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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Knitting the Old and the New Together

As I have mentioned before, I live in an old house. This is her 100th anniversary year, and, to be frank, she is showing her age in some places. I would love to make all of the updates and changes she needs in one fell swoop, but unless there is some great windfall, the changes will be made as we can. We are in the first stage of renovating both bathrooms and turning the upstairs kitchen into a laundry. (We live on both floors of our two-flat, so we have duplicates of everything.)

I have felt very strongly that we need to respect the house and her architectural style. While we don't live in a neighborhood of tear downs (many neighborhoods in Chicago suffer from this), lots of folks buy homes similar to ours and gut them, creating more modern, open floor plans. Sure, I would love one of those houses where the spaces flow seamlessly, but I feel compelled to retain the integrity of the house's historical period. That's not to say that we're not making updates--we are--but those updates are done with an eye toward what makes sense for the old girl. So, as I hunt for floor tiles, fixtures, and amenities, I'm trying to knit together modern aesthetics with historic sensibilities. We are exiting the "Oh my, this will never be over, and it will never look like anything but dog food" phase and entering the "Hey, there really is a bathroom under all that dust" phase. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

By the way, if you are going to have only one working bathroom downstairs due to the demolition of the upstairs loo, and you sleep upstairs, it might not be the best idea to drink gallons of iced tea every day unless you want to make the nightly treacherous decent through the obstacle course that has become your home. Strangely, it's a lesson I have yet to learn, and it has been weeks.

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