Our old house

Recently we have downsized and moved to an older home with great architectural features, is about 80 some years old and is considered a Milwaukee style bungalow, aka: Chicago style bungalow.  These are not the Craftsman style that a lot of people know.  I researched about bungalows shortly after we purchased…following the descriptions:  brick with stone accents, rectangular in shape such that the long sides go back from the street and the short ones face the street and back yard.   We had been looking on this side of the state for well over a year, but me more seriously than him.  We had found the “perfect one” but it would have to wait for us on the market until we were ready.  It was there a while, but it, and time didn’t wait. Sigh.  It’s so hard!  Anyway.  This old house while not our dream house meets a lot of our demands, mainly that there be a room and full bathroom on the main floor.  It’s the guest room right now, and the upstairs which was the original attic is where two more bedrooms and a full bath are.  That’s the other thing about this style, the attic very often is turned into more room-a pop up if you will- and the stairs unless totally reworked very often are original.  Our “pop up” occurred in the mid 1980’s, and when we bought it..oh yuck, it showed, mostly in the bathroom vanity. Shivers!  The original stairs are there and they are narrow and the tread is not wide and it curves  upwards, but not tight like a spiral.  I can see the underside as I head down the basement, there’s the curve, there’s the load bearing wall such that we couldn’t recess the refrigerator.  You see where I’m going with this?  So much to notice, tell and discover.

to upstairs
Narrow attic stairway-original architecture

There are curved arches, doors, interesting ceiling design, original lamps, “chandeliers,” built in book cases,  china hutch, leaded glass windows and design and the original tile non-functioning fireplace that has an electric outlet, but nah!  The basement is a basement-very cool (read cold), cement floor and funnily enough, not creepy (visited plenty of those dark, dank icky things).  This one does have lots of built in cabinets (great storage), a laundry chute (wish kinda for a dumb waiter to haul it back up…I wonder…) and yep! Another loo! The man is using the old shop, has loaded all the cabinets with his stuff.  OH! I’m convinced the original owner (we’re the 3rd owners) was a pack rat and collected discarded cabinets and things and stuffed them in everywhere.  It’s pretty neat.  We’ve found the storage for the old window screens, some etched with the number that relates to the exact window it fits (no one size fits all),  and the rest are painted with the numbers.  We’ve found the old doors, some of which we have taken off, but a lot of the hinge hardware remains on the door frame-just ‘cause it can and tells a story.  There’s a bar, an actual wet bar in the basement, and with a bit of work, we can have water, hook up the old CO2 tank (found that-looks like a missle in a corner!), it lights up around the bar curve and behind.  Oh, and up above, in the door/window closet, always look up or you’d miss something, are the replacement tubes for the bar decor. Did I mention they’re glass?  Definitely used a lot of the space and rafters well.

Have I mentioned: the window in a closet? The old wire hooks, notes in the old garage-lovingly called the one car storage unit? Really horrible buzzer sound-that’s the doorbell? Double hung windows where they’re still on rope? Wall niche for telephone, and pull down drawer for telephone books? Old cabinets that I call linen presses, since there are no true linen cabinets-not even upstairs in the 1980’s pop up.  Well, that’s just some features of the new abode I live in.

Master BR (8)
Original attic window-great for watching the clouds, stars and moon. By us, it is called “the fairy window.”

Just so you’re not totally worried, we did have the house thoroughly cleaned before moving in and I must say, they did such a great job that I felt comfortable moving in. No, the basement wasn’t cleaned, but heck, that’s beyond an ask.  It took 2 days on a 2K sq. foot place.  They even oiled the woodwork, even the built-in shelves! Thank you thank you!

We built our dream house 25 years ago. It was big and grew 3 children and had love for pets, people, gardens, learning and we still love it, and will remember it fondly.  This house is our “retirement” place and the last house I want to own.  Old houses, like old folks need upkeep, there’s always more $ to sink into it, but we’re learning to do a lot ourselves, go slower than our excited selves planned on and then the house will seem like home.  Our home.

PS: The upstairs bathroom looks soooooo much better now with rework, and because it’s spring, we’re working in the garden: yanking and planting in typical OUR style. We leave it for the neighbors to wonder.


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