100 years old · 1916 · attic · basement · breezeway · Dallas · family · garage · Highland Park · historic home · home · home restoration · Katy Trail · knob and tube · mudroom · neighborhood · old house · preservation · renovation · restoration · sisters · staircase · Texas · Uncategorized · windows

So much progress…so much illness…

So sorry for the long absence. We have endured one illness after another. Our crowning achievement was the stomach bug. And now, as we step into Spring in Texas I am beyond hopeful that we can enjoy some illness free weeks. So much has happened with the house and I cannot wait to share! I will step back a few days and try and catch y’all up as quickly as possible over the next week or so.

Our precious house needed some love and care (and rewiring and re plumbing and a new roof and carpet removal, exposing several hidden windows, refinishing the windows, and leaded paint removal…and a few other things). See below for old plumbing pipes and old knob and tube wiring.

Below: Some outdoor wiring that should be inside the walls.

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Below: Window discoveries behind drywall!

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Below: Look at these gorgeous windows! I have been encouraged many times to replace all of the windows. I get it. They provide no insulation as they are single paned. They are covered in layer upon layer of paint, most likely including some lead paint. They are also painted fully shut; heavy layers of paint in every crevasse, ropes painted over so that they feel as hard as rocks. Therefore, to give life back to these windows, to enable us to open and shut them again, we will need to have each window carefully removed from the home and dipped in a gentle yet caustic formula which will remove all of the paint layers. They will then need to be repainted, reputtied, and replaced to their original homes in the house. This is a challenging and timely process, and very few people, especially in Dallas, have the equipment and knowledge to take on this kind of project. Knowing all of these challenges, I cannot bear to part with these windows, and therefore, we will move forward with refinishing these gorgeous windows and placing them ever so gently back into their home of 100 years, and hopefully their home for another 100 years. Yes, it will be chillier in the winter in our house than most other homes. It just reminds me of when my sister and I complained in the late 1980s in mid January to our dad that the house was too cold and the heater needed to be turned up. We were ridiculously wearing shorts (vibrantly colored umbros of course) and t-shirts, he was pragmatically wearing wool pants and a sweater (of equally vibrant colors to our umbros). Almost laughingly he would tell us to go put on a sweater and pants, it is January, it is supposed to be cold. Lasting advice dad, and I am sure this is a conversation I will have with my girls throughout the years ahead.

Below: This is a rear window that looks into the dining room and then on into the front living room and out the front windows to the front porch and yard (and our lovely construction mailbox!). The reflection captures a cold February sunset. This is one of the windows will have to replace, there are only a few that cannot be salvaged. Can you see the green board on the bottom half of the window? This window was shattered when we purchased the house. Instead of this window being a total loss we will pull out the surviving glass and reuse it in our interior transom windows over doorways and in our kitchen eyebrow window that will mimic the front floral eyebrow windows.

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Below: Gorgeous hardwoods below carpeting to be gently refinished; we want them clean and refreshed, but I still want them to look and sound 100 years old, creaks and imperfections and all. So much warmth.

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We also wanted a garage (there is currently no garage), a larger updated kitchen, a family den, a master bedroom with an attached bath and walk in closet, covered patio space, and an indoor upstairs laundry room (it was originally in the added utility shed attached to the back of the house by the kitchen). We will talk about the garage today.

We really thought through and drew out several solutions. We walked through many Sunday open houses to get a feel for what other additions to older homes felt like, what worked and what didn’t. We didn’t like most of them, but we were able to get a feel for what we did want. Most houses had simply added room after room to the back of the house to finally connect to the attached garage at the back of the property. These homes lost their original rear facades and character. We also felt like this took away too much of the yard, and added unused rooms to the back of the house. Most of these homes also placed the laundry room in this extra added space between the original house and the new attached garage, a million miles away from where you actually produce and put away the laundry upstairs! This configuration and extra square footage would just not work for our family. Therefore, we came up with a nice solution for our family. We will have an unattached two car garage at the back of the property, as close to the alley as possible. The garage will have low attic space above, but no room for an actual room; sorry girls, no teenage back house parties at this house! We will have a covered breezeway that will provide cover from the garage directly to the back door of the house which opens directly into the mudroom. I love love love that we have to go through the mudroom before entering the kitchen, and the rest of the house. The mudroom will have a large counter, open lockers and hooks, a wall covered with cork board (for art work, schedules, calendars, photos, invitations…….), all of the animal food and bowls, and a bathroom with a utility sink. I am hopeful this will keep the spread of stuff a bit more contained, and especially off of my kitchen counters and floors. Sometimes it looks as though my children just magically evaporate, leaving shoes, socks, coats, hats, pool bags, towels, backpacks, lunch bags, and countless glitter covered papers on the ground where their bodies should be. In the mudroom, all of those wonderful accessories and such will have homes, even the glitter covered artwork can go directly onto the cork board! Also, I love that each time we walk to and from the garage we can enjoy our backyard and see the beautiful back of our house! We live in Dallas, and therefore we have no seriously extreme weather here (except for the seemingly endless 100 degree heat in the summer), therefore, a detached garage connected to the home with a covered breezeway is just the perfect solution for our family home.

Below: This is the backyard with our outlines of the future kitchen addition, porch addition, breezeway addition, and garage.

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Below: Here is the view from the back of the property towards the rear of the house. You can see the added one story utility shed which once housed the washer and dryer.

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Below: Starting to dig the addition/covered porch/breezeway/garage foundations!

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Below is a great view of the dining room windows (one of which is broken :(…). We will add a door between these windows so that we can go directly out of the dining room to the covered patio.

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Okay, that’s it for tonight. Thanks for reading and thanks for understanding that life certainly is life isn’t it? Not always easy and not always expected, but certainly filled with learning and love, snuggles and wine.

Below: Date night at the house always includes wine on the front porch.

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Below: Lunch date at the house always includes gymnastics outfits and princess costumes…

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…and a little attitude from Evie!img_7162

Love and hugs,

Suzie

 

 

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