Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Zoo And D.C. Voyeurism

We took a day trip down to our nation's capital this past weekend and let the boys run around the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Lots of fun until the crowds and 80+ heat arrived. Then we hightailed it to the nearest Safeway for picnic lunch supplies, which we noshed on in the Takoma Park Historic District.

I especially wanted to see their bungalows after reading Bungalow Nation. I did take a few pics of nice ones, on the whole I'd have to say it was pretty disappointing driving around the area. Not that many of the houses looked cared for, or even historically accurate. Afterwards it was off to Herndon, VA for the real reason we went on our trip. A 1910 solid brass full-size bed for our lucky 5-year-old! Still needs some cleaning, but overall gorgeous and HUGE. The headboard is about 5'2", and the footboard 3'4". I'll post some before and after pics once I get it polished. We loaded it up onto our roof rack, strapped it down with rubber bungees, and headed off for home. Where we happily collapsed.
It's exhausting having fun!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More Pictures #3

Another set of interior photos from the first floor:
Living room and front door from dining room
Hallway off dining room leads to first floor bath. I believe it also opens to the den and the back bedroom.
Front window in den, currently used as a 6th bedroom. We'll probably use it for one until we can get the basement free of mold, put in new drywall.
Back bedroom, with a walk-in closet under the stairs to 2nd floor. This will be our guest bedroom, and the closet will lose some space to an enlarged pantry sometime in the future.
2nd floor stairs off the sun porch, I'm really not sure what to make of these. It looks like there was storage underneath at some point, hopefully once the carpet is gone I can get a better visual.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Escrow, Take Two

'Sigh'. After waiting for 2 weeks for the listing agent to address our "fix-it" addendum to the home inspection, we've decided to try another tactic. Mostly because we feel like we're getting nowhere with this and it sucks to be bogged down. We are issuing a new addendum stating that we will buy the house "as-is", with the current price standing at $118,500. This way the bank can get their money back, and there will still be enough for commission. Our only caveat is that the furnace MUST be replaced and the plumbing patched. We left it open to them how they accomplish this, not insisting on a certified plumber, only that it has to be correctly patched. Otherwise if something goes wrong with it after closing, the home warranty might be voided on a technicality. Everything else that needs fixing, including the knob & tube, will be tackled by us. We will have to decide whether to pursue a 203k mortgage or home equity loan to cover the difference in needed repairs. So hopefully they will comply this time, in a TIMELY manor, ha ha ha. My realtor dutifully tried to talk me out of this, I think she is afraid that when we move in to the house it will turn back into a pumpkin or something. Poor lady, I don't think she quite gets the idea that I WANT to live in an ongoing, money-eating project, sadist that I am. She would prefer that we just take our earnest money back and start house-hunting all over again. Which I would do if it would be better for us, but it just won't. For starters, the market has been dead since the middle of March, no promising listings in our size/price/age range at all. And the prices are starting to rise, which means that if it takes us another 2-4 months we will be priced out of our range. In the only city left in Utah that we can still afford to buy into! Sorry, but we won't be repeating the last few months' hit-and-miss tactics in the effort to avoid a lot of paperwork now. 'Cause if this keeps up we could end up stuck on the East Coast, renting indefinitely. There's only so many places that a military salary can buy you a house AND still be within reasonable distance of military work. Life is fun like that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Flu Fun

Oh you evil spring freeze, you've thrown our systems out of whack once again! Everyone in the house seems to be infected now, and the nausea/vomiting is in full swing. This is the third time this year the flu has made it to our house, I'm hopeful that there will be no complications this time. Have to keep cleaning up the boys, with more than a touch of queasiness myself, and what keeps running through my head is that bit in Eddie Izzard's "Glorious". The one where he's speaking as "James-The-God-Mason" and saying that connecting the inner ear and vomiting will be great fun, because then hearing someone vomit will prompt you to respond in kind. All too true, unfortunately. I have found that some things help offset the flu odor and nausea, like sheet spray. After removing soiled linens and wiping down offending surfaces, it greatly reduces the smell if you use a light scented sheet spray when remaking the bed or sofa. We like Shore from Restoration Hardware because it is mellow and does not smell like food. And we've covered all cushions/pillows/mattresses with aller-free waterproof covers, to keep bacteria and mildew from reaching the interior. If your kids don't mind the strong taste, breath mints like Altoids are great since mint is a natural anti-emetic. Now that I sound like some sort of ad, I think I'll go crawl off to bed for a cat-nap with the boys. And hopefully tonight they'll be able to eat more than gatorade, Coke and saltines for dinner.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bidders Anonymous Needed

Okay, I admit it, I am sick. I am addicted to Ebay! Now if someone will please point me towards the correct support group..... Really, I do manage to hold off bidding on a lot of things, so it could be much worse (be afraid, R, be very afraid). There's just so many nifty old things that I could sooo use, it's hard not to drool a lot. Some of the items wearing droolmarks this week:

This beautifully restored Hoosier cabinet (to replace all that "big box" cabinetry for kitchen storage). Look, a microwave would fit perfectly behind that accordion door!

And this antique "Quality" gas stove in lovely greens and white, knobs intact and just needs some rust removal. Crave! I can just see it in a subway tiled alcove. I may actually bid on this, it's pretty reasonable and we're probably moving next month.

I also search routinely for antique matelasse (jacquard woven kind), candlewicked bedspreads, homespun wool blankets, vintage copper and cast iron cookware, brass beds, and vintage kitchen gadgets. Occasionally I find neat things, like the kitchen sink. Or rare things, like the 80 year old near perfect, butter yellow matelasse coverlet, with the nouveau-style tulip design (more on that in a later post). R does his best to talk me out of the stranger items (who wouldn't want a 5 gallon stoneware churn from the 1800s?). All in all it's not so bad, this being addicted to buying other people's junk. Ooh, I wonder if anything new came on while I was posting this?

Ogden Cutie For Sale

I just wanted to put this up, in case any fellow bungalow lovers are looking for a starter home in the SLC area. This is a decent sized house, just a little too small for our family, but obviously it has loads of charm. Whoever painted it actually did a nice job for beginnings, not that much to un-muddle. So please, take a look, fall in love, buy the house, and move near me, I need the interaction! So far Ogden does not seem to have much of a community for bungalow owners, we need to unite and start our own association. Here's the listing info for this darling home.

1912 brick bungalow, 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath, 1510 square feet, partial basement (shelf), open porch, patio, den/office, hardwood floors, woodburning FP, appliances included, partially fenced, mountain views, gas/central, no garage, lot is approx. .11 acre. Located at 3209 Porter Ave, 84403 (Ogden), MLS#673598. Asking $94,900. You can view this on either http://www.realtor.com or http://masters1.utah.remax.com/default.aspx

Monday, April 9, 2007

Advantages Of Bordering A Historic District

You get to see homes like this every day when you walk outside! Below is a link to the Flickr search "Eccles Historic", photos are courtesy of Karen R. There are quite a few photos of the lovely Eccles mansion, which serves as a community center for the neighborhood. Most of the houses in this historic district are from the Prairie School, and date between 1900-1924. Once homes to the wealthy, now they're being restored and preserved for posterity. The surrounding neighborhood seems to be making a renaissance, which is one reason we are so eager to close on our house. It is catty-corner to the boundary of the historic district, and thus a prime candidate for improvement. I can just imagine walking the half-block to take the boys to art lessons, in a Richardsonian sandstone mansion!

More Pictures #2

Stuck at home with a fluish child today, so I'm posting more of the house pics.
Exterior of rear dormer. Lots of painting and flashing to do here, neat shingle pattern though.
Exterior of sun porch off kitchen. That covered entry bothers me for some weird reason. I'll have to see if it looks better with paint, or else just replace it outright.
Close-up of the lovely paint job on the sun porch. Obviously the door to the walk-out basement will have to be replaced.
Rear yard view from the house. Nice size for us, with a little grooming. The dead tree will be first to go.
Close-up of the garage, showing why the tree is a problem. Waaay too close to the garage, and definitely causing some damage. We'll need to do some mortarwork and probably replace the roof.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Possible Face Lift, House Colors

This is one version of what our house may look like after some new paint, decorative framework, and new transoms. The upstairs window would be recessed to the master bedroom so that we could screen in a private sleeping porch in the front gable. I'm not sure what exactly we'll end up doing with the transoms, maybe stained glass or leaded mullions. Have to take a look around the area to see what was appropriate at the time our house was built. S.L.C. has loads of restored homes in their downtown, hopefully some of them are from the same time frame. Keep in mind that the wooden baluster fence around the entire yard will be the light green color of the framework and trim.

Don't Let Your Eggs Freeze

We're off to church for service, brunch and the egg hunt. Hope everyone is doing well in this unusual spring weather. Have a happy and blessed Easter Sunday!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

April Snows Bring May Flowers?

So I woke up this morning to this:
Definitely not "play at the beach" type weather, which is what we were having earlier this week. We've gone from a high of 85 degrees to a low of 32 degrees, and so of course all the winter clothes have already been packed for moving. Aauugghh! This weather would've been great say, around 3 months ago. Now it's just irritating. R has a three day weekend in I don't know how long, and we're going to spend it stuck inside. Oh well. At least the kiddos are thrilled to see snow. G is convinced that God has put a great big snowman in the clouds just to bring us snow. How cute!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Rough Landscape Plan

Here's what I've come up with so far. Of course, all this will be relative to the lot and house dimensions, which may be slightly different than depicted here. I know that some of the writing may be hard to read, so I'll try to clear things up with a list of the major plants that are going in. The pavers are only representative right now, still haven't decided between brick and pre-cast stone. One is more aesthetically pleasing, the other easier for kid traffic. And the drive will eventually be repaved with concrete, pigmented and scored to mimic slate tile. Also, we are considering switching out the teepee in the Kid's Garden for a wooden play/potting structure at Costco. The thing is ready to assemble and only costs $300, plus G is begging pretty heavily. I am so happy to have another plant lover that I will probably cave!
Front yard view
Rear yard view
-Rose Garden (inspired by Prairie Rose House!)
2 "Austrian Copper", rambling species; 1 "Eden", climbing tea; 1 "Sombreuil", climbing tea; 1 "Abraham Darby", English shrub; 1 "Queen Nefertiti", English shrub; 1 "Graham Stuart Thomas", English shrub; 1 "Golden Celebration", English shrub; 1 "Gertrude Jeckyll", English shrub; 1 "La Reine Victoria", Rambling bourbon; 1 "Mary Rose", English shrub; 1 "Angel Face", hybrid tea; 1 "Apothecary Rose", Gallic; 1 "Reine des Violettes", bourbon; 1 "William Shakespeare 2000", English shrub; 1 "Wise Portia", English shrub; 1 "Mme Alfred Carriere", noisette; 1 "Mme Hardy", damask; 1 "Darlow's Enigma", musk; 1 "Desiree Parmentier", gallic.
-Fruit trees in front
1 "Green Gage", European plum; 1 "Wilson Delicious", apricot.
-Fruit trees in rear
1 "Wolf River", apple; 1 "Lodi", apple; 1 "WhiteGold", cherry; 1 "Royalton", cherry; 1 "FlavorCrest", peach; 1 "O'Henry", peach.
-Ornamental trees/shrubs in Kid's Garden
1 "Autumn Gold", gingko biloba; 1 "Nicholsonii", Japanese maple; 1 "Blue Atlas", weeping cedar (not shown); 1 "Primrose", lilac; 1 common lilac.
-"Possible" hedge along drive ( I feel a little mean about planting something that will definitely spread to the other side of the fence, but I also want some privacy)
2 "Adelaide Dunbar", lilacs; 2 "Mme Lemoine", lilacs; 2 "Charles Joly", lilacs; 2 "President Grevy", lilacs.

For The Doubters

Ok, I know that all our family and friends are having a really hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of us as a restoration team for any major fixer-upper. This post is for all of you. If you are an innocent houseblogger or casual reader, feel free not to read this vent.
(Deep breath)
See, it's okay to tell us we may not know what we're doing, because we don't. That's right, we don't. In order to know, we'd already had to have done this at least once. Hence the "first time" homebuyers. We're not embarrassed that we cannot afford a fully finished house, or even one that costs upward of $120k. You shouldn't be either. R is a hard worker and I am proud of him for the accomplishments he has. And if we make a mistake along the way, it's not going to end our universe. Every person out there at one time or another has been a first-time homebuyer. The thing is, we have learned to see this not as an overwhelming project, but more as a hands-on tutorial in Self-Reliance 101. Because when that next deployment rolls around, God forbid, I will be on my own no matter what kind of house we have. Now would you rather I know the workings of that house and what to do when something breaks, (which it always will, Murphy's law of deployment), or do you want to be on the other end of that phone conversation where I'm calling to scream and cry about the hundreds or thousands we had to spend b/c R isn't around enough to work on the problem and I haven't learned the skills. Hmm, I'll take what's behind Door No. 1 thank you. When we share our progress with you, it is frustrating to hit this wall of discouragement or ignorance. We really want to make everyone a part of the exciting task we're embarking on, but without co-operation that's impossible. That doesn't mean falling in line and glibly repeating' "how nice" when talking to us. It just means we'd prefer you keep any non-useful comments to yourselves. No doomsday stuff, please. R and I and the boys love all of you to distraction, and are really hopefull that someday when we have enough finished living quarters you'll get the opportunity to experience what we poured our hearts into firsthand. With great affection,
The Black Sheep

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Springtime In The Garden

Just not our garden, I'm afraid!
Children's garden entrance

A throws pennies

G is surprised by the fountain

Lovely patterned paver of slag glass and cement

Very Wrightian fountain in the rose garden

Since we're still waiting to start our own garden, I thought it would be nice to take a trip to the botanical garden nearby. The boys and I had a thoroughly lovely afternoon at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

More Pictures #1

There's probably going to be a lot of waiting for the next few weeks, what with the short sale and all. So in lieu of elevator music, here are more pictures of the house. I'll do these in installments to keep things going. I may also post some rough plans, and more color pics. Our interior choices for most of the house are pretty solid now. Enjoy!

This is upper bedroom No. 1. Note the lovely peach color and unfinished closets. We'll probably turn this into the master bedroom, with some tweaking.
The upstairs bathroom screams 80's, but at least it's a good size for a future master bath.
the No. 2 bedroom, in the front gable, has the weirdest paint scheme b/c of the color switches. Ideally, we'll be turning this into a sleeping porch and screening it in. Then we can re-use the gorgeous window on our master bedroom.
The loft area is currently a kitchenette, all that's going bye-bye. Not sure yet what to do about the furnace chimney enclosure, this area is kind of open for ideas.
The loft dormer overlooks the rear yard, and I can't think of a better place for a deep windowseat. I might add some built-in shelves as well. Looks like the perfect place to curl up with a good book.