Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amanda's House

One of my sisters, Amanda, had such a great time working on my house last summer that she decided to take advantage to of new home buyer's tax credit and buy a house in Oak Cliff too!
(I Heart Obama. Thanks for the money!! So glad I voted for you)
Anyway, we found it by driving around the neighborhoods we were considering and taking down info on all the houses for sale. This one was hideously ugly and unkept, but we thought it looked like it had potential under all the bushes. Turns out it's a 1920s house with an 85 year old woman living in it who is super smart and had taken impeccable care of the interior. Her carpenter lived across the street for many years, so she had walls moved to improve the layout and had hidden storage put in everywhere there was an unused space. Every inch of that house is utilized to it's fullest extent. If you don't know, old houses are notorious for tiny closets and tiny amounts of storage space, so this is AWESOME. There's even a skylight in the kitchen! It had been on the market for a long while and I'm guessing no one had looked at it seriously because of how overgrown and ugly the exterior was and how the gramdma decor was inside. Thanks to the lack of vision of all the other potential buyers and the work of her awesome realtor, Amanda got it for a GREAT price (about $30,000 less than mine!).We tore out a lot of bushes. There was a stack by the street at least 20 ft long, 5 ft height and 4 ft deep by the time we were done, and there's still more to take out. You used to not be able to see chairs on the porch for how overgrown it was, but look how cute her porch is coming along now! I LOVE her adorable chairs and how big her porch is. It's like a second living room and we've had some nice times there already, but what I'm most excited about is how she's painting the place. Of course, there isn't much else that needs to be done but paint!!I dropped by the other day and snapped some photos. Amanda's trusty sidekick Turkey helped. Here he is in the living room which is being painted a rich version of bright robins egg blue. You can see the colour better in this next shot of the beautiful hinge on her front door
I love the beautiful historic details like this hinge all over her house.

The blinds are closed, and in retrospect I should have ope
ned them to get a better shot of her bedroom here, but I didn't. Anyway, in the bedroom we were inspired by images of beautiful painted ceilings in India...
so we made the ceilings the colourful in the room almost like there's a canopy of sky coloured fabric over the room. The crown molding is painted a shiny chocolate brown, and the walls will eventually be chalk white. She's experimenting with putting green around the windows or golden brown around the closet, or both. I love Amanda's sense of boldness and adventure with colour. She's really creating a lively sense of space.
You can see here how the ceiling is actually two different blues. She said to me "when you look at the sky it's darker in the center and gets lighter towards the horizon, so I want to recreate that" and sure enough the room looks like it's one colour but it's actually two that are visually fading into each other creating more depth that you'd otherwise feel.

Here's that lovely green around the windows in her office . She kept the old fashioned curtains and window shades, and this room has that lovely old circular ceiling pattern that no one does any more but is infinitely superior to "popcorn" of whatever bumpy stuff they do now. I like the shapes and colours going on here.Really now. How is this at all practical? How does this even happen?

As I said, there was a really smart older woman living in the house and I guess she found she could compensate for a lack of height and strength with hooks pulleys and ropes, or maybe she was just a bit too scientific and inventor-ish and liked to piddle with gadgets, but whatever the reason Amanda had taken at least a hundred hooks out of the house from on doors and under shelves and along window sills - some of them connected to chains or ropes and actual pulleys and used for who knows what- when she opened up a cabinet and found this nest. It's a perfect example of the hook insanity of the house and it's a great point of comparison between her 80 year old house and my 80 year old house. Both of our houses were the same in terms of having overgrown unkept yards, but the interiors were vastly different. Mine was neglected for many years and therefore needs to be cleaned annd fixed up and have things added to bring it to a nice level of livability. Amanda's house had been almost over worked on the interior. More than anything needed clearing out to make it livable, and it's amazing how much better one can breathe in a house that been uncluttered of all it's wayward doodads.I'm looking forward to seeing the finished house so much.
Keep up the great work and inspired vision, Amanda.


  1. Oh man that looks great. I'm really envious of you guys for having these awesome old houses to fix up!

    I love all the hooks in that cabinet!

  2. oh, and by the way. Her dog is ADORABLE. John and I kinda want to steal him.

  3. Thanks for the post, Tracy! You actually did a pretty great job doing the house justice. Next is uncovering the Heart of Pine floors. :) Thanks, Kate! Big Turky (the dog) is a Beagle-Boston Terrier. Only the best mutt breed ever!

  4. There's one down the street from Amanda for sale... ;)

  5. I actually took some of those hooks and used them to hang cooking pot lids and coffee cups in my kitchen, which had no hooks. If you want some Kate I still have a stash.

  6. Ah yes, but buying a house requires... money. And fixing it up requires even more!

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  8. oh man kate...don't I know!

  9. I feel like a blog stalker. I subscribed via e-mail so I know whenever people respond.