Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 Years... and Counting!

It was 5 years ago today I started the Hall House adventure and what an adventure it's been! There's been plenty of ups and downs... and things have never quite gone as planned... but looking back, a hell of alot was accomplished and I would say for the better! Let's see how far things have come...

The Foyer

Dining Room


Powder Room

3rd Floor


Maybe I"ll be done before the 10th anniversary!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Hall House Painting

For Christmas this year my parents had their very talented neighbor paint a portrait of the Hall House to hang in my foyer. As you can see Jim did an amazing job!

On a bad note, apparently somebody didn't have any Christmas spirit. I wasn't the only one hit Christmas night on my street. The one arbor isn't bad, but the other will need a few pieces replaced. I'll wait till spring to deal with this mess. Meawhile the first big snow of the season is hitting the area and I have a snow blower that needs fixin.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Festivus Season at the Hall House

Progress has been slow again with some leftover problems at work keeping me busy and the holidays. I needed ornaments to do a tree, so in the true spririt of the Hall House... I went old school! That's right, what old house would be complete without Shiney Brite X-mas ornaments on the tree?! So I went on an EBAY hunt and found a few dozen from the 40s era.

I learned that during the war metals were obviously in short supply, so ornaments of those years were not silvered.... so if you find a clear one, chances are it was made during the WWII. I found a few of these as well.

Then of course there's the lights. Yep... vintage too! I actually had about 6 boxes of these given to me a few years ago and bought a few more sets to do a complete tree. These are early 40s era NOMA and Peerless sets. A wooden bead is threaded through the wires at each bulb... creating a loop for a brach to go through. Then you just slide the bead up against the light and this fastens it to the branch. Amazingly all the sets are in great condition.

Finally my grandfather's Lionel set is underneath that he received for Christmas in 1947.

....and of course the leg lamp is proudly displayed by the front window!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tedious Table and Other Projects

So the loose ends of the kitchen are slowly coming together. The kitchen table restoration is coming along. I finally have the table stripped and repainted and finally in use. It cleaned up great and definitely adds to the retro feel of the kitchen. It's not too big or too small, but does have a nice added feature of two leafs that can be pulled out on each end if I ever need the extra table space. This is why the set has 6 chairs, which is an unusual find for one of these sets! I'll start working on these next which will take some time to do. Oh, and I still need to finish the utensil drawer which inserts under the table... the open slot can be seen in the pic. I painted it the same color as the trim and wainscotting. The black I masked out and spray painted as it was originally

Next I finally found and installed a neat Western Electric wall phone. It's 1920s-30s era with a dialer.... and yes, it still works!

Finally the upstairs kitchen demo continues before each trash day... some more of that "lovely" panelling has been exposed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upstairs Kitchen... Officially Retired!

I never thought I'd see the day but I'm finally using the downstairs kitchen! There's still some minor work to be finished but I'm moved in and it's in daily use now. The upstairs kitchen is pretty well cleaned out now and I've already removed the upper cabinets. I'll spend the next month slowly trashing the cabinets, counters, etc and getting rid of the fridge/stove. Just to show you the style that somebody thought was better than chestnut woodwork and real craftsmanship... groovy man! Eek... someone had enough sense to paint over it at some point.

Meanwhile it's outage season again and I already worked 25 days in a row (10 hr days) so the house has taken a bkac seat for a bit. Here's a taste of what I'm talking about when I refer to "outage season"... taking apart big turbines, wiring, controls work, rebuilding valves, etc, etc.... basically 6 months of maintenance work crammed into a few weeks before everyone wants to turn their heat or AC and demand for electricity is high. Here's our #8 steam turbine apart. This unit will make 450 megawatts of electricity.... 1 MW will power about 750 homes!

I have done a few things though. First I found an original Scott Paper towel holder from I guess the 20s-30s. Scott Paper was just down the street in Chester making this a neat item to have in my retro kitchen. I sandblasted and gave it a fresh coat of paint... it's now ready for another 50 yrs of use!

Another neat find was a 1940s Cosco step stool. A must have in a old kitchen... especially one with high cabinets. The steps fold under the seat of course. I was going to go with an older wood style version till I found this... and at $25 I couldn't resist. This will be sandblasted and receive a fresh coat of paint soon too. Not sure what colors I want to use yet.

Finally I whipped up a few birdhouses and feeder for a birthday present. I think I may have to make a few for myself too! They turned out pretty good.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Fridge!

It was a bit of an adventure trying to pick it up... and even more getting it in the house myself... but it's finally here! It's the Northstar model 1952 from Elmira Stove Works. Because it was a display model with a small 1 inch scratch in it, the price was knocked off a third... sounds good to me! I should be moving into the "new" kitchen by this weekend... finally!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hooks, Racks, and More Hooks

By special request I'm posting about my quest for organization in the new kitchen...

Pots and pans are always a PIA to store, so I spent some time looking for options that didn't cost as much as the pots and pans themselves! My solution?? A simple lid rack for around $10 on the door (though I did have to make a slight modification) and some hooks threaded into the butcher block to hang the pans and smaller pots. Oh, and after 10 years I finally sprung for a nice stainless cookware set!

Next was an idea actually borrowed from the salvaged stepback cupboard. Hooks with spring locks to hang mugs...making use of the empty space about the plates, bowls, etc. There was an old set of these installed in the cupboard, but they were heavily painted over so I removed them. I managed to find some new ones online and installed for my fiesta mugs and china set. These are a great space saver!

The wine rack is finished and newly stocked. It worked out really well and stores more than I expected (about 30 bottles).... now which bottle to christen the new kitchen with???

Today my latest EBAY find arrived... a chrome canister set from the 40s/50s. It's a neat set with deco style font for coffee, sugar, tea, and flour. They go nice with the stove and other retro items in the kitchen, plus I got a good deal on the set!

Tomorrow I get the new fridge. I was able to get the one I really wanted, but managed to get a display model that was 1/3 less in price because of a 1 inch scratch. I think I can live with it!! It was shipped from Ohio and is waiting for me at the shipping companies philly hub. I also picked up a neat old Scot Towel paper towel holder that should arrive any day. It will need sandblasting and new paint before I get to install it.... stay tuned, the end of this project is in site!