Monday, March 26, 2012

In case of windstorm on the prairie...

Secure your storm windows! I was too late to save the glass in this storm, which flew 18 feet, 3.5 inches today from window to where the storm was laying, or 16 feet 1.5 inches from the house corner to the storm. A record for a flying window, beating the third floor window that fell years ago into a snow drift (in one piece!) in distance from the house. However, I did crawl on the front porch to secure the two for the front bedrooms.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Howard House: The Restoration Begins

Howard House in 2006
This is the story of my great grandparents home, it lives in a little town on the windswept Minnesota prairie and is nearing its 100th birthday in 2014.   

Built in 1914, the style...I really have no idea; I've scoured books, this old house and Google to figure that out. It's not an American Foursquare, it's not prairie is kind of pointy at the top. If you are an expert, tell me what the style is as I could use the brain cells back that I've dedicated to that quest. When I moved home a few years ago it was nearly sans paint, and the only new appliance in the last 15 years was a furnace. Well, we're not much better, except for the water heater my handy husband installed and a rapid paint job to stop the house from deteriorating further in 2009.

The Stats
  • 3 Stories
  • Built in 1914 
  • About 4200 square feet (Utterly full)
  • 4 bathrooms (3 are now!)
  • 5-8 bedrooms, depending on your definition. 3 are now a: Library, Den, and a 3rd Floor living room.
  • Basement studio apartment (Storage)
  • 20+ Rooms
  • 3 Kitchens (basement, first floor & 3rd floor, second floor was gutted for a bedroom in the 90's)
  • 1930's Remodel of the 1st floor and the enclosure of the grand staircase in the great depression that converted the home into 4 apartments.
  • 1 major fire that gutted most of the 3rd Floor and attic in 1957. Apparently caused by a tenant and a sack of potatoes.
  • 1 house across town that was built using the Howard House plans.
    • Zero interior pictures prior to the remodel in 1930.
  • Current occupants = 11. Myself, my husband, three children, a spicy 96 year old, four cats and the dog.
  • afraid.
  • Plumbing...bottled water is probably a good choice but we are brave souls.
  • Budget...about zero.
There are two starting points for this memory from elementary school and listening to grandpa about how the house used to look and...2...the house across town that used to be on our block. Grandpa left clues all over (parts hanging from pipes, drawings on boards)...and if my memory from over twenty years ago serves me right...the framing for the correct configuration of the downstairs is hidden in the walls.

We are going for a restoration as much as possible, anyone who says I want a period kitchen is mental, this is not a complete restoration as I do not want a cast iron stove or an icebox, and replacing the kitchen fireplace would be nearly impossible. So stick around and learn from 5 people with only a vague idea of what to do, learn the ins and outs of restoration in a small town.