Friday, September 21, 2007

Garage-Next Phase

I had quite a surprise yesterday when I went over my house to pick up my mail. My Dad had already taken off the rusted tin roof on my garage. You can see before photos in my previous post. Below is the stripped garage. The white pieces inside are insulation...obviously we need a few more (as seen on the left side).


Here is an inside view, looking up...skylight, anyone??



We will be putting on a new roof, then pouring a new concrete floor and giving the exterior a fresh coat of paint. My garage is going to be a beauty once she is done.
Sunday, September 16, 2007

Garage Mystery Solved

The tragic state of this garage is the reason for my recent lack of postings. Below is the photo of what the garage looked like at closing. This century-old, timber-sill, 20x22 foot garage is amazing; but looks can be deceiving. Here is the short; but deadly list of what needs to be done.
  • Remove rusted/damaged tin roof
  • Remove broken concrete floor
  • Repair rotted wood plank siding
  • Repaint

Let me tell you that the list is going to take the better part of several weeks to accomplish. At this stage, we have removed the rotted siding planks and replaced them with new ones. It's a lovely patchwork of old and new right now; but once we paint everything you won't be able to tell. We have removed the sliding doors, so we had better access to the concrete floor; which is the real disaster, the whole one side was sunken in and had dropped approx. 8-10 inches from it's original position. The photo below shows the reason.


It's a combination of bad workmanship and erosion. First, we have figured out that the dirt floor was never graded. They just poured concrete over the dirt that existed, there is no gravel or any sort of stabilatation. Some of the concrete measures 2" and some of it measures 6"...it's what I like to call a mishmash. Secondly, erosion has eaten away the soft dirt underneath as seen in the photo above. Along the entire back wall is a 3 foot cavern and amazingly the concrete was "floating" over it. How the entire floor didn't cave in, I'll never know.


This is our in progress shot; but I'm happy to say that about 380 of the 440 sqft is now excavated and in the dumpster. The rest is lying in a pile waiting for our aching muscles to recoop. I'll show you more photos once we get further along, for now I need to take 2 Advil and lay down.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Space Solution

I have a dilemna, I would really like to maintain some of the historic charm of my old house; but I'd also like to add the modern touches that make it more liveable and convenient.

In the room that will be my Master Bedroom, I'm trying to decide what storage options are available to me. You see the room measure about 16x16 and has 10ft or taller ceilings. There are no closets and I'm trying to decide if I should build one or keep with tradition and use a Chiffarobe Cabinet. I grew up without closets and was used to the additional furniture. My wardrobe is quite small, so that's not really an issue. I love owning antiques, so I know that buying an old piece is always an option. My issue with building a closet is that I can't figure out how to make it look like part of the room and not just a bumpout from the wall. Since the ceilings are so high, I'm afraid of the massiveness too.

While it appears that I've already talked myself into the furniture instead, I'd love to hear your opinion on this? or if you have photos, etc to share.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

House History, 1870s-Pres

A lot of the appeal of owning an old home is the fact that it is a part of history. Before I closed on the house, I already began doing some research online. That research led me to my local library; which suprisingly there was a book entitled Foundations of a Community: Oakville before the Turn of the Century; which was published in 1977 by Lemay Bank & Trust.

This book was an invaluable source of information and even provided me with a photo of the house back in 1977. The photo isn't great because once again there are a lot of trees hiding the house (different trees that is); but nevertheless it is a photo I didn't have before.

Below is the history I've been able to pull together from the above named book, census records and misc. other information found online.
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Pre 1870s, Henry Taylor Blow, a prominent politician from the St. Louis area owned the land.
-He served in the State Legistature, was a US Ambassador to Brazil and Argentina amongst other things. Sidenote: Henry T. Blow's father was the original owner of the famous slave, Dred Scott.
-While Henry T. Blow had several children, one of his daughters, Susan Blow (for who my street is named after, Susan Road) has a legacy all her own. Susan was a famous Educator and her name has gone down in history as the founder of the first kindergarten in St. Louis.


1870s, Frank Koelbel, a Civil War Veteran purchased 22 acres from H. T. Blow.



1880s-1890s, Conrad Meyer I purchased these 22 acres and his son, Conrad II built the house sometime around 1890.


1910, Mike Zelch (Zilch) purchased the house and farm when Conrad II moved back to his father's farm which adjoined the property. Mike, his wife Minnie and daughter Arville lived in this home into the 1930s and maybe longer.


19xx, the land was divided and sold as separate lots.


19xx, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Henenberg were the owners during the time the book (Foundations of a Community...) came out in 1977.


1985, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cox purchased the house.


2007, I purchased the home and 1/2 acre that remains-YEAH!!!!
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Of course, should anyone reading this know any of the above people, back history or have any further information, I would LOVE to learn more.

Studio Beginnings

I'm a very artsy-crafty type of girl and I need a space where I can sew, paint, draw, whatever makes me happy. In this house, from the moment I saw this open room at the top of the 2nd floor, I knew that it would make an excellent studio space. Now obviously, I had the vision to see past the uneven floor tiles, broken closet doors and cable wiring that littered the floor.

While I know that I will need a lot of storage space, the small closets on either side of the window wouldn't cut it...so I tore them out as you can see in the photo below. This simple demo project opened up the room enormously. If you are curious, the room now measures approx. 11 x 15. Those closets ate up almost 30-40 sq ft of floor space.


While my studio is soooo far from being complete, I hate even using the word; it at least has the beginnings of a room one can relax in. As you can see from the photo below once I added some wood flooring, suitable lighting and a fan it now looks like a room...of course it will look even better once I trim out the window, finish plastering the walls where the closets stood, paint, etc, etc, etc.



It makes me happy to see some progress, no matter how small.
Sunday, September 2, 2007

First Discovery

So, let's start off with a photo of the Master Bedroom as it looked on Closing Day. This room measures approx. 15x15 and taking up one entire wall is an enormous built in cabinet. Now I'm not sure what the P.O. used this cabinet for; but as you can see it needed to go...okay, let's be honest, it's just one big blue ugly cabinet.



I gave my brother the task of tearing down the cabinet and after about an hour of demo it was a heap of blue boards on the floor. The below photo is a somewhat closeup view of the wall behind that massive blueness. There is some purple paint, teal wallpaper and upon closer inspection some very old brown wallpaper that proved to be quite intricate...I'm hoping that maybe it was the original wallpaper from the time the house was built; but who knows.



There are these egg shapes near the top and bottom of the wall and the entire background is covered in dark brown vertical lines. I don't know what the original color of the paper was, maybe it was brown, or maybe the colors have just turned brown from layers of other stuff on top. It would be very interesting to know how old this paper is and what the original sheet actually looked like. I'll have to do some research on this along the way and let you know what I dig up. In the meantime, if you have any theories of your own, I'd love to hear them.



I'm glad that I found this little piece of history. While I haven't decided how the bedroom will look once I'm through with it. It's just nice to know that something so old survived for all these years.