Monday, March 29, 2010

Adequate Wiring is an Essential Ingredient

Better Homes and Gardens of 1961 would like to share with us the following message:

I think everyone can agree the electrical needs of 1915 do not even compare to what we feel we need today! The person who built this house most likely did not have electricity when they were growing up and were very pleased to have it in their home, no matter how limited. I believe the original plugs consisted of one set per room. The master bedroom plug is under the sconce where the dresser was most likely placed so no alarm clocks, no fan, no bedside lamps, no ipod charger just a cute little lamp to help put on blush or write letters.

Fortunately, a few more plugs had been added throughout the years but I felt it would be a good idea to make sure everything is up to code both number of plugs wise and wire wise. The old plugs are easy to spot because they are still the original knob and tube wiring. They were in perfect condition so perfectly safe. The problem is we would like to insulate and knob and tube wiring is apparently not safe to insulate around. It makes sense in my mind though there is debate circulating around the web to whether this is true or not as no known reports of it causing a fire exist and many people have insulated around their old wiring. Anyways, I will go with the flow and feel safer with fresh wires anyways, especially with handy electricians in the family why even risk it!?

We are making sure to get at least one plug set per wall. Not perfectly to code (don't quote me on this, but I think it's one every 8 feet-ish??) but without doing a ridiculous amount of overhaul this will be sufficient and better than a lot of houses in the neighborhood! The new wire slides right down the side of the vent to the basement.

My dad took off one of the original plugs to discover there was no metal electrical box behind it. Yikes, well, I guess it survived this long without any protection but one was popped into place behind a new wire anyways.

My mom looking for the wire my dad is pushing down the wall from upstairs while I stand back and laugh at them, er, document the process with my camera.

Yay, the finished result.

New plugs on either side of the hutch. (ignore the plaster dust)

Ninety-Five year old plaster is crumbly so it will need some patching after this job.

HaHa, my mom vacuuming out the vent in her curlers! That vent was nasty, I wish I had taken before pictures though no one would want to see them! I took the small sweeper and rolled out the dog fur like it was cotton candy. Gross!

OK, Mark brought this home the other day and I totally thought it was toothpaste! I went from excited, to disgusted to the realization that it was just a roll of cookies in a toothpaste sized box.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vintage Words of Wisdom

I found some 1960's decorating books and magazines last weekend at an estate sale and they always have some fun ideas along with a whole bunch of ridiculous ones. All put together you get one entertaining afternoon, in my mind anyways. I think it's a result of HGTV withdrawal but anyways I scanned some photos and the following ones scanned pretty straight so I decided to post them.

First we have a Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book from 1961. This was laying on the floor in front of the bookcase and despite the fact no one had given it a second glance, I was all over it.
Check out the George Nelson Saucer Bubble Lamp!! Dangling awkwardly close to the couch...

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, 1961
YES! This definitely needs to apply to me. I like it, I buy it but ohhh, it doesn't match anything. Oh Well! HaHa. I can't say I would ever consider gray and pink flowers with orange plaid but I can't even predict what I might try so you never know.

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, 1961
Not only is the sink pink but check out that fab wallpaper! I think the tiles would have been better the darker shade in the wallpaper (the towels imply maybe it is red?) to make the bathroom a bit more androgynous but you have to love those retro colored bathrooms!

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, 1961
I'm not sure how that fireplace works nor do I think it is very safe hanging out in the middle of nowhere under some paneling. Oh, I do love that blue chair.

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, 1961
Now we have that perfect teen hang out? I know I always enjoyed ogling my heart throbs and scrap booking on the cold, hard linoleum.

Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, 1961
Hey, I know, lets have silhouette night with the family and then we can hang the results on our window shade so we can stare at our profiles while we eat! Maybe do a little target practice, extra points for getting it in mom's bun!

Next we have a Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen Ideas for 1963

Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen Ideas for 1963
It wouldn't be a kitchen magazine without a crazy appliance ad. All of those happy women in formal gowns happened to be frolicking in the forest when alas, what is this?? A kitchen? Amazing! and look at all of these fabulous appliances, so fabulous in fact I will have to rub my body all over them! On closer inspection, is the kitchen levitating above the brush??

Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen Ideas for 1963
I was excited to see this ad for a flair oven. For some reason they fascinate me at the moment, I mean, the stove slides into the base and the glass on the upper oven is fantastic!

Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen Ideas for 1963
I spy another George Nelson lamp by the TV. I'm not sure about the one above the table. A cross between a camp lantern and a UFO?
Are those some Eames Aluminum chairs to the right? You can barely see them, why would BH&G edit those out of the picture, gesh! I would also like a look at the couch. That definitely looks like an Eero Saarinen side table plopped in the middle of the room to showcase the latest TV Guide too.
All in all a fantastic room, minus those 2 ceiling lights!

Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen Ideas for 1963
OOH, *drool* A blue fridge and what look to be some Eames and/or Saarinen chairs to match that side table. The boulder-esque wall in the kitchen, not so much. Who cleans that? At least the stove is not right next to it.

Finally we have 1,001 Decorating Ideas from 1963
This magazine runs on the garish, kitschy side. It's even a little too garish and kitschy for me!

1,001 Decorating Ideas, 1963
Gotta love the brightly colored cone fireplaces. Oh and mushrooms on block tables? What 60's room is complete without those mushrooms??

They did have a nice excerpt on how to decorate your A-Frame.
1,001 Decorating Ideas from 1963
Good! I always wondered what one would use for window coverings in one of these odd houses and now I know pom-poms are the answer!

1,001 Decorating Ideas from 1963
How to decorate the kids rooms. Now does the first floor appear to go all the way to the top of the A? Where are these bedrooms? I'll assume they have a loft towards the back??

1,001 Decorating Ideas from 1963
Last but not least, do NOT decorate your child's room with that Humpty Dumpty thing. Yikes! Pom-Poms must have also been a running theme, hmm, I'll have to go back through and look.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hot Tub Party

My mom conveniently escaped last weekend before I could get some of the pictures off of her camera. I guess we're still in the middle of that project so no big loss.

Anyways, moving on, I decided to finally find out what was in that hot tub. A family of raccoons? A dead body? or perhaps it was just full of water from the last party of the previous residents.

Fortunately only about 4" of water was at the bottom which isn't too bad considering the cover consisted of half a sheet of plywood and a rotten vinyl cover.

It has a classy cup holder only semi-convenient to the one person lying on the end seat. Also, it appears any spills run directly into the hot tub water.

Finally, no hot tub would be complete without a high tech "Command Center" complete with diagonal racing stripes. Can we have the count down to bubble activation please?

Frankie also got adventurous and crawled under the deck and into the door going under the porch. I am much too claustrophobic for that activity so I will live vicariously through these pictures he took.

This is right below the bathroom addition. Note the wire running across the top of the photo? That is most definitely a phone cord running to the hot tub.

All of those boards are the ones they switched out for plywood in the bathroom. I have no clue why they would put in the extra effort for a plywood floor. Despite being under here for 40 years the boards are still perfectly good so rotten flooring wasn't the reason. They must have just cut them out and left them where they fell, though the sub-floor should still be there?? OK, I really have no clue why they put these here. They are the same pine floor boards as the first floor so we now have a stash of extras and I, er Frankie, snagged one to test finish colors on too!

Insulation under the bathroom. Yep, the pipes still froze and I can see why. I can also see mold in the piece dangling to the far left. Nastiness!!

And the salvage store strikes again!!

Vintage ridged outlet and switch covers for .10 each to adorn all of new plugs etc. we've been busy adding. (above mentioned photos on my moms camera)

A medicine cabinet for $10. The fun etched flowers definitely sold me! I am also seeing a giant dust bunny or something front and center.

This one is pretty garish, I admit, but I will eventually be painting it for a shabby chic look.

Oh yeah, last but not least: This is the butt-ugliest outlet cover I have ever seen in my life! So, umm, of course I had to own it. It is kind of tricky to see through the original packaging (why, oh why would no one have ever installed this!?) but it is brown plastic wood texture with faux carvings.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shower Curtains? I don't know what you're talking about

Yes, OK, I bought "curtains" for the bedroom though they were not exactly in the curtain section. Real curtains are all so blah and one color. Whatever happened to those fab curtains of the 50's and 60's? I suppose a majority of those were blah as well though only the obnoxious ones get attention today. I was figuring I would eventually have to resort to making curtains until I happened to wander down the bathroom aisle at Target and Bam! This somewhat vintage inspired shower curtain adorned with cute little squirrels and owls jumped out at me! Don't worry, it is heavy cloth, not flimsy plastic stuff and quite a bit cheaper than buying curtains though the cashier was probably wondering what I was going to do with multiple shower curtains.

I tried to get a good shot with my macrame owl in the foreground but it looks yellow and our room looks small. The trunk is Great Grandma's hope chest where a few of my bears and aliens enjoy sitting.

My current micro projects? I've been trying to fix the mangled medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

As you can kind of see with all the dark spots, the previous refinishers went a little wild with a small chisel while trying to rid the cabinet of its paint. They failed to get rid of all of the paint AND added gouges all over!

I had started sanding a little in this photo but it shows they also sanded against the grain and gouged out around the hinges. Since it's a very soft pine I have been taking 100 grit sandpaper and lightly sanding with the grain and it seems to be helping - it can't get any worse!

I also discovered the greatest store ever, well, around here anyways. I believe there are way better salvage stores in other places but I have to work with what I've got! I did find this 40's/50's toilet for $20 to replace one of the cheap, mini 80's toilets. It will probably go into the first floor bath but it is currently living on the front porch.

Oh the floor, the floor! I finally organized all of the boxes in that corner *cough* put them in the basement. Since the temperatures have warmed up we decided to give the stripper a shot and it works! Whew! The moral of this story: When it is -20 outside stripper does not work.

Garage Sale season is almost here! I've been itching to go out treasure hunting once again. I had a little warm up at the flea market last weekend and found these great Christmas critters plus some 60's decorating books. Hooray!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yay! A New Roof!!

I'll be the first to admit I am not capable of putting on a new roof and neither are any of the members of my family. I should rephrase this. We COULD figure out how to put on a new roof but it would take approximately 4 months for us to accomplish this task. Not having a roof for this amount of time is probably not a good idea.

I am also excited about my purchase of a practical item last weekend. I was becoming annoyed by our bag o' spices and such squished on the pantry shelf

I was delighted to come across a shiny chrome vintage?? spice rack. I am pretty sure it is vintage but it looks brand new and very (as mentioned) shiny so it is impossible to get a photo of it. Regardless of its age, it was cheap and we needed a spice rack. Did I hammer nails into the door? Yeah, sorry but there are 12 various holes already on the inside of that door so two more tiny ones will only add to the charm.