The Heart of the Home – Part 1

The kitchen is the heart of almost any modern American home – and by “modern,” I mean built since the dawn of the 20th century. Even in those houses where it is tucked off to the side, out of the way and seemingly disconnected from the intended living spaces, the kitchen is where folks tend to gather.

In our mid-century ranch, this is where we started:

photoNot a horrible kitchen. Homey, well used, and well loved. But not at all consistent with Debra’s vision for the house. Continue reading “The Heart of the Home – Part 1”

A Room for the Grandson – A Short Post

FullSizeRenderAsk any grandparent – grandkids are a joy. And, if possible, they deserve a room of their own. When we first bought the mid-century ranch, he was still sleeping in a crib. By the time we finished and sold it, he was closer to the age you see him here, and that wasn’t such a long stretch. His room had been used as an office and had a built-in desk unit occupying one full wall. Continue reading “A Room for the Grandson – A Short Post”

Change on the Inside

6844 brants 040Sometimes, the process of change is not pretty. Clearing out the ugly can create more ugly. There were many things that needed changing inside the mid-century ranch. Some were, like the house as a whole, just weary from long service. Others, however, were downright ugly. Continue reading “Change on the Inside”

All Hands on Deck

Decks are places for sitting on warm summer evenings, contemplating the mysteries of the universe. Decks are places to gather with friends, to exercise your culinary imagination on the grill, to feel fresh breezes wafting over your skin. Decks connect you to nature, yet keep you out of the dirt. Like I said, I love them.

Decks can also transform useless, wasted spaces into inviting retreats. This:

Photo by Trey Freeze
Photo by Trey Freeze

is much more inviting and useful than this:corner deck beforeThe deck outside the back door to our mid-century ranch was small, shabby, and deteriorating. Continue reading “All Hands on Deck”

The Hole in the Ground

I confess to being ambivalent – in the true sense of the word; I feel strongly two ways – about swimming pools.

On the one hand, nothing enhances a back yard space more elegantly than a well-appointed pool. Add a water feature – a fountain or a waterfall, for instance – and you can have your own small slice of paradise. Here is a pool that we put in the back yard of a house that we built (as opposed to remodeled):

pool w flowers1smaller
(The rose mallow hibiscus blooms were as big as your face.)

On the other hand, pools literally are holes in the ground that you throw money in. Even if you hire a service to keep the chemicals in balance and perform periodic maintenance, they are a pain. They immediately add 20% to your electric bill and they are magnets for leaves, twigs, strange-looking bugs, and heaven forbid that you have crepe myrtles anywhere on your block. Continue reading “The Hole in the Ground”

How to Raise the Roofline or From Humdrum to Hello!

So. The problem was the low-hanging eave that stretched the entire length of the house, making an already-below-street-level structure appear fit for hobbits. How to raise the roofline? Here’s a reminder:

6844 Brants 001Not only is your eye drawn downward by the roof, but the entry looks like a cave rather than a doorway. Nothing says “Come on in!” or “Glad to see you!” or “Nice, friendly folks live here!” Continue reading “How to Raise the Roofline or From Humdrum to Hello!”