Watch the transformation of an MCR - our mid-century ranch

Watch the transformation of an MCR - our mid-century ranch
Built in 1957 as the model home for the development. 1796 sqft, 3 bedroom, 2 bath.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thank You All For Checking Out the Site

Hey everyone I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has checked out the blog and subscribed to get email updates. We are in the process of shutting down our house in NC - K arrives tonight [hooray] - and will get to the new joint permanently at the end of the week.

I wanted to say a special thanks to the people checking in from overseas as well - Berlin and Kassel in Germany, Hellegom in the Netherlands, and Zagreb in Croatia. But a general thanks to everyone.

I hope to include aspects of our new life in a new city as things develop. Some of you may remember The Weekly Walker days of my original blog a long time ago. I may bring up some facets of that blog but at the moment I hoping to keep it about the new house and then expand to the new city.

Talk to you all soon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Introducing K and Her iPhone Photos of the House

Front of the house - Glad to know we have security, I had no clue. My sweetie K took all these pics on her new iPhone and zapped them to me thanks to that new technology called: 'The Internet.' We are really excited to get in and tinker away. We are glad there aren't any total reconstruction projects except maybe the den. Anyway this gives you some more looks at the place.

Master bath - Sorry for the darkness, all the pics were taken with an iPhone so the colors and brightness may be off a little.

Master bath featuring gray tile and flowery insets. Hmmm.

Second bath - The cabinets are at an angle in - so you don't stub your toes I suppose. The tile is a cream/butter cream color, not white. I like the floor.

More tile

Better view of the bath.

The minty sink - good stuff.

The minty loo.

The minty tub.

You can see how the cabinets angle in a little bit better here.

A final bathroom shot.

We have 12 of these things in each corner of each of the bedrooms. They are molded plaster so they aren't going anywhere. If anyone knows anything about these things or have any suggestion about how to cover them that would be greatly appreciated. Corinthian column capitals aren't my favorite look but that's cool. Things like these are what led us to believe the realtor when she said this was the model house with all the bells and whistles. I doubt everyone in the neighborhood ordered these things.

Built in planter/bookshelf in the front room. This is what I mean about the house having little flourishes of MCM but is still a MCR at heart.

Front door - a little too Spanish for my tastes but we'll see.

Kitchen - linoleum floor - will have to be dealt with eventually.

The curly cue wood tracery is actually growing on me a little.

Kitchen again.

This is the front entryway tile that runs all the way to the den. It actually looks better in this photo. In real life it looks more like linoleum. This will be a tough decision what to do with this. Some of it looks a little cracked so the decision might be made for us. We'll see.

Back yard - not big but habitable. And unlike our old backyard I won't have a junior coronary mowing it.

Driveway has a turnaround when you back out of the double garage.

Back entrance into the den - concrete.

Back fire pit area and back fence.

Ceiling patterning and the plaster molded crown molding. All the living areas and bedrooms have this ceiling treatment - except the den which is, groan, popcorn. We'll have to address that for sure. Asbestos anyone?

Front bay window with a low planter - this is another bell and whistle. I don't know if anything would grow back there.

One of the plant 'balls.' They aren't really symmetrical. This one is raised and the other one grows from the ground. They will be addressed too. I like that we have a light there to play with / swap out.

The bedroom mural is in an infants room. This will be the studio so the mural might actually stay around as I cover it to work on my paintings. The cat may stay for a bit.

It is fun to find things in your new house.

This is the original timer switch for the attic / night air fan. Basically you open your windows at night and turn it on and it sucks out the hot air and pulls in cool air. The timer turns it off sometime in the night. When you get up you close the windows to trap in the cooler air. Pretty cool if it works.

Another molding shot with ceiling patterns.

Built in / planter with entrance way tile.

Front room / dining area. We may put the table in front of the front window as there is more space for a full sized table as opposed to the dining nook where the chandelier [which will be gone soon] is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bid On Props From the Set of Mad Men

Now you can own Don Draper's desk and help out charity. This is a charity auction for the props in the office of Sterling Cooper. Fun to bid or just 'windows shop.'
I am considering bidding on the painting from the conference room though I would prefer the one from Don's office.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Idea from a Lotta Living BB Poster

Before we get to the great idea for the den - I won't say this is my 'dream' office but I really like the feel of this space. I was telling K that one day I would like to have a house with a real office in it where the desk faces the door that you enter through so I can sit menacingly at the desk and glower as you come in to grovel to save your job and I can say things like: "I see you've been having trouble with your TPS reports again Clark."

The idea of using pocket doors that slide behind built in bookshelves came from a poster on the Lotta Living BB. I like the idea. We might incorporate a desk into the shelving area on the left where there used to be a bar/dest but is a little curly-cue for our taste. Pocket doors might be an interesting way to do. We are going to have to watch our budget though. This isn't a $750k Eichler home so we can't go mega crazy. Fortunately the kitchen and bathrooms are in good shape. So we may be able to play around a little bit.

We'd like to get our money back or even add some value when we re-sell. I don't want to get caught in the trap of never really 'living' in your home as you constantly plan for re-sale. So we are going to have to walk a fine line I feel. Hope you all like the 1997 technology - kinda looks like a Dire Straits video of sorts.
- C

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Couple of Thoughts and a Photo

The waiting game continues. I have learned that people who are interested in mid century architecture are an incredibly exacting and particular bunch. They don’t truck much with any deviations from how things were done exactly when your house was built. K and I like to take what is ‘good’ not necessarily what is accurate and work with that. If we decide to swap out the electric range for a gas one we are going to do that regardless of whether such a move is historically accurate.

Most of the original tile will be left untouched. I am not sure what we are going to do about the ‘mud’ tile in the entranceway that has the unfortunate luck of being original tile work that actually resembles linoleum. But it is a choice spot to do something dramatic and fun, as the tile pad is only 10 square feet or so. I’ll definitely put up some photos once I get the chance so you can see what I mean.

I have been playing around with ideas for the house numbers in my head and basically this is what I like the best. I don’t know how challenging [read: expensive] putting lighting in would be. We would like to eventually put in outdoor lighting to illuminate the house. Again that is something I have little to no experience with. This whole process is going to be a learning event and I hope I am up to the task.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Couple of Modest Proposals




Please excuse the lousy graphics but I am trying to work through a few ideas from NC. The luan panels look totally wonky but I think you can get the gist of what is going on. Since I have closed the studio down I have little outlet for my creative addictions so I dream about what do to with the house. I've never been one to come up with two dozen different ideas for one area but I think this it would be good for me to work through some variables instead of using my usual approach of going with my first good idea. Of course your first good idea is often in fact your best idea - I learned that from my SAT prep classes: go with your first impulse.

All the closing stuff is progressing as far as I know. This whole process is worthy of its own separate blog. I may write a bit about what we have learned about ourselves in the selling-buying process. There doesn't appear to be any smooth way to do the ol' sell a house buy a house switcheroo without carrying two mortgages or having a gap in ownership/residency trick. But I think we have come pretty close.

The most stressful aspect of this thing has been worrying about how the cats are going to handle the transition - the two day drive with four cats in the stay-wag. Another stress point is making sure that my paintings make it down in a safe manner. We may keep a small storage unit up here but at the moment it looks like we may be dragging some mighty big paintings down with us.

Well I hope my two ideas don't seem too silly in their present form. It'll be fun when I can post actual pictures in the future. Oh and remember these aren't our furnishings - these pics are from the real estate listing of the house.
- C

Monday, August 9, 2010

The House Numbers!!!

Here they are - 3 out of 4 of them at least. They are the floating numbers like the ones we have on our NC house. I know they are store bought from Home Depot, but I just couldn't spend $48 / number as I've seen on some websites. Granted they are cool numbers but at $5.99 apiece these numbers are cool too. So lets do the math: 4 x $48 = $192 vs [4 x $5.99] + 8% tax = $25.88. I think I won out there.

As I was walking out of the Home Depot I realized that our house in NC has a '0' and a '4' in it - the same floating numbers. So my conniving self began to think about taking the numbers down and saving $12.50. But then I thought better as the house is under contract and the numbers are technically 'fixtures,' that is, attached to the house. I'd hate to scotch a deal over a couple of house numbers. So I walked to my car happy with the four numbers I had found.

We are already trying to figure where and how we plan to place the numbers. We thought about a square pattern - two numbers on top and two numbers directly below. We will probably mount the numbers on a painted piece of wood - possibly stained - we'll see. I don't want to get paralyzed by all the possibilities of where some numbers might go but I do feel it is an important decision. Not everyone will see the master bedroom but almost everyone looking for your house for the first time will see the numbers. They are like the business card / first impression of your house. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Excitement is Building

I woke up the other morning really excited about our new house. It simply dawned on me that we now own a house built in the heart of the 50's, something that I have always wanted. So I am excited to get my studio up and running, get our meager possessions into the new house [all in one piece I hope], and dig my teeth into the new place. I have this idea that it will be a bit of a treasure hunt as we discover all sorts of little things that we didn't notice on our initial visit - what are the light switch covers like, where are the wall sockets, how do the rooms 'feel' with our stuff in them. I know that these are things I should have paid attention to a little more closely when we visited but you get overwhelmed by the generality of the experience, feeling the 'wholeness' while noticing random detailing.

I was talking with my friend J the other day about how when people buy a house - the largest purchase/investment a person will buy in their life as the saying goes - they might only spend, what, an hour or two total in the house before buying it? I have spent more time buying $1,000 worth of an individual stock [that I may never purchase] than the amount of time I spent in this house thus far. The house buying process I think really does boil down to the proverbial 'gut reaction' more than any other type of large scale purchase. You simply 'know' that this is it.
Of course you can buy stock at any time - you aren't going to have it bought out from under you, of course you may not get the best price but you can have the equity. A house on the other hand you constantly have the feeling that there is someone else out there, some mysterious figure dressed in Sherlock Holmes-esque clothing wringing his hands trying to manipulate the house out of your hands.

If people have any suggestions about what they think we should do with the place please feel free to leave suggestions in the comment section. A thousand minds working on a project will eventually come up with some good ideas if we get stuck on what we think is best.

Mainly I want to get my studio up an running again. I feel like all the momentum I have built up over the past 5 or 6 years has been sucked away. I guess I have a hard time 'going on vacation.' I am looking forward to a clean start on a new house as well. I will have a two car garage where I can lay out projects and have some room to spread out and work on house projects. I guess I am a 'guy' after all. No man-cave though, I draw the line somewhere.