Question: Preserving character & details

MoccasinApril 16, 2010

I've been reading over on the older homes forum, and a few other forums too, about their interest in preservation of a home's character and original details.

For those of us who live in a NON-historic home, or so we presume, and without a thought to the era in which our smaller homes were built, it is not in the forefront of our plans to increase the liveability of our home spaces.

But now, I am wondering if what I am doing to my 1950s cottage is going to damage the authenticity of the house? Folks who remodelled old homes and put in the now-regrettable 1970s style kitchens, were they doing then what we'll be accused of doing down the road by another generation of home buyers?

I try to be true to the house, and make my changes appear as a natural outgrowth of the the folks in New England did when they built the tiny capes and subsequently kept adding on to them, and even the additions were a natural outgrowth of the changes in the family.

Even seashells keep growing, as long as they are alive. And the creature that lives in the shell needs more space, so it grows. Or if it is a hermit crab, it moves on. I think of my home as an organic extension of myself. I am very much connected to the places I've lived.

How about yourselves? Is this a thought which comes to your mind when you plan a renovation or a remodel?

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Certainly food for thought. Our house is a new manufactured home so really no style to it. Blank slate. We have had several houses over the years and mostly for financial reasons, as not having the money to do much, most of what we did was lipstick and rouge fixes. WE did replace a few windows or added storm windows to make the house more comfortable to live in during 30 degree below zero winters. Even the storm windows were true to the house in we ordered the double hung to make them match the house windows. I think that was a 40's house from the news papers dates we found in the floors during repairs.

And of course we always did all the needed maintenance to make the house in perfect order. THIS is were we make our bucks on places. Most people do not want to face new septic systems, foundations needing repair, plumbing broken needing new roofs all new flooring. Major repairs.

For us I do not think we made drastic changes. So I would say we were true to the homes style.

I took our last house and totally turned it into the cottage look with out as much fru fru as most use in cottage look. Minimalist cottage I called it.My cottage feel was from light pastel paint colors lacy curtains lots of white furniture covers. Open and Airy feel.

The lady that bought the house took it totally into a cabin western look. Chocolate brown walls though out the whole house ceilings included.To me it felt like a cave but she loved it and it is now her house to do with as she chooses. And she hated my cottage look as much as I hate her brown but we respect each others tastes to be able to laugh over all of it in a friendly way.

ML I really love the things you have done. To me I think your tastes are way above average in putting a look together. I think with your tastes and feeling for design being solid as they are it would be pretty hard to go wrong. I do not see you going trendy. I feel like the trendy kitchens and house remodels are the ones that will go out of style.

ML What I see you doing is making your lovely home a better space to live in. I do not think that is ever wrong.

Now for me. I KNOW I have gone over the edge in what I am doing to this house. I know the next person to come behind me will HATE many of the things I have done. I have had to live in houses all my life that I had to make nice but not overboard in what I wanted. Always had to keep resale in mind. That is over for me. I do not care any more about resale. We are here for the duration and I believe it this time. This is house number 11 with my husband and I and this is it.

Sooooooooooooooooooooo Now I can do what I always held back doing. Mostly my mosaics. Crazy paint does not count because paint is paint and can always be changed. Gluing glass and cement all over everything will take a little more effort to change. Then again their might be the one person that will come in here some day and appreciate the time thought and ability that went into the things I have done to this house. by then I will be dead and long past caring.

Hehehehehe Chris

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 3:07PM
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Chris, thank you for such a thoughtful response and recount of your home history. When I was a child, my mother always wanted to move/move/move, and I grew tired of it. After a divorce I bought my own dream cottage, MoccasinLanding, and thought I'd be there for the rest of my life. But when my son died, my reason for working on it died with him, and I could not stay there any more. That is when my old fiance came back into my life after 50 years, and we bought a house together, which was the same summer destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Along comes my friend with her little stucco rental house, and we move into it. But I decide that I am NEVER going to move again! So I get DH approval and we make her an offer she cannot refuse, so to speak. And here we are in CASA DEL SOL.

You are right about THIS time, it is all for me...for US...and not for resale. But I do give a passing nod to the effect it might have on the selling price. How could anyone refuse such a charming and comfortable place, where you can sit inside and see out, sit outside and be surrounded by flowers and trees, have privacy or wave to your neighbors? A lady told me the other day she enjoyed walking by our house because it looks like a fairy cottage. I think that is because of the archway, for the front door and for the arbor over the privacy gate. I was right to repeat that feature, and my contractor (a good friend) cooperated by making it tall and strong. Here it is today with the Zepherine Drouhan thornless roses finally blooming, and the star jasmine ready to open their blooms too

The little mama whose son built this house for her might have done this herself, if she'd lived long enough. I know she loved azaleas and camellias for sure.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 3:30PM
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ML, I've thought the same thing myself about this house. I want to keep it up-to-date without ruining what little character it has, so there is a fine line there. I really can't see gr*nite countertops here, yet if we sell, that's what everyone seems to want. Most of the reno's on my block in the last few years have granite, one put in Cori*n just before granite really surged.

I would really love to put in some transom windows in the dining room, but they just wouldn't match the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 12:31AM
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ML this is something that I think about a lot with my 1960s house. It is so different from the houses built here today. from the outside it looks super ordinary we almost didnt go for a look inside but after seeing the inside, I fell in love with it in all it's worn out disrepair. The decorative plaster crown mouldings, the casement windows, the 3 1/2 inch hardwood doorframes and baseboards and the extensive use of timber for everything. I've even learnt to love my old ss oven which was barely working when we moved here but DH has managed to fix. It's that type of oven that CAN be fixed - it was built to last and be repaired and somehow I just cant imagine a newer oven in the kitchen, it just seems right for the house.

But here is the rub, I have tried hard not to remove or rip things out but in some cases it's just been the better option. one example is the very MCM built-in dresser in the bedroom. It was so worn and needed refinishing so it needed to come out. MCM isnt really my thing and since I had a dresser anyway I wasnt going to put it back. I had it made into a tv/entertainment unit. I still have the huge mirror from it in the garage and I have no idea what to do with it because of it's size and shape. for anyone that loves MCM that was probably a crime

what Im struggling with in the back of my mind is what to do with the bathroom. Pink and aqua arent my thing. The big pink cast iron bath is in remarkably good shape for it's age but it's become a dinosaur that we cant even use. Im guessing the original intent was to fit as many kids in the bath at once so it's fairly large, but it takes so much water to fill and takes forever to run a bath. by the time it's barely half full the hot water has run out. Im only 5'3 and I cant lie in it without slipping down to the end because it's too long so I never use it. The bathroom has so many issues but I have no idea how to gut it and replace everthing without modernising it but it's not a very functional bathroom for today.

But every time Ive had to remove something I end up keeping it, I cant bring myself to throw these things away so I always hope I can repurpose them one day. There's just a touch of guilt because I think, these things must have cost a fair bit for someone to have made and installed and Im just pulling them out! To me it's not just stuff, it's part of the history of the house and the people who lived here decades before.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:01AM
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Trance, truly I feel your pain. I had a totally PINK bathroom in my house at MoccasinLanding. Pink tile, pink tub, pink toilet, and pink sink. I am not a fan of mid-century modern either!

With the tub, I believe you would be justified in taking it out entirely. Heck, turn it into a fish pond outdoors!

These days, when water is in short supply, and it is WISE to live GREEN and ECOFRIENDLY, such a tub is as you say a dinosaur. The shower we built out of tile is not big, and the tub I am buying for the master bath has only a hand held shower, plus it is not a big tub. I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm 5'5" and I think the sloping high back of the slipper tub is just the thing I've always wanted in a tub. I don't really want a whirlpool or a jetted tub. A nice soaking tub is a luxury to me. And now I have the stained glass for the bathroom window which faces west, so I know I'll be in that tub soaking every late afternoon at sunset. sigh....cannot wait for it to arrive.

But back on topic...Your tub is part of history, of course. However, galvanized tubs were also a part of history and folks don't normally use them for bathing these days. Actually I don't see anything wrong with them, but they are out of date now.

What I like....and I have an outdoor shower. When we stayed in Virginia Beach, that house had one. I showered there every day, and when we came home, I told DH that I really really enjoyed it. When we enclosed the back porch, we ran washer hoses off a splitter through the wall to the shower setup, had both hot and cold and a rain head and a hand held shower too.

If you cannot presently remove the tub, turn it into a humongous shower. Have a party in it. But I'm digressing again. I think it is too late and I need to go to bed. It is a few minutes shy of 2 am here. We are GMT -6 if that tells you anything. Good night or good morning, Trance.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 2:54AM
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I'm in a 50s ranch. The kitchen was remodeled before and all new in the bath except for tub which thankfully was white. There is now beadboard over what was an original plastic? wall and the cabinets are gone with a new toilet and pedastel sink. Full house of original wood floors, but I did take out the awful doors everywhere and replace with new. There is also all new baseboard and a fire place surround. I suspect there is a brick fireplace under there.

Would have loved to know what the kitchen layout was originally and redone this myself. There is an original arched doorway to the hall which I would have recreated going into the kitchen. Interesting when seen the larger house next to me that they have the same arch (unique detail), so I know the houses were built by the same builder. They have changed so much to their house it no longer looks like it once was. Other than knowing the neighborhood, one wouldn't catch it was 50s looking.

As for style, I'm a bit rustic mixed with a little country. Like color, so no original colors. But know that at one time everything in this house, including the trim was painted robin egg blue. Sanding for repainting has this showing up in places.

People keep telling me to replace the double hungs, but I like them. There are storm windows which are the same as yours and work great for insulation. They put in new windows next door and it changes the house so much. I prefer my little cottage.

What gets most older homes in trouble is having them rented out for a long time. When finally selling, major restoration is needed and most of the time it isn't to their character.

The lady on the other side of me is 95 and lives in the same house built by her and husband when first married. Nothing has changed and shouldn't as it has everything she needs and wants for giving her comfort at her age. A 2 bedroom, but the master is quite large and she has a wonderful canopy bed, plus so many other original pieces of furniture.

I can see someone buying this house and making a lot of changes. After all these years it would mainly be updating kitchen, bath and family room. Would have to be done and in some respects the house isn't really historical. Nothing specific to uniqueness. But so well cared for, it would be a wonderful little place for making one's own.

There is a site called Save the Pink Bathroom...linked below. It is a fun site. I'm not pledging to sugggest you not change. But enjoyable reads and lots of photos. With your tub, I'd guess you would need to destroy it to remove through doors. Unless your house is like my last one and we had double doors interior and exterior. I'm short too and had a huge gold veined tub. When will this become historic or have character?

Most probably know I volunteer at Habitat Restore. It is the size of a HD. We currently have 50s/60s bathrooms that are every color possible and still in boxes from a plumbing store that went out of business. And they do sell. Nice to know there are some homes around keeping their "character".

I don't think it is necessary to actually stay completly in character. Some things just don't work and we need to make our homes "ours". I always enjoyed the Old House Journal with the photos of Remuddling. Changes can get away from you. A huge expensive kitchen doesn't seem plausable in my home, nor a bath beyond. Both would take over the house and I'd think change the character.

Here is a link that might be useful: Save the Pink Bathroom

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 5:16AM
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This is sort of what makes our new non descript manufactured h0me fun. We can go just about any decor direction in it and not be destroying any character because it does not have any to begin with.

I suppose it would be very hard to turn one of these h0uses to appear Victorian and would feel kind of funny too. They do lend them selves to traditional or modern or cottage. It is all in how you decorate them.

No time to get into the Save the Pink Bathroom. Will do so later. I think I saw a link like this once and it was a fun read. Thanks for the link.

Very interesting thought provoking thread.Enjoying others thoughts on this.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 11:24AM
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I also live in a house with no details, so it is a blank slate. I have fantasized at times about living in an old house with deep porches and large windows, sigh! But I know I am not the sort of person who is going to sacrifice comfort for character. so I'm content to enjoy them vicariously thru others :)
Even though my home has not 'style' built into it, I did face a delimma when I changed my hallway doors. The doors I really wanted were giving me a 'Country' vibe which did not match the way I was trying to go. The doors I ended up with also seemed a little to 'nice' (for lack of a better term) for my house. But I used them anyway and I'm glad I did.
The pink tub an tile would have to go. If you feel guilty then sell it to someone who can use it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 2:24PM
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I guess for me it would depend upon the quality of the original materials and workmanship. Our house was built in 1980, and I cannot imagine anyone lamenting the loss of our original Formica over particle board cabinets, hollow core doors (not even wood!) and gold-green shag carpet. If a house fits an identifiable vernacular, in an area with similar homes that have been maintained, I would feel pressure to keep mine original. Otherwise- meh.

I dabble in old cars, and there is a constant battle between the 'original' crowd, and the 'street rod' crowd. When hot rods first started, they were mostly Model T and Model A Fords that nobody wanted anymore. As the years went by, folks suddenly realized the original old cars were getting scarce, and got upset with the hot rodders. To each, his or her own, I guess. You own it; do what you want with it, as long as you don't negatively impact your neighborhood. BTW- A nicely restored original Model A is worth a lot LESS on the open market than a nicely built hot rod.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Well, I visited Save The Pink Bathroom. It sure had the same floor tile, the same bathtub, and I think the same low round front toilet too. But they had a different sink with a vanity, and mine was wall mounted and PINK TOO. Also my wall tiles were shiny pink ceramic up to chair rail height, and in the tub it was up higher. I decided to treat it like it was a neutral, and basically ignored it. But I dreamed of a white white bathroom.

Casa Del Sol, where we live now, was built around 1950 according to my neighbor who was living there as a young newlywed at the time. The gate in the back fence was there so she and the lady who lived here could visit. Our house was never expanded because the widow lady was older and had no kids requiring more space. In fact, her son built this place for his mama. He lives on the next street over from me, but about the time we came here he suffered a stroke and is mostly incapacitated, or I would have him over to see what he thinks of the changes we are making.

My contractor is a friend and neighbor. He does mostly jobs for well off people but comes to our jobs when he needs a little "comic relief" as I tell him. He is having as much fun with our redo of this house as I am....I cannot say as much for my DH, because he is much more serious about getting things done in a logical regulated fashion with a very firmly adhered to PLAN. But that is okay too. When it is done, he is the first one to say how much better it looks and how much he enjoys it.

Glad to see everyone posting today, your opinions are well expressed and enjoyable to read.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 5:24PM
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this is been a really interesting topic. It's got me thinking about what direction I want to take the house and I've never thought about the big picture like that before. I only see small details and can never see the "whole".

I've decided to stop feeling bad about the changes I make. There's no way to keep the house in character without doing without some of the modern comforts like Idie pointed to.

thanks for the link to save the pink bathrooms imagineer, it's an interesting read over there. I dont think I could be convinced to like pink tubs and sinks but what ML said about keeping the tub for example simple, no jets and gizmos to it, just a simple white tub that I can use wouldnt be too out of character with the house.

I guess if midcentury homes ever become historic, and maybe they will one day there will be plenty of reproduction items available like pink tubs and sinks to replace the lost fixtures.

ML you made a great point really about the growth of a house. maybe they cant really stand still for too long without become less functional and maybe change is a just a natural part of a home's evolution.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 3:07AM
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I posted the link to the Pink bathrooms only for interest. It also has many links to other rooms and homes in the era. Am fascinated with what was.

In your situation the tub sounds huge and not for you. Plus I really couldn't do a pink bathroom, not my color. Give credit to those who can maintain the original, but there are times we need to do our thing.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 8:13AM
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I do not think anyone will agonize over the disappearance of hollow core doors!!! That was one of the easiest changes I made to MoccasinLanding. I replaced every door in the house, including closets, and it made such a difference. I also replaced the front door.

MoccasinLanding was a brick veneer little 3br tract house built, I think, in 1960. The front door was exterior grade hollow core. One swift kick would have done it in. It had 3 little "lights" staggered like stair steps instead of a peep hole. It looked so.......mass production I guess is the word. So I went down to my friendly neighborhood door store, and chatted with dear old Mr. Marcel Corlett, the 85 year old owner, who knew to load all the used shutters in MY CAR. He had a lovely wooden door, unfinished, that had 3 vertical panels of leaded bevel glass in the top. He had made it, and it was new, and I splurged for the $350 to buy it and for that price he said he would also install it. Quick and easy and I dealt with a friendly person who could use the business. Good vibes all around. This door is on my old (and not recently updated) website front page:

That door made such a difference in my living room. The setting sun spilled light through the door, and there were multicolored prisms dancing on the walls and the floor every evening. It helped the house, gave it some character that it lacked.

Shades, I'm sure that in the future when new folks live in your present house, your changes will give them a sense of individuality. No other mfg home will be quite like yours. Especially if you leave all your yard art. I'm VERY impressed with your skills and creativity. You have a property which must be huge, and it soaks up all that attention.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 9:46PM
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Occasional lurker, first time poster here. :)

We live in a little 1940s brick cottage. When we purchased the house, it was previously used as a rental and therefore had cheap upgrades here and there (like 2 of the 8 windows, excluding the basement windows being the cheap vinyl bought at a home improvement store while the rest were all original to the house).

My husband and I want to keep the integrity of the house's era, but also wanted to make upgrades where necessary/practical. When we do a home project, we try to do a modern interpretation of 1940s style, if that makes sense. It just seems wrong to not consider the style and character of a house when making improvements or decorating. For instance, I wouldn't buy a "southwestern" style home but decorate it like a tuscan villa.

Our neighbor, however, researches and replaces any modern upgrade the previous owner his house made with period-accurate items. It looks great, but I can't see cooking in a 1940's kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 2:37AM
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Hi there, TheMayoCynic! So this thread flushed you out of your lurk-dom status! Great, and I know you will be pleased to browse the Smaller Homes forum with the rest of us. I'm sure you could make a few contributions to our discussions also. Like this one.

We have folks here with all sorts of persuasions for redoing their homes. Remember you are welcome to add your two cents at any time.

Was your 1940s house a PREWAR construction, do you think, or maybe just postwar in 1946 or 1947 when there was a huge building boom? Were any spaces added previously, or is it still standing original floorplan? How long have you held sway over this domain? What are your plans or what are you contemplating for the near future?

Glad you are here. Hope to see you more often now.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 9:23AM
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Welcome TheMayoCynic. so glad you popped in. The more the merrier here. Like ML said all comments are interesting and welcome.

When we had the little war time log cabin mentioned above some of the things done to it made it unlivable and even dangerous as they were.Another thing we had to change was the fireplace chimney was rotted out. We had to place a special pipe down the chimney and added a wood stove in the fireplace box to be able to use it. There was no fixing it back to working fireplace and be able to sleep at night. Course the wood stove we used was a really pretty one. Think it was called an Elm. Do not remember the rest of the name.

I almost feel lucky to have our house be a manufactured home so there is no guilt to doing whatever I want to it. Adore the charm of the older houses but in this little town there were none to be had when we were looking to buy.

Again welcome and hope to hear more from you and your little cottage.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 10:21AM
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Welcome themayocynic! I know what you mean about modern 1940's. That's what I'm trying to do here too. Even though my house is 1980's, it has a farmhouse look and feel that I don't want to change.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 11:15AM
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Wow! I feel so welcomed :)

Our house was built exactly during 1940. In October it will be 6 years that we've lived in this cute little place. According to the lady who lives a few houses up (and has lived in her house since she was a kid) the gentleman who built most of our neighborhood first built the house we were in as his home while he began developing the area. The style is a mish mash of quite a few styles, but after attending a Reno Architectural History lecture and showing the speaker our house, we were told it's "Traditional Modern" because, and i quote, "It was traditional, but modern for the time." hhahaha big help that was. :P

As I said, when we bought it, it was a rental, so the one-car garage had been converted into a "bedroom" (boo!) as well as the basement. It still has the original wood floors in most of the house (yay!). I wish there were more details like the phone nook in the hallway, but I got the impression the builder made it functional for himself and spent the details at the other homes he built.

Obviously, we're still working on things, but it's coming along :) I hope to be part of this forum from now on, so thanks for the warm welcome!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 11:37PM
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Oh we hope you will join as much as you can. Enjoyed reading about your house. Sounds pretty cute. when I was a kid we lived in a house with a telephone nook. Thought it was so cool.

Hope we can see pictures of what you are working on. We are a nosy bunch here. LOL Joking really. It is just fun to share pictures when you can.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 11:46PM
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I'm looking for some right now. :) Currently the main focus is to get the front yard presentable. The summer before last, the original oil furnace went kaputz and we had a geothermal heating system installed in the fall of that same year. Last year was spent cleaning up the mess and now I have a nearly blank slate to work on. We decided against getting another oil furnace because of the cost of oil.

That being said, if I post pics and you think I'm off my rocker claiming we're trying to keep the 40s in tact, I won't be offended :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:03AM
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Okay, so I dug up some of the photos from the house inspection, one from this week and took some just now because you all make me want to share hahaha. Sorry I didn't take the time to color correct any of these, but you get the idea.

This is the house when we bought it:

This was taken during the week of our progress with the gardening. Still very bare:

Hallway during inspection:

Taken just now, under supervision:

This is the only pic I could find that we took of the bathroom. The sink was just a generic, beat-up vanity:

This is what we did (note we kept the original tile):

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:37AM
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WOW you really worked the yard over. Looks so pretty now. And you changed the corner window? Your house is darling. Love how you switched it up in the bath retaining the old and adding the new. It can be married nicely when done right and I think you nailed it. Really nice

We were shabby minimalist cottage. Now leaning towards abstract cottage which is a real mix up of styles. some how I will make it all work.

Thanks so much for the pictures. And do I see mosaic mirror on one narrow wall??


    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:46AM
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Thanks for the compliments! Actually it was the geothermal install that tore the yard up and provided the blank slate. Nearly our entire yard was covered with the sediment that was dug out to sink the wells. About 2 feet high from ground level.

I would love to see what abstract cottage looks like! I'd say ours is more eclectic cottage because we have put our own twists here and there.

The mirror mosaic on the archway from the living room to the dining room was there when we got here. It was done so poorly, with sharp corners sticking out over the edges, our realtor actually cut herself when she was showing us the house. I ended up taking it down.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Well you have done a wonderful job of making your yard look pretty.

Too bad about the mirror mosaic. I grind or tumble my glass to keep that from happening.

If you go all the way through this album you can see my style moving from totally shabby to abstract. then the two styles combining. The last few pictures are more into my abstract era.

Heading to bed.


Here is a link that might be useful: New house evolving.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 2:08AM
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Thanks for sharing the photos shades of idaho! I think you're doing abstract cottage very well! It feels cottagey but the mosaic touches are like little surprises when you see them. Did you do all of them yourself? I keep kicking around the idea of putting a mosaic on the back wall of our phone nook, but seeing as how I have never done mosaic before, I think I should start off on something not attached to the house first ;)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 2:30AM
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oh what a gorgeous little house mayo! I love your picket fence and the rock edging, that is so up my alley. your bathroom looks fantastic. I think it's a great idea that you kept some of the features and changed over things like the sink and it really does match with my ideal of a '40s house.

I hope we get to see more of your house, me, I need an education in how to update while keeping with the style of a house.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:50AM
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Boy, lots to think about here. I've been mulling over a reply, but there's so much to say. :o) I will try to come up with a succinct short(ish) post here.

Welcome, themayocynic! Thank you for sharing pics of your home. It's lovely!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:43AM
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Thanks trancegemini! This is a work in progress, but fortunately a labor of love. I'd love to see the homes of other members. Is there a particular thread where members posted pics of their home that I should look for?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:48AM
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mayo we tend to post our pics all over the place, even in the weather topics hehe

There are a few dedicated posts for different projects like prairiegirls kitchen and living area reno, the ok, with much trepidation topic

idietolive did an amazing kitchen makeover here which you might not have seen kitchen makeover

we all pretty much have different projects going, you'll see some amazing mosaic work in shadesofidaho's posts under different topics, this is her current project bathroom window

and Moccasinlanding is working on two houses at once, she has some great sun room pics hidden in the getting organised and downsizing topic

I'm working on a few things at the moment but I've posted some photos of my master bedroom in work in progress topic but unfortunately I never took any before photos of this room before I started on it a while ago

these are just a few of the topics off the top of my head but you'll find pics under topics that start as one thing and evolve into a whole other discussion too

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:09PM
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@prairie-girl Thanks! I guess I needed to refresh before posting. Didn't mean to snub you. :)

I'm looking forward to looking at everyone's project pics. The only downside is that it might cause me to want to start another one!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Trance is absolutely the poster with the best memory on sure is not MOI. :)

Mayo, your home is just great. Does it have any trees left in the yard after all the digging? What happened to your place reminds me of what happened to my DH's little cape up north when he got ready to connect to the city sewer. All his yard was what he called "glacial junk" meaning rocks and boulders--what I wouldn't do to drag some of those home to Alabama before we sell that house! But since some of his really overgrown hedges next to the house were being removed by the back hoe and bulldozer and bobcat, we decided to take all of them out and start fresh. Now there is dwarf Korean boxwood and Elijah Blue fescue and one dwarf hardy azalea and a couple of small holly bushes to replace the tall hedge which in 40 years had grown to hide the windows and other parts of the house front. A local nurseryman likes to drive by our house because he says it is much different than the landscaping of other homes in town....truly I researched what is hardy in zone 5B, but other homes did not make the choices I did. I'm a true blue gardener, and a southerner to boot, and working in that yard was my only chance to learn how they do things in New England, where the growing season is less than HALF as long as it is in south Alabama.

And, Prairie-girl, you just chime in when the mood strikes you. You have good ideas and we all can use more of those.
I always loved the concept of "brainstorming" where everybody involved said what came to mind--in a meeting about a certain subject anyway--and nobody stopped to critique it, or blow it off. That idea was the springboard to the next and to the next, and eventually it led to a whopping big and good idea that made everybody happy...or close anyway. :)

Of course, I'm sure everyone has heard about the Camel? It was the product of a committee that God set up to design a HORSE. But I digress. :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 6:06PM
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ML, we have a false weeping cherry that managed to survive though the trucks were mere inches away. Our newly planted linden list a limb, but then got damaged this winter by all the snow we got. Ended up having to replace it. There are large shrubs here and there, but I keep kicking around the idea of another small tree. Maybe even a Rose of Sharon in tree form.

I'm with you on researching plants before putting them in. I'd like good "bones" for the garden during the off seasons.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Welcome Mayo! You have the most darling home! Those new windows made such a big difference too. Where is the front door? Is that a corner lot? Were all of the flowere in the first picture torn out for the furnace replacement?
Join in, give us your opinions on everything. We love opinions and pictures.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Thanks idie2live! The front door is on the other side of the house, about where the lilac bush is in the photo I posted. Sadly, there is no patio :(

It's not really a corner lot. That is an alley next to us. Albeit, a nice alley, but still an alley. I took out the irises and overgrown shrubs that are in the first picture. The only thing we kept in the front yard was the japanese maple (not shown). I'm not a fan of irises and my friend is, so I gave them to her.

I hope to be of some use here as we've done so much to the house. From replacing the original cloth-bound electrical wire to drywalling the basement, all ourselves.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 12:16AM
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That is so exciting to have done so much of your own work themayocynic. Cloth covered wire. EEEEKKK Sort of scary and to think it was such the in thing in it's time. Your house is just darling.

I also love the yard and this yard really needs so much work. Actually hoping to get out tomorrow and get something done out there. Been so windy. It was easier to spend the time inside cleaning up and catching up on so many of the chores that were ignored in the three room makeover. I have high hopes to make big progress this summer.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 12:43AM
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We seem to be done with the bad weather and the sun is bright and warm. About time I took the 10 huge bags of mulch and the 5 huge bags of potting soil out of the car, so I can bring in the PORCELAIN FLOOR TILES I BOUGHT FOR THE MASTER BATH. Yeah, they are underneath all that. Friday when I went shopping, the bad weather started just as I came home, and leaving the bags in the car seemed the best option.

DH is still busy putting the finishing touches on the wide (but flat profile) crown molding in the front bedroom, so I can finally hang my floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall curtains on the two window walls. I prepainted the molding pieces, but will need to recoat them due to the dings and nicks and screw holes. It is so difficult to hang anything on thick cement plaster walls, that will be totally secure and hold any kind of weight, and so this crown molding jobby will be screwed into the studs and maybe ceiling joists. My DH has a bomb shelter mentality I think. It won't fall down!!!

Even though THIS house had no original crown molding, I'm thinking it is period appropriate, and will be in character with the rest of this very sturdy and strongly built little cottage. Nothing fancy, just plain and simple and serving a purpose. When DH gets the bright idea to do the other rooms in crown molding, I'm hoping he takes the advice of our friendly contractor/neighbor, and uses what they called "picture molding" so that larger pictures could be hung from it with visible cords and NO holes in the wall. I remember my grandma having tassles decorating the cords.
So without agonizing over details, we make a NOD toward this traditional feature, and use it in a way consistent with our lives today.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 11:57AM
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OOOOHHHHHH I have a box of those tassels. The vintage ones. Some are a velvet like materian and in different colors and some are what I think might be silk. They has price tags on the wire rings that held them in dozens marked 75 cents or?? One thing I have not shed myself of. I think I still have them somewhere. Now my brain is wondering where. Hummmmmmmmmm

I have a picture that is supposed to hang that way. I cheated and used the hanger I put on the back and then tiny nail to hold up the cord.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 12:46PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, All,
moccasinlanding, when we bought our house the PO had removed all the original trim and paneled the LR with weathered gray barn siding. They used it to make matching window trim, and put down gray wall-to-wall carpet. Except for the ugly brick of the FP, and the ceiling, the whole room was gray. We covered the barn siding, pulled up the carpet, and refinished the hardwood. We couldn't afford to replace the window trim, so I painted the rough wood. It's my dream to redo the trim in a more vintage, period style (1920's).

Mayo, (LOL, that was the PO's last name!) your home is charming. I love the bathroom tile--so glad you saved it. I used epoxy to paint the tile in our redone bathroom. If the next owner wants to refinish it, it's there waiting!

Transgemini, thank you for all the links. I've seen a couple of the threads, but it nice to have some background info.

You all have such great ideas for storage!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 3:25PM
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Mama Goose, I always imagined using old barn siding in a house, but never in a living room. More likely in a family room or more casual surroundings. Definitely not near a kitchen which has a way of depositing greasy stuff on any paint job or other finish. Very difficult to keep that coarse finish clean, IMHO. I sympathize with your desire to redo the trim in a 1920s period style, smoother finish.

Mama Goose, epoxying the bathroom tile instead of removing it is inspirational to me. We have a totally BLUE TILE, BLUE TUB, BLUE SINK, BLUE TOILET bathroom in DH's little cape up in Massachusetts. He hates the tub surround because it leaks, is not tiled in. I'm now thinking we could change out the toilet and sink, have the tub refinished in white, remove the surround and have a newer tile put in. Of course, If the epoxied tile does not match closely, I suppose we could just rip it out. I saw where a towel warmer in the bath was used in place of a bathroom heater. Possibly the floor tile, white with a tiny diamond in the middle of a 4" area, could be taken out and a heated floor put in. But right now, we are wanting to be done with that house so we can enjoy it a little while before putting it up for sale. I will miss that little house, and the lovely yard too. It was a brief taste of what it would have been like if DH and I had married 50 years ago when we were first engaged.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 3:27PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

ml, 'I'm so BLUE, and so are YOU, what a shame.'-Barry White

We had our blue tub refinished professionally, and because the pro didn't get all the grout-grit out of the tub, we can now exfoliate while bathing ;)

The painted tile (DIY, yours truly) came out much better. A 28oz can cost about $35 (kit includes TSP, gloves, and paintbrush), and was more than enough to do two coats. I used a roller, instead of the brush, to do a slightly textured finish. (The instructions advised against doing this.) If you use a roller, use sticky tape to pull off loose fibers first. The paint comes premixed in white--I had it custom mixed to match a color called 'Lovely Buff', very appropriate, I thought!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 4:02PM
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MamaGoose, apprecciate the inside skinny on DIY on the wall tile. I think I could do that. If it doesn't work out nice, then out it comes with no loss.

And having the tub refinished professionally is my thought also. Hopefully NOT with the exfoliating feature built in.

I'm thinking you mean use the sticky tape to pull loose fibers off the roller first. I found a kind of roller which is for epoxy paints, and it is a hard foam roller. Not very wide, so I suppose it would work on the 4" wall tiles.

The sink in the bathroom is very hard to clean, and it is also in a vanity which was homemade and quite low. The toilet is a 3.5 gallon flusher, so it is definitely out of there. We might even put in a corner toilet, but I'm in favor of a one piece 1.24 American Standard Cadet 3 Compact, which is the model we bought for the tiny bath in Alabama. And it never has failed to flush first time.
Well, enough off the thread here. Sorry about that. :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 10:11AM
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Mayo, don't want to forget to make this comment to your thought about doing a mosaic project. You said do something not attached to the house first.

From what I've seen, many folks make their pattern on some substrate that they can then glue in place. Your first try might not make the cut, but I bet you are a quick learner.
I say GO FOR IT. You might even make it a mirrored backboard mosaic?

Now to read the rest of everybody's remarks. You guys are keeping me so busy scrolling and reading.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 8:59PM
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ML, I was thinking that same thing. Just trying to think of a pattern. Fortunate thing is I have a bunch of sample tile. We were going to do a mosaic wall in the basement bathroom we added and lots of places online will send you samples :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Mayo sounds like a fun time ahead for you. Had to ,wanted to, spend the day re-arranging my studio to fit more in and hope to go in and break some glass tonight.

There is hardi plank/board you can get at home depot. It can be attached to the wall later.
Just leave a couple pieces loose until after you attach it to the wall then glue them over top.

there is also a board called wedi board that is not as hard for not wet areas. Be sure to affix a hanging system prior to starting your mosaic. Almost impossible to do after.

Have fun with it. I do not worry too much about patterns. I gather what I want to use color wise and any special pieces. then start pushing them around. They will speak to you in where they want to go. Just relax and let it happen. It is really fun when the tile/glass wants to play with you.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:05PM
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Thanks for the heads up on the boards, I will look into them. I know about letting things tell me when they are done. My job and art room/library are full of things that my brain tells me I want to do more to, but my heart tells me I've completed it :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 12:18AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

ML, 'I found a kind of roller which is for epoxy paints, and it is a hard foam roller.'

Good to know--that would eliminate the stray fibers in the 'tough-as-nails' dried epoxy. I've been thinking about using epoxy on all our exterior doors, and possibly on the new closet doors. With all the tricycle and Plasma-car traffic that we have, I'm already seeing tiny dings. I forgot to mention--make sure you are ready to paint before you have the color mixed. It's one-part epoxy--no catalyst, but once the can is opened to add color, you're on the clock.

Hi, shades and mayo, I'm enjoying all the mosaic info!

Oops, trancegemini, sorry about the spelling error.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 10:21AM
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