one above the first landing in the stairwell.

You can also see the third chandelier as well as one of Annette's tapestries.

'SWMBO' collects antique tapestries and we are planing on using those to decorate this room once finished. Un-seen in the pic, but on the wall to the left, hangs her largest tapestry. It is about 3'x5' and comes from Belgium. That one, plus a large, gilded Edwardian mirror is to be the focal points for this room.

Do you see how grey the floor looks? Even with protective plastic covering the doorways the dust is everywhere - especially the floors!!