Found the chairs

I found the chairs that I was talking about in this post.

Sadly, in finding them I still don't know what their name is, who designed them or anything. The ebay auction I found them in is titled "Mid Century Outdoor Bertoia Style Arm Chairs Restored". Bertoia is the name of the Knoll Diamond chair that looks like this chair but isn't this chair. I would buy this set off of ebay, but there is one too many digits in the starting bid price.

Nothing new but the year

There probably won't any new house news till the New Year, unless something major breaks. So let's hope there's nothing new till the New Year.

Our house itself can't have resolutions (being a house and all), but I have resolutions for it.

1) Only bring in beautiful things.
This mainly applies to the furniture and the like. We're at the point in our lives/home ownership where we don't need to buy more items, we have everything we need, some things just aren't the right style or aren't built to last. Any new or replacement items should be both.

That being said, my definition of beautiful might be a bit different than most. For example, this piece of art was shipped our way today. And for my birthday I asked for a glass jellyfish – Rachel vetoed it (I didn't know you could veto birthday presents).

2) Be a good place for a dinner party.
I want to give a go at being dinner party people. This is totally against my introvert nature and, honestly, I'm a pretty terrible host. And a pretty terrible cook. But I want to make sure that we stay connected to friends, ex-coworkers, etc and I think the best way to go about that would be to become awesome dinner party people.

3) Become more handy.
Admittedly this is more for me than the house. I plan on being handier in the New Year. Home Depot gift cards has been my standard reply when asked about holiday gifts and I plan to buy a miter saw and drill (and maybe a nail gun). I've got a few ideas that I was going to have our contractor do, but I think I'll be able to handle them myself with the right tools.

Done: Weatherproof the cat door

Weatherproofing the cat door wasn't on my original to do list, but it's been cold here in Austin and I realized just how much we needed to. The entire study felt like we were running the AC. It was probably 5-10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house.

The last owner put the cat door in and left some pretty big gaps between it and the rest of the door. But the addition of some weather stripping and expandable insulating foam have sealed things up nicely; we're no longer heating our backyard through the cat door.

Neighborhood news

This isn't about our house specifically, but it's not too far from us. University Park will be getting a movie theater, which is great in my mind because it means we'll be walking distance from the movies. It's just too bad it's not an Alamo.

Around the table

We still don't have chairs around the patio table and now that it's cold in Austin there's no rush. But Rachel and I saw some really pretty chairs on someone's porch when we were walking around the neighborhood. If this chair and this chair had a baby, that would be the chair we saw. I don't think it was the Bertoia side chair or diamond chair, but it was getting dark when we saw them. Anyone have any idea of what chair it might be?

Mastering the b. room

I took care a few small jobs in the master bathroom: I replaced the mirror and put on a new toilet seat. There was nothing wrong with the old toilet seat, it just wasn't our style - it looked like a shell. Same thing with the mirror, there was nothing wrong with it, we just didn't like the look of it.

The toilet seat now looks like your standard, non-shell toilet seat and the mirror looks like this:

Done-ish: Replace study screen door

The old study screen door was actually a storm door that we didn't have a screen for. We had intentions of putting a full screen door in its place, since you don't really need a storm door in Austin. But then we started letting our cat go outside. Then she sat at the by the door and meowed. All the time.

So instead we took off the storm door and fixed the old, broken doggy door (or in this case, kitty door) in the main study door. So now Pip (the cat) can come and go as she pleases.

RR stands for retro robot

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this record player is beautiful. Grain Edit featured their catalog and I recently found out they're remaking them as the Brionvega RR226 Turntable (and adding a CD player). I haven't found an American shop that sells them but everything I've read says they cost £4500 or €6000, which means I'll have to keep watching craigslist for a vintage one. I'm pretty sure the RR226 only comes in white, which is a shame; I think the wood look really adds something to it.

Here's a RR126 in action:

Glass Mid-Century Ornaments

Rachel and I went to an estate sale in the neighborhood this weekend. They had a lot of neat stuff that we just don't have the space for, including a record player/stereo/china cabinet. But we did pick up a whole bunch of mid-century glass ornaments.

Here's a selection of what we picked up:

Patio furniture

We bought some new patio furniture for the front of the house. Unlike everywhere else in the country, fall is the perfect time in Austin to enjoy a dinner outside. We'll be adding some white chairs soon to fill out the set.

Done: Add smoke detector to 3rd bedroom

We bought the a smoke detector the first weekend we moved into the house, I just couldn't be bothered to get up on a ladder till now. We have plenty fire alarms in the house already, but Austin fire code says you should have one in every bedroom; now we do.

Done: Put water heater blanket around water heater

It was hopefully the itchiest job that we'll have to do, but with fall coming up and our water heater being in an outside closet, it was time to put a water heater blanket on. I learned that a water heater blanket isn't a blanket at all, but essentially insulation with plastic on one side - hence the itchiness. Overall it was a pretty easy job that didn't take too long that should be a good investment in the long run.

New office chair

We picked up a new chair for the study from our favorite store, craigslist.
It's a Knoll Pollock Executive Chair.

From Knoll, "Charles Pollock's 1965 executive chair, now considered one of Knoll's most memorable designs, features an aluminum rim that supports the chair both structurally and visually."

Here are some beauty shots:

You spin me

We have no need for another stereo/record player. And we really don't have room for one. But if I ever see one of these in person, I'll buy it in a heartbeat.


One down, one up

I knocked another item off the inspector's list; I cleaned all the debris off the roof and out of the gutters. I found a good reason to wear gloves when cleaning the gutters (besides not wanting to get your hands all gross - which was my reason), there may be a fire ant colony living in the leaves.

The gutters were packed to the brim with leaves and gunk, so while one item is checked off, I have to add "Put leave guards on gutters" to the list.

Done: Put toilet paper holder in master bath

It's been a rather laborious Labor Day weekend. Part of that was putting in a toilet paper holder in the master bath.

More than putting the actual holder on the wall, the labor came in tracking down one that matched all the current accessories. It's easy to find matching bathroom accessories, but if you're missing one of a set it's a pain to track it down. I eventually did and now it's up on the wall. (No photo needed, you know what a TP holder looks like and this one's no different.)

Art swap

If I had to guess, I would say one of Rachel's least favorite things in the house is one of my favorite; this: It's a print of Rosie's Tea Party by my favorite working artist, Mark Ryden.

Well, Mark just had a new show, The Tree Show, where he had slightly less creepy, but still equally gorgeous, prints, including General Sherman: I was able to find a General Sherman print for a steal and snatched it up. So now Rachel's a little happier and there's a little less pink in the house - which is actually good, Rosie's Tea Party didn't really fit in the new house, color-wise or theme-wise, and I've already found the perfect place for General Sherman.

New idea for the front yard

It rained in Austin tonight, which is news itself. Rachel and I were looking out the kitchen window, watching the rain and pondering what we were going to do with the front yard.

We have a decently long strip of dirt with a few ugly plants in it and a few planters with nice plants sitting on it.

A few years ago I was snooping around a home that was for sale and saw that they had a bocce ball field in the backyard. I thought it was genius. A functional piece of land where grass costs a premium to own. I told Rachel about it and, as a blue sky idea, we talked about a putting in a bocce ball field in the backyard of our old house. But weeds eventually took over that yard and then we moved.

Tonight Rachel had a stroke of brilliance, "Why don't we put a bocce ball field there?" I would have never thought of it, and it's perfect.

And I'm thinking our large wood planters will eventually look like this. (You have to scroll down to the last picture, but you really should see the before picture.)

Done: Add extension to AC drain line

The above image is from our initial inspection. Notice the big red pointy arrow? Our AC condensation drain was too close to the house and could (after hundreds of years) start eroding the foundation.

It's one of those things that shows up in an inspection that doesn't need to be fixed right away (actual quote from inspector), but it's an easy fix so I thought I'd give it a go. A bit of tubing and a little bit of sawing and the drain is the suggested 5 feet away from the house (5.5 feet actually).

We're lucky enough that right in front of the drain is a bit of a rock garden - the transition from the back patio to the grass. So I didn't have to do any digging; I simply pushed some rocks away and then pushed them back over the pipe.

One more thing off the list.

Meeting the neighbors

We had our first neighborly conversation yesterday. There was a little dog in our driveway so we went out to make sure she wasn't lost and it turned out to be our neighbor's pooch. The neighbor was in his backyard so we went over and said hello.

He invited us in. He has a gorgeous mid-century ranch with a stone fireplace in the living room.

We learned a little bit more about our house and neighborhood. We are only the 3rd owners of our house. The previous owner bought it from Mrs. Greis (the original owner) after she became a widow.

Most of the people on our street are only the second or third owners. And most of the houses were built around the same time by the same people, which explains why they're similar in style for the most part (single story ranches) but with very distinct and different accents and touches.

In the blue

I got ambitious and took the promised photos of the blueprints, which had some additional info about the house. It was originally built for Mr. and Mrs. Geo Greis. The project started July 1939 (the house was finalized in 1943 according to tax records). The architects were David C. Baer and Lewis M. Hamby, whose office was located at 903 W. 24th, Austin, TX at the time.

The main difference is that our house used to have a garage in the front (the thing on the right that says Gravel Floor). The pencil drawing over the original blueprint is the current layout of the front of the house - with some of the garage becoming the front of the house, some of it becoming our front porch and some of it becoming our driveway. This is pretty surprising because we have a carport in the back and if I had to guess I would have said it was original to the house. Whoever built it, built it in the style of the original construction. The back of the house and kitchen have sense been added onto as well.

The best thing about this photo is that we now know what the original door looked like. I have a mild obsession with front doors and I hate our current one (because it's ugly). I was originally thinking The Westhaven would be perfect (Rachel liked The Highgrove) but now I'm thinking The Romeria or The Montrose might be more appropriate. (Our door would be in black, probably, to go with the white brick.) You can also really see the garage here. Maybe most surprising of all, our house used to be more siding than brick. Our house is almost entirely brick in front now; when they knocked down the garage they must have replaced all the siding.

East Side
The porch seen here (from the front of the house to the downspout) is now our dining room. Windows, doors and stairs are gone and our kitchen table is there now.

The back of the house looks nothing like this anymore. From the left side of the house to the downspout has been added on to and is now a study/master bath. They mimicked the look of the original house by putting in corner windows and added a back door. Both of which are really nice to have.

West Side
The garage and wood siding is now gone and that small window got turned into a full-size window. The house originally had wood shingles with a metal ridge running up the middle. I bet it looked really sweet with the wood siding. We now have normal shingles (whatever they're made out of). I haven't been on the roof yet, but I think the metal ridge is gone too.

Addition "blue" print
I found this in with the original blueprints. It's a big porch addition on the back of the house, also adding the back door. It looks like this took place at the same time they took out the garage; those "new walls" at the bottom of the page are the current footprint of the house. This addition has since became the study and master bath.

Keeping you posted

Sorry there haven’t been any updates here lately, but it’s mainly because we haven’t made an updates to the house lately. Honestly, we purchased a house that needed some cosmetic fixes, but not a lot of structural fixes. We made the structural fixes (plumbing and electric) and now we’re giving our pocketbook a little bit of time to recover.

The old owner was nice enough to leave us the original blueprints to the place though. I’m hoping to scan or photograph them soon and do a compare and contrast to what the place looks like currently. This will be based on my very limited understanding of blueprints (learned when I was a theater nerd building sets), so they’re bound to be filled with misreads and mistakes. But hopefully the posts will be fun to read nonetheless.

"Yard" sale

Standing outside in 100 degree weather while people go through my old stuff doesn't sound like a fun time, so we're having our yard sale inside, where there's AC. In our yard sale is basically everything that we didn't want to move. It's our first yard/garage sale (not that we haven't sold stuff on craigslist and ebay) and I think it's a sign that we're old.

Would you come to this yard sale?

Edward J. desk

We almost picked up this desk for the study. We didn't in the end because it was a little skinny (depth wise) and because we have other stuff to do before we start replacing furniture we already own.

I just hope another awesome desk is available when we are looking.

Mirror, mirror

Both our bathrooms need new mirrors. The current ones are too eclectic for our plans.

We're thinking one of these for the master bath. It's a more masculine with dark natural stone throughout, so we're thinking of bringing some wood in to play into that.
For the main bath we're going for more of a minimal, uber-clean look.
This one's the front runner.But I like this one because it gives a bit of a spa theme.We'd love to hear your opinion if you have a favorite.

Is a very, very, very fine house

Some pre-house warming party photos. Still not totally unpacked, but getting there.

Front door
Most of living room
Living close in
Other side of living room
Other side of kitchen
Dog bowl
Formal dining
Formal from other side
Note the TP roll (I did that)
2nd bed (a bit empty right now)
3rd bed (guest room)
Master bed
Master bed, a bit to the right
Study, school's your buddy
Master bath
Happy kitty photos