A Small Closet Adventure With A Big Impact at Hildring House

Debra says: Some changes improve the look of your house. And some  increase the value of your house. But some make your life better – every single day. This post is about one of the last kind: a small closet adventure with a big impact at Hildring House.

Before

You may remember that about a year ago, I mentioned that the mother-in-law suite at Hildring House would become Debra’s Domain (you can find that post here, if you’re interested – it’s really all about demo, so it’s pretty messy). Well, Debra’s Domain is a thing now. It has two closets – one big one that we “stole” from the garage, and one smaller one that was the only original closet in the space. (You can find that process in the middle of this post.)

Since we built the larger one pretty much from scratch, it’s pretty nice: well-organized, new fixtures, etc.

The smaller one was the problem.

Closet before - oneSee what I mean? Continue reading “A Small Closet Adventure With A Big Impact at Hildring House”

Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” Lagniappe

This lagniappe post is a visit to the rooftop of the Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” in Barcelona.

You might remember the post that we did back in February 2017 featuring Gaudi’s Park Guell. You can find it here. Rebecca at Artsy found it and reached out to us after reading the post

Here at With the Barretts, beautiful things – architecture, furnishings, art, nature – mean a great deal to us. So, Debra and I were delighted that  Rebecca found our post and wanted to make sure that we had seen Artsy’s Gaudi page. Please go take a look at it here. This post is our way of saying “Thanks” to Rebecca and Artsy for helping make art accessible to everyone. Is that a great mission, or what?

Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera”

Casa Mila RooftopGaudi’s spectacular apartment building, Casa Mila – colloquially known as “La Pedrera” – was mostly closed for interior renovation when we visited in 2014 but the rooftop was more than worth the effort and price of admission.  As with many – even most – Gaudi sites, it feels like an alien landscape, complete with otherworldly sentinels:

"Sentinel" ventstacksThe structures are unpredictable, both as to shape and as to material.

Glass-capped towersThey invite you to indulge your whimsical side. Continue reading “Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” Lagniappe”

A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops – Guest Post from Trade Up Kitchens

Our friend John Stuart over at Trade Up Kitchens – a UK-based kitchen supply company – has a guest post for us: “A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops.” For those of us in the US, a “kitchen worktop” is a counter top. Actually, “worktop” makes more sense, doesn’t it? In any event, here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Buying Kitchen Worktops

Your choice of kitchen worktops will dramatically affect the whole aesthetic of your kitchen. Choosing your kitchen worktop is one aspect which should never be overlooked during the design process. Similar to your flooring, your kitchen worktops sit on a horizontal plane, making it a prominent feature in your kitchen.  With so many options available, choosing your kitchen worktop can seem like an impossible task but our guide is on hand to help you find the best option for you.

Granite Worktop
Photo – Trade Up Kitchens

Before choosing your kitchen worktop, it’s important to consider two things:

Your budget

Worktops come in a variety of materials, all at differing price points. Before you decide on a material for your kitchen worktop, it’s important to assess your budget – this will dramatically influence your choice of worktop.

Your lifestyle

If you’re choosing kitchen worktops for a student house or you’ve got a house full of children, then you’ll need to consider a sturdy, low-maintenance worktop. Alternatively, if you’re likely to clean up any spills immediately and don’t mind dedicating a little time to its maintenance, then you’ve got a few more options when it comes to kitchen worktops.  

After you’ve taken these two things into consideration, you’ve got to choose from the following kitchen worktops: Continue reading “A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops – Guest Post from Trade Up Kitchens”

Hildring House Exterior Improvements – In Progress

Any home renovation project should involve exterior improvements, as well as snazzing up the interior, and Hildring House is no exception. Just to refresh your recollection, here is a shot of the exterior when we first bought the house:

Exterior before

Beginning of Exterior Improvements

We started with a new roof. And that required more destruction than you ordinarily would expect. You can’t really tell it in the above picture, but the shingles are metal, made to look like shake. I really don’t know how long they had been on the house but clearly it had been through multiple hailstorms. They were really beat up.

The worst part of the roofing situation, however, was that the fascia and underside of the eaves were clad with aluminum siding. I’m probably going to get nasty letters from the siding industry but, please, never do this to your house. I understand all of the arguments about it eliminating the need to paint. But the cost for that is deterioration of the wooden elements of the structure.

Rotted eave structure
Rotted eave structure

No matter how careful the installers are, no matter how much caulk they use, water will get under the metal and sit, unable to dry, rotting out the wood. Until you have this.

As the roof and cladding came off, an old pergola out back had to come down – it was in almost as bad shape as the rotted eaves. Here’s what the back looked like during demo of the metal and bad wood: Continue reading “Hildring House Exterior Improvements – In Progress”

Something Different – Amphibian Stage Productions

It’s All About the Passion

Here at With the Barretts, it’s all about loving life. And that means it’s all about passion and gratitude. Today, I want to discuss something that Debra and I are both passionate about – the arts. More specifically, Amphibian Stage Productions, a cutting-edge, first-class, nonprofit professional theater company here in Fort Worth. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of Amphibian. I’d like for you to get to know it a little and to solicit your support. Because, to us, loving the arts is a big, big part of loving life.

Amphibian Stage Productions facade
Amphibian’s home is in Fort Worth’s Near Southside
Just a Bit of History

Amphibian Stage Productions began eighteen seasons ago as the brainchild of some incredibly talented and creative graduates of the TCU Theater Department (you can see the history blurb here). The goal was to “produce innovative and engaging works of theatre that challenge the way we see the world around us.” Amphibian not only meets that goal but with each season sets the bar higher.

Scene from A Lost Leonardo
Scene from A Lost Leonardo

Continue reading “Something Different – Amphibian Stage Productions”