Monday, May 25, 2009


Our 1926 Bungalow is very special. I'm having a great time with it. The bathroom is nearly done, the landscaping is beginning to happen, the kitchen - it's going to be awhile before anything happens there. I'll have 'dish pan hands' for awhile more although I really don't mind. We're makng this our own little piece of heaven.

When we came to the conclusion that renovating the attic would just be too much expense to have one more bedroom and bath, especially with the fact that we felt that the exterior would be ruined with the type of dormer it would require to make it how we'd want it on the inside completely destroying the integrity of the outside, we were okay with that.

Although we would like to have one more bedroom and bath, it seemed that it wasn't going to happen. We began plotting to do a bathroom in the basement and refinish that a bit more to get us the extra space we want.

So, Sarah says go check out this house. Not even considering anything we did. It's a Tudor with another bedroom and a half bath on the main froor. It's got the original 1920's bathroom fixtures, beautiful tile in the upstairs bathroom, a fireplace in the master, a kitchen custom renovated and another bedroom. It's on two lots, gorgeous landscape, a quiet street, corner lot, two car garage......

There is nothing to be done to this place. It's a show place. I see myself entertaining in this house. It's gorgeous! It's for sale by owner. It's a temptation.

Many things would have to align for it to make sense to go for this house including giving up our sweet little bungalow. Our house is on a busy street, the houses neighboring are pretty close, the landscaping needs lots of TLC and there is that space issue.

Win or lose the other house, I'm happy, but I think if I don't try at all, I'd be disappointed that I didn't go for it.

The saga will continue.


Cookouts, warmer days, the sound of lawn mowers in the's Memorial Day!

Tomorrow begins the tile work! The bathroom will be complete this week. Thanks to all here who gave me advice on working with the sink and toilet. In the end our advisor said that with the expense we would have reglazing the sink we'd be better off replacing it. They said that since this was our only bathroom that the reglazing could get messed up really easy in a sink. We chose a sink that resembles the one we have but is actually 6" taller. Back in the day the sinks were pretty low. A tall guy would have to really bend over to do anything. We're not the purist renovators although we are pretty close. Respecting the integrity is coming into play in every decision we make.

We did decide to keep the toilet. The floor is the original floor with all its flaws and character, the tub is the original tub. We did make one little change. It seems that it WAS usual to have the spout within the tub. We have seen a couple tubs with the original fixtures and neither had a water return feature. I was told that it was changed so that there was a return because water from the tub could go back out into the faucet. That just doesn't sound good no matter how much we want to keep the integrity of the original design. Let's face it - there are some things that modern technology has improved. So, with that in mind, our faucet is above the tub and we'll have a return water thingy ma jig. I haven't had a bath in this house, yet. I've owned it 8 years. It will be divine! I had the pleasure of two places in the past where there were deep, deep claw foot tubs. This won't be so deep, but a nice bath on occasion can't be beat.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring Update

Last time I blogged about this old house there was snow on the ground. Now the leaves are finally blooming and the birds are singing away. I had forgotton how nice it is to hear the birds singing in the morning. Being on the 30th floor in a high rise isn't good for hearing anything but the traffic on Lake Shore Drive and occassionally the El announcements on the Bryn Mawr stop when the windows were open and the wind was just right.

I learned a little about the street. Welty Ave is named from the Welty Family Farm and the streets parallel are named after Welty's sons Dawson, Robert and Calvin. I love learning history about the neighborhood.

This weekend we put up the screens and put away the storms. I'm in awe of the workmanship with the little numbered plates corresponding with each window. On the frames of a couple of the windows is the date "October 10, 1967" and the year written alone 1973. There is also an architectural drawing labeling each window. It's this sort of history that just warms me heart. We worked in the yard on Saturday, cleaned out the gutters and put up the screens. I haven't felt so connected to the house in ages. It's a good feeling.

Our bathroom is in progress. After my Dad tried to turn the leaking faucet off at the tub and broke the stem while we were on vacation, I called our contractor and said we needed something done now. He came over and assessed that they could put in the cement board and put in the hardware to get us by until the tile expert is available in a week or two. We've had to wait for the contractor and the Italian Tile Man these last couple months. We're next in line after they finish one more bathroom. I see this as a good sign. I was beyond delighted with the work so far. Seasoned professionals who do it right can't be rushed. I could leave town while they do the work and be worry free.

The fact that the water is no longer running is a huge relief. It had well passed the point of a drip and was a steady stream of warm water. It was a matter or ordering parts for the old plumbing fixtures which required special order or just replacing it with the new plumbing which seemed smarter. Unfortunately the wait to do the plumbing fix was taking longer than we had hoped. I tried to ignore it, but it was torture - a constant audio of wasting money and water both from a green perspective and a financial perspective. I hadn't realized how tortured I was feeling until it stopped. The silence is beautiful. We are able to take showers in the interim with the plastic wrap over the board, but there is very little water pressure and the hot water temperature is not exactly hot. Alas, by June we should have a finished product. I can't wait!

We've done a few little things for the betterment of the house. We had a electrician fix some outlets and clean up the garage issues. Now we have lights on the garage which look really nice and add a sense of security. It was terribly dark walking from the garage to the house and the alley has no lights nearby. We also have a new light fixture for the front stoop. It was merely a bald lightbulb before.

Progress is coming slowly, but everything is good. There is a squirrel in the big tree out back as I write this. The branches have filled back in since the Microblast that occurred on July 5, 2003. We lost lots of trees in the whole area. I am very grateful that our one big tree in the back yard didn't fall on our house. We lost big branches that had kept us secluded from the neighbors behind us. The blast was so bad that nearly every street had several trees knocked across the road and into houses and over cars. It was a sad day to lose so many trees. The neighborhood looked bare. Nature prevails and now it is looking much greener and lush again after nearly 5 years. Our goal is to put up a privacy fence and take out the old rotting wood deck. The deck is too small to be useful and now it is just an eye sore.

Those are the currently updates for the moment. Before and after photos are soon to come.