The photographs of Dignowity Hill and San Antonio used within this blog are the property of Juan A Garcia Eastlight Photography. All rights are reserved to the owner. Copy and use of these images are forbidden without written permission. Contact Juan at for permission.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Restoring Details

One of the biggest challenges we knew we had going into this project was in trying to restore some of the architectural elements and details of the house.   Over the past 100 years the house was literally gutted of its original windows, the original wooded floors had been either painter over or covered over with carpet or linoleum and much of the original case trim around the doors of most of the interior doors was gone by time we acquired the property.  In some of the rooms there were remnants of what was once beautiful base molding that that was paint a bright yellow color!  We salvaged those pieces but because there wasn't enough molding for all the house we decide install a simple, wide base molding to at least give the floor and wall some additional profile.  We did the same for casing around the windows. All the casing had been removed when the original windows were replaced with aluminum windows.  This house was built in 1912 in an era when this types of house had lots of craftsmanship detail such rosettes and plimps around doors, so we speculated that at one time this was the case for our house.
Trim around windows

Detail on porch

Spindles add some nice detail on porch

Harvested crown molding and antique stained window in transom
Since manufacturing and recreating much of that detail would be cost prohibitive we decided to make simple case trim out of 1x 6 pine boards for the windows and interior door openings. We had the carpenters make simple block rosettes to fit at the corners of the trim. 
The porch was relatively easy in terms of finding materials.  Elements such as turned posts and spindles are readily available at either local lumber suppliers or vendors that specialize old house architectural supplies.
The crown molding that we used in the foyer and other parts of the house was actually harvested from a house that was recently demolished. This was nice find as it saved us some significant dollars. Get to know your local old house harvester!
Finally, we installed an antique stained glass piece in the transom located in the foyer. This added a nice touch to the foyer and to the hallway entry.
The point of this ramble is that you sometimes you need to get creative in finding solutions that are cost effective yet stay close to original details.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Window Installation

The first of the new windows were installed today. It was great to see the old house withe a new set of windows.  Restoration purists could take issue that we did not put in wooded windows that matched the era of when the house was built in 1912.  Windows that were typically used in the early 1900's were double hung, single pane glass with probably having a 2 over 2 or 4 over 4 lite configuration.  Typical of window construction of the era had open cavities covered by casing where iron or metal would hang.  The cavities where the weights hung are typically sources of drafts in these older homes.
Getting window ready for installation

Good Fit!

Main windows in front to house
View from inside the living room

Windows of the front porch

Window trim matched to old trim dimensions
We decided to balance this piece of the restoration on cost considerations, ascetics, and energy efficiency. The windows we chose were custom made to fit the original window openings and are double pane and well sealed. This option will significantly cut down drafts and still retains some of the profile found in older historical widows.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Window Prep Work

We've reach the point of prepping the new window spaces. As part of the project plan we made a decision early on to replace the existing aluminum framed windows with wood vinyl clad windows.  These windows were approved for installation by our local office of historic preservation. Windows in historic buildings are a key element in preservation efforts. When doing restoration or rehab projects in a historic district always check the with local historic preservation office to make sure that you're following their guidelines for window replacement. In our case we opted to replace the windows with double pane, wood and vinyl clad windows that closely matched the dimensions of the original windows. As you can see from the images the old window openings had to be re-worked in order to be able to fit the new windows which will be installed in the next few days.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Colors on the Walls!

One of the fun aspects of doing these projects are the many decisions you have to make along the way. Color choice is one them. 
But I need to back up a bit. Since the beginning of this project we've had a potential buyer for the house. This young professional couple approached us shortly after we bought the house in Oct of 2011.   We don't have a contract for the house but we decided to involve them from the start of the project for their input and ideas. Even if we don't wind up selling them the house the project will benefit from their perspectives on. However, at this point of the project I feel confident that we will be able to finalize a deal.
Looking into the living room from dining area.
Looking into the dining area from the living room.

Master bedroom
Getting back to the colors on the walls, we allowed our young buyers to choose the colors for the house. I think they made some pretty good color selection decisions. Not bad!We still have a ways to go but it sure feels good getting to this point!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dry Wall is Installed!

The back porch converted to kitchen space
 3 weeks after the first delivery of dry wall and the rooms are starting to shape.The dry wall crew has moved a pretty quick pace to get the sheet rock in place.  We decided to convert what used to be the back porch of the house in a large kitchen space. We'll be leaving the old ceiling beams exposed to get a rustic look. Insulating the ceiling space will be a challenge but we have a plan!
Looking into the dining room
Bedroom with closet added

Back porch converted to kitchen space
Space created for "butler's pantry"
Living room
Main hall way