Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Forest Fire a'la Google Maps

I was working on a project at work when I spotted this aerial portrait of a Forest Fire...

View Larger Map
Those of you that know me know that I was a Wildland Firefighter for about 5 years. I saw this and thought 'Controlled Burn'... but there are no vehicles. I wonder if the golf course sustained any damage??
(this post is mainly for my Dad)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Digital Dreaming

So this is what I am working towards at the moment. All the exterior work is building towards this style sensitive addition on the back of the house. It's been interesting trying to figure out what would be most accurate. My best resource has been the Minnesota Historical Society library collection. They have an incredible number of historic home plan books. Many (most) of them are companies from MN... all of them were available to consumers in MN. So I went through them over and over and over. Finally came up with this (after the first plan went WAY over budget)

As most people will note, my house is more of a cottage and less of a bungalow... I know, false advertising or whatever. Bungalow is a reference to a one story style home from colonial India, with deep porches and low rooflines. But it seems to have expanded to include most 1 1/2 story homes built between a certain period. I have all of the same woodwork as my traditional bungalow neighbors (more of it actually).

Anyway, I may have to change the name of the blog once the new gable goes up since I will lose the big plane of the roof.. and really look more like a 'cottage'.
Oh well, it'll be nice either way.

The second pic is the interior layout. I'm trying to keep the plan very honest, functional and open. The upstairs is so light and spacious I didn't want to try to cram in a bathtub. Besides I have the original, deep, cast iron tub on the first floor.

So picture white hex tile on the floor with a border and baseboard of white marble. Subway tile wainscot and light painted plaster. I think the woodwork will end up painted white like the rest of the second floor (it's not oak up there, so don't worry). Chrome fixtures and wall sconces on either side of the sink area.

The medicine cabinet will be on the wall between the toilet nook and the main sink area. Over the sink we will use an accordion style swing arm mirror. Lord knows that we need a couple of window for light up there!

So keep an eye out for updates. This project should be progressing steadily through January!

Monday, December 22, 2008

let's call this the just-barely-not-before shot

So it started. The contractor showed up, did some things and then left. Somehow they managed to get one gable end ALMOST done in the coldest week of the year. In the snow. Sure am glad I don't work for them!

So just an update one what is happening. This past summer I decided to restore the outside of the house. The Aluminum siding just wasn't floating my boat (for obvious reasons). It was also holding in condensation!! Soaking the walls and wall paper for the melty part of the winter. Thank-baby-Jesus we don't have a mold issue!

So we had a few people come over... look at the metal and project what it would cost to make it look like it did. Making the assumption that everything that was once, was no more.

A few astronomical quotes later I found myself on the upper end of a 30' extension ladder ripping off bits of my house.
SURPRISE! Everything underneath was original to the house!
After documenting what was there.. and assessing what, if any, rot there was (nothing really...) We had the quotes re done. And Ta-daaaah. The restoration begins. the aluminum has been ripped off. The original cedar shingles photographed and removed and the OLD tar-paper shredded.

The new Cedar Shingles are going up (the old were too brittle to keep :( ) We carefully measured the staggered reveal to exactly recreate what was original.
A new horizontal strip with a great drip cap detail is getting installed between the stucco and the shingles... and it's getting properly FLASHED in. The window trim was covered with aluminum, and was (to my dismay) not particularly salvageable. The bargeboards on the eaves and the the bead board soffits are quite intact. With a little scraping it really took shape. I don't think we're going with the original red.

It's going to look a little dingy until we paint in the spring.

You can bet I'm going to update these pictures often!

Let there be....... !

After being directed to a FANTASTIC lighting company by 1912 bungalow, I remembered seeing some really cool lighting.

here's Schoolhouse Lighting... what a perfect place for me! they have a great selection of toned-down art deco fixtures. My house is a 1928 (obviously) and has a few deco inspired parts.. well, I'm sure it used to anyway...

and then there is the more modern, more green (since that's sooo trendy right now) Eleek.

Really cool stuff. I like cast aluminum.. it's silver without showing fingerprints. I like that it's not shiny; because in my place things don't stay shiny for too long.
another post to follow shortly... now where did I put those pictures?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by turbofan
I better blog this too.

Went to see WICKED on the 29th. It was my way-late-b-day present. It's about the best one that I've even had!!

Good music, good story, good voices... followed by good beer and good friends. Thanks you guys!!

Will's refurbished cabinets circa Nov 2007


well this is really an old photo, but I have been thinking a lot about re-use. I'm still working on finding a good photo of this project finished... Right now the poor thing is covered with ingredients of what will soon become bread and christmas cookies.

But lets talk reuse. The thing was free. I got it off www.twincitiesfreemarket.com it's funny that I actually got it from a college guidance counselor! Funny how small the world is (and how many people go to Hamline!)

So it DID take a bit of work. Lots of paint removal, lots of routing to fit in the little wine fridge. Thank god I am up to date on my tetanus shots! Part of the cabinet was a little.. well, rotten. so I ripped it off and put in a dishwasher.

I spent a lot of time on the drawer pulls. I used paint stripper and steel wool and got a cool brused effect out of them. Very Restoration Hardware. But it I had to do it all over I would have just simmered them in hot soapy water until the paint bubbled off. I have done that with hinges and other hardware recently. It's Way easier. LOVE IT!

Things to watch for in the updated photo:
-A way cool wooden end panel.. Made of maple to match the cabinets and oak to match the rest of the house.
-lots of stuff on the counter.
-no more white sticky on the stainless dishwasher

I do have to admit that I haven't attached everything yet.. I know that it's been over a year but here's why.
We've been working with a contractor for 6 months to add an upstairs bathroom. Part of the big project involves sinking a couple of new load bearing supports in the basement. So we are going to put in two additional and give the sagging floor a bit of a boost. It will even out the floor a little, and this project sits right on top of a sagging spot. I didn't want to get everything installed and then have to do it all over again when everything was straightened out.

besides, it works just fine right now... except that the dishwasher flips out a little bit when you open it all the way. oh well.

God that floor looks awful against the new shiny stuff. Guess I should put that on the punch list too :)