Sunday, March 06, 2016

Time for a Change - The Main Bathroom Renovation

After almost ten years of living with the PO's "renovation", I think we've finally had it with our hundred year old bathroom and are ready for a change. I am not really sure why we waited so long to address this problem: layers and layers of wallpaper and paint that seem to be cracking and crumbling before our eyes, the unhealthy lack of proper ventilation, and the random mixture of fixtures and fittings. It all has to go or be changed.

The overhead bathroom light has always reminded me of a saloon. It appears to be a historic-looking shade but it seems more like a lamp shade, cobbled together to look like it was always there. 

The ceiling is riddled with alligatoring and staining because of the years of paint build-up, dirt and mold.

It looks like the tub had been refurbished at one time but the paint job is messy, uneven and cracking. The original hexogonal tile (I know it was there because I have found random pieces around the house and yard) was removed in favor of crappy grey tile that looks like it was found on the side of the road.

The wallpaper that makes the entire room look like a circus tent has never looked good and the pealing and cracking only adds to its bad appearance. The vanity lighting is updated but it too looks dated to circa 1990 and needs to go. The built-in medicine cabinet is in good enough shape but could use some new hardware and serious sprucing up.

The original faux plaster tile is still there but it has been over-painted, drilled through, cracked and damaged to the point that it doesn't look appealing at all. We are in a debate as to whether to put the energy into restoring it or surfacing over it altogether.

The toilet doesn't function properly and its cover is cracked and has never fit. Paint and plaster seem to be chipping everywhere. 

Over the next week, I will be sorting through the scope of work in the bathroom but right now, it looks like we will be touching everything in here. Unlike other work, we will probably be calling in professionals to help out. This is more than I want to take on by myself. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Help Save Syracuse's Barnes-Hiscock Mansion

If you are a follower or occasional reader of this blog, then you know that I love old homes and there is a high probability that you do too. There is an old home in my hometown, Syracuse, NY, that I have a special affinity for. James Street, in that city, was once lined with remarkable homes like the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion. Over the years, they have been demolished or neglected to the point where only a small handful still survive.
Exterior view of the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion on James Street in Syracuse, NY. Photo by Eric Payne. 
In my other blog, I’ve written a little about the home because of its amazing interiors, some of which were designed by nationally renowned architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee. It doesn’t take a PhD in Art History to realize that the architectural history of the home is very rich.
Photo of the Barnes Dining Room fireplace.
Photo of the Barnes Dining Room built-in sideboard.
Equally rich is the home’s social history. It is uniquely intertwined with the history of the city of Syracuse. Because of its owners and their political and historical associations, the home has connections to Abolition and the Underground Railroad.  The home was host to many meetings of local and national politicians and activists. While in Syracuse, President Taft once stayed in the home. To see a bit of the home and its history, click the video below:

The Barnes-Hiscock Mansion is currently overseen by the George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation and the Foundation needs your help. Presently, there is a fundraising effort going on to replace and reconstruct the roof and its historic details. At this point, there is no donor that has stepped forward to single-handedly pay for this much needed restoration. Instead, the Foundation must rely on small donations from many individuals in order to fund the work and receive additional grants.
View of deteriorating portico balustrade and roof. Photo courtesy of the George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation. 
Arial view of the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion showing a makeshift patchwork of blue tarps to help protect the room. Photo from Google maps.  
Help save and restore the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion. The easiest way to give is by clicking on THIS LINK to the online fundraising campaign. No donation is too big or too small so please give what you can. It would be terrible to see this remarkable piece of our history lost forever. 
Also, please take the time to give and to follow their Facebook page to learn more about the Foundation, its activities and this amazing structure.     


Sunday, May 24, 2015

More Garden Photos

I've finally been able to spend a couple days cleaning up the yard and everything is coming in nicely. I am particularly excited about the new irises. We planted them about four years ago but this is the first they are blooming. They were well worth the wait. How amazing they look. The wisteria is on the verge of blooming as well and takes up just under half of the pergola. I am guessing it will look great in another week.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Spring in the Garden

Some pics of the garden this spring. The lilacs are blooming, the forget-me-nots are spreading and the wisteria looks like it is going to be very showy in a few weeks. There is a ton of work to do out there but I still have painting to do indoors. Hopefully things don't get too carried away before I finish inside.