I am never one for a lack of things to talk about, but I thought that I would take things slow and chat about one of my more endearing qualities my wife loves to tell everyone about......the fact that I am cheap. I prefer frugal or that I cautious with my money, but I suppose cheap will work.
Being infected with the "cheap gene", I am always trying to get things for a better deal. I will hold out purchasing costly petro for our vehicles in the hopes that it will go down a penny as I am out and about running errands or what have you. So the other morning I was out testing one of our vehicles (which I had fixed the night before) to make sure it was going to be okay for Carmen to drive to her summer internship. Remember, I am cheap and not an auto mechanic by trade, hence the reason for the test drive. While I was out, I passed by a house which had four doors that were being set aside for the weekly trash pick up which was to occur later this same morning. I finished my test drive with everything being in order and running smoothly and switched out Carmen's auto for my truck. This is what I was able to bring back home:
a fine swinging butler's door lacking the butler
So, as you may have guessed, this little shopping venture did not cost us a dime! And not only did I gain four doors for free (which arguably I might not have any immediate use for) but I also saved some fine looking doors from being tossed away like most politicians should be these days. But that is for another blog on another day.
In the meantime, bear with me as I learn how to use this blogger program. If you are lucky, it won't take me as long as it took me to learn CAD oh so many years ago. And feel free to share any hints or lessons as I am always interested in learning some shortcuts.
"Five years ago, I bought a great old house in a neighborhood on the verge of a turnaround. But the tide hasn't turned yet, and I'm wondering whether to sell the house or hold out a little longer. Is there any way to predict an upswing?"
I'm not going to write the entire response (and I can't link to the question because the new issue isn't on their site yet). It basically said there really is no sure-fire way to tell but a homeowner can study his or her neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. For example, take note of other home renovations in progress, test scores at the local schools, the status of area crime rates, and check to see whether or not the neighborhood might qualify as a designated historic district. In addition, the homeowner can do his or her part by maintaining the curb appeal of their home.
But what I found to be most interesting is the quote that was bolded and set out to the side of the answer. This is what it said:
"Always buy where there's a Starbucks moving in. It's a sure sign that things are improving."
I actually laughed out loud when I read this quote. Part of it was out of excitement and part of it is because of the issues that have been playing out in Irvington over the past few months. For those of you that aren't familiar with Irvington, it is a historic neighborhood that has been basically stable for a long time. Like most urban neighborhoods, however, it has seen its share of commercial disinvestment and plagued by some homes that have fallen into disrepair. My husband and I bought our house despite these facts because we loved the neighborhood. And also because the status of the area allowed us to be able to afford much more home than if we followed everyone else in the city and moved to the north side. It was announced last November that Starbucks wanted to move into the historic commercial district of Irvington. There has been some going back and forth about the plans (both building and site) as the area has recently been designated a local historic district which means there are certain design guidelines, setbacks, etc. to follow. Neighbors seem to be divided, many want Starbucks to come into the neighborhood exactly for the reason quoted above. However, other neighbors believe that the historic designation should be taken seriously and we should not be so willing to lay down just because a Starbucks wants to come into the area.
I myself am on the fence on this issue. Chad and I are putting a lot of money and sweat equity into this house and we would actually like to live here forever. Of course, we want to see an improved commercial district, raised property values, and the respect from the rest of the city that this neighborhood deserves. However, am I worried that these things won't happen if Starbucks doesn't move in? No. Am I stressing over where I'm going to get my next spiced pumpkin latte? No way. (I can name seven starbucks within a ten minute drive from my house and a nice local coffee shop as well.) Would I like to see Starbucks move into Irvington? OF COURSE. I happen to love Starbucks and have spent a small fortune there. I do think we need to compromise with them and the developer but I don't think we need to be lenient on the historic designation rules or the fact that the development needs to really fit into the fabric that is already in place. If we break the rules now, who will be next?
(play dead...or starving)
Before I left and while I was gone Chad was busy finishing up a project that has taken up about a year so far. A big thank you to Jim and Dick for helping us out.
(Chad and his dad, Jim, working on a new outlet in the office before I left).
When I returned Chad's mom and her husband, Dick, were here. Dick helped Chad on some house stuff and Chad's mom was here to visit and present us with our curtains. As you may remember we had roman shades installed a few months ago. We have two wood and glass doors that needed coverings as well. Because we are picky and we didn't want something that would be banging against our precious :) wood doors every time we opened and closed the door, we decided to go with something similar to what was already there but with a different material. We ended up buying material that our blinds are made out of from the company where we ordered our blinds. Chad's mom sews (she is so so good) and she made our door coverings. They are wonderful and just what we wanted! Finally we can see out a little bit but people can't see in. What a good feeling. Okay I've tried to upload a picture of the curtains about five times but blogger isn't uploading it for some reason. I'll try to add it later.
Well, my iPod is done charging which means I have to stop procrastinating and get to work on the house. Damn.
The contact person for the Indianapolis Bungalow Initiative did contact me, however, I was in Florida at the time and I haven't even tried to get back to her as of yet. (I'm terrible! I complain and then I slack. Shame on me.) But there is in fact an attempt to start an initiative here in Indy similar to the one in Chicago. Somehow the meeting date information was incorrect so that's the reason Chad and I missed the meeting. When I receive more information regarding the Indianapolis Bungalow Initiative I will post it here for those persons locally that are interested in becoming involved.
This post is actually a question to the local people who may read this blog. Last week in my Irvington newsletter there was a blurb about a meeting that was supposed to occur to discuss the possibility of an Indianapolis Bungalow Initiative. (From the limited information I have, it appears as if it will be modeled after the Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative).
Chad and I were/are really interested in becoming involved in the formation of the initiative in Indianapolis. However, the meeting didn't happen and I have received no replies to my emails to the contact person.
Does anyone have any information regarding the proposed initiative for Indianapolis?
(Oh...and I'm COMPLETELY jealous about the soapstone they were able to salvage).
April 27, 2006
This Irvington home embodies the Arts and Crafts movement from the lights to the furniture.
Story by Neal Taflinger Photos by Michelle Pemberton
When Brett and Susan Conaway saw the house at 734 N. Graham, they knew they could transform it into the Arts and Crafts-inspired home they had dreamed of owning.
"We definitely could see what it could be," Susan said.
The Conaways, both 32, had been collecting Arts and Crafts-period light fixtures and furniture at antique shops, flea markets and auctions for years.
They ripped up the carpet, refinished the floors and repainted, creating a cool and cozy living space that flows from living room to dining room to kitchen.
The renovation of the first floor took a couple years of sweat equity and headaches, but the Conaways, joined now by 2-year-old Henry, have an Arts and Crafts-inspired show house.
The centerpiece of the dining room is a Mission table built by Brett and his father-in-law, who used a set of Gustav Stickley plans. Brett tiled the half-bathroom adjacent to his office in a period style, running tile several feet up the walls. The desire to maintain a consistent theme extended to the kitchen as well, where the couple used salvaged and new components to create a classic kitchen feeling.
"Both dads were here" to help hang cabinets that almost reach the ceiling, Susan said.
Her father had also salvaged soapstone countertops from a high school science lab that was being refurbished, and the matte black is striking against muted greens and whites.
Reproduction period light fixtures were also installed.
Cross continent: Brett and Susan Conaway pose in their living room, which they chose to furnish with a vintage Arts and Crafts chair they picked up while living in New Jersey.
Food lab: The Conaway's kitchen has soapstone countertops that were salvaged from a school science labratory.