Thursday, February 28, 2013

American Foursquare

Our beautiful old home is an architectural style known as American Foursquare.  These houses were popular from the 1890s to about 1930.  These houses have very simple designs, in response to the overly ornate Victorian houses popular just before this time period.  The foursquare is known for it's floor plan, four rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs.  These houses often incorporate Craftsman style elements inside and out.

When we first bought our home, it was a pale butter yellow with maroon shutters and doors.  We've touched up the yellow paint as best we could over the years and changed all the maroon features to blue.  Sadly our house is in desperate need of a new exterior, either paint or siding, plus we need to put on a new roof and gutters.  So I've begun researching this style of house to determine what colors would be in keeping with its original nature.  All along we assumed our house was built around 1930 because that's what the land records say.  We've found out since then, land records estimated the date of building.  Upon doing research it's more likely that our house was built between 1916 and 1921.

How do I know this?  Well, Sears and Aladdin were the only makers of the American Foursquare kits that I could find.  That's right, you ordered your house out of a catalog and they'd ship all the labeled and cut parts to you by train and you'd be responsible for assembling it.  When I looked at all the floor plans available for the various models, the only floor plan that matched ours was "The Hudson" model made by Aladdin from 1916-1921.  It's an exact match and none of the others were even remotely close.  So above here is the original ad for our house.  I am particularly interested in the colors they suggest in this ad because if we're going to paint or side the house, this will be the opportunity to change the color of not only the house, but also the roof.  I found a website that shows all the original colors for these houses:  Foursquare site
I am leaning toward the colors in the above picture, mustard yellow house, white trim, dark green roof.  M says no to the green roof.  She thinks it will look odd and will harm the resale.  I don't and the white house across the street has a green roof and I think it looks fine.  So this is where we find ourselves, at the very beginning of a long process to fix / improve the exterior of our house.  On that website I placed above, you can also see examples of foursquares and bungalows with different color schemes.  What do you think?  Would a house with a green roof be a deal breaker for purchase?

Writing in spits and sputters

I am in a weird place these days, stopping every so often to go places, do things, make time for stuff, as the mood and the moment strike me. Because I've mentally allowed myself to follow wherever whim takes me, I find myself writing more frequently. I'm not saying the quality of my writing is getting any better, only that I'm getting back into it. I've been regularly accepting the challenge of NPR's 3 Minute Fiction contests they do every few months. Basically they give you a prompt, or a scenario and you write something to go with it. Since I've begun allowing the right side of my brain more leeway, it's been popping up and mouthing off on occasion when I least expect it. The below is an example.

 I walk by this friend's office daily. She has a picture postcard taped to her door. It's Emily Dickinson and the caption reads: "Dwell in Possibility." Every time I walk by it I am reminded how much I love Emily's poetry and how I need to make time to read more. One day last November, while walking by this door yet again, I reminded myself of that need to read and write more, only on this occasion that "Dwell in Possibility" poem popped into my head, followed immediately by an urge to write. I've often taken Emily's poems as prompts and inspiration to write and below is what came of that urge. First is her poem, second is mine.


I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Superior--for Doors--

Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--

Of Visitors--the fairest--
For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--

Emily Dickinson #657


I dwell in Possibility –
The unknown a gift –
Outcomes unpredictable –
Continents adrift –

Lifetimes overlapping –
Knowledge without end –
Flying through the ages –
Belief does not depend –

Standing at the door –
Lifetimes taken up –
Unknown the length before us –
Before the interrupt –


Monday, February 25, 2013

Hey Michele

Tell Paul "thanks." The scrubber sponge idea is working. I will be so happy if I don't have to sand this whole floor.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Living the life

So I am finally down to working just two days per week, and I have finally closed my law practice. Yippee! I now have tons of time to do all the things I've been wanting to do. So the reason I haven't been blogging is because I've been so busy doing home repairs (minor ones), going to daily yoga classes, taking the dog on long walks in preparation of getting back into jogging again, shopping, going to movies, eating out. I'm sure all this will get old one day, but I'm not there yet. :-)

Tomorrow(Saturday) we are driving up to Philadelphia to go to the Reading Market again, to bring back great cheeses and Sausages. We will also be having dinner at Morimoto's restaurant. He is the original Iron Chef.
We're dining there in honor of my son's 21st birthday. Pictures to follow! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The danger of loop rugs

So I'm back in the mode of finishing the decorations in the living room and I've had to replace that beautiful rug I found on-line. It turned out to be a loop rug rather than a cut rug. Not only did the animals' claws snag the rug every time they ran through the room, but then the vacuum would suck up the snags and really rip it apart. So here is the replacement rug. It's cheap, not as nice, but it's a cut rug and has the colors of the room, although a bit darker than I would have liked. I also finally found a long skinny table to go between the couch and the wall where I had some empty space. I'm hoping to find wooden blinds this weekend and lamps for the new table. Then I think it's just the wall art that will be left.

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...