Monday, December 27, 2010

Detective Work

If you live in an old house, then being a detective should come as second nature. Case in point, my kitchen:

Obviously, the florescent light fixtures are not original, but I didn't get a chance to really investigate until I had to change some bulbs. I thought I might find the original light fixture location underneath all, and I did:

After some scraping with a screwdriver (and making a huge mess in the process), I found that the original wiring is still there. I had assumed that the kitchen (which was altered heavily in the 1970s) originally had a single fixture, and now I know I was right.

Also, this got me thinking that the butler's pantry, which is now open to the kitchen, was probably at one time its own separate room, as most usually are. Also of interest here is the original ceiling finish, which is much rougher than what is there now (outside of the fixture.) There's also a strange bread cabinet built into the wall (which everyone kept calling a dumbwaiter, which it never was). I found out from an old photo from the previous owner there was once a window where the cabinet is now, so it would be nice to put the window back later.

Last but not least is this strange medallion in the very center of the floor of my dining room, which I found after I pulled up the carpet. Anyone know what it is? My guess is a wire ran through the holes in the center for a servant call button, which I have seen in other older homes. Any other guesses?

The dining room has been rife with discoveries - ghost marks from old sconces on either side of the built in sideboard, hinge marks on the door frame leading into the conservatory, and also on the large doorway that leads into the dining room from the entrance hall:

Very interesting, indeed. I have a feeling the detective work will never be done, but that is part of the fun of owning an old home.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Garden Room

Not only do I have my conservatory on the first floor, but I also have what I have named The Garden Room, upstairs.

This room is attached to the smaller of the three bedrooms, and was originally a screened sleeping porch. Sleeping porches were popular here in the Valley before air conditioning. With cooler nights, people would put their beds out on the screened porch and enjoy the breezes.

Sometime in the past few years, there were windows put in around the porch. I still have the original interior screens though. The original porch floor is still visible, as well as the bead board walls and ceiling. It's very charming. Now I use this room for some of my vintage gardening items, some wicker furniture (Thanks Aunt Amy!) and PLANTS. Most of my cacti/succulent collection is in this room for the Winter. It gets quite warm during the day, and the heat that builds up lasts into the night, so the plants love it. It is a great spot to read, or to sit and chat with friends.

This is one of my favorite rooms.