Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is a good time to look back at the past year. I didn’t really think that we had much happen, but then I looked over the blog posts and realized that it’s been quite a year. On the positive side we finished the search and found a new contractor, gotten the Horner House added to the National Register of Historic Places, and found a number of exciting things with the metal detecting. We also added the Knightstown Architecture and we have been able to decorate for both Halloween and Christmas. Another surprise is that our FB page has 690 followers and the blog as been viewed over 29,000 times! And finally, we are partially moved into the Bungalow. 

 Another (better) picture of the house with the Christmas tree.

On the harder side of things it has also been an eventful year. The Irvington Post Office was both saved and lost in a few short months and we lost our own garage to an arsonist. And the Bungalow had a structural issue that was both identified and repaired. Also, Amanda’s health has been a challenge, with three trips to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and more doctor's appointments and tests than she cares to remember. But overall, her health is somewhat better now than earlier in the year. It has been a very long, very up and down, year for all of us.

In the new year we will be adding more architecture blogs, including other cities, and catching you all up on the work done to the Bungalow and our move. We will also be getting the garage cleaned up, the Beech Grove house fixed and sold, and hopefully making some good progress on the Horner House.

It is looking to be a very happy new year. Thank you all for keeping up with us and being so incredibly supportive.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday Quiet

It is Sunday afternoon and very quiet. Eric and the dogs are at the office and I have exactly forty-three minutes to absorb the peace and beauty around me before I have to leave. We are going to a movie with my parents, brother, and niece. Eric and I slept in this morning. I sit at my dining room table, a table from my childhood, and I am looking out the windows on a scene that brings me great joy. It sounds like a normal Sunday in an average life. But for me, it’s much more than that. Today is not for work, illness, frustration, roadblocks, heartaches, and sadness. Today is for complete content and unmitigated joy. In a few minutes I will have my family. Right now I have peace, beauty, and quiet.

I am sitting in the dining room at the Bungalow. We slept here last night. I have been watching fluffy white clouds in a light blue sky move across and disappear behind the long neglected and broken relic that is my new neighbor. The tattered ends of a bright blue tarp tap gently against pink and orange brick and waist high weeds dance gaily in a cold winter wind. It is beautiful. But mostly what I see is that I AM HERE. At a resting place on this journey, sitting in my dining room in the Bungalow. There is heat, furniture, water, and electricity. I am in my pajamas with bare feet. A chance to breathe, relax and to simply enjoy the beauty that is around me. Tomorrow and the days that follow I will tell you about all of the ups and downs of the last month. But today is for joy. And I am here. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Comes to Toad Hall

On Sunday night my wonderful husband put up our Christmas tree. In the tower at Toad Hall. Here's a (very bad) picture of him working on it:

 You can see the light in the left tower window where Eric was working. If you look really closely you can see the reflection of the light off the star in the right window.

After a while of watching I began to freeze and had to go into the Bungalow to get warm. Then Eric called me to tell me to come look.

 Another bad picture, but you get the idea! The plexiglass is pretty dirty so from the front the tree is slightly blurry, but we won't be trying to clean it in the snow!

 This one was taken from the side yard.
I know that some people will wonder why we went to the trouble of "decorating" when there is so much other work to be done. It's a reasonable question, but a tough one to answer. I think it comes down to one word. Hope. The last couple of years haven't been easy ones and it would be very easy to become beaten down by all the roadblocks that we have run into. So, some days we like to just take a step back try to enjoy what we do have. 

Here are a few other pictures:

This picture was taken Monday evening. Next year we'll get a wreath for the door!

 Another picture from the side yard. 

I've seen a couple of very good pictures taken at night. We'll either see if we can get permission to reprint those or get some better ones of our own. And for those of you who have asked, no, the house does not have electricity!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Joys of Technology

Modern technology can be a wonderful thing, especially when you take full advantage of it. For example, it's nice to have multiple cars. That way if there are a lot of things to pick up from multiple sources, two people can go in different directions and get things done quickly. It's also nice for working on the Bungalow. If Eric and I both drive over there, then I can play gopher for him and he still has his vehicle available if he runs into a problem and needs to leave.

Another great source of technology are cell phones. I will never get back the manifold hours I've spent on my phone calling Dad and Eric from the store to ask questions about what I have been sent to find. But it's still way more efficient to call than to have to drive back for more information, or buy three items and return two because I didn't know which one they really asked for. It's also nice to be able to get on the internet from the store or project site and look for hints, tips, and how-tos while you are right in the middle of things.

But this past weekend, Eric and I both realized that we have not been making full use of the available technology. I was at home and called to see if Eric and Dad wanted lunch brought to them. They said yes and asked if I could run by the hardware store and grab a stove socket. It sounded simple enough. Eric gave me a good description and I could always ask for help if I needed it. How hard could it be?

Here is the item in question. A plug for a stove. 

I ran into the store and started down the first electrical isle and found what I thought was the right area. As I came to a stop one of the store employees asked if I needed any help. Since there were a fair number of things that all looked similar to the above picture I asked which one I was supposed to get. He couldn't figure it out and sent someone else. They couldn't figure it out either and sent a third person. While I was waiting for the third guy I found what I thought was the right one and called Eric. We talked for a minute and I was still thinking I had the correct item, but not 100% sure. (Eric told me the box would say stove on it and it didn't.) So I suddenly got the bright idea that I could take a picture of the box and text it to him. Then he can decide if it's correct!

The picture of the box that I texted to Eric from the hardware store.

Just after I hit send, I received a new message with the first picture shown in this post. Eureka! Eric came up with the same idea I did at just about the same time. And I can tell you, this will make playing gopher much easier in the future. This is why, even though technology can really make life complicated, we keep it around. Wins like this one make me a little better tempered on those days when the phone makes me crazy.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Knightstown - Commercial Building - Page 3

I love old business districts. The buildings are so varied in construction type, age, and modernization. Here's a good one from Knightstown.

I'm not sure what this place was when it was built and I'd guess a bank, but there is one of those on the other end of the block. Whatever it was, they sure went all out on it.

Since the area to the left is paneled over, it's hard to tell what once was there but the vertical panels in the arches add an interesting (modern) element to it that helps it connect to the whole. And the columns have a fun pattern with two on each end on only two in the center causing the brick arches above to be slightly cut off.

This little close up shows just how much detail went into this building originally. The bottom is a bit of limestone, with three blocks on top. Then the columns, with the base and capitals made of the same reddish stone, with the columns themselves almost appearing to be made of granite. And above that, at the base of the brick, is another decorative swirl.

This section has a number of very interesting features, the most prominent of which are the newer metal window coverings. I'll bet this helps really helps with the utility bills.

And just above it is another decorative panel, made with patterned terracotta tiles with strips of shaped copper above and below. You just don't see this kind of detail on today's buildings.

At the bottom of the column is not only a decorative flower, but there's a lattice pattern in the background.

The center section of the building has a flag pole and yet more copper decorations.

I just had to get a shot of the bottom of the pole. The copper work is exquisite.

Each of the columns is topped by several sections of copper. And in this picture you can see the leaf pattern that runs all the way across the top of the center section of the building.

After all of the other details and decorations, this round tower almost looks plain. But it's really still very complex, with limestone strips at the base of the tower, above and below the windows, transoms, with a decorative copper fascia and a slate roof. I love the way this protrudes from the corner of the building, almost like a guerite (watchtower) one would see at the corner of an old stone fort.

Even the alley side of the building has its decoration. At the top of the building you can see the patterned brickwork that was added.

While the windows on the ground floor appear to be originally square, the upper floor has not only round topped windows, but even a short "baby" window on the back section of the building.

I just have to say again, that they just don't make buildings as decorative as this one anymore.

Friday, December 6, 2013

What Once Was - Second Installment

After finding the first piece of the cresting Steve and John spent some time looking around the bottom of the bay window to try and find more. We are very excited about this find! Maybe now, with some research, we will be able to find the complete pattern or even the maker!!!

Without further ado, here are the pictures:

 This piece doesn't give us very much, but it does clearly show the cross in the pattern,

 While the third piece here doesn't show us much of the pattern, it does show, at least partially how these pieces went together. It's not at thick at the top (where the hole is.) This is classic design for cast iron pieces.

 Another piece that shows some of how this was put together. On the left end you can see where it was bolted to the next piece, and I really love the clarity of the bolt or screw used to tie it to the roof. Even after all these years the threads are still visible.

 Now we are getting to the really good parts! We still don't have a complete picture of what was there, but this gives so much more to work with. And with a little imagination it almost looks like a phoenix rising from the ashes.  

 And yet more! There's so much to look at, where to start... On the top left is a fleur-de-lis, the first one of these we have seen. There are also what look to be flowers and maybe a couple of upside down crosses. This is close to a whole piece, as can be told by the pin on the upper right side and the hole on the upper left. 

 In this last picture Eric fit all of the pieces together trying to create a pattern out of what we have. This may not be right, but it should be close!

What a spectacular and unbelievable find!!! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What Once Was - First Installment

One of the most exciting parts of redoing an old building is finding clues and remnants of what once was. We are so lucky with this property to have so much of the original to work from that I almost feel guilty every time I wish that we had more information about something that is missing. But while I haven't seen the fairy godmother who's been granting these wonderful wishes, she's gotta be hiding somewhere as the answers just keep popping up!

A few weeks ago we had Steve and John out doing some metal detecting on the property. And while they never found the buried treasure that was going to pay for the house repairs, they did find a few interesting items...

The first, we are told, is a Civil War era bullet. The one thing that the pictures don't show is how heavy this thing is! And while we do know that there were no battles fought in this area,we also know that Abraham Horner (the original owner) was enlisted in the Union Army for six days. (Yes, that's another story that you can read here: Did this bullet belong to Abraham? We'll never know, but it's fun to speculate.

And then Steve came to me with this:

It was found buried at the base of the bay window. Way back, when the house was new, there was a railing, or cresting, that ran along the top of the bay windows and on the 4th story tower. It is long gone and has been one of the things that I was wishing we had even pieces or good pictures of. So now we have at least one piece. Wish granted!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Knightstown Architecture - Houses - Page 8

This is one of my favorite houses. The details are amazing!

From the front the house is obviously large and decorative. The basic style looks to be an Italianate, but there three distinct elevation changes just on the front of the house, that are not standard on that style. (They can best be seen on the upper story between the first and second window and from the left, and between the second and third window.) The porch is covered in intricate gingerbread, including the gable over the front door, and wraps into and beyond the attached gazebo on the side. 

Looking at an angle, many more items of interest jump out. First is the addition on the side of the building. It's hidden in by the shrubs, but with all of those windows I'll bet it's the lightest room in the house. Second, is additional elevation change that is just in front of the large upstairs window. Also, from this view, the porch gets even more interesting.

This is a closeup of the small side window. Even it has the added leading to make it more than just a round window.

Even the end of the porch has more than just the decorative post and railing. There is the vertical lined panel and the pierce work that lays across it. And lets not forget the decoration on the wood overghang. 

Going around to the other side of the porch there is another gable similar to the one over the front door but it has a decorative finial above it.

I added this picture just for fun. I loved how the clouds came out.

The attached gazebo is a great element that adds so much character to this house. All of the railings are decorative and balls on top make a great pattern. The rocking chairs are just the thing to finish off this area.

In this closeup, you can see the ceiling fan mounted inside the gazebo. And on closer inspection the gingerbread that covers the outside and the pierce work on the inside. What a work of art.

After the spectacular elements of the porch, the guttering and corbels look almost plain. But on any other house these would be highly decorative!

And to finish off this tiny little house and give it a bit more room, is a one story addition on the back. While it might originally have been a kitchen, the little porch mimics the one in front, making it one more reason why this is one of my favorite houses.