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Car shows/cruise-in's, photography, postcard collecting, antique shows, flea markets, auctions, sporting events, working on my house, restoring cars ( Click here to see my Mach 1 page ).
Favorite book of all time: Pride and Prejudice
Favorite poem of all time:
"When you are old" by W. B. Yeats
Favorite quotes of all time:
"Many times I have been driven upon my knees by the firm conviction that I had nowhere else to turn."
"Some men see things as they are and ask why, I dream things that never were and ask why not?"
Robert F. Kennedy
Here are some pictures of my family and my house I have been working on since 1996:
Post card of my house (on the right) circa 1902-1907.
My dad, up in the attic when we were working on the attic facade. That's me, holding on for dear life through the attic window, nearly 40 feet off the ground!! Dad passed away in October 2013.
My mom, painting on the porch.
A couple of pictures of the outside of my house before work began. Pigeons and other animals were living in both the attics!!!
Relaying of the chimneys. Work was handled by Randy George of George Masonry. Chimneys cost nearly 1/5 the purchase price of the house to rebuild!!!
Work on the roof and the finished product. Roof construction took over two weeks with five guys working most days. Everything from the sheeting up had to be replaced, including many of the rafter ends. Roof pattern was laid out on my computer shingle by shingle to create the design. R. J. Construction did the roofing job.
Installing the new heating system in the bottom of the house. I still need to put a furnace in the attic, one furnace can't heat the whole house! Mullen Environmental handled the heating/air conditioning job. Everything, including all the ductwork had to be replaced.
Rebuilding of the porch roof and it's built-in gutters. Work on the porch has spanned seven years and cost more than I paid for the house in the beginning!!! R. J. Construction also handled the porch reconstruction. The columns, railings, and floors were redone by my dad and I. Basically the entire South-West side of the porch had to be replaced.
Attic facade before and after restoration. After working two months, nearly 40 feet off the ground, it cured me of my fear of heights!!!
View of the front foyer ceiling. The ceiling is a wainscot type and all the posts from the upper floor extend down to make pendant drops at this side of the ceiling. There were once beveled leaded glass windows all around the front door, they were stolen when the house sat empty some time in the 1980's. Cost to replace the windows is going to approach $10,000, which of course explains why I haven't replaced them yet. Sorry this is not a better pic, but I had to scale the pic so it wouldn't be too large for downloading.
This is the front foyer looking in from the front door. The same style wainscot that is on the foyer ceiling covers the back of the open staircase.
This is a side view of the front staircase, the paneled theme continues on the side. My dad refinished the staircase.
This is the newel post at the bottom of the front stairs. Though it looks had carved these posts were widely made in the late 19th and early 20th century on machines made for just such work. Believe it or not these machines are still available today.
This is a view of the front parlor main doorway. The doorway and columns are 9 feet tall. The columns are Corinthian and made of quarter-sawn oak as is all the woodwork on the first floor of the house. All of the wood work, and much of the house, was reworked when the 1902 remodel took place, there once was a fireplace in the foyer where the staircase is now. The house and its decor is somewhat of a "hodgepodge" of different styles, namely Mission Style (the woodwork), Edwardian, Greek Revival, with some Queen Anne thrown in. Other elements of the house (such as the original leaded glass windows) echo the Art Nouveau style which was popular from 1890-1915. Early "Colonial Revival" houses were nothing like what we know this style as today, they borrowed on every style from 1800-1900, large verandahs and even turrets were common, and it was also fashionable to incorporate bits from styles popular at the time.
Mixing of styles was common for Victorian houses both in decor and furniture as the Victorians were "eclectic". This house was built in 1875 but remodeled in 1902, the year after Queen Victoria's death. At the time the house was remodeled styles in America and England were rapidly changing, and the decor of the house reflects that fact which makes it a time capsule of transitional architecture in early 20th century America.
This is a view of the front parlor bay window. The window is about 8 1/2 feet tall. There is an identical window in the sitting room. These windows are not original to the house but were added when it was remodeled in 1902. Like the front door windows the beveled glass window that once was in the top center of this bay was stolen when the house sat vacant some time in the 1980's.
This is a view of one corner of the front parlor floor. Each corner has a design like this, and the "stripes" you see running off to the side extend all the way around the room making the corner designs. The floor is quarter-sawn oak and the design is mahogany inset in the oak providing a nice contrast. Strangely enough, all the original hardwood floors on the first floor have unfinished centers. This was often done to save money, the floor centers being covered with oriental or Persian carpets anyway.
A couple of pictures of the newel post light I installed on the staircase. Interestingly, they installed the light on the landing of the stairs instead of the post at the bottom of the stairs as was customary. This is not the original light, but a period correct replacement. The original light was stolen along with the original light fixtures and windows. This light is all electric just as the original light was.
A picture of the front foyer light I installed. This is not the original light, but a period correct replacement. The original light was stolen along with the original light fixtures and windows. This light is all electric just as the original light was. The globe is a period piece from around 1900, the fixture is a reproduction from Rejuvenation Lighting.
This is the fixture I bought and restored to hang in the sitting room. It is an all brass "combination" electric-gas fixture and hangs a little higher at six foot five inches than it would have originally (originally it would have been about six feet off the floor so the socket switches could be easily reached). I decided to install it a little higher than authentic because these days people are taller than they were in 1900. These type of combination fixtures were installed in the house in 1902 when it was wired for electricity. When I bought the house there were only two (yes 2) wall light switches in the whole house! This seems odd until you take in to account two facts; first is that in early 1900 most fixtures were turned on at the socket (a turn-key switch for each bulb), and number two is that this house is nearly all solid brick. There is now at least one wall switch in every room. This is no small feat considering 95% of the walls are solid brick (if you want to know how you wire a solid brick house e-mail me :). We were turned down by 2 electricians who refused to wire the house because it is solid brick, so we finally just did it ourselves.
Electric-gas fixtures were an oddity that were only produced for about 20 years from 1895-1915 as early electrical service was quite unreliable, and gas was often needed as a back-up light source. The 2 arms that are lit in this photo are electric, the 2 that are not are gas. On this fixture the gas arms point down instead of up because it used "inverted gas burners" with mantles similar to what one would find in a Coleman lantern which put off more light than a gas burner alone. Believe it or not, the gas arms on this fixture were probably as bright, or brighter, than the electric arms when these fixtures were first produced. This is due to the fact that the bulbs back then were carbon filament, and a 60 watt carbon filament bulb is only as bright as a 20 watt modern tungsten bulb. Tungsten bulbs were not produced until 1911. This fixture is not original to the house, all the original fixtures were unfortunately stolen at the same time the windows were. I will post more pics of other fixtures as I finish and install them.
This is a photo of ceiling in the "privy" area of the bathroom. It is a stencil design from an 1890's stencil book. I scaled the design to fit the little room. The center flower is real gold, and the outer two "dots" are real silver. The gold and silver were applied by "gilding", a very old process of transfer of gold and silver leaf to objects and surfaces.
This is the front door of the house from the outside. This would have been the formal entrance reserved for guests only originally (there is another front door off to the left at the back of the porch for everyday use). The front door was in bad shape. We sanded and replaced some boards for several weeks. We finished it in a "mahogany" type stain and everything got three coats of marine varnish. The door way is all quarter-sawn oak. It was originally built by a cabinet maker, his name and the date were written under one of the boards.
My house, pretty much as it appears today.
Oh yes, to those that wonder, the house IS haunted by at least one or more "spirits". They seem to make their presence known most when a large project is under way or a lot of people are working on the house at one time. Personal experiences include non-existent people running up the front stairs, lights that turn off on their own, doors that open on their own, and seeing someone "watching" you out of the corner of your eye (they are gone when you turn around).
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest--and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
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