Saturday, November 25, 2006

No more squeaky stair...

Yes, this is the sort of miniscule triumph with which I must content myself, at least until our previous house is sold and the holidays are over. Please ignore if you are one of the many folks single-handedly redoing your kitchen this week.

Our stairs to the second floor are carpeted (for now) and the second one made the most horrid "eee-oooooo, eee-ooooooo" noises such that we had to stretch our legs to step past it at night to avoid waking the child. I managed to slit the carpet neatly along the back of the stair below it, peel it back, and marvel at the gorgeous oak stair that was revealed, once I scraped off some of the 30-year-old foam padding. Eventually we hope to replace the carpet with a spiffy Oriental carpet runner or some such.

I drilled pilot holes from the tread down into the riser near the middle and on each side and screwed in wood screws, which I somehow remembered to put soap on so they went in more manageably. (They are black, so they don't show, and I was too lazy to inset them even more to allow for wood putty). Squeak completely gone, carpeting, alas, replaced for now and risk of waking child removed. Sometimes it's those little things....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A great bungalow resource and more

We went to the Historic Chicago Bungalow and Green Home Expo at the Merchandise Mart Sept. 30th. It had lots of great displays and information from all sorts of vendors, ranging from really nice Prairie-style cabinet hardware, furniture and Oak radiator covers to environmentally-friendly building materials like linoleum (the real stuff like our house had when it was built , not vinyl, and it lasted 57 years) and tankless hot water heaters (looking like a good option to replace our aging tank).

We are hoping to go for a combination of vintage (to replace the '70's kitchen, for instance) and environmentally friendly improvements over time. I feel like such a slacker compared to so many houseblogging folks. This place is really pretty livable for an old house, though it needs some plumbing, electrical, plaster and masonry work but most of that will wait until early next year.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Catching our breath

Ok, in the last 2 months we have finally moved in, I turned 40 just for the fun of it and we had two dozen relatives over for our child's birthday. Not much in home improvements beyond taking down some very lacy curtains and lusting over Arts & Crafts furniture we can't afford.

These are some of my favorite parts of the house:

OK, so it's fake and always was. Actually, it was gas originally, in that now non-OSHA-approved scary unvented way.

The walls have one of those embossed design kind of panels (I am thinking Lincrusta or Anaglypta; need to research more) and a plate rail.

All this has gotten me into reading up on the original Arts & Crafts
movement and how it was a reaction to industrially mass-produced shoddy merchandise
from the Victorian era. And how much that seems like the case today with China leading the world in such things and I spend half my time fixing the badly made toys people keep buying my child.

It all inspires me to create the art and furnishings and so on, if I can get caught up with fixing the kitchen sink drain, and everything else, before I die.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Getting to know our new friend

As with everything, I read, research, delve into and so on, sometimes too much for my own good. We haven't even finished moving in, yet I have looked at most of Jane Powell's bungalow books, plus others. They are a great source of info on original details, and so on, but also make me more nuts about many aspects of our house. Like how the previous owner covered the rafter ends with aluminum and vinyl siding. Hard to justify tearing it off right now, though, when most of our possessions are still in boxes. Much '70's wallpaper to remove as well. Scary diagonal plaster cracks in several closets, which go with the sloping floors and doors that no longer close straight. Potential moisture issues at the ends of the basement, with its brick foundation. We are appreciating all its character. I have always loved older houses but lived in
'60's and '70's ones, except for three years during college in an 1891 two-flat that was pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's Finally Ours

We closed on the house today. Our "new" 87- year- old- house. Here is a better picture. Yes, we will trim the bushes, though some are the neighbor's. This place has more natural wood inside than any house we looked at. Great mostly original living and dining room with decorative fireplace, built-in bookcases, buffet, plate rail and so on. Less exciting '70's kitchen. More pics by the end of the week and I'm getting all psyched on this Arts and Crafts stuff. Growing up in the Chicago area, we called these Queen Anne bungalows but I now know that refers more to earlier, more decorative Victorian hold-overs. Perhaps it is to differentiate them from the more common Chicago bungalows. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

First test post

I have been meaning to start a blog all year anyway and now there's all this publicity on houseblogs, so I'm finally motivated. We close on our house in less than a week. I'll write more then, and have better pictures.