Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ya never know what you're gonna find!

Everybody who knows me knows I collect Tiki stuff . . artifacts from the Mid-Century-Modern, Polynesian Popular Movement (Poly-Pop for short) exemplified by restaurants and bars decorated in exotic island themes. Well, the movement didn't start with bars and restaurants. It started with home bars in WWII veterans' basements; with their desire to recreate the South Pacific they'd experienced during their military service.

At least, that's what I've been told. I'd never actually seen a vintage home Tiki bar.

Until today!

While photographing a house for pre-restoration documentation we found enlarged scrapbook pages taped on the wall of the living room for the new owners to enjoy. Among them were these:

I couldn't wait to see how much, if anything, was left of the Hawaiian Room! To my surprise, there was more then I expected!

How cool is this!! THEY DO EXIST!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Keep looking . .

DISCALIMER: The following is simply my personal opinion based on years of observation and is directed at NO ONE in particular.

I have some advice for those of you with means who are considering purchasing a historic home; keep looking.

In my experience, I rarely if ever see historic houses and/or buildings horribly remodeled by the poor. Neglected, often yes, but the structure and it's details usually remain intact. It takes people with money to replace windows, rearrange interior walls, "update" kitchens and bathrooms, build additions, etc.

Now things like insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical updates obviously make sense in today's world, and those things can be done with minimal intrusion. I'm talking about esthetics here.

So here's a short, non-comprehensive list of things you may want to consider before buying a historic home:

    1. If the house isn't quite big enough and you'd like to put on an addition, KEEP LOOKING.
    2. If the rooms in the house don't have the "flow" you'd like, KEEP LOOKING.
    3. If the bathroom isn't big enough for your Jacuzzi, KEEP LOOKING.
    4. If you believe that new sinks, toilets and light fixtures will work better than the home's original fixtures, KEEP LOOKING.
    5. If the "space" doesn't feel right it isn't your job to "fix" it, it's your job to KEEP LOOKING.
    6. If you feel the need to do anything to the house that can't be classified as restoration and can't be easily UN-done later, KEEP LOOKING.

Sure, it's YOUR house and you can do anything you want with it. But if you follow these simple guidelines the odds of future owners cursing your name long after you're gone will be greatly reduced.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I lived here . .

A few years ago I had the opportunity to photograph my old apartment building for pending historic tax credit restoration work. It had been twenty or so years since I'd lived at Clyde Manor on the corner of Armour Rd. and Gilhman, so I was really interested to see what it looked like. Well, it hadn't changed much, just gotten a bit more run down.

Today I got to go back and shoot it after all the work has been completed. What a difference! The units, in general, are larger and everything is clean and fresh looking. Nice!

Here's the main lobby: