We Break from SoMoToHo for LOAP Alpha

Virginia Trip 2010 042

We’ve had a holiday hiatus, and then some. And, while we’re back, we are going to shift away from the SoMoToHo for this post and talk about a new project, one I’m calling LOAP Alpha. The picture above is a charming colonial building in Alexandria, Virginia that is showing a bit of wear. It’s a reminder that sometimes you have to look beyond the wear and visualize the potential.

Debra and I have formed a company with our dear friends Michael and Lacey Perkins, the purpose of which will be to find properties that have been distressed, abused, neglected, and forsaken but still have the potential to be wonderful homes. We’re calling the company LOAP Enterprises, LLC. Although “LOAP” is an acronym that can stand for many things, I think of it as “Limitless Opportunities Always Present.” Other, less lofty components might be “Living On A Prayer” or “Lipstick On A Pig.” Go ahead – let your imagination run amok.

We’ve selected the first LOAP property. Here it is: Continue reading “We Break from SoMoToHo for LOAP Alpha”

Progress in the Powder – Part 1

Brugge 560

How lucky we are to live in an age – and a country – with indoor plumbing. This picture was taken a couple of years ago in Bruges, Belgium. The well didn’t have any dating information on it, but the surrounding buildings had date plates from the mid-1600s.

The SoMoToHo has plenty of bathrooms, all of which need updating. Downstairs, there is an en suite in the master and a guest powder, or half bath, across from the library. This is how it looked when we bought the place: Continue reading “Progress in the Powder – Part 1”

The Heart of the SoMoToHo – The Kitchen – Part Two of Many – Demo

Scotland 2011 006 (21)Demolishing existing structures is a necessary step in remodeling. It can be kind of fun and cathartic but after a couple of days, you begin to feel as if you’re living in ruins – and not lovely and romantic ruins like the old Holyrood Castle Abbey in Edinburgh, shown above.  The only way the SoMoToHo is going to get a new kitchen is for the old one to be torn out. So it was past time for things like this to go: Continue reading “The Heart of the SoMoToHo – The Kitchen – Part Two of Many – Demo”

Heart of the SoMoToHo – The Kitchen – Part One of Many

2014-09-16 09.43.29Historically, fire considerations dictated that the kitchen be separated from living quarters. The picture above shows cooking facilities in the Valley of the Kings, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey. Here is another shot: 2014-09-16 09.40.59Primitive though these facilities may be, the food that came out of them was fantastic, proving that cosmetics is not everything. For the SoMoToHo, however, appearances are a more crucial consideration. Continue reading “Heart of the SoMoToHo – The Kitchen – Part One of Many”

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”

Energizing a Tired Mid-Century Ranch

The first transformation we’ll walk through was a kind of tired, low-roofed ranch built in the mid 50s . The house had seen lots of wear and tear but we felt from the minute we walked in the front door that it had also been the site of good times – laughter, love, and happy children. I don’t want to get too woo-woo on you, but houses carry the vibe of things that have gone on inside them. Haven’t you ever felt creeped out, just walking in someplace? You might write it off to weird decor or a lack of proper HVAC but sometimes it’s that the place, itself, gives off a sinister air. This place was on the other end of the continuum from that. But it was tired; a bit frazzled. Kind of in need of a spa treatment.

Here are a couple of views of the outside of the house to show you what I mean: Continue reading “Energizing a Tired Mid-Century Ranch”