Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I see a lot of this style of home around here. I'm not really sure what you would call it -- it's (maybe not so) obviously victorian. The interior trim detail is of typical victorian flair. For lack of a better term I sometimes call them victorian foursquares although they're not really foursquare in layout. I've been in a few and they tend to have a long central hallway with a staircase on one side and the parlor, dining, etc on the other.
The upstairs tend to follow the same long pattern with a central hallway -- bedrooms on one side. Utility rooms are towards the rear. They can have full porches on both stories or just on the bottom floor. But the upper floor almost always has a full length window/door on one side of the house with two adjacent windows. Long and narrow with a dormer.
This one is very similar to the house in the last post. It's been converted into apartments, although it's in pretty good shape. So what is it?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
As most have probably figured out I live in an old neighborhood near downtown el paso. There are changes happening here, changes I think for the better -- however slow they may be. Depending on the day of the week, you may hear me flip flop on certain issues. Glass is half empty, glass is half full. But however you try to spin it, the residents of old neighborhoods like mine need more stuff. By stuff, I mean quality of life things. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect businesses to cater to people that do live here. Sometimes I feel like I live off in an island that the rest of the city knows nothing about (or cares).I think people need to realize that you don't have to live "in" downtown to be close to the (hopefully soon) action. There are so many old homes in need of some love that are fairly reasonable costwise -- it disturbs me that people don't see the potential in what we have here. Without the neighborhoods surrounding downtown revitalized, downtown will never be what it once was unless a significant population moves there. And I just don't see that happening for a while. I live mere blocks away and it is absolutely shocking that I can count the number of places to eat at after 5pm on one hand that are within walking distance. No, I'm not kidding.
"How can this be" you ask? Not to say there isn't dining/retail/entertainment options within a reasonable distance. There is -- if you have a car. And therein lies my point. Where are the businesses that cater to the people that do live in and around downtown? There are other old neighborhoods outside the downtown area that are more well endowed in that regard. There is "stuff" out in those directions, but not really close enough to consider (for me anyway). They also don't suffer from the lack of investment and abuse that the neighborhoods bordering downtown have. These would be sunset heights, el paso high/houston park, magoffin, segundo barrio, union plaza, & san francisco dist. These are the neighborhoods that really matter when it comes to downtown revitalization.
There really is no retail/restaurant activity in any of these neighborhoods aside from downtown -- and the vast majority of that closes down at 5pm. Except segundo barrio -- I think it is pretty self sufficient as is and is beautiful in its own way. There is no "help" necessary, but I digress.
I'm a simple man -- I don't need much as far as amenities. But it would be wonderful to have somewhere to eat downtown that isn't fast food or fine dining. Again you really have to be open at night. If you want to revitalize downtown with actual living people, you can't expect them to make the drive elsewhere for dining/entertainment. Downtown is trying to make inroads with the entertainment thing with some moderate success. But aside from that, there isnt much else to do for people that live there.
You don't need fancy lofts or some luxury condos to make downtown alive again (both of which are in the planning stage here). The way I look at it is you have to start from the ground up. Making downtown some exclusive shindig is never going to get you an appreciable volume of people living there. And for that reason the revitalization will sputter along, if at all. We need places to live/work/play for the everyday joe not some planner's vision of who should live here. Downtown will look pretty, sure, but it will still be abandoned at night until you can get a bunch of people to live in and around the area. And the best way to do that is to make it nice,but not too nice so people can't afford it (at least at first). You make it safe (there have been some modest improvements in this deparment). And you give people stuff to do. And I don't mean clubbing or the theater -- I mean everyday things. Downtown suffers from an anxiety that it can only exist and survive during the day. We need to change this: one restaurant, cafe, bookstore, misc hangout at a time.
Rant over. I don't expect anyone to respond to this, but if you do thanks for reading. :)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
And so without further ado, I've decided to start a little something called "decrepit building of the week". I don't plan to actually do this every week nor do I intend to focus on homes in my neighborhood. We'll just see what's decrepit enough to inspire me to blog about it. So let's lay down some groundrules.
- gotta be decrepit (I think we covered that)
- gotta have serious potential for a restoration
- gotta be old (late 19th, early 20th century)
- gotta be vacant (UPDATE)
My first installment fits each of those criteria very nicely in my opinion. It's a quaint victorian cottage with some nice detail. Does anyone know the story on this house? I've heard rumors (to which I have no real proof) that the owner started fixing it up several years ago. Brand new pella windows were installed, brick was repointed, new roof, etc. Allegedly there was a dispute between the owner & contractor. The owner then stopped all improvements and it has since been left to rot. The interior has been completely gutted as well. By gutted I mean there's nothing left -- trim, mantles, doors, floors. Zip. Looking in through the front door and you can see dirt where the basement would be. It's a damn shame.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Most of my time was spent prepping the area that'll get pavers laid on. I needed to excavate as much as 6 to 8 inches in some spots in order to get the pavers at an equal height. You can see the remaining chunk of the slab is getting a much needed facelift. This is taking longer than I thought.. I think I'm going to need more material too as the new patio is going to be bigger than I initially thought. Wish me luck that I'll actually finish it this week.. at the current pace I wouldn't count on it.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
In the meantime, check out these two houses. This smaller red brick home is currently on the market (although it already has a contract on it). That's one thing about this neighborhood -- homes for sale can flounder for months or be off the market within a week. The original porch has been altered with the excessive use of brick. The original wooden column pilasters are still there though. It wouldn't be too difficult to rebuild the porch to what it originally looked like. There are plenty of examples nearby to use for inspiration. I'm optimistic the new owners will take it to the next level -- it could be a real gem with a little TLC.
This other house I think qualifies as a queen anne (although devoid of a turret), and I can't help but sigh everytime I pass by it. It has so much potential and the overall design is impressive. Maybe someday I can call this (once) stately building home.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Here's some pictures I dug up of when the house was getting it's new coat of paint. If you'll recall, the paint scheme we went with should complement the house well -- being a historically accurate color combination for an arts & crafts home. The change is drastic, it suddenly went from a house that was easily overlooked to one that demands attention. On a side note, the house is actually already painted but I think posting in a chronological order is more entertaining. Check back soon for updated pics.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Remember my reminiscing about the former office building good ol' Mr. McBroom had his lawyer's office at? I could have sworn that the Two Republics Life Building was long gone. Of course going by what I thought was the office address from an old city directory here, I was pretty sure I was right. Well thankfully I was wrong. Turns out the building is still standing and in decent shape, albeit in a somewhat altered form. The facade has been screwed around with, but the elaborate cornice is still intact as is some of the decorative stone detail on the bottom half of the building.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
We finally decided on a paint scheme for the house exterior. It wasn't easy, but we decided to go with some colors from the sherwin williams arts & crafts color palette. The main body color will be roycroft suede and the major trim color will be aurora brown. Since we can't change the color of the window sash, white will be the minor trim color. Visualize if you will..
Monday, May 5, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
I think a big part of bringing back that old house charm with the project house, to the top floor at least, is replicating all the wood trim that had previously been removed. Luckily our carpenter was able to hit these spot on. So good in fact, that after painting it's hard to tell what's original and what's new.