Monthly Archives: May 2013

Adventures in Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Flooring

One of the things we knew before we ever moved in was that we had some work to do in the kitchen – new appliances, wallpaper, flooring, etc. We did start with some awesome things though: a good layout, a fabulous banquette and really nice Wood-Mode cabinets with every accessory you could want built in topped with nice Corian counters.

Over the years my Grandparents had put a few different floors down. The one at the time we moved in was linoleum, about 8-10 years old. I remember when it was being chosen, though I didn’t have a lot to do with it. I wanted to replace the kitchen floor as quickly as possible since we had a number of other projects depending on that being done (or were easier if it was done.) So off I went, to figure out how to get a floor that will look good, be durable, and be harmonious with the rest of the house.

Here are some before shots with the linoleum and room as it looked when we moved in:

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Welcome To The Neighborhood

Two weeks ago we threw our big Retro Martini Night housewarming party. Most of our neighbors on the block stopped over and Mary and I got a chance to meet them. Our street is mostly older folks – we’re now by far the youngest folks on the block, but the next youngest couple has a very sweet young girl who is about 5 years old. She brought us a housewarming gift.


It hangs on the fridge.

Fixing the Well

Our house is in a built-up subdivision called Ridgewood. The subdivision has municipal water, sewer and natural gas service. When my Grandfather began building the house in 1958 though, those things were all new. (Ours was the second house on the street.) In the case of natural gas the lines were actually laid after the house began construction, probably in 1959. My Grandparents moved in Leap Day, 1960.

In the case of water services, my Grandfather specified that the house be built with a well but hooked to municipal sewer. A pretty nice plan – water from the ground is great, dealing with a septic system is not. We’re one of only 4-5 hours in the neighborhood (out of 200 or so) that have a well. Unfortunately over the years the well has declined in water production – up to the point where when we moved in Grandma reminded us (as she always did) that we had better watch the water usage or we’ll run the well dry. This wasn’t a joke – if we ran enough water fast enough – a fairly significant amount, like 3-4 loads of laundry plus a full shower on top of regular water usage – you could overdraw the well and it would be dry. Turning the pump off for 20 minutes fixed the problem, but this wasn’t sustainable over the long term. The well had a recharge issue, not seemingly a quantity issue.

We batted around the things to do to solve this. The choices were pretty straightforward: drill a new well ($6,000 or so), connect to municipal water ($2500 to start, and adds $600 per year to our bills forever), or risk deepening the existing well to see if that would fix it ($2500 or so.) I rolled the dice and decided to have our local well driller deepen the well. Our well is an older 5 inch diameter bore, smaller than the now standard 6 inch. It just so happened that they keep around an old 5 inch drilling rig for just such needs. So, they rolled out their 1972 vehicle with it’s probably even-older drill rig on the back – that’s the truck in the picture below – and began drilling.

Our well to start was about 93 feet deep. It could be pumped dry running about 60-80 gallons of water, so 10 minutes at full pump volume. They drilled for a day, adding about 12 feet to the depth of the well. The results? Like striking gold! They got 12+ gallons per minute – it was so much water they couldn’t pump it any faster than that over a 30 minute period so they just said 12+. With that, we were set with water. They had to dig out the top of our well pipe and I later had to go get things put back together outside. But – a great thing to do and saved us a lot of money both now and in the future. And, not having municipal water is very nice.

Here are some pictures:

Meet Jasmine

A bunch of things came with the house when we moved in. My grandmother, mother, and aunt had generally picked over the various things they wanted and when we started doing work in the house, we were pretty much left with a handful of items that we were keeping (the large couch, end table, some bedroom furniture upstairs)…and a ridiculously large pile of junk that became our responsibility to dispose of. That tale is a whole other story for a whole other day.

At her new place, my Grandmother was not convinced she could take her cat. She was moving into a really great senior living facility (Castle Gardens¬†in nearby Vestal) and while they allowed pets, she just didn’t feel that confining her cat to her apartment was the right thing to do.

So…Mary and I, along with a large pile of leftover household items, inherited a little fluffy black cat that knows how to shake for treats, is used to be conversed with on a regular basis, and generally wants to be treated like a princess:


It took some adjustment (she now primarily sleeps and lives in the basement when indoors) but she’s adapted quite well to her new owners, including informing us of when she wants in:

Retro Martini Night

Few things make a house yours in my opinion than throwing your first awesome party or event. We’ve actually done a few things in the last several months – the Good Friday Sushi Feast, and a birthday or two. But Retro Martini Night was the coming out party. Somewhere between 50 and 60 folks showed up, including most of our neighbors, our family and a whole bunch of friends, to both check out the house, meet us, and have a great time. Many broke out their best duds and came dressed up. We had a special menu of martinis for the night, and the last person left just before 3am. Sounds like success to me.

Funny story: later in the week I was talking to our awesome neighbors next door who couldn’t make it because they had family in from Connecticut. The husband was telling me that they heard the music (we had the windows open) which was a relief because they had thought it was Friday but the house was dark, so at first they thought we threw a party…and no one came. At one point later in the evening, now knowing the party was really going on, he was outside and took a peek from their driveway into our picture window (similar shot below) – he asked if I was wearing an all black suit because he saw someone whip off their suit jacket and tie, then slide on their knees across the living floor to the music. I explained that that would have to be our buddy Mick Mastroianni. He may have gone to stunt school (not kidding) and currently he and his brother Mason (who was also there) draw the well-known comic strips B.C. and Wizard of Id, both started by their grandfather Johnny Hart, as well as The Dogs of C-Kennel.

Penance for such a great event was paid in cleaning the living room floor the next day. Ouch. A special thanks to our friend Mike Duke for taking great photos (there are a few interspersed iPhone camera shots as well.)