Archive | March, 2013

Historic English Pub Under Threat

31 Mar

If you’re in the Springfield area, you probably followed the story of the Allis Mansion on the grounds of Mercy Hospital and how the Springfield Preservation Trust managed to forestall the demolition of the building through a petition and news coverage.

There’s a similarly-threatened early 19th century pub in England that a local museum (YES, A MUSEUM!!) wants to demolish in order to construct a modern concrete and glass restaurant. Historic preservation is important everywhere — even if you’ll never step foot in England, it’s very important that the built environment and the lives that passed through those buildings is remembered and preserved. Here’s a blog post about the situation and here’s a petition to save the Marquis of Landsdowne. They need 900+ more votes, please take a moment to sign the petition if preservation and history matter to you.

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Waterworld! 2013

31 Mar

One of the unexpected outcomes about owning an old house is that you get to learn quite a lot about home maintenance and the history of home construction.

In other words, I’ve got some leaking pipes.

There are two (at least) spots where the 140 year old cast iron waste pipe is leaking. I thought it would have to be replaced as part of the installation of the new bathroom, but the plumber assured me it was sound. He was wrong. It’s cracking up. Sigh. It could always be worse. So a new plumber is coming to assess the sitch tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are some photos of the innermost part of the chase, which are a bit of a walk through history. Lead pipes (yup, that’s right), the cast iron waste, some copper water pipes, and the strangely located hanging electric wire (live) that’s now dripping with water. Not safe. Don’t dangle wires next to water pipes, kids.

Cracked waste pipe on 3rd floor

Cracked waste pipe on 3rd floor

Window to the pipes in Butler's Pantry Closet

Window to the pipes in Butler’s Pantry Closet

Cast iron waste pipe, copper water pipes LEAD water pipes and braided electrical cord in the chase (seen from BP wall window)

Cast iron waste pipe, copper water pipes LEAD water pipes and braided electrical cord in the chase (seen from BP wall window)

Looking up the chase

Looking up the chase

Some odds and ends

31 Mar

I managed to do a big glass switcheroo (after dropping and shattering the glass in this framed poster) and hang this great vintage London Underground poster in the toilet compartment. Also got a new towel bar (featured under the nice blue hairdryer Elaine gave me — thanks, Elaine!). So this is it — bathroom is done and it looks great. And it works. Let’s focus on that for the moment.

Picture hanging in loo cube

Picture hanging in loo cube

Towel bar

Towel bar

Project Budget

25 Mar

My goal in putting in this bathroom was to spend no more than $5,000. Let’s see how I did.

Free:   Brand-new bathtub (still in protective film)

Free:   Nearly new sink and faucets

Free:   Vintage toilet from a friend’s house (thanks Liz)

Free:   Paint and painting supplies (had them on hand in the basement)

Free:  Cute little white shelf (thanks Liz!)

$4,240: Plumbing, electrical, construction, including materials (including the tile) and including a $300 charge for fixing the blocked waste pipe that started backing up during the construction and also replacing a big piece of leaking cast iron pipe in another bathroom. (So really $3940 on just this bathroom, but we’ll call it $4240).

$30:  Miscellaneous plumbing pieces needed to make the loo work (fill valve, special flush valve, tank bolts, etc.)

$27: Shower curtain, liners, and rings.

$29: L-shaped shower curtain rod

$4 : Rattan trash can

Free: London Underground print from my collection

$7:  Bathmat, mirror, and sheer curtain.

Free: Milking stool, hair dryer, fancy ceramic Q-Tip holder (thanks Elaine!)

$4337: Grand Total.

I think we can all agree that this is incredibly reasonable and fabulous. I do think about putting in a tin ceiling, pulling out the skirting boards and replacing them with nicer ones and fixing the window trim and painting the floor, but I’m in no hurry for any of that (and even if I do all those things, it will likely not cost more than $700, keeping me on my under $5,000 budget).

I’m dead chuffed! Love it, love it, love it, and hope the weekend guests will start rolling in!

Done!

24 Mar

Here are two shots of my fabulous new bathroom. I think my AirBnB guests are going to love it, and I’m going to love not sharing my bathroom anymore (not that it was *that* bad, but not sharing it is better). Also it will be nice to hop in the shower myself as needed.

Bathroom two Bathroom one

There was a shower in the leopard bathroom where the laundry machines are now when I first moved in (eleven years ago), so I have had a few showers in the house, but I took it out PDQ so that I could put the laundry in. I took an inaugural shower in the new bathroom tonight and it was a novel and not unpleasant. But I do love my morning bath.

Nearly done.

24 Mar

Here are some photos of today’s painting progress. I’ve just finished priming the trim and the door with some very smelly primer and am waiting for it to dry. The pets have made it known that they’ve had enough of being ignored and would like me to pay attention to them. I have Trixie and Taggy on either side of me and Jerome on my laptop. As soon as they all fall asleep I’ll head back upstairs and finish painting.  Pesty animals.

First coat of paint going on.

First coat of paint going on.

So I can remember when I did this!

So I can remember when I did this!

They're in the union.

They’re in the union.

 

Two coats, still wet.

Two coats, still wet.

Two coats in the toilet enclosure

Two coats in the toilet enclosure

Supervisor.

Supervisor.

Stop painting and play with us!!!!

Stop painting and play with us!!!!

 

 

 

Primed

23 Mar

File under “it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do”. I primed the walls and ceiling and some of the trim. I’m only doing primer on the ceiling, because I do hope to put a tin ceiling in soon-ish (within the next two years) and besides, a couple coats of primer is as good as paint if it’s the same color. And it did take a couple of coats. But now look — shiny! new! white! clean! yay!

Starting to paint the ceiling

Starting to paint the ceiling

Everything primed.

Everything primed.

You will note my OSHA approved painting platform (a hassock from the other room) in the second photo.

And here’s what the walls and trim look like primed:

Primed corner.

Primed corner.

Window party primed (and still wet).

Window party primed (and still wet).

It looks so crisp and hygenic that I’m wondering if I should keep the walls light, but I do like a dark wall, so I’ll paint one of the walls blue and see how it looks against the tile and ceiling. That primer is pretty amazing, so I can absolutely paint over the blue if I decide to go lighter. I used (leftover) Gripper primer by Glidden. It does indeed grip — I scrubbed the daylights out of my hand and it’s still all covered in paint.

While I was standing on the hassock in the tub, I got a visit from a little spider, which of course made me feel like I had them crawling all over me. I was wishing the boys from Merlin were there to restore the balance of nature for me, but since they weren’t, I just left the little guy to crawl around.

If ever there was a time I needed Bradley James and Colin Morgan in my bathroom, this is that time.

If ever there was a time I needed Bradley James and Colin Morgan in my bathroom, this is that time.