Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mood Board - Atomic Mod Living Room

Click the image to enlarge our very first mood board!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cleaning Aluminum Fireplace Doors

Our 53 year old fireplace looks brand new thanks to Bar
Keepers Friend liquid cleanser and lots of hard work
We've been curious as to why the former owners would install brass fireplace doors in a home that's covered in aluminum.

As it turns out, the fireplace doors weren't brass at all... they were just so unbelievably dirty after years of neglect, the color had changed.

Underneath all the dust, soot and general nastiness was a pristine condition set of aluminum and glass fireplace doors. They bring the room to life and are a perfect fit for the home. And after some deep scrubbing of the brick surrounding the firepleace (not shown), the room has been completely transformed. We love it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fixing Damaged Redwood Window Sills

Water damage has stained
the wood so it looks gray
 Many walls and window frames in Our Care-free Home are old-growth redwood. This beautiful, durable lumber is no longer available to builders (unless it's been reclaimed), as the old-growth redwood forests were logged to near-extinction and are now protected.

The former owners damaged every single wood window frame (beyond repair in some places) by allowing water to collect on the lower wood panel. This likely have happened due to misuse of a humidifier (which our inspector forbid us from ever turning on, for this very reason) and simple neglect (when you choose not to clean, things ultimately get really dirty).

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Dangers of Not Taping (and Hideous Paint)

Really?! There is absolutely no excuse.
 The person who painted the guest/child's bedroom had very interesting taste. As in no taste at all.

One wall is half neon green and half black chalkboard. The other wall is blue and green with painted circles. Both walls are hideous.

In addition to a general lack of taste, the person who painted this room must have lacked painter's tape. Rather than taping, they allowed primer and multiple coats of paint to drip all over the aluminum that holds the drywall in place.

What would ever compel someone to paint an architectural masterpiece without taking the simple step of taping? Shame on you, former owners!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grass Cloth Removal - Check!

Grass cloth removal in process...
Original to Our Care-free Home were three walls covered in grass cloth. Perhaps they were stunning 50 years ago, but more recently they're dated, dirty and torn. The two walls of grass cloth in the master bedroom were relatively easy (but time consuming) to remove, as they were attached to drywall. Some water, elbow grease and six or so hours, and the grass cloth was gone.

The single wall in the living room, however, was more of a challenge. The grass cloth on this wall was attached to wood instead of drywall. As a result, it took about six more hours to complete the removal - despite the wall being about one-quarter the surface area of the master bedroom walls.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Week Fixes - Not Fun, But Necessary

Only one window panel remains - sniffle  :(
It’s official. We own the home… and it’s a disaster… and we love it.

The first week in the home, our to do list has been focused on getting it up to code and fixing the many issues caused by two years of non-use (and a few years of neglect while it was being lived in, clearly).

The most heartbreaking moment so far: We found one of the original blue window shades sitting high on a closet shelf. It is simply stunning – a textured blue silk shade that fits perfectly into our long, thin windows (which feature blue aluminum grates on the exterior).

The previous owners also drilled holes into what used to be pristine condition, old-growth wood. Who knows why they needed six hooks in the ceiling of just one room (where they also apparently needed a wall that’s half neon green and half black chalkboard), but we’re left to fix the damage.

Other issues we’ve uncovered since taking possession of the house: Plumbing that is clogged or broken, four gas leaks, numerous outlets that were incorrectly wired, dozens of burned out lightbulbs, a handful of faucets that require replacing, toilet reservoirs that are so disgusting the water in the bowl is neon yellow, garage doors that refuse to open, and much, much, much more.

We’re looking forward to the day when we can start with the fun, cosmetic fixes!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Move-Out and Closing (and Bachelorette) Week!

This is a hectic week for us... We're moving out of the condo and into Whitney's parents' house for a month, cleaning the condo for a March 16 closing, prepping for our March 16 closing on the house, and to make matters even crazier, Whitney's destination bachelorette party takes place March 17-20 in Arizona.

In honor of these crazy activities, we're taking a week off from Our Care-free Home Blog. Soon, the real fun begins!!

P.S. For anyone considering an in-town move, we recommend Smartbox U.S.A. They'll deliver the "pods" and pick them up whenver you're done packing. The pods are stored for as long as you need and ultimately delivered to your new home. They were great to work with and affordable... but don't make the same mistake we did and underestimate the amount of space you'll need.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aluminum Invades Your Life in 1957

Photo Credit: The Sunday Herald Magazine, Oct. 20, 1957

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Handbags Take to Aluminum in 1957

Photo Credit: The Sunday Herald Magazine, Oct. 20, 1957

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aluminum Fashions from 1957

"My dress? It's Alcoa, dahling."
Photo Credit: Sunday Herald Magazine
A multi-page spread in the Sunday Herald Magazine from Oct. 20, 1957 provides some great information on Our Care-free Home... as well as the Care-free lifestyle! It's late 50's advertising and PR at its absolute best.

Among the cross-promotions masterminded by Alcoa: A luxurious ballgown, elegant handbag, sensational beachwear and bed sheets. In Alcoa's 1957 dream world, as the headline so clearly points out, "Aluminum Invades Your Life In Everything You Use."

The articles are so fantastic, I have to spread them out over a series of a few posts.

The first: Care Free Fashions for the Lady of the Home.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Florida Care-free Home in 1957

Photo Credit: The Miami News, Sept. 22, 1957
On Sept. 22, 1957, the Miami News produced an article on the first showing of the Alcoa Care-free Home, held in conjunction with National Home Week. The home was open to the public for six weeks as part of an exhibition of 25 similar homes around the country - including Our Care-free Home!

"Theme of the home is based on new uses of color and materials with minimum maintenance for the homeowner," the article states - as if mocking the years of maintenance that we have ahead of us. "In the photo [to the left], the patio area separates the bedrooms (on the right) from the carport, providing maximum light and cross-ventilation."

And in 50 years, the aluminum windows and doors will be neglected, providing unwanted ventilation in the form of freezing air coming through 1-inch gaps.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Architect Sketch - Kitchen Concept

While Our Care-free Home is lovely, there is a lot of space wasted by walkways. In a decade or so, we're hoping to change up the kitchen to make better use of the spaces in the home and open up the floorplan.

Below a sketch of a kitchen concept from our resident architect, Doug McChane (aka: Rob's father). In this sketch, the kitchen has been turned around to make better use of the space in the "great room" of the home. There's no longer a U-shaped living space (as it is set up currently, surrounding the kitchen) but the kitchen becomes the focal point of the great room. It also opens up the kitchen so that all areas of the room are visible - including our fantastic fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows.

A kitchen concept that makes better use of the space may be in the cards... about a decade from now.