Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Divided Hub

No, I'm not referring to Boston after the pike was extended to Logan. I'm talking about the brand name we found on the door locks in our house.

Several of the bedroom door locks/latches are tempermental and don't actually close the door, requiring guests to wedge a shoe under the guestroom door when they need privacy.

Jeff got motivated to scrape off several layers of (probably lead) paint from the door hardware and removed the mechanisms. Its pretty interesting to see how these door knobs work with a few moving levers and a spring.

The lock part was painted shut and the paint drips had been interfering with the way the knob turned. Thanks to something I read in a house magazine, we repurposed an old Crock-pot to soak off the old paint and layers of grease overnight. Note- if you do this, you can NEVER use the crock-pot again for food. Since I think we'll be doing more of this in the future, I didn't mind dedicating a pot to the project.

We covered the pieces in water, and set the heat to medium and let it "cook" overnight for about 18 hours. In the morning, Jeff had to apply a little elbow grease, but the paint came off pretty easily.

Once the paint was off, Jeff sprayed each piece with WD-40 and polished them up to remove any stuck-on grime, and then using the "before" photos as reference, reassembled the locks. It was pretty easy, and now our guests won't need to use their shoes as a door stop!

Here's a close up of the assembled lock casing, the text reads "Divided Hub June 11, 61". I think this must refer to 1861, making these the original door handles/locks on the house.

So, friends and family, its now safe to visit again!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Son of a beech...

The name of this blog came from the landscaping focus of our house. When we started to look outside Brookline for a bigger house we started to look in ever-widening circles. First Newton, then Wellesley, then Natick and Framingham. These were short house-hunting trips since there was very little for sale in our price range.
One day, Jeff found a photo of a nice house that had a huge Copper Beech tree in the back yard, surrounded by a spacious deck. It was pretty much everything we'd been looking for.

After we moved into the house in October and tree had yet to shed a single leaf, we started to suspect this tree was high-maintenance. The tree hangs onto its leaves for so long that its a race to get the leaves off the ground before the snow covers them until spring. With its strong branches stretching over not just our yard, but also the yards of our 3 neighbors, I know we aren't the only ones who get a little frustrated with the shedding canopy in late November.

This year, we lost the race to the tree when it snowed before Thanksgiving, so our spring will be filled with raking wet rotting leaves. But hey! That'll give us something to do while we wait out numerous delays that are sure to happen in our kitchen renovation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Details details

We are planning for our massive (to us) kitchen remodel, and now that we found a great cabinet guy and have our hearts set on wood floors, its time for me to think about the details. This is always the hardest part of a project for me, trying to focus on a small piece like a cabinet pull and make sure it fits in with my grand scheme for the kitchen.

The theme for this kitchen is "clean and crisp" and I want this center of the home to feel inviting and stress-free. Walking in at the end of the day should feel like entering an oasis.

So, to compliment our white shaker-style cabinets, dark wood floors, marble and granite countertops, I'm sticking with polished nickel or polished chrome hardware. Yeah, I know its going to show every little fingerprint, but I think the shiny-ness is going to fit in nicely.

This is what I'm looking for, these pulls, knobs, and twisty-things, but in a budget-conscious price range. The ones shown below are from Restoration Hardware, but I'm really just looking for a knock-off.




I'll be scouring ebay and clearance sales on the web for the next 10-12 weeks looking for it. And if I don't find it? We'll be prying open cabinets with our fingers until I do.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Leaking Foundation

The experience of the old home continues. Snow turned to rain before finally settling on ice. I'm not sure of the physics behind it, but as I wandered into my basement for my post rain check of the basement I noticed a lot more water then usual in the "wet locations". My usual practice is to shop-vac any puddles that violate the 1/3 rule. This rule is, if the puddle extends more the 1/3 of the space between the walls, I'll clean it up immediately, anything less I make a judgment call on my mood about the house that day. I vacuumed the 4 gallons and went to work.

After such days of rain and subsequent vac I check the spots again once I arrive home. This one particular location, was almost to my 1/3 line. I vacuumed again and tried to see where the water was coming from. I managed to follow it all the way back main water line coming through the fieldstone foundation.

The leak didn't seem like much, so I put a 2.5 gallon bucket under the drip. The house frustration was full for the day, up to the comfort of my family.

The following day I contact my savior and renovation consultant, Jon. I explained what was happening and some simple hydraulic cement should do the trick. Many hours later of researching such a wonderful product, Offspring #1 and I wander off to Lowes to grab a bucket.

More later..


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