Our New Renovation Project

July 27, 2007



Our new renovation project is pictured here. We don’t know yet whether it will be our new home or a flipper, but here are the beginning stats:

About 1700 square feet on ground level with another 1700 square feet in the basement. Currently, three smallish bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. This home was built in the 60’s and owned by the same couple for over 35 years which is pretty obvious from the jade shag carpet in the basement and the Michelob sconces in the den. However, this brick rancher has solid bones and palacial grounds.

My very wise father always told me that you make money in real estate when you purchase it not when you sell it. With this in mind, we negotiated on this property for over 6 months, walking away from it several times.

Since the market stinks, most buyers are skiddish right now, and the house needed renovating, we had little competion for the property. We just waited and the sellers finally accepted our offer. Original list price: $275,000 last year. It was re-priced to $219,900 this Spring. We picked it up for $172K in July.

Since most of the homes in this neighborhood are valued at $225 to $400K, we are pretty confident that we accomplished buying the worst house in the hood (also one of Dad’s lessons).

Anyway, the house has multiple personalities. We hope to return it to it’s mid-century modern self with clean unfussy lines and updated finishes. But now it has colonial touches like brass eagles, victorian wallpapers and light fixtures, lovely but inappropriate turn-of-the-century wooden fireplace mantles, an ornate but added-on fireplace gas stove, and traditional and abstract stained glass inserts closing off the kitchen.

The master bath came right out of Hollywood! The huge mirror is surrounded by a dozen bright, round, bare lightbulbs. One sink is a 40’s pedestal that I understand came out of an old school, while the other “modern” sink is beige with swirls of gold flakes. All fixtures are “gold”, even the frames around the mirrored closet doors.

The main defect to the property is definitely the spiral staircase which is the only interior access to the lower level. The lovely but totally impractical stairs came out of the Elizabethton Fire Station we were told. This history does not elliminate the fact that they are impossible to navigate with a basket of laundry on your hip. And since the lower level will house the laundry, a huge family room, and a new bedroom suite, we know this metal monster has to be replaced with traditional and comfortable steps.

We also know that the staircase is the main reason why this property had not sold. Young families with small children are not going to be happy with the spiral. Older folks or people with trouble getting around are not going to be happy with this only access to half of the house. We are going to remove the spiral and replace it with a traditional starcase in the original place in the home.

I love the gardens and Liza loves the big 2 car garage. We are both going to hate the wall paper removal process. But so far we have changed the locks, removed grease from garage floors, arranged for delivery of dumpster and helpers to start demo on Monday.

Did I mention the sixties bomb sheltor in the basement? Soon to be a stocked wine cellar! More about “Fairfield Manor” soon.

Warm wishes.


Stack overflow? HELP!

July 25, 2007

HELP! I admit to being constantly behind the technology curve… but I am having trouble uploading pictures to wordpress via flickr as I have been doing.

When I click on any picture uploaded to Flickr now, I get this Internet Explorer message:

“Stack overflow at line: 653”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Argh. I hate not having the computer savvy of a thirteen year old! Or is this an ominous sign of an overloaded hard drive? 

Would appreciate any ideas/help any of you might give me with this current computer challenge! Thanks.


sunflowers, iphones and rehabbing

July 23, 2007



Here is a wrap up of my non-blogging past week or so. We can call them “Anita’s Top 10 Excuses for Being Bloggless in Bristol”. Here we go:

1. TOYS! I was playing with (being amazed by) Diane’s new iphone. I am usually the thoughtful consumer who is not too quick to own the newest technology. This is basically because I am usually playing catch up with the last bit of technology to come my way. Also, I always think…”let ’em get the bugs out first… the price will come down if I wait…” etc.

But this little cutie, the i-phone that is, is so amazing and user friendly that I am afraid I may have to have one sooner rather than later. My budget thanks you Diane! hehe.

The iphone, or is it i-phone, or is it I-phone? Anyway, it allows one to take a photo, e-mail it to your sweetie, all from wireless signal amazingly available in most areas of our small town. Get a call, text a message, check e-mail and never get lost with the onboard GPS! Well, I’m sure Apple doesn’t need little ole me to know they have a great product.

2. FAMILY. My Liza’s eldest brother came to town for a friendly 3 day visit to wrap up family matters relating to their mother’s passing. Jerry hosted a lovely evening at the lake. Below is the nice lake shot Liza snapped as our proof!



3. FRIEND. Dear Friend of 30+ years came to visit and was endless source of fun and encouragement. I think she appreciated the cool mountain air, a change of space, and the relaxed yet interesting mix of people and things to do and see.

So much catching up, old photo reviewing to do. So many new ideas and dreams to share, so little time!

4. MORE FRIENDS. In addition to eldest brother and Dear Friend, we also enjoyed a 2 day visit from C & C, good old friends from Key West, as they made their way back down south from their summer northern retreat. SO NICE to see them! Took them for a long drive around (lake, dam, speedway, mountains, childhood spots, new library, city parks, historic propperties, etc.) while Dear Friend entertained herself with walks and naps.

5. BUYING FLOWERS. Took the whole crowd to the bi-weekly Farmer’s Market in our town and scored a whole bag of home grown delights for just a few dollars! I bought small cucumbers and home-made oatmeal and coconut cookies. I also found a huge bunch of sunflowers (two dollars!), one of which was captured by Liza’s Cannon (shown above).

6.7.8.9. and 10. REHABBING! We closed on a house that will become our next rehabbing project! Our friends helped us initiate the new house with laughter and an afternoon of gardening as they expressed their hopes for our success in bringing this hip mid-century charmer back to a useful and modern life.

More about this project to come. Probably too much more… as rehabbing projects can become all consuming! But we are excited to begin again. Starting Over once more… this time with a project of our own choosing. So stay tuned for progress reports on the project that Dear Friend has named “Fairfield Manor”.

Those are my current excuses… and good ones they are!!! Warm wishes to all.


1968

July 9, 2007



My only neice just had her 13th birthday. What an important and special time of life. It made me start thinking about when I was 13… in umm, umm 1968!

The sixties was an amazing yet turbulent time in history. And being 13, I was just starting to pay attention to the world around me. Kids slightly older than me were dying in Vietnam and I did not know why. Teenagers across America were involved in politics, having sit-ins, burning bras, enjoying “free love”. I remember thinking it was all so overwhelming for me. But I knew the power of our generation.

Time has proven that the baby boomer teenagers had a huge and long lasting impact on American politics and culture.

My memory of 1968, a freshman in high school, includes an English teacher, Ms. Rutherford (possibly the first Ms. I had ever known). She was the first to encourage the writer in me.

I remember the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War. Lyndon Johnson was president and he announced he would not seek or accept presidential nomination. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, was slain in Memphis. James Earl Ray, indicted in the King murder, was sentenced to 99 years. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and critically wounded in a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California primary and died on June 6th. Richard Nixon was voted in as President.

Record of the Year was “Up, Up and Away,” by the 5th Dimension. Album of the Year was (and still is) a favorite: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by The Beatles. The rock musical Hair opened on Broadway in 1968.

Music was amazing then! I guess every generation thinks that their music is the best, but how does one argue with this list:
The Beatles, “Hey Jude” b/w “Revolution”
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
Steppenwolf, “Born to Be Wild”
Archie Bell and the Drells, “Tighten Up”
The Temptations, “I Wish It Would Rain”
Tommy James and the Shondells, “Mony Mony”
Diana Ross and the Supremes, “Love Child”
Jimi Hendrix, “All Along The Watchtower”.

And others like:
“Judy In Disguise” … John Fred & His Playboy Band
“Green Tambourine” … Lemon Pipers
“Love Is Blue” … Paul Mauriat
“Honey” … Bobby Goldsboro
“Mrs. Robinson” … Simon and Garfunkel
“This Guy’s in Love With You” … Herb Alpert
“Grazing in the Grass” … Hugh Masekela
“Hello, I Love You” … The Doors.

Not to mention: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell, Jose Feliciano’s, “Light My Fire” and Dionne Warwick’s, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”.

Top Movies of 1968
1. The Graduate
2. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
3. Gone With the Wind (reissue)
4. The Valley of the Dolls
5. The Odd Couple
6. Planet of the Apes
7. Rosemary’s Baby
8. The Jungle Book
9. Yours, Mine and Ours
10. The Green Berets
(They just don’t make ’em like they used to!!!)

Yes 1968 was an important year… the year that the successful flight of Apollo 8 made Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders the first people to orbit the moon.

Johnny Cash recorded “Live at Folsom Prison”.

The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight.

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Helen Keller died in her Easton, Connecticut home, just 26 days before her 88th birthday.

Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol as he enters his studio, wounding him.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closes above 100 for the first time, closing at 100.38.

Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, condemning birth control.

Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d’état.

The Prague Spring of political liberalization ends, as 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia.

The Medal of Honor is posthumously awarded to James Anderson, Jr. — he is the first African American U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Police clash with antiwar protesters in Chicago, Illinois outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.

The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico.

The United States Department of Defense announced that the United States Army and United States Marines would send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours.

Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios.

The White Album is released by The Beatles.

1968, when I was 13. The year itself has helped make me who I am. Peace.


Tagged: 8 Random Things

July 2, 2007

QuionMonkey and Ybonesy are writing/blogger pals over at Redravine. As I understand it, I am supposed to write a blog about eight random items of interest about myself. In that blog, I am also to tag eight other bloggers to do the same in a blog about themselves and include these rules of the tag. I then leave each of them notes to let them know they have been tagged. 

Ybonesy explained the tagging process this way: “to share eight random things about ourselves. “Tagging” (aka a meme) is kind of like those chain letters you get via email — send this note to a dozen other people and you will get showered with joy — except without the prognostications of happiness, good fortune, or money if you follow through.” Does seem like an interesting way to get to know others and just have a fun writing challenge! So here we go…

My Eight:
1. I am not very random. I try to be. And I very much enjoy others who are random and spontaneous. I tend to plan and anticipate and organize and plan some more.

2. My right and left brains constantly battle. I am seriously tortured by the feuding between my business and artistic selves.

3. Liza and I have been enjoying life’s adventures together since 1984. Time with her, and the rest of our families, is my greatest joy.

4. I like making old things new or usable again. Consequently, I love rehabbing, yard sales, vintage stores, 50’s modern, old cars, historic architecture.

5. I try to look for the good in all things, but there are a few things I hate: cooked cabbage, lima beans, intolerance, being late and/or unprepared.

6. I lived in Key West, FL for 17 happy years.

7. I changed my college major 5 times. (art, education, journalism, business and merchandising… I just loved learning and I still do.)

8. I love things that sparkle. Yes the obvious like diamonds, crystals and jewels. But also, sparkling conversation, downtown raindrops in the evening lamplight, giggles, sunset reflections on ocean waves, snow and ice covered woods on a sunny midday, the eyes of healthy babies, coins, candlelight, fireworks, and enthusiasm.

There. Now here is who I am tagging:

RachelCreative

DarrellKlein

igblog

nacona77

josephbuffett

jessicatorrant

Happy blogging!


Ft. Lauderdale Sunset

July 1, 2007



This late twilight time on Ft. Lauderdale Beach was magical. Liza’s image was one of few that we got during our recent time there. Gardening and small projects around the cottage kept us distracted and happy.

Twi-light, or dusk, is my favorite time of day. The light is soft and shadows become lush. Twilight is the “starting over” of each evening and the natural passing of each day. Lasting for only a few brief minutes and changing with every second, this special time of day is precious and, individually, can never be replaced.

It is a space in our day to de-compress… to review the blessings of the day and reflect on hopeful prospects for the evening.