Monday, November 29, 2010

Return of the Living Dead

It's been ALMOST 2 years (well, minus one day) since my last posting here. I hope to get a few more entries off in the few remaining days in our first home. I gather that that line resonnates something fierce with many fellow housebloggers, what with the zeitgeists haunting about since the "Burst", as it's been called. The tale I have to tell is rife with many timely testimonials of the worldwide news threads, and perhaps there is something to gleen from this personal angle. So, I invite you to take my hand as I walk you through our story, of First-Time Home Ownership, vintage restoration and modern suitability, parenthood, being hunted, survival and yet falling prey to the 'system'. Consider this as a manuscript for our first publication (in the era of 'blogs, does this really carry as much gravity anylonger?). Stay tuned for our first-of-many installments, sure to keep your interest rivetted, without giving anything away yet.

Monday, December 01, 2008


I love living in an old neighborhood. I still seem to know more about my neighboring houses than about the occupants inside after 2+ years here. Still, the neighboring acquaintances I have cannot help but be colored by the histories of the houses they live in.

Take the first house that was built on our street, the ‘Patriarch’ we call it. The several large houses about it had been built for the owner’s children’s families about 10+ years later. It is hard to see our neighbors of the ‘Patriarch’ as NOT the Head of our Street, as though they just inherited the title [the remnants of the Original family are long gone now].

The High Style Queen Anne built for a Dress Maker still seems to house an uptight household, and the Arts & Crafts owners all seem mellow, approachable and just the right fit. Projectionism, indeed…but perhaps not entirely.

We are drawn to things that can reflect ourselves positively (in our own mind). Dog Owners are drawn to breeds/mixes that suit their lifestyle and pace. A car is not always a good reflection of oneself because (mostly for economic reasons) a car is sometimes just a car, not something we had much say in acquiring.

So is the same reservation held for homeowners? Surely the percentage of those whom can afford whatever they so desire is rather insignificant. We all settle to some degree on our wants/needs and what we can barely afford. But I think the impetus to NOT SETTLE as much as one can in regards to homeownership is far stronger than for, say, a vehicleownership. Home is HOME, and for those that find themselves drawn to more vintage neighborhoods (and high-maintenance houses), the quasi-tangible ambience of a house’s essence become a driving factor, and thus, a home becomes a public ‘reflection’ of ones household.

The Sticks and Stones of this Home are as much the Blood and Bones of our Family. Bless us all.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Still Alive

With the last entry here dating back in July (4 months ago), it's time to either abandon this blog altogether or be more active with it. Fittingly, that seems to be the general status around here, with everything in flux. We are fighting to keep the mortgage from foreclosure and I am now in the market for a new job. Add to that the fact that our family car was totaled in front of our house not two weeks ago (Hit & Run) and our insurance wants to total the car for ~$1500 (which is about 15% of what was JUST put into the car). BIG CHANGES are ahead whichever way they turn out.

So, back to our Prairie Bungalow and her re-habilitation:
Work has been progressing in the interim, and I do have picture to share soon. Currently, we have been working on an overalll re-design to the floorplan as well as preparing one wainscotting panel in the Dining room for finishing.

On the design, we are primarily aiming to:
- Add a master Bedroom, Bath and Studio on a new second floor (stairs in kitchen)
- Add a Laundry Room below the main floor
- Re-configure Kitchen
- Make Built-In Buffet a pass-through to Kitchen
- Eliminate closet with the window on the front porch
- Eliminate closet with 3' depth and provide add'l 1' to bathroom
- Provide REAL closets for the two existing bedrooms
- Re-design Bathroom with add'l 1' and new bathtub (currently shower stall only)
Big list, I know, and it hasn't been exactly easy. We have not been satisfied with the stair configuration to get to the second floor. I also am not pleased with the overall form of the house after our first pass (too boxy, not articuated, and certainly not "Prairie"). We are not worried about this as we are still in our early schematic design to see what fits.
For now, here is what how the Entry should work out::
"As-Is" with the trim/base removed and the abrupt little closet wall abutting the door -
And here is the proposal (sans 2' square windows on either side - modeling laziness, not elimination). Note the inclusion of the bench seat along the back wall. We are intending to have this larger Foyer echo the woodwork/paneling in the Dining room, that is with less "wall" space for color.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jigety-jig

Michaela made the front page of the Napa-Solano paper today! Below is the link to the same article.

As we have very recently have moved back home after a 3 month stay at Stanford's Ronald McDonald House, we have yet to resume our happy housemaking efforts. There is still much to unpack and put away. But very soon we will have Bungalow-wise entries to post. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1-2, Cha-Cha-Cha

Here are some pictures of our newest family member, Merril Sophie. As you can see, she likes to dance. Now I know why you're supposed to papoose the little wiggly ones. She is only 2 weeks old in this set and happily mews like a kitten.

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Monday, June 23, 2008


Much time has passed since I seriously "houseblogged" (~1 year). This pretty much means that I have previously had little to blog about house-wise. Before I get into the Here-n-Now, lets start off with a quick summary:

2006 - Fall & Winter
- We close the deal on our first house, after much hunting in a blood-thirsty market [peak of prices, no less]
- Initial preparations begin, those that make "living with" difficult; many lessons are learned ['if it matters, do it yourself' if you can,for example]

2007 - Spring
- We move in and the progress slows to a crawl as our infant learns to do so herself.

2007 - Summer
- We confront our first domestic emergency.
- Our firstborn gets a much-needed Heart operation and spends the whole season in Hospital.

2007 - Fall & Winter
- We get back into the swing of Life and spend most of our time just being together in an half(done)house. Little house improvements are made, while fewer are mentioned here [perhaps a post-post is in order...]

2008 - Present
All of this year has been about our nuclear family sofar. The first part was dealing with the diagnosis that our firstborn's heart was actually failing, despite the surgeries. We did all we could to get her on the Heart Recipient's Transplant List, and a mere 55 days later we get the Call. We also got a little visitor (aka - daughter #3 is born).


We are a week away from reuniting back at our bayside prarie palace, as Michaela should be relased from Stanford [Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital] soon. My gas bill will drop by 2/3rds and we can start to look at real home improvements/restorations. It won't be long now until our first two daughters can wield a hammer...

Friday, June 13, 2008


[is this thing on?] WOW it has been a while since I have 'blogged on this thing!!!!

Well, much has changed since we last logged in (August 2007). We now have THREE daughters!!!! And I am MORE pleased than PUNCH!!!! Imagine coming home to (4) Girls!!!! I am the luckiest guy on the planet!!!! The latest one is dubbed "Merril Sophie" [Pictures will follow]. This one is (so far) SO QUIET! She has little to complain about (except the shortage of Daddy's cuddles).

Michaela [our First Born] received an "Heart Transplant" on the Day known as "April Fool's Day" this year [2008](though no Fool was to be found). She dealt with the first month as the best of any, and is soon on her way HOME!!! It has been rough and it has been scary, but she has still been with us and we are the better for it! We are bound for the Berkeley Kite Festival and the 4th of July Fireworks (PLACE to be determined). Aftewrwards, the Discovery Kingdom is NEXT on our list. we aare a FULL family now!