Archive for June, 2012

Going From House to Home

After returning from the Peace Corps, I’ve always thought the Central Asian tradition of lounging under mulberry trees while drinking green tea was something I’d like to one day do in my own house, in the USA. Well, thanks to my brother – it’s come true.

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My brother built me an Uzbek inspired “tapchan” that was officially broken in this weekend at my housewarming/summer solstice crabfeast.

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What amazed me is how perfectly natural it seemed for me to have one – not to mention how quickly my friends came to appreciate my having one as well!

44 adults, 6 children, 2 babies and 1 bunny rabbit later, it sits strong and beckons me daily to live a slower and happier life. It was a wonderful housewarming and I think I can officially say this house is now a home.

Postcards from the Edge

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful community of friends all over the world, as well as friends and family who frequently travel the world. I’ve always been a fan of postcards. Short, sweet – I’m here, having a marvelous time and thinking of you – all you really need to convey. So I’ve managed to collect quite a few over the years and have decided to put them to use in my sleeping porch-turned-office-space.

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As they continue to come in, I can’t wait to cover more walls. As it is, I already have enough for the sleeping porch, so I could probably be more selective on which ones get posted. I just love the fact that windows to all corners of the world are accessible from my sleeping porch.

Sun Room Flooring: Pergo Chic

Anyone who has followed this blog knows, flooring has easily been the most discussed adventure in my home ownership odyssey. With only one more carpeted section of the house, this may actually be the second to the last flooring post!

The sun room was carpeted, and as to be expected, was disgustingly stained and well damaged from the sun and foot traffic.  I used it as the dumping ground for random construction materials and a staging area for most of the house projects.  As such, it was basically the last room on the main floor that was given any attention.

Upon removing the carpet, we found groovy vinyl tiling and plywood:

Under the plywood was the original hardwood floor:

What was most surprising, however, was what the previous owners used as a base before laying the plywood down.  The streaks of light brown paper is actually pages from the Washington Post – from the 1970s!  Here is a close up on a section featuring the Laotian uprising:

Part of me just wanted to do some spot sanding, then lacquer the floor to preserve the articles.  With some wonderful old ads and a few bizarre local stories, I thought it a pretty awesome time capsule of life in Washington, D.C.  Well, “sense” prevailed, and we decided to just cover it in pergo laminate flooring.

Given my druthers, I’ll eventually take this out and refinish the original flooring.  And still plan to preserve at least some of the newspaper clippings.  But until then, pergo flooring just made a lot more sense given the traffic this room will see.

With Power Tools – I’m Unstoppable!

Ok, maybe not unstoppable.  But definitely inspired!  After my memorial day weekend plans fell through, I attacked my home project lists and accomplished an impressive (for me) amount of work.

Roller Shades!   The sun room is bright and lovely – and definitely among my most favorite places in the house.  But during the day, it can almost get a little to hot to bear.  Greenhouse effect and what not.  And given the lack of air-conditioning, I resorted to the wisdom of our elders and installed roller shades.

Why roller shades, you ask?  Well – they work with the period of the house (1925), they offer shade from the sun, but don’t block out light completely, and last, but not least, it is easy to operate and install!  Added bonus – simple to clean, affordable and the clean lines help maintain the transition from indoor space to the outdoor space.

Drill in hand and a little elbow grease, these window treatments were basically ready to install right out of the package.  I wish I could provide some references on the history or roller blinds/shades, but there doesn’t really seem to be much out there.  But here is an interesting take on the rise  (and fall) of the roller shade.  I’m no historian, but the functionality and design of these just feels right for the 1920s-30s, and therefore with the house.  And while I”m all for flash and color, these blinds seamlessly work with the room, which is always a nice surprise.