Monday, December 29, 2014

#671 Ozarks Bungalow featured in American Bungalow

After years of subscribing to American Bungalow, we now receive our copies in the mailbox at our very own Ozarks Bungalow.

The latest issue is of particular appeal.  For one thing, we love the wisteria on the cover.

And inside (on page 8 to be exact), we find our Ozarks Bungalow included in the family album:

We're excited to be included and we look forward to continuing our renovation documentation here in our blog.  To see only our posts about bungalow renovation, just click on the the bungalow label at the right.

Yours in being part of the bungalow family,

Sunday, December 07, 2014

#670 Overhead Garage Door Returns Home

They just don't make them like this anymore.

Our Overhead Door opener Model H is is 60 years old, has been in constant use since the 1950s, and still works well.  

We decide to replace it in order to take advantage of the modern-day safety stops and remote controls. But what to do with our classic?   

We offer to donate it back to the installer, Overhead Door of Springfield, and they snap up our offer.  Soon our Model H will be getting the rest it deserves, in an exhibit at the Overhead Door district office in Kansas City. 

Yours in recycling,

Friday, December 05, 2014

#669 Thanksgiving donation to Habitat

Shortly before Thanksgiving, we empty our house of unneeded items and make a donation to Habitat for Humanity.  It's a win win.

Steve and Glen from the Springfield store pull up out front right on schedule.

And soon, they're carrying out two built-in cabinets.
The fireplace mantel goes too including all that lovely pink marble.

There are lots of other building materials to donate too, so that gives us time to get to know each other as we fill up the back of the truck.
Springfield's Habitat for Humanity is doing good work and we're happy to be a part of it. Our items went straight to the sales floor at Habitat ReStore where anyone can shop for architectural artifacts.  The proceeds help with local housing needs. And we've moved our own Ozarks Bungalow restore project several steps forward. 

Yours in recycling,

Monday, October 27, 2014

#668 Halloween Bungalow

To put us in the spirit of the season and to let the neighborhood know we're here, we decide to decorate more for Halloween than we ever have before.

We replaced 3 white light bulbs with orange bulbs on our front porch.  Whew!
But then we saw this cool bungalow on the The Craftsman Bungalow web page and we're starting to think we may need to go bigger. 
Yours in preparing for the season,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

#667 Our Gypsum Lath Surprise

Our Ozarks bungalow was built in 1914, the heyday of finishing interior walls with lath (thin wooden strips nailed to the framing) covered with several coats of smoothed wet plaster. The wet plaster oozed between the lath to form 'keys' which hardened as they dried, locking the plaster to the wall. You can imagine this was not something 1914 homeowners took on as a weekend do-it-yourself project.  It took a lot of time and skilled labor to install lath and plaster.  Here's a behind-the-scenes peek at one of our lath and plaster walls where you can see the vertical wall studs, horizontal lath, and oozing plaster keys frozen in time since 1914. 
So I was both surprised and puzzled when I opened up one of our interior walls and found no lath, no plaster, no oozing, no keys, but instead this:
What's up here?  From the back, this wall looks to be covered with modern drywall, clearly not from 1914.  But it's odd that each drywall strip is only 16" wide. My first thought was the wall had been remodeled and I had found where a drywall crew used up their scrap.  But upon closer inspection, I saw the drywall strips have two factory-finished edges.  So they were not field-cut scraps.  They were created as 16"-wide strips at the drywall factory.  Hmmm.

Take a close look at the photo for more clues.  The wall shows ghosts of a previous lath-and-plaster wall.  See the gray horizontal lines on the framing boards spaced at the same width as lath?  That's where the wet plaster originally oozed between the now-missing lath. The vertical studs show a pattern of two nail holes where each lath was attached.  So at one time, this wall too was covered in authentic 1914 lath and oozing plaster.  But then what happened?  Why remove the lath and plaster?  Once removed, why would a builder use 16"-wide drywall strips rather than full 4'-wide sheets to rebuild the wall?  Hmmm.

About the time we were sleuthing our walls, I was pleasure reading Norm Abram's book Norm Abram's New House and came across a paragraph Norm wrote just for me:
By the time my father built his house, the system had evolved into fastening panels of rock lath (a rigid gypsum core with a paper covering) that were sixteen by forty-eight by three-eighths of an inch thick to the studs and then applying about three-eighths of an inch of plaster: a base coat of brown plaster and then a finish coat of white plaster or plaster tinted to the desired color of the room.
Of course I fact-checked Norm with a specimen sliced from our own wall.  In the photo below, there's our 3/8" thick gypsum lath at the top layered with multiple coats of seamless plaster to form nearly an inch-thick wall surface just as Norm described.

Combining this revelation with other more visible clues, we've concluded our house underwent an extensive remodeling in the 1950's when builders were in an extended period of transition converting over from the old-school labor-intensive lath-and-plaster approach to the speedy modern drywall. As part of that 1950's remodeling, most of our original 1914 lath and plaster was ripped out and replaced with then-popular hybrid gypsum lath

Surprise. Ours is a 1914 Ozarks bungalow with mid-century gypsum lath walls.

Yours in wall sleuthing,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#666 Steam-O-Rama

On a fabulous fall Friday, we head to Steam-O-Rama, the Ozarks Steam Engine Show held annually near Republic, MO for the last 53 years.

The last time we attended was in 1996 when our nephew was not quite 2 years old and when photos were still taken in black and white.   Back then, we spent a lot of time near the steam-powered bubble-making machine. 

Our interests change as we grow older and this year, we arrive in time for the parade of equipment.  Sometimes - just for fun - we call it the cavalcade of power! We sit in the grandstand as the announcer describes the steam engines during their slow (2 mph at top speed) march across the field. Each steam engine has a unique whistle used for communication and today used for our entertainment. 
The parade also includes gas engines and other antique tractors such as this orchard tractor, designed to pass easily under tree branches.
My favorite entry is the orange tractor with the engine in the back.  I especially appreciate the color coordination.
 Kelly's favorite tractor at the show is this Ford 4000.
And from the Johnston archives, here's the Ford 4000 Kelly used back in his farming days.

Yours in looking forward to the 54th Steam-O-Rama,

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

#665 Wright in the Midwest

After leaving the Penfield House, the Wright fun continues throughout our Midwestern sojourn.

Our time in Oak Park allows for just one Wright stop, so we choose a return to Unity Temple.  Early on a Thursday morning, our timing is just right and allows for a long quiet time to sit in the sanctuary of this masterpiece. 
In Madison, we are greeted by our friend Cindy who offers to take us around to Madison's Wright buildings.  We had visited the Monona Terrace but not much else, so we jump at the chance and jump in the car.
Two of the houses on Cindy's itinerary (John Pew house on Lake Mendota and Van Tamelen house) are not visible from the street but we enjoyed these 7 Madison masterpieces.

Madison #1:  Our first stop is the Robert Lamp house, not as easy to find as you'd think since the house is built in the middle of the block and we must walk up the driveway between 2 other houses to reach it.  That setting is unusual for Wright.    
Madison #2:  The Eugene Gilmore house, aka the airplane house, is a Prairie School design built in 1908.  This house is just steps away from Cindy's house in the University Heights Historic District and she walks past it each day on her way to work.    
 Madison #3:  Though not designed by Wright, this cool house is where Cindy lives and we love it!
Madison #4:  Our next stop is not a house but a church.  Construction of the First Unitarian Society was completed in 1951.  Kelly is particularly taken with the bench seating.
Madison #5:  The Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House was built in 1937 and is the first Usonian home. 
Madison #6: Not many have the opportunity to work with Wright twice, but when the Jacobs family outgrew their first house, Herbert commissioned Wright to build the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs Second House in 1944.
 Madison #7: The Walter Rudin house was completed in June 1959, two months after Wright's death.
North of Madison a few hundred miles, we find ourselves within spitting distance of a Wright-designed gas station, so we point ourselves in the direction of Cloquet, MN.  The Lindholm Service Station was built in 1958 and is the only station designed by Wright.
The Historic Park Inn in Mason City, IA is just one more reason to visit this architecturally interesting city.  We're now planning our 25th wedding anniversary here in 2019.  Come join us!

We've toured Wright's Stockman house in the past but couldn't help ourselves from driving by again on a beautiful summer night in Mason City.
Yours in appreciating the Wright-filled Midwest,

Monday, September 08, 2014

#664 In Usonian Style

Twenty years ago we were wed.
To celebrate, here's what we said:
"We'll rest for a while,
In Usonian style,
Where with friends our anniversary we'll spend."

For our 20th wedding anniversary, we reserved the Louis Penfield house near Cleveland for a celebration with friends.  Kelly and I enjoy the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and have visited many of his houses through the years.  Ten years ago, we celebrated our 10th anniversary in the Bernard Schwartz House, a Usonian home in Two Rivers, WI, and we are eager to carry on the tradition in another beautiful Usonian.

This one is different.  Working for a client who was 6'8" tall, Wright deviated from his typical low entryways. The doorways are 8' tall.  But the tall entry still feels compressed, this time in width. The open stairway is so narrow that all the upstairs furniture had to be built in place.

After leaving the compressed entry, we marvel at the height and width of the glass-walled living room.
We decide to cook a meal at the house, so we do our shopping at a roadside stand to stock up on all the essentials for a summer feast.
 And enjoy it in the beauty of our temporary home.

Yours in celebrating the Wright way,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#663 Amish auction yields dresser

In 1914, closets were not very big.

Our bedroom closet is proof of that.  In the past, we have not owned a dresser since our clothes could fit easily inside a modern bedroom closet.  But now, our tiny closet has us thinking that we should take the plunge and buy a dresser like normal people.

Friday's local paper has an ad for an Amish farm auction not far from where we live.  And guess what?  They're selling a 3-drawer oak dresser that may fit well in our bedroom.   It's been awhile since we've been to a farm auction (a couple of decades or so) and we've never been to an Amish farm auction, so we decide to spend our Saturday at the sale.
We admire the buggy as we walk by and ultimately decide we can do without it.
And we continue to the furniture section of the sale.  There we spy the dresser looking better than all its companion dressers in the sunshine. 
We like what we see so we decide to register and get a bidding card. The sale starts promptly at 9:00 but it is a couple of hours before the auctioneer makes his way to the furniture. That allows us to see a treadle sewing machine sell for nearly $500. A gas-powered wringer washing machine also sells high. Wow! These prices are  higher than we expect and we wonder how much interest there might be in an old oak dresser.

The answer is not much. Two other bidders are interested but Kelly outlasts them while I try to remain calm.  Auctions make me nervous!  We come home with the cutest oak dresser and a good feeling about buying a lovely piece of furniture that has been loved well for a long time. 

Yours in expanding our closet,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

#662 Hubbard Squash Comes to our Bungalow

Hubbard Squash is one of our favorite paint colors.

Many of our walls through the years have been painted Hubbard Squash.  It is part of the Sherwin Williams arts-and-crafts palette but this is the first time for us to use it in an arts-and-crafts home.  How exciting!

The bedroom on the first floor features (features?) a blue wall with wood trim on all 4 edges - to cover the wavy edging.  This blue wall includes two outlets at varying heights with the receptacles painted blue too.  So our goal is to remove all the blue and paint the four walls.
We remove the carpet, the two vertical 'trim' pieces, and the switch plate covers; we wash the walls with TSP; and finally it's time to pop open a can of paint. 
Two coats later and the blue is all gone.  We like the look of the Hubbard Squash together with the yet-to-be-refinished oak flooring.  It's a good first step in renovating the bedroom.       
Yours in welcoming Hubbard Squash into our bungalow,