Monday, September 28, 2015

#685 Ozarks Bungalow Flooring

Our floors needed a lot of work.

We got to work on it immediately after moving in last year by ripping up the carpets and discovering just how much work there was to be done.  Then in July, Kelly started patching the floors in the parlor, living room, library, and dining room.
BEFORE: A previous patch using pine boards in the dining room corner (then covered with ceramic tile-hence the white mastic) need to be replaced with 1.5"-wide oak boards to match the original flooring.

AFTER: New oak boards are in place in dining room.
BEFORE: The parlor floor (at one time underneath the stairway) needs re-patching to remove those straight joint lines.

AFTER: Kelly re-used old oak flooring to stitch in the parlor patch.
BEFORE:  The living room patch was a long one - about 19 feet. 

AFTER: Living room patched with new oak flooring.  Using boards that are 1.5 inch in width, it takes a while to weave in 19 feet.
BEFORE:  Random damage to be patched. 

AFTER: Random damage patched.

Yours in getting ready for the big finish,
Mary

Saturday, September 19, 2015

#684 The Wheel Horse Gets a New Stable

I admit it.  We haven't been mowing our own lawn.

We got out of the habit back in 1999 when we moved into Indy's Lockerbie Square neighborhood.  And since we moved back to Missouri last year, our attentions have been focused on the inside of the house.

That's all about to change because today, we bought a 1987 Wheel Horse 312-8 lawn tractor.  The Horse had one proud owner for its 28-year life and was sold at an estate auction this morning.  (Some proud owners have even been known to join the Wheel Horse Collectors Club and meet in Pennsylvania each June for some Horse trading!)

To break in the Horse, Kelly saddled him up and rode him home from the auction.
Past the Pate Early Childhood Center

Past the beautiful Aurora countryside still proudly wearing his bidder number

Waiting for the traffic to clear on Carnation Drive

Past downtown and our favorite store. (Kelly must have run inside Modern Variety to pick up something.)
And finally arriving at home.

I'd love to get a copy of Straight from the Horse's Mouth: The Wheel Horse Story at a fair price for the new Horse owner in the family.  Please let me know if you find one.

Yours in Horsing around town,
Mary

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#683 Construction is in our DNA (part 2)

Construction just may be in Kelly's DNA.

Though Kelly and his father Glenn only got to be together for 19 years, Kelly learned a lot from him. Early on, he learned how to wear overalls and how to pose for an adorably cute photograph.
Glenn and Kelly early in their relationship
Glenn worked as a carpenter on many projects in Kansas City and central Missouri.
1971: Penn Valley Community College across the street from the BMA Tower.

1974:  Glenn, on right, works on Warrensburg bank building.
In addition to his full-time job, Glenn built a house for his family.
1966: Glenn painting the back of the almost-finished house in Warrensburg.


1966: Family house complete

Some carpenter/life wisdom passed down to Kelly:
  • Give a tool to someone handle first.
  • Return a borrowed tool in better shape than when you borrowed it.
  • Blunt the point of the nail to keep the wood from splitting. 
  • Work smarter by keeping your tools sharpened.
  • Go into construction if you'd like, but consider less dangerous jobs that would make good use of your talents and wouldn't be so hard on your body.


Yours in luckily marrying the son of a carpenter,
Mary

Monday, September 14, 2015

#682 Construction is in our DNA (part 1)

Construction just may be in my DNA. 

My parents married in 1951 and soon bought 10 acres way out in Fairfax, VA - far from their city jobs in Washington, DC - and started construction on their first home.  Dad and Mom were both working full-time jobs.  Yet with the help of their friends, they built 'a little house' just across the road from some woods that would later become George Mason University, founded in 1957.    

My Dad really was a super man.


Dad on top of the 'little house' ceiling joists

Shortly after I joined the family, my mom wrote this in her scrapbook about starting construction of the 'big house':
 "Jim deposited $100 to obtain the house plans of the Barber and Ross 52-foot Sun Valley house on November 22, 1958, so we are now in the building business again."  

The breezeway in the center connects the little house on left with the big house on the right.
We had a large yard in front of our house.  Our garage can be seen at the far left in this 1974 photo.  Then, (l to r) the little house (gray building), the breezeway (behind the car), and the big house. 

My brother and I liked to help out around the house as much as we could. 

Thirteen years and 4 kids later, my parents sold the Fairfax property when the family moved to Missouri.  The little house and the big house were later merged into one house which is still standing today.  Thanks to the generosity of the 2007 owners, I was able to go inside and take a look around my childhood home. 

Fairfax property in 2007

My sister and I take Mom's construction photograph album, i.e. a 1950s blog, to share with the 2007 owners.   
Kelly and I have been involved in some big home renovation projects, but it is still amazing to me that my parents built not one, but three houses in their lives.

Yours in wondering if construction is in my DNA,
Mary

Monday, September 07, 2015

#681 Arkansas Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright's art inspires us.  We also look to his student, the regional architect Fay Jones for art in architecture. We travel across the state line to Arkansas for some of that Fay Jones inspiration.

On our agenda are the Thorncrown Chapel and the Stoneflower Cottage.  We are inspired indeed.
Stoneflower Cottage was built first in 1965 and served as a model for Thorncrown Chapel built 15 years later. 
Stoneflower Cottage in the woods near Heber Springs

Thorncrown Chapel in the woods near Eureka Springs
"I've always felt that the details, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are more than just nice things to notice.  They are manifestation and expression, a kind of measure of the intensity of caring." - Fay Jones

Jones clearly cared about the Stoneflower Cottage, a place of physical rest.
loft in Stoneflower Cottage

And he cared about the award-winning Thorncrown Chapel, a place of spiritual rest.
interior of Thorncrown Chapel
Yours in learning what we like from Mr Jones,
Mary

Sunday, September 06, 2015

#680 Ozarks Bungalow Design

We've done much research through the years to prepare for our Ozarks Bungalow renovation project.  For inspiration, we like to look at Frank Lloyd Wright's designs.  Yes, it's hard work but we're dedicated.

So far, we've stayed overnight in two Wright houses:
Schwartz house in Two Rivers, WI for our 10th wedding anniversary


Penfield House in Willoughby Hills, OH for our 20th
We've also stayed in two Wright-designed hotels:
Wright's Historic Park Inn in Mason City, IA

Wright's Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK
And we've visited about 40 other Wright buildings along the way including the Yodoko Guest House near Kobe, Japan.

We've learned much.  We especially like built-in light fixtures and built-in furniture, open floor plans, and common motifs that tie rooms together such as consistent lighting or continuous flooring.  A house doesn't have to be big if it's designed well.  

Yours in learning what we like from Mr Wright,
Mary

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

#679 Construction Debris

So far, our home renovation project has generated a TON of construction debris!

For photographic evidence, here's a pile of 6 months of construction debris secreted away in our garage.  Recently, we had the joy of moving the debris (sheet rock scraps, plaster, lathe, kitchen ceramic floor tiles, plywood) out of our garage into a dumpster.
 And we hauled away our metal construction debris to the local recycling shop.
The cash for the metal is, of course, welcome.
But the biggest reward of all is this spacious drive-in garage!
Yours in loving a good purge,
Mary