Saturday, March 28, 2009

Then And Now...

This is how our house looked in 1976, when the previous owner bought it. I think it's pretty much also how it looked in 1919 when it was built. The photo was from the real estate listing page. It was nice of them to give us that, along with the manuals for the 20+ year old appliances.

You can compare it to the current photo:

The roof used to be diamond-shaped red shingles we gather from pieces found under the bushes. The previous owners replaced the windows and added the white siding, alas, including filling in the decorative roof brackets. That won't stay forever. They also bricked up the bathroom and two kitchen windows, ditto. But that will be major work, redoing the cabinets, bathtub and more.
We'll start with more manageable things like stripping the white lead paint off the stone trim.

The spirea shrubs in front are the same and the lilac bushes were there until the next door neighbor cut them down last summer. I feel a little bad but it does give a much better view. :)
And the original urn planter in the old photo is in the back yard awaiting its own paint stripping.
Gonna be a busy spring once it kicks in. It's already been over 70 but we are due to get a couple inches of snow tonight. We love the midwest.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wide-ranging wallpaper wonders

What was it about people, 30 years ago, that made them pick such a "variety" of then-attractive wallpaper, all in the same portion of the color spectrum?

Here is the delightful stuff in the kitchen, with bonus dirt from 30 years of pictures in the same place (the bunny is ours, for temporary contrast).

Here is the smallest upstairs bedroom, with matching curtains and water stains.

This is our room in all its bamboo glory. That paper may be even older and we don't hate quite as much since it's sort of arts-and-craftsy and the picture molding helps.

Our favorite in the heinous race is the stunning front hall disco effect stuff. At least it's not foil, too.

All unpapered walls are either white or beige and from what we can tell around the edges of doors and windows, always have been.
We are planning to come up with some nice schemes involving actual colors and hoping to get a lot more painting done this year than last, when all we managed was stripping the floral striped (beige of course) bathroom wallpaper and priming the walls.
It will be fun to see what shape the plaster is in and if walls were strategically papered for a reason...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Floor archaeology

Way too long since posting. We actually did do a few things, mostly decorative, but were too busy with birthdays and holidays to post to the blog; will try to catch up.

So, in the first floor bathroom, looking very carefully into the space between the beige tub and oak vanity, both from the mid-80's, you can see that the original 1-inch unglazed porcelain hex floor tiles are still there, under the far larger beige hex tiles that later covered them. We may find out more soon, if our chronic plumbing problem requires tearing into walls as one plumber thinks, and we take out the vanity, which is obviously set on top of the old tile, with the new
cut off around its edges.

Is there any hope for getting a later layer of ceramic tile off an older one or am I just kidding myself? I can be very patient with a scraper, hammer, chisel, etc.....
Perhaps worst case, we could add in new unglazed porcelain hex tile if the original is in too bad a shape.

We also want a nice retro-looking sink, such as from Vintage Tub or perhaps an older one from Salvage One. We'd most like a spiffy new dual-flush toilet that looks old, though those seem to be harder to find that just regular 1.6 gal low-flow models, at least if we aren't able to spend $1000+ just on a toilet.

More to come after further plumber consultations...