Sunday, February 17, 2008

house project exterior

Since the majority of the work we've done to this house so far has been to the interior, this is basically what we started with. You'll see that some of the new windows have found their way into the house. The rear porch is where a lot of the initial work went into. The one pic shown here is after we exposed the original porch structure. There was this cheap vertical wide plank siding that enclosed the porch to look like a big white box. Originally the top floor was a screened-in sleeping porch, the bottom floor was also open. It looks much better now, but you can see what we had to work with. It wasn't pretty.

file cabinet done

It took at least 5 months to get this back, but I'm very happy to report my antique filing cabinet is finally back. It's taken its rightful place next to my desk in the office. I think it looks just awesome. Check out the detail on that side panel detail -- octavio hit it spot on. I admit to being a little cautious picking up this ratty old thing,but I am so glad I did!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

tales of smelting and rehab

Well, the city got a big kick in the nards yesterday. Everyone remember the monster copper smelter that looms over my neighborhood? The TCEQ decided to grant them the air permit. You can read about it here. And while I know the fight isn't over, I've vowed to pack it all up and move back to chicago if the smelter fires up again. I guess we'll try to make the best of it and pray for the next year & a half. We have certain obligations we're stuck in, so it wouldn't be feasible before then. Of course, if the city can somehow shut them down for good I'd be happy to stay. I'm not holding my breath though. I thought this was in the bag.. Whatever.

In happier news, I dug out a picture of our project house for your enjoyment. It's hard to see some of the finer points of this home, but the exterior was actually in decent condition compared to the inside. The original red brick has been painted which is a major bummer. We briefly contemplated somehow trying to strip the paint off, but this would blow our timeframe and probably the budget. I've read several articles that account the ills of trying to sandblast or even powerwash painted brick. So we ain't going there. Painting brick is a major no-no, but we'll try to make do the best we can. Alot of the paint is brittle and lifted off the brick, so some scraping should help get some of it off. I've heard water based paints allow water vapor to pass through. If you use an oil based paint you run the risk of trapping moisture and accelerating the wear & tear of the brick. Forget where I read that and what the difference is to masonry paint. We still haven't decided on color although we have been looking at the sherwin williams arts & crafts pallete. It's kind of hard to choose, as I think it's easier to pick colors for a wood shingle home than a brick home. Specifically when the brick has to be painted. For some reason it's really easy to make a brick home look tacky if you get too crazy on the body color. We'll try and go for something earthy and subtle. Not sure yet, that's lower on the priority list.

The iron bars are coming down which will reveal some of the few original windows left. It's kind of hard to see in the pic, but they're nice prarie style sashes. We're still trying to hunt down some sashes for the upstairs windows, but have had little luck. We're still looking at a few options, including having them custom made. They're a little hard to find simply because of the size of these bad boys, 52" x 66". We're also lucky to have the original sashes in the bay window dining room. The rest of the windows will be replaced with a vinyl prarie style design. I know vinyl windows are a dirty word to most house bloggers, but trust me when I say they look 10 times better than the aluminum crap that's there now. I'll try and dig up some before pics from the inside.. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

blog famine

Well, it's been pretty quiet around here. My apologies. Life can get hectic at times and sometimes my little house projects get put on the back burner. The nursery is almost done although I'm not sure why it's taken so long (see previous sentence). Just need a 2nd coat on the stretch of wall above the picture rail and the painting is done. Still need to get to the doors, but that was always on my "get to it when I can" list. I can't wait to get started on stripping the paint off all the old hardware though. Sounds like fun. After that's done I can start up my exterior projects. Aside from my plans to continue my little painting spree, I really need to get cracking on the landscaping of my backyard. For shame! Seriously folks, it's hideous.

Oh and there is one little detail I may have left out.. My brother-in-law and I have aqcuired an investment property in the neighborhood that we're working on restoring. I still haven't decided whether or not to detail our adventures with this rehab. But I'm excited with what we've done so far. We're about 30% complete. The house needed serious work. It's a 1903 prarie style foursquare that is more ornately embellished than mine. It's a pretty large home too -- about 2800 sq ft not including the full basement.