It’s time for us to have a housewarming party. After much decision and my ill-fated desire for a toga party, Mary and I decided we would host a martini party – a Retro Martini Night, to be specific. We drafted up invitations and went around and met all of our neighbors to invite them, got the Young Professionals involved, and invited all the people that would come have a great time at the loft when we would do this. Turns out basically all the neighbors are coming and now we’ve got another 50 friends on top of it. Fun, and dangerous. There hasn’t been an event here this size since the early 1980s. As with all things we do, Retro Martini Night is a classy affair. It has it’s own graphics, font, and menu. A picture or two will surely follow.
When you own the house your grandparents built, you get the chance to pick through all the old photos and slides that your grandparents had. When picking through these a year or so ago, I came across this set of pictures detailing the construction phases of the house. My Grandparents purchased the property to build the house in July of 1958, and construction started very shortly thereafter.
Fun Facts: They didn’t move until February 29th, 1960. Why did it take 20 months to build a house? (even then that was a long time) Because the original builder apparently skipped town and went bankrupt. So my Grandfather had to find someone who would complete the half-finished house. This took a few months because it was treated by the new builder as a “remodeling” job, not new construction.
These pictures were taken by my grandfather with a Voigtlander Bessa 6×9 camera – one that I still possess and use.
Also note in the pictures the expansive view. There were few trees because this was all farmland. You could see for many miles. That is all grown up now.
Here is a chronology of the house through the end of 1958 (all the pictures I have):
Among the things left in the house are these two vintage bikes. They’ve been down in the basement, unused, since probably late 1970s. I’m pretty determined to fix them up as a hobby project. Turns out there is a rather interesting market for vintage bikes and bike parts. Those hipsters!
Grainy shots of the bikes, currently squirreled away in the back corner of the basement:
Getting the lighting “right” in the house is sort of a passion of mine. I am a big fan of great built-in lighting. In our old house we owned exactly two lamps because everything else was built-in. In the upstairs bedrooms here we put in recessed can lighting on the room perimeter and set them all on a dimmer – you get great adjustable light coming from many directions so you don’t have harsh shadows. The living room has great lighting already with the cornice and ceiling lights (and of course the Sputnik chandelier.)
The downstairs, however, was a different story. It has built in ceiling lights and the bar has lights, but they provide relatively harsh lighting. There are really awesome features in the bar and the fireplace that I thought would look great with accent lighting, so I thought about the best way to do it and remain compatible with the mid-century feel. Ultimately I landed on flexible LED strip lighting.
The temperatures around here have been warming up the last few weeks – we’re regularly in the 50s and sometimes low 60s. Before everything starts blooming, I’ve been working my way around the property getting some basic clean up done. Our property is on a gentle hillside, and it slopes from the front to the back. The house is pretty much smack in the middle and fill was placed around the back of the house to create a nice flat area around around the house and then it drops down to the lower portion, where there is another flat area. My grandfather used to assiduously mow every inch of the property, but when he became too old to mow and Grandma hired mowers, she decided she didn’t want to pay them to mow the lower portion. So, she let it overgrow and when asked, would tell you she was enjoying her “meadow.” It looks like this: