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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The not-so-exciting part of renovating

Sure, choosing new rugs, decorative pillows, lamps, cabinet pulls, light fixtures, door knobs, ceiling fans, appliances, and plumbing fixtures is fun. That's the showy part of giving an old house a facelift. I've spent hours upon hours lately doing just that, and they're all ordered.

Now comes the other part of renovating. The electrical, the plumbing, the painting. Equally, if not more, important and certainly more expensive...but not particularly exciting. I've spent several days getting bids, and now it's time for the electricians and plumbers and painters to do their respective things.

The previous owner put in a large, new electrical breaker box outside, but there's still one of these fuse boxes in the hall closet, which will be replaced with its modern counterpart soon. I haven't seen glass fuses since I was a kid!

Fuse box in hall closet

We need a plumber to check the water pressure and to install a garbage disposal and dishwasher and to revamp the icemaker hookup, which was done in an unusual janky way, to say the least. Nothing exciting to see here, folks. Painters will come out to put a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams Dover White on the walls. All the trim and built-ins are painted a creamy white, but the previous owners slapped a coat of bright white on the walls, I'm guessing just to clean it up for showing, so we're toning that down a bit.

Exciting or not, all these things are part of the process when you buy an old home. After all, the combined effect is what's important. As tedious as it is to schedule bids and work, in a couple of weeks we'll be happy with the results.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

And the transformation begins...

Anyone who has bought a home built in the 1950s or 1960s knows that time can take a toll in many ways, one of which is a complete destruction of continuity. Often a hodgepodge of add-ons faces a new owner, and such is the case in our new house.

We have brass doorknobs in several styles. We have chrome doorknobs in several styles. In some places we have brass on one side of a door and chrome on the mismatched styles. We have deadbolts in the most peculiar places. (I had never before seen one on the door between the living room and the hall that leads to the bedrooms, but there's one in this house. And on the master bedroom door. Creepy.) We have light fixtures and ceiling fans of every conceivable era, style, and color.

Yesterday we bought five 52" ceiling fans like this. They will go in the bedrooms, the living room, and the upstairs apartment, now called the boys' playroom. We had planned to Airbnb it, but the boys made a convincing argument for turning into their space...something about keeping their toys out of sight and their bedroom neat, but you know how that will go. Nevertheless, they won us over.

52" Verano fan by Casa Vieja

We've ordered this 60" fan for the family room/dining room.

60" Casa Aleso fan by Casa Vieja

Our kitchen is relatively small and currently has a massive and ornate ceiling fan instead of a light fixture, which will be replaced by this fixture.

Lattice flush mount fixture

After buying several samples cabinet knobs and pulls, we finally decided on these unusual ones with a 1950s feel, which influenced our decision in the choice of a kitchen light fixture.

A279BN CKP Brand modern pull

Our soon-to-be very plain double front doors will have round retro knobs, the Orbit model by Schlage, and narrow star escutcheons from Rejuvenation. The rest of the doors, interior as well as exterior, will have the same round knobs.

Narrow star escutcheon

Schlage Orbit door set

Instead of a Sputnik fixture over the dining table, we've decided to go with this cone light look.

Ronald cone pendant

My power drill and I are going to be very busy in a few days, but once we're done, the house will look like a new place. New, that is, with a nod to the way it might have looked in 1950 when it was built.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What's better than Marimekko?

The only thing better than Marimekko is Marimekko on clearance!!!

A couple of days ago, I made a Target run for some 22" Marimekko outdoor pillows in the Kukkatori pattern (reverses to Traktori) that are clearance priced. Only two stores in town still had them, and as chance would have it, one of the stores was near our new house. I was able to pick these up for $12.48 each (reg. $24.99).

Kukkatori outdoor pillows

Last week, I ordered a couple of other Marimekko items for store pick-up...a hammock in the Mansikkavuoret print ($19.48, reg. $64.99) and a 70" pool float in the Albatrossi pattern ($11.98, reg. $39.99)...and today I got a notification that they've come in. So it was off to Target again to get them, and it made perfect sense to pick up more pillows in different styles at that great price of $12.48. Some will go outside, while others will go in the boys' room. Too much Marimekko is never enough.

Mansikkavuoret hammock

Albatrossi pool float

Mansikkavuoret pillows (reverses to Lokki) match hammock

Top: Harka reverses to Paprika
Bottom: Appelsiini reverses to Traktori

Of course, since I was already there, I figured I might as well buy a pair of Paprika flip-flops. And, yes, I'll probably go back one more time for the Kukkatori ones too. They aren't on clearance, but at $16.99, I couldn't pass them up.  Like I said, I can't get too much Marimekko.

Paprika flip-flops

Kukkatori flip-flops

Sunday, June 5, 2016

We're in...more or less

Despite torrential rain on moving day, we're officially in our new house. Even before the rain came,
this move seemed to be fraught with more problems than any other I remember...and I've made a lot of moves over the years.

First of all, closing dates and times were tentative for an excruciatingly long time, which made it difficult to schedule movers, utility transfers, or deliveries. We weren't told our closing time till late afternoon the day before. That's never happened before.

Also, my daughter had planned to take three vacation days for the move, but her job got hectic, so she was either constantly on the phone with the office or was actually working. Add to that chaos several end-of-school events for the boys that she had to attend in the middle of moving, and you get a snapshot of her life the past few days.

On top of that, we had asked for as early a closing time as possible and had rented a small U-Haul truck and hired a two-man crew the day before the big move to take all the small, unboxed items you always seem to have...things the moving company can't or won't haul. They arrived around 10:00 a.m., and my daughter went to the title company at 10:30, planning to be back with the keys by the time they finished loading the truck. At 11:00 she called to say that the owners hadn't signed their paperwork yet, so no keys. After the truck was loaded, we had to send the two workers home (fortunately a husband and wife team who lived near us and had a clear afternoon schedule) until we got the keys around 4:30. In the meantime, we took carloads to the new house ourselves in intermittent rain (i.e., no rain while we were driving, just when we were loading and unloading). That same intermittent rain continued till we decided to call it a day sometime after midnight.

Official moving day could just as easily be called "Monsoon Day," but the movers soldiered on, as did we, and by the end of the day, the house was full of furniture, plastic totes, and boxes, and the garage looked like this. (In all fairness to the movers, we're the ones who just threw in the last loads helter-skelter.)

And all those new appliances we ordered? They're not here yet, so we're living out of two dorm-sized refrigerators. I can't fault the appliance company, since up-in-the-air closing days kept us from ordering them until a few days ago; we were hoping they might arrive by the time we moved in, but we knew they might not. Keep your fingers crossed that they get here quickly. A washer and dryer might be nice soon too.

We've unpacked all the totes and boxes in the house, but we've decided to make some major changes about where the furniture is going, so several rooms have to be switched. And then there's the garage...

But everything will eventually be unpacked and in its place. Somehow it always is. This time it may be later rather than sooner, however, because we seem to be taking a lot of breaks to swim and to drink adult beverages. At least we're not stressing about the move anymore.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Something old, something new

While we're happily keeping the original Chambers wall oven and stove top from 1950, all the rest of our appliances will be brand spankin' new. We are leaving our refrigerator, washer, and dryer for the buyers of our house, so Saturday was appliance buying day for us.

We bought everything online from Appliances Connection, and I believe, based on my experience when I built the "modernist nest" a few years ago, it's the only way to shipping, great customer service, professional delivery, and, best of all, no sales tax. We checked prices, and theirs were cheaper on every single item in our cart, sometimes several hundred dollars less. Here's what we chose:

Samsung French door refrigerator

Samsung dishwasher

Samsung top-load washer

Samsung electric dryer

One of the difficulties I've encountered twice when buying refrigerators for mid-century homes is limited space. Refrigerators simply weren't as big back then as they are now, and very often a 36" model won't fit into the original cut-out. Most of the narrower refrigerators were around 22 cubic feet in capacity, and we wanted something larger. After searching long and hard, we finally found one with the right exterior dimensions and a 26 cubic foot interior capacity.

Our next challenge was to find a steam dryer that has a direct water line, rather than having to be filled manually. My daughter specifically wanted a top-load washer, and after my bad experience with a Kenmore front loader, so did I. At first, the only dryers we could find with a water inlet matched front-load washers, but we finally located a pair that met both our specifications.

Choosing a dishwasher was easier. All my daughter insisted upon was that it be ultra quiet. I had no particular demands. We found that 42-44 dBA was about as quiet as they come, with most being 50 or so. We found one we both liked that was listed a <44, so it was added to the cart without as much gnashing of teeth as the other items caused.

Now, with any luck, they'll be here by tomorrow...move-in day...or at least within a few days.