Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Last year I posted about our scary basement for Halloween. I wish I could tell you it's not scary anymore, but I'm afraid that wouldn't be true.

We have decided that this Spring when we get our tax refund it will go for asbestos abatement in the basement. So a decision has been made to spend the cash, which is some progress.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

And Mindy & Teague-love the costume idea!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I am a big fan of what I call "puttering around the house." The thing is, a day spent puttering can actually be alot of work. Fall and Spring are my favorite times to putter. The weather is conducive to wearing layers and going in and out of the basement and yard.

This weekend, Steve and I decided not to work on the pantry. So, I thought I'd take care of some odds and ends while Steve worked away at his day job.

So while doing a few loads of laundry, I gave my house plants a shower in the kitchen sink.

Then, I dead headed the mums in the front yard, shop vacuumed the back stairwell. Vacuumed and dusted the front stairs and entry. Swept the front porch and washed the windows.

Next I decided to repaint the two radiator covers that had gotten scuffed up and have been annoying me for a while. After that I mowed the law and fertilized the front and back lawns. Then I decided to launder the shower curtains in the bathroom.

I took the recycling out to the garage (We have to bring our recycling in to a center as the city's program STINKS).

Time to bring in the hoses, which I also did. And (with Steve's help) put away the air conditioners in the first floor and uninstalled the monster a/c in the tenants unit.

As we were carrying the big a/c down to the basement, I said to Steve, "What are we going to do when we get old?" Steve assured me we would have something figured out by then.

Then, I decided I should paint the trim around the outside of our pantry window. So, I deglossed it and quickly sanded it and painted it.

At about 3 o'clock I stopped and thought to myself, "wow, I'm turning into a whirling dervish here and I have plans tonight. I better ease up."

So, I saved the pumpkin carving for today. I don't know why I love being a busy bee like this. I think I'm very results oriented. I like doing things that have a tangible outcome and the house fulfills that quite nicely it seems.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Place to hang

That's what a front porch is. Two flats often have them and it isn't so uncommon to find people sitting on their steps on a nice evening watching life go by.

Of course, we'd love to put a 2-level wood wrap around porch on our building. This is what I believe was originally there. But there's this thing called money, and we're not made of it.

So we took off the aluminum awning, which was most definitely not period and added a cloth awning, which we like much better. Cloth awnings go way back. It's perhaps not the "ultimate" solution, but it's also not something that muddles the building too badly and we like it, which is what matters.

Perhaps someday we will do something different with our front porch, after many other things are done. And in the interest of that, I started looking at the different types of porches on two-flats. There's quite alot of variety, wood, stone, and brick. Some look better than others.

But one should bear in mind that the two-flat is often of humble origins. There are grander ones, but there are many that are just average and were most definitely built for the working middle class.

Here you see what looks to be an original overhang or at least close to what may have been there.

This one looks to be either rebuilt or new and is nicely done.

Some two-flats are lucky enough to have a permanent porch made of stone. Proper maintenance and this will last another 100 years.

This one is also new and very nicely done. I especially like the way it wraps the building, which ties it in better architecturally to me.

Something like this would be great for our building.

Metal awnings often replaced wood after they fell apart. I would suspect these went on in the 1950s. I don't usually like them.

All brick porches are out there too and can be kind of heavy on the brick, but they last.

I like this one quite a bit with the yellow brick.

And some two-flats don't have porches at all.

The house voyeur in me lives still it seems.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Twilight Zone

Since I'm on the theme of old cheesy TV shows from the 60's and 70's I'll stick with it. The photo at left is the kind of twilight zone type thing you'll see while salvage shopping.

Imagine being in a huge lofty warehouse building looking through rows and rows of doors with miscellaneous baby carriages and strollers strewn about. Where are you?

Why at Salvage One of course! I have to say that I absolutely loved the place this time visit. Not only did I love the space, but I loved the fact that their door prices were waaaay lower than my previous entry.

So, we went through some more doors. I swear, we must have touched a few hundred in one day.

Look at this cute little baby door! I wanted to take it home.

So many different and cool doors. I love doors. I'm just kind of tired of sanding wood you know? If only they would sand themselves.

Of course, when you go salvage shopping, you have to look around. A room of porcelain!! To a houseblogger, this is like stumbling on Aladdin's treasure.

We found a door similar to the the one at Architectural Artifacts. We found many cool doors that were not the right size.

And then we found this door with muntins like what our original windows had. Hmmm....

It needs some work. Some of the trim pieces that hold the glass in have to be re fabricated, but woodworker Steve can handle that. There's one coat of paint on it but 'Dirty Jobs' fan Jocelyn can handle that while grumbling a little.

As you can guess, we bought it.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

In Search of...

Today Steve and I swat-teamed our mission- to find a replacement door for our garage. Here you see the current sad state of our garage entry door. Also note the boarded up windows, which are high on my list for restoring next year.

If you make the photo bigger, you can see how the door has buckled and looks like it might not make it through another Chicago winter.

With a new door with a window and windows instead of board ups, I can imagine looking out at my garage and seeing something resembling a cottage with cute curtains in the windows. Steve also plans to build an overhang/wood awning to protect the door from the elements and help it last longer.
There's a long story that brought us to this salvage shopping trip that I will not bore you with. The short version is we went to Home Desperate and Menards and looked into steel doors. We found out (surprise! not!) that our door is not a standard size. Of course it's not.
But this is now something I am grateful for -the reasons for which I will share in coming posts.

Our first stop was Architectural Artifacts. We actually had not been there since they expanded and added a (ejem) museum. This means they have things that cost as much as the downpayment you put on your home.
The owner has a large collection of Fer Forge, which he purchased ages ago when it was worth nothing.

Now, it is all the rage so he gets to gloat big time, which reminds me of a big time fantasy of mine,that I could go back in time to about 1970 and buy up tons of Stickley and other Arts & Crafts furniture, which was worth almost nothing back then. A girl can dream can't she?

But I digress. They have alot of doors there.

We looked thru some doors....

And then we looked thru some more doors...

And then we found this door that fit our measurements but was not exactly what we had in mind. We made note of it and went on our way to our next stop.

To be continued...