Hatton House Diaries

One day, we decided to buy a 125 year old Victorian House in Des Moines, Iowa…….

Restoring the Hatton House Windows, Part 1 of 572 December 12, 2013

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 5:38 pm
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Rope caulk pushed into our drafty windows has made a huge difference.

Rope caulk pushed into our drafty windows has made a huge difference.

This past weekend, we hosted the Des Moines Rehabbers Club monthly meeting to talk about our many window projects. I’d posted on Facebook a few times about my project refinishing the front doors, and that I was a bit overwhelmed thinking about all the windows. Since we offer an example of just about every type of window issue, it was suggested that we meet here and talk about window projects.

A helpful summary of the meeting is posted on the Renovate DSM website here. The meeting brought us a great deal of clarity, breaking down the various projects into where we could start working immediately, and ideas for how to solve the issues most frustrating to me. I left the meeting feeling like I had all the information needed in order to get started on the windows I had already diagnosed.

Very drafty windows require approximately one metric ton of rope caulk.

Very drafty windows require approximately one metric ton of rope caulk.

While we couldn’t sensibly take the windows out to work on them in the middle of winter, one of the things we talked about was rope caulk, a slightly stiffer than silly putty substance that can be used to seal up drafty windows. I bought a box that was supposed to cover seven windows, which ended up covering about three of our extra drafty windows. The impact was immediate, making the rooms we did significantly warmer right away. In fact, once we got one room done, it made the room across from it more drafty, so if you do this in your house, be prepared to go all in.  Our heating bills have been completely ridiculous, so we’re hoping this has a big impact on our energy bill as quickly as it squelched the drafts. On to project 2 of 572!

 

Cats and Dogs, Living Together, Mass Hysteria December 11, 2013

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 8:06 pm
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Ember wants nothing to do with Maggie the Dog

Ember wants nothing to do with Maggie the Dog

My friend Mike visited from Indiana this past weekend, and his dog Maggie came with him. Maggie is a very sweet dog, who lives her life dominated by the cats she lives with, so what could go wrong? Surely our cats could handle this visit?

Mike arrived, Maggie in tow, and our elderly cat, Rufus glared and sauntered off. Okay, not so bad. Then Maggie turned toward the front parlor, and a great commotion was heard. Ember and Pumpernickel took one look at Maggie and decided she was not for them. Pumpernickel took off in a streak of white. Ember, on the other hand, had other ideas. She ran up the drapes as if they were flat on the ground, only stopping when she was hanging from the window trim eight feet off the floor. She hung up there hissing, even as I climbed, shoes on furniture and tried to rescue her from her perch. This scene ended with me pulling Ember and the drapes off the window, followed by Ember launching herself off my shoulder in a single leap that seemed to propel her from the front parlor to the back upstairs laundry, where she stayed, almost exclusively, for the duration of Mike and Maggie’s visit. This will be the event I think of, whenever I hear the Ghostbusters line about cats and dogs living together. It really is mass hysteria.

 

The Soccer Room December 9, 2013

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 10:22 am
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The before photo, try not to judge.

The before photo, try not to judge.

There have been a few happy bonuses of the Minimalism Game, a project in which we spent the month of November decluttering. Once I started clearing out our clutter, it allowed me to see things differently. The decluttering itself freed up some space in the last corner of unpacking the house from our move two years ago, and what I was able to sell totaled about $600. Suddenly, the project of finishing the soccer shrine in the alcove off our bedroom didn’t seen to insurmountable, with space cleared and a budget for paint and poster frames.

We finally got the air conditioner moved back up to the attic for the winter, moved the spare wood flooring to the hallway for future project staging. Once we’d decluttered the main bedroom (part way at least!) we were able to rearrange the furniture to include the piece on the right into the main room. The bookcase on the left was in pretty bad shape, having entered the world as a fiber board covered cheapo that was harassed by years of projects and paint splatters and other abuses. We inherited it from the previous owners of the house, and decided it was better suited for use in the basement ceramics studio, so down the stairs it went. That allowed the boxes to move out long enough for painting, and Ikea cables to go up just below the ceiling line. Then the room started to come together.

Our collection of scarves went up around the top of the room, hung over the Ikea cables, and grouped by US game/tournament scarves, AO chapter scarves, club scarves, and international scarves. We moved the Stokke Keep shelving unit in to house our collection of signed jerseys, balls, shoes, and other assorted ephemera. I still have to find the official World Cup licensed condoms from 1998, and I need poster frames for a few pieces, and I thought I would transfer my pin collection to ribbons and hang those, and there’s a matter of rearranging the window treatments in the bedroom so this room has something that fits, but I’m pretty excited about the progress so far. You can follow our continued soccer adventures at my other blog, www.soccerfamilystyle.com.

That's more like it! The soccer shrine coming together.

That’s more like it! The soccer shrine coming together.

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The 2013 qualifying set, the 2010 Total Jackassery scarf, and various Korea and Germany era scarves.

International scarves

International scarves

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Weird collections: the Germany hat I wore to my first USMNT game, and an ironic licensed beanie baby holding a collection of World Cup condoms. Oh, and unrelated CJ Sapong’s shoes.

 

Shop the Hatton House Studios Store! November 30, 2013

Home Cooked LoveWe have a Goodsmiths store now for the art created here! Proceeds go to supporting the restoration of the house, so you get handmade art AND that feel good thing in helping restore the house!

 

We do custom murals (with the mural artist behind Simply for Giggles fame!) and are happy to help you with commission work as well in ceramics and paintings. Shop here:  https://www.goodsmiths.com/hatton-house-studios

More items added soon!

 

Day 7-12 – Minimalism Game – Company Coming November 7, 2013

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 8:03 pm
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I’m cheating. I worked ahead. We have friends visiting this weekend, and I wanted tasks done, stuff out. Plus, once you get going on decluttering, it gets easier. I enlisted the kids on filling out the numbers for the weekend, but we made it with room to spare, and two huge boxes of clothes, toys, and books are on their way to charity. Have a great weekend, minimalists!

 

Not Enough Kittens on the Internet, Part 2-3 April 14, 2013

Filed under: Everything Else,Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 11:22 pm

Continued from Part 1.

Kittens love rewiring projects.

Kittens love rewiring projects.

Pumpernickel is very helpful with wiring. He loves rewiring.

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Kitten helps hang a new fixture over the sink.

Kitten helps hang a new fixture over the sink.

As well as hanging lights.

 

Finished! Let There Be Light…in the Kitchen!

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 11:05 pm
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The finished product!

You might remember last week’s future project from our favorite things, which was a chandelier that was destined for our kitchen once it had been re-wired. The best thing that came out of the #FavoriteThings blog post for me was a group of virtual friends that will peer pressure me to complete projects in a timely manner. I think it was a day or two after the Favorite Things post that host Victoria Barnes was peer pressuring me via Twitter to post photos of the chandelier. 

So I stayed up until 2 AM, two nights in a row, learning how to rewire my prize, and then struggling through the actual project of shoving wires through S-curves (the secret: start with the sharp curve first). The most time consuming part was figuring out what needed to be done. I start most of my projects at Miller’s Hardware, where they can usually set me in the proper direction on a project right from the start. My first trip there, I was armed with just a photo of the socket, and they had no idea what I needed, and asked me to bring the fixture with me. But when I returned with the fixture, they still couldn’t tell what I needed because they couldn’t see the bottom of the light bulb socket. They advised me to contact Hansen Electric, which was totally unacceptable to me. I wanted to rewire this sucker myself, dammit, and I had all the knowledge of YouTube behind me! What could go wrong? I mean, if I’m doomed to let someone else do it, I’ll screw it up good trying first.

I figured if I could cut the wires to the chandelier arms, I’d be able to spin the arm wires out and look at the sockets. So I started unscrewing the entire fixture, keeping track of where things went using an egg carton (by the way, my husband was right, just don’t tell him…my life was made easier because of the photos I took prior to dismantling this thing, so I recommend extensive photo documentation IN ADDITION to egg cartons). Once I had the top and bottom unscrewed, I clipped the wires (point of no return!) and voila! Those sockets came out with very little effort, and even better, seemed in good enough shape that I didn’t have to replace them, just the wires. 

Wire, bad. Sockets, good.

Wire, bad. Sockets, good.

I got the wires shoved through with no small amount of convincing, and learned that my blunt force method of wire stripping only serves to break wires. Eventually I got everything capped and taped together, and then stacked back up and screwed back together, and today after several days of “Hey, we should hang that light tonight!” it is finally done and looking amazing in my kitchen. $60 fixture, less than $10 of materials, some glass cleaner, and I have a gorgeous new fixture that’s just what I wanted, aesthetically and in a new skill: restoration rewiring!

 

 

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Egg carton, good. Photos of how it goes together, better

 

 

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: Past, Present, Future April 9, 2013

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 4:39 pm
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Victoria Barnes posted the MOST amazing Craigslist find this morning, and it helped me make my final decision…I’m posting all my contenders! It’s the only way to be remotely worthy of linking to her post. Plus, I realized, my three things are a past project, a current project, and a future project! You get to see some progression, all in one post!

wpid-2013-04-09_09-52-57_426.jpgFirst, there was the dining room chandelier. When we bought the house, it had a two-arm Greek Revival lamp that had been converted from gas. It was okay, but it bothered me that it was so small for our seats-twelve dining room. But with a thousand other projects to contend with, I resigned myself to living with it. BUT THEN…one of my neighbor posted a photo to facebook of a chandelier that he had just rewired. It had cut glass kerosene reservoirs, crystals, brass beads, it was just SO LOVELY!! So perfectly Victorian and delicious, I had to have it. It wasn’t where I should have been spending money, but I didn’t care (and I did get the neighborly discount..rationalize, rationalize, rationalize!) It makes me happy every time I walk by it. And that Greek Revival light? It moved one block north, to the house that’s been lovingly named “The Greek Lady,” even though it’s really Colonial…they meant well, and “Colonial Lady” sounds more like a company that makes muffin mixes.

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colonial fireplace

Not this one….

My next favorite is a fireplace mantle that I just found. I’ve discovered that I don’t really do things the way I should in this house, y’know, with a plan. I work my way through inexpensive projects, while trying to work out financing for the big projects (don’t even get me started on Neighborhood Finance Corp…it’ll work out someday). The next thing I was willing to spend Money on was a fireplace mantle for the dining room. Our original was urban mined before our time here, and it felt like the house was wounded and bleeding. It needed a mantle band aid, STAT. I’d been looking, but everything fabulous was $3000, and everything else was too big, not big enough, and generally $1000+. Sigh. Then, in the last booth at the Des Moines Home and Garden Show, was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Store booth with a lovely Colonial Fireplace. It wasn’t Mr. Right, but it had Mr. Right Now potential. Plus, it was a steal, so I bought it and brought it home.

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THIS ONE!

As soon as I got it here, it bothered me. Putting a Colonial band-aid over a Victorian wound didn’t seem right. Of all the rooms I wanted to screw up, the dining room was not the one. I could go into details about the lovely woman that haunts this room, and how I want her to be happy, but let’s just leave it that, one day, it’s going to be my masterpiece. So, back to Craigslist I went, and this time, instead of just looking in Des Moines, I searched Iowa City, Omaha, and Kansas City. There it was, my precious. The perfect size, with mirrors, and just right level of decoration. It needed to be finished, but it was already stripped. Jackpot! I emailed back and forth with the owner, negotiated the firebox, which made my heart race, into the original price. I went and bought it, as well as some tin ceiling she had, which will show up in future projects, and brought it home. It looks so lovely. My master plan for the dining room is slowly coming together! Rubs hands with evil laugh! Oh, and you can take the Colonial one off my hands here!

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wpid-2013-04-03_17-48-40_484.jpgFinally, a preview of my future favorite. This find is from Urban Finds, at the 2 Crazy Redheads booth. (Ignore the Easter eggs in the photo, we’re still Jewish, but the next door neighbors invited the kids to partake in their hunt.) I’d never been to the once a month junktastic Urban Finds, but I think I’m about to be a regular. First of all, 2CR is run by a woman I’m Facebook friends with, but have never met, so we created a little scene upon figuring out that we’d finally managed to meet each other in real life. Then, I found this chandelier, which I think will be perfect for my kitchen, for $60. Best part? It needed to be rewired! I’ve been on an adventure of learning how to rewire fixtures, which makes me totally excited, learning a new skill! It’s the best part of this house…learning all these lost art skills. I can’t wait to get it finished and walk you all through the process! Stay tuned, for the next episode of #FavoriteThings!

P.S. I’d love to see links to your favorites in the comments!

 

Shakes Fist at Victoria Barnes… April 8, 2013

Filed under: Everything Else,Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 8:00 pm

Oh…that Victoria Barnes. Have you seen her blog about restoring a 1890 house? It’s everything my blog would be, if I had time, drive, a staff….maybe one day. She probably had no idea the trouble she gets me into, posting her projects, getting me to think about the thousand things I could add to my thousand line to-do list, but now, she’s really done it.

Last week, she post her blog link up party, and I’ve spent ever since then trying to pick my favorite find to participate. Oh sure…why not ask who my favorite child is, while you’re at it? At first I thought, oh easy….my favorite find is this house. I looked for YEARS to find the perfect home. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a 4 bedroom, huge kitchen, not too done, but liveable historic home in Des Moines, Iowa, where they destroyed many primo properties when the built highway 235? It’s damn near impossible. But I found it. I remember standing on the front lawn, Friday December 3rd, 2010, using my Droid as a flashlight to shine through the dark at the quarter turned tower, stalking the interior wood work, practically jumping up and down that I’d finally found my house. Little did I know it wouldn’t actually be mine for another 53 weeks, thanks largely to Wells Fargo’s fiasco of a short sale department, but it’s mine now, and that’s what counts.

But then I thought that was boring, that I should tell a story about one of the super cool things I’ve found for the house….the chandelier for the dining room, the new fireplace mantle, the new kitchen chandelier…I’ve had so many great finds lately that I haven’t had time to write about yet. Only trouble is, none of them are really done. I haven’t finished the medallion for the dining room, the mantle needs to be refinished, and I spent a fair amount of time since her little announcement racing around trying to finish cleaning and rewiring the new chandelier for the kitchen.

I got more done this weekend, thinking about this post. We got two lights hung that were things I had left over from my store, Simply for Giggles, that I determined were never really meant to be sold, they were meant for me. I got brave and totally disassembled a chandelier (and yes, I was thinking of the chandelier using the Short Circuit voice screaming “No disassemble!” the whole time).

Remains to be seen if the chandelier comes back to life. And as to what will make the final cut for my best find ever….you’ll have to tune in tomorrow!

 

Now We’re Cooking With Gas March 15, 2013

Filed under: Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 6:34 am
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imageNow that the new Thermador is hooked up, it was time to do some serious cooking. I’m not sure I’ll ever be coordinated enough to use the griddle, six burners, and two ovens all at the same time, but I was pretty excited about getting homemade sauce, pasta, cookies, and cheddar scones all going at the same time in our first full dinner prepared on the new range.

And yes, the food made in your dream oven DOES taste better!