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Category Archives: Architecture

Just another brick in the wall…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year was 1974.  We had lived in our new house in St. Paul for a year and it was finally summer vacation.  The past school year had been difficult.  Starting a new school in the eighth grade was not fun especially when I didn’t want to move.  One good thing from the school year was I finally had a new friend and her family invited me to go with them on a camping trip for a week.  My parents agreed to let me go.

My friend invited me to go and her older brother invited his friend to go.  We slept in one tent and her brother and friend slept another tent and their parents in a small camper.  It was one of the best weeks of my junior high days.  All day long we spent time on the Cannon River either swimming or fishing and just laying in the sun.

My friend’s brother had discovered Pink Floyd as his new latest, greatest band.  He played the cassette tape over and over all week-long.  I’m sure everyone in the campground was tired of it by the time we went home.  The words of Pink Floyd will forever be etched in my brain like Just Another Brick in the Wall and song Money.  I can still hear the sound of the cash register from the beginning of Money.

The brick wall pictured above is downtown Detroit.  It was next to a parking lot for a bar we ate lunch at last fall when we visited Detroit.  It was unlike any other brick wall I had seen because it didn’t look like they took any pride in their work.  It was still unique to look at along with everything else nearby the bar.

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Architecture, Fall, Family, Life Happens, Photography, Vacations

 

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Stickwork

This afternoon I was picking up by sister at St John’s University when I saw this incredible display called Art on the Prairie.  It is called Stickwork and it is the work of artist Patrick Dougherty.  For more of his creative work see http://www.stickwork.net

The structures are made entirely of sticks and branches.  They are large enough to go inside and look out.  It is also possible to walk in between the structures.  The structures remind me of artwork from Dr, Seuss’s books, whimsical and a little off-kilter.

I wish that I had one of these structures in my yard.  It would be a kid’s play land dream come true.  They said that the structure will most likely last two years of being exposed to the elements. It is well worth the brief detour south off I-94 to see Art on the Prairie.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Architecture, Fall, Nature, Photography, Uncategorized

 

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The Project

It’s been over two months since I lasted posted on the blog.  Life happens, especially in Minnesota in the summer.  It seems that everyone tries to cram everything into the twelve weeks of summer.  We have been busy with life, work and “The Project”   Throw in a few weddings, birthday parties, reunions and we are already back to shortened days and cooler temperatures much sooner than expected.  My to do list still has too many items left on it.

Below are some before and after pictures from our project.  It has been fun seeing it take shape.  There is still much to do both inside and out.  There have been a few bumps in the road and distractions along the way so progress on our part as been slow.  The carpenters working on the project have been awesome.

 

I hope to get back to posting more often.  I had to put the camera down for a few months after breaking my collar-bone the end of June after tipping my motorcycle.  It has slowed me down a bit but I am finally back to having some strength back in my right arm.  The good news is my left arm is getting so much stronger since I’ve had to use it instead of the right.

Hope summer is treating all of you well. Jeanne

 

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Moonlight Al Fresco

This evening I was a bit disappointed that I got back from town so late.  I wanted to take some pictures of the progress at the house.  It was already past sunset.  I decided to stop anyway and try to take a couple of shots because there was a very bright moon tonight.

I found my way in the dark to the door and walked in the dark up the stairs to take this shot.  The upstairs is basically gone except for a short wall on the east and the west and some larger walls left on the north and the south.

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If the mosquitoes weren’t so bad this evening I might have considered getting a couple of sleeping bags and sleeping out under the stars tonight.

Here are a couple of shots of the guys removing the rafters today.

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Tomorrow should be an exciting day as we see the roof lines starting to take shape.

 

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The Cavalry Has Arrived

It’s been about two months since we finalized the purchase of our project home in Upsala.  Since that time my husband and I have done a lot of small and big projects.  We have been busy building new stairways, removing old stairways and entirely gutting the upstairs down to the studs in preparation for this day.

This is the old stairway that we removed from the center of the home. It was ladder-like in its steepness. We are leaving the door on this end to make a new closet area. The back half of the old stairwell will have drawers in the bottom half and on the top of the drawers will be a place to leave your keys and other miscellaneous items as you enter the back door.

New stairway located on the North wall of home. The photo below shows our plans for the stairway. The basement stairs are directly below the upper stairs. Both the upstairs and basement can be accessed from the garage. We also opened a wall from the kitchen to this new entry way. Improving the overall flow of the house.

We spent a lot of time measuring and mapping out the new location of the stairs before we cut any openings and started building the stairs. We measured and remeasured to make sure we had enough room. Its hard to picture but this old bedroom has become an entryway with stairs to go up or down and out to the garage and out to the backyard. We added another bedroom upstairs to compensate for the loss of one of the two main floor bedrooms.

We gutted the upstairs to get ready for the carpenters to come and add dormers and windows to the second floor. There was very little usable space upstairs due to the low ceiling height and the stairway cutting the space in half due to its location in the center of the home.
The new upstairs will contain a Master Suite complete with walk-in closet, bathroom and office or sitting area at the top of the stairs.

Today our carpenters arrived to start putting our dreams for the property into reality.  Yesterday we finalized the color choices and the floor plans.

I love watching the trucks arrive, unloading  the lumber and the smell of freshly cut wood.  I had a hard time concentrating at work today know that things were happening just up the hill but not within my sight.  At lunchtime we joined the carpenters on the front lawn for  lunch.  They all sat in their lawn chairs with their coolers sitting in front of them and we with our sandwiches and coffee from the convenience store in town.  It was a wonderful place to eat lunch today admiring the work that they had accomplished this morning.

It might not look like much of a change so far but here it is.  They changed the roof line on the garage and framed for the new part of the roof with the car port.  I’m excited to see the roof on the house opened up next week and see all the new roof lines, windows and shingles upstairs.  The new upstairs will have much more room and light than before we started as well as additional bathroom in the home.

The plan with the garage was to change the present lean to style attached garage to a hip roof.  The garage door opening in the background will be moved one stud space to the left and the windows to the top panel and grids placed in the glass.  We are working on plans to make the garage door look more like a set of carriage doors rather than a conventional door.

 

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A New Vocabulary

One of the main projects besides replacing the roof is moving the stairways to a better location. It is currently in the center of the house and has very steep, narrow steps.

For the past week or two as we refine our plans for the house a new vocabulary has crept into my life. It revolves around the building of stairs.

Who would have thought that there could be so many words that had to do with stairs. There are the usual words like treads or steps.  That I understood, but add stringers, risers, winders, walk line, rise and run, landings, and that is just the beginning. Add to the list newel post, rails, balusters, bullnose, etc.

Tonight we spent our usual evening with our grandson while our daughter attends a college night class. Tonight’s entertainment was the home improvement center where we picked out the supplies we will need to start building the new stairs in the house this week.

Our grandson learned the fine art of picking out the best wood for the project and eagerly helped load it onto the cart. It was a late evening but well worth getting what we needed so we can get right to work on Thursday.

 

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What Would You Choose?

This week is decision time. As you can tell this house needs some help. We will be replacing the shingles, soffit, and fascia. The entire home will be repainted and we will wrap the cement chimney to give it more character.

When I first looked at this home I knew I wanted to do something different with the colors. The starkness of the white with the cedar color is just not very inviting especially when you see the white on the garage as well.

My first choice would be a medium gray with white trim and a black roof. To me it says neat and maybe a little stately. The problem with this choice is that the home just to the left is painted exactly this way. You can see just a bit of it in the photo above.

My second choice would be something green tones with cream trim and dark roof. The only problem with the greens are on either side of the home two doors down in either direction are green homes, different greens. Adding a third green to the mix might just be too much.

My third choice is maintaining the front color of the house and painting the rest of it to match the front color with almond accents and a black roof. It would tie all of the house together and we wouldn’t have to worry about the fascia or soffit fading over time if it were painted almond. I think is would still have a stately look to it.

So many of the homes on Main Street are painted white, light gray or almond that I want to stay away from those colors. There are also two different blue homes in the near vicinity so I don’t think blues are in the running either.

So many choices… so little time. Am I putting way too much thought in to this? We need to pick out colors this week. Open for suggestions.

 

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Fools Rush In…

This afternoon after working our “day jobs” my husband and I headed to 309 S. Main Street to continue our work that we must get done before the carpenters come to work on installing the dormer and replacing the roof, etc.

We made a lot of progress in the three short hours we worked. Dean worked on cutting the hole for the new stairway from the second floor down to the first floor.

We started with a clean home…….

At the end of our three hours he had the hole cut for the new stair location. I love when a plan comes together and no one gets hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent the afternoon removing sheet rock and insulation in the other half of the upstairs. The goal is to have the upstairs gutted to the studs and ready for the carpenters as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite part of the afternoon was finding a picture of Queen Elizabeth tacked inside the roof rafters. I would love to know the story behind the picture.

 

 

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309 Chronicles

 

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Life is an adventure. This our latest. 

We purchased this home on March 20, 2012. Our intention is to fix it up and rent it or sell it. 

As you can see it needs some help. We hope that what we do with it will improve its curb appeal, square footage and the overall flow of the interior.

The great part about this home is the fact that even though it was built in 1947 it was well kept and CLEAN!

 

This past week we have met with the carpenters about replacing the roof, adding a dormer, and changing the roof line on the garage. Everywhere we go we look at homes as we drive by trying to get an idea for a color scheme for the exterior. We are narrowing it down.

This week on Wednesday evening while Dean was at a school board meeting I began demo on the upstairs. We are taking it down to the rafters and studs upstairs. I removed 1960 style paneling from the walls and the insulation. Itchy, itchy, itchy.  The shower felt great when I got home.

Last evening we continued work upstairs. One of the major improvements we are making is moving the interior stairway to the upstairs. It is presently a widow maker. Very steep, narrow stairs. Dean began pulling up floorboards for the location of the new stairway. 

We’re excited about the project and hope that we don’t end up on one of the home improvement shows like “Over Your Head”.  I will be posting more pictures of our project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Detroit Reflections and Investigating the Thumb

We are on the road again. My husband and I flew out of Mpls. on Tuesday afternoon for Milwaukee, WI with a destination of Flint, Michigan. We are once again combining business and pleasure. We decided to seek out some fall colors. He purchased two cars both in Michigan that we will drive back to Minnesota through a northern route of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

We had an hour lay over in Milwaukee around sunset. Loved our flight with Frontier except for the sales rep that sat two seats behind us and never stopped talking to a women also sitting behind us. I think he tried to impart all his wisdom in that one hour. It’s a good thing that our flight wasn’t any longer I fear he might have run out of knowledge to impart.

Before we left our Super 8 in Flint, Michigan this morning I had to take a picture of one of the oddest things I’ve seen in a motel.

I don’t know about you but the last place I want to talk on the phone is in the bathroom. There was another phone on the night stand in the room. I forgot to ask before we left if all the rooms had a phone in the bathroom or was it just our room.

We headed for downtown Detroit because neither of us had been there before. We found a great restaurant downtown The Sweetwater Tavern. They had excellent food and it reminded me a little of the Cheers bar from the tv show.

My favorite part of downtown was the reflections I saw on buildings of other buildings. Both looked like paintings on the other buildings.

This was my favorite of the two but both were fun to photograph.

We rode the People Mover around downtown before we left. It took about 15 minutes for a lap around the city above the street. Just 50 cents a piece to ride. What a bargain.

After we left Detroit we headed north up the east side of Michigan affectionately called the thumb of Michigan. We stopped at Port Sanilac, MI

After we left Port Sanilac we continued north to Harbor Beach, MI where we planned on finding a room to spend the night. We tried to find a hotel using the Magellan navigation system that we purchased in Detroit. We followed the directions and ended up on a dead-end street near this pier but no hotel.

 We didn’t find a hotel to stay in this town so we headed west to Bad Axe, MI which was where we planned on going in the morning to pick up our second car that we are driving home. We looked to see if there was a hotel in Bad Axe for the night. Our Magellan told us there was a Holiday Express in Bad Axe. We followed the directions which took us all the way through town and out-of-town, right off the main road out on a gravel road and proudly announced “You have arrived”.

I don’t think so, we were surrounded by corn fields. We turned around and went back into town and found out that everything in town was booked. Apparently there are a lot of construction workers erecting wind generators and have snatched up all the rooms. We asked at the Econolodge if there was a Holiday Express in town and they directed us to it.

I waited in the car while my husband went inside to see if they had any rooms. He was in there for a long time while the desk clerk called all over town for a room for us. There were none. He said “We have one more possibility.” Someone had a reservation but had not arrived yet. They tried to run their card for the room but could not get it to go through. They tried calling the phone number provided to confirm the card number for the reservation but could not reach the party. It was 9:30 already and they hadn’t checked in yet. They gave us their room.

I am thankful for the room but can’t help but wonder if someone will arrive later this evening to no room in a town with no vacancies.

Tomorrow the adventure continues north and west.

 

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