Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Protecting the Territory

Thanks so much for your ideas and suggestions on my last post! I decided to try posting signs first, but this was before I made yet another discovery about the dumpster... I went to Lowe's after work because, really, who doesn't love an excuse to go in there?

my booty:
These were the supplies I deemed necessary to protect my turf: Two KEEP OUT signs, a roll of duct tape, and the latest Cottage Living magazine. I needed the signs for the obvious reasons and found myself feeling like a true home owner buying the duct tape to post the signs. And the magazine, well, I make no excuses--- I like it.

Scary, isn't it? I know it would stop me dead in my tracks. The lady at the checkout counter asked me if I was feeling antisocial when she rang up my signs... I explained what was going on and she wished me good luck.

How utterly intimidating. At least now the general populace will take the hint that I'm onto them.

So I was feeling pretty good about my impending signage, after I made my purchases and was driving over to the house. That is, until I got to the dumpster and looked in:

Ladies and Gentlemen, that's not *a* mattress... It's more like SIX mattresses AND box springs. And bed rails. I was so shocked and angry when I found this tears came to my eyes (it had been a long day, too). I just couldn't believe that not only was someone using my dumpster, but they had the audacity to dump this many mattresses. Not just the one that already had me worked up and excited, but THIS MANY?

I felt utterly defeated.

Once I got home, I talked to my parents and sister about it and they said I should talk to the neighbors to see if they saw anything. We also hypothesized that this came out of the triplex brick apartment units next-door that had been undergoing recent renovations due to the tornado back in March (some of the tenants, if not all, had to move out/were evicted because of the intensity of the work going on). And if I find out it was them, I'm going to definitely call the police and pursue them for illegal dumping.

I'm still shocked by it. I just had no words when I saw it.

At least when I got home I had my Cottage Living...

A trashy situation...

Dumpster Woes

I'm currently at work, but my sister drove by my house while ago and asked had I been dumping things in my dumpster, to which I replied that I had not, but I knew that someone had. Apparently now there's an old mattress hanging out of the dumpster.

My question is this: How do I stop people putting things in my dumpster? I have no driveway, so it's parked on the street. Not just my neighbors, but anyone could be dumping in it. But I'M paying for it. The little things at first I didn't mind. But the last time I needed to use it, it was almost half full and I couldn't put all of my trash and construction debris in it!

I'm not there enough to monitor it. It seems silly to file a police report. I could post signs on the dumpster, but really, a sign isn't going to stop anyone...

I guess I'll put a call into the company who rented me the dumpster. Maybe they have some ideas, or I could get a smaller dumpster, with lids I can lock and close. Seems like a lot of trouble, but I'm tired of paying for other people to get rid of their trash.

What would you do?

EDIT: Called company, talked to the lady in charge. She said they didn't have any smaller dumpsters (or any that would close and lock), that ideally they could move the dumpster closer to the house, but that won't work in my case. She said people have this problem every so often and the only thing to do is to post signs and file a police report. Maybe the police will patrol the area and catch someone dumping there. I guess it's better than nothing. She was super nice.

My sister suggested that I talk to my neighbors and ask them to be on the lookout for unsavory activity. I'll leave this dumpster in place for now, but as soon as it's full, I'll call the company to come deliver a dumpster when I'm ready for it, instead of having one sitting there all the time, ready to be taken advantage of.

What ever happened to people respecting others' property?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Floor Plans... What I bought, what it might've been...

Floor Plan Sketches

EDIT: The pictures of my sketches have somehow disappeared. I'll try to fix this problem soon. 11/30/07

I've been meaning to get these up for a while, but it's all a bit confusing. These sketches were hand-drawn, but with much thought, so bear with me. If you click the picture you can make it bigger, as I've written in the functions of the areas.

What I bought: You could not enter one apartment from the other, nor could you access the back porch without going outside to the back of the house.

On the left hand side, you'll see the sketch of the house as I bought it, divided into two apartments, A and B. The A's and B's are written in help to show what rooms went with which apartment. CL=closet, FP=fireplace (two separate fireplaces, one chimney), SK=sink, F=fridge, SH=shower. While this sketch seems hastily drawn, it is actually very accurate. The kitchens were little more than appliances in rooms, with some mismatched cabinetry. The bathrooms were shower units, toilets, and small vanities. Whomever divided this house was Cheap (notice the capital C) and Quick.

The sketch on the right is paired with the sketch on the left so you can see the doorways I found during demo, that show how the house USED to be connected. The 'hidden doors' are all circled. Please note that the bathroom for Apartment A was built out ONTO the back porch and that Apartment A's HALL was at one point an open side porch to the yard (covered breezeway, if you will).

What might've been...

As for the 'original' sketch... I know that the front porch is original, as are all the rooms, which have 10 foot ceilings. Nothing has been added onto the house, even porches, but some porches have been closed in and built into. There are five original closets, all small, seemingly 'coal closets'. There was one chimney, two separate fireplaces. The chimney had been terminated below the roof line at some point, so I made the choice early on to remove the structure completely and tear down that wall, even though I would like to put some kind of fireplace back into the house. Apartment B's bathroom seems most likely to have been a hallway to the side porch, but the evidence suggests that there was a bathroom there, or at least a sink or something, at some point (cast iron drain pipes).

The rooms still remain choppy and a little illogical at this point. There's no real evidence to point out where the kitchen was, or I haven't found it yet. I'm not sure when the big shift from outhouses to bathrooms was. There is no woodwork evidence, either, to clearly state where a dining room or living room was. Everything is Plain Jane and neutral. I would think that a bedroom would have a fireplace in it, but following that logic, you'd think a living room and/or dining room would, too. Since there is a back porch, and the sides are high, I would imagine this was used as a sleeping porch, so maybe the bedrooms were off or near it.

Maybe another sketch to come, showing the rooms' dimensions. And what my probable new floor plan will be...

Care to hazard a guess to the house's original layout?

Update, November 2007

Random House Visit

I recently joined the like-minded folks over at, which is a community for Home Improvement Enthusiasts like myself. There are many of us house-bloggers out there on the internet and I found myself very lucky to have stumbled across this group of people. They all share their triumphs and tragedies, as well as the day-today life restoring and renovating their homes. I added my houseblog to their community. Very lucky I am to have found them, indeed.

I've been perusing their blogs lately, all of which serve to inspire me in my own endeavors. And honestly, viewing other houseblogs has taken the place of my late-night television watching. It is much more entertaining, to boot!

The Months of Holidays have descended upon us leaving my attention elsewhere besides my house. But I've still been planning, looking, and (window) shopping. The fever that home improvement enthusiasts share never goes away... While I haven't been swinging a hammer as of late, I have been thinking about my interiors and wishing, hoping, and waiting on my contractor.

I have been over to the house three times in the past month and a half. One time was to meet with my contractor and his crew to walk through the space with the aid of a (hopeful) floor plan sketch to discuss the work needing to be done. My contractor now has a set of keys to the house and is supposed to be working on getting estimates for me from the electrician, plumber, and air conditioner guys. I'm still waiting on him to get back with me with those estimates and to finish up his other projects so he can begin on mine.

I've been patient. But it's been hard when so much of yourself, time, and money is waiting on someone else to pick up the ball. But he's the contractor I want, so I'm pacifying myself with the thought that the wait is worth the effort.

I missed my house today, so I strolled down the three or so blocks from my parents' house just to visit it and check on things.

I have to say the front of the house is really beginning to show its personality, now that we've cut back all the trees, bamboo, and bushes that were suffocating it. The oncoming winter months have served to deaden the foliage, as well. I was happy to finally get a clear shot of the front of my house, minus the leftover debris from Yard Day 1.

The bamboo stumps are still there, but I was glad to see that they haven't been growing with much gusto. This side view of my house (from the porch) still amazes me. I didn't realize how much I couldn't see beforehand until we cleared the yard.

This is another view from the front porch, looking East down the street. Not much of a view, but I like it. Again, here to me, there is SUCH an improvement than before when the house was being choked and almost reclaimed by nature. It's so much more open, airy, and light.

This is a view looking West from my front porch. There are some other houses on the street that people have been showing love. Mine should fit right in, when it's finished.

Here is a neat token I found while demoing the fireplace and chimney--- an old key. I haven't tried it on any of the doors, but I did hang it on a nail for safekeeping while the demo continued. It was a cool find to me, a bit of the home's history. I wondered whose hands held this key and how it was lost in the fireplace debris to begin with. I'm lucky that I even found it; it could have easily been tossed out, unnoticed.

Alas, the dumpster talk again. I have had a dumpster sitting outside my house for the majority of the months that I've owned it. This dumpster should be bone dry, barren, and empty since I haven't put anything in it since it was last dumped. People just seem to think it's their own and take the liberty to dump whatever they want in it. Since I'm not at or near the property every day, there's little I can do to stop it. Maybe people just don't think that someone is PAYING for this dumpster, and PAYING to have it dumped. I can't really monitor it or stop it, so I guess I should just get over it. It still irks, me though.

And lastly, a picture of my parents' house. It was built in 1890. They bought it 17 years ago and spent about four years renovating it before we ever moved in. While it wasn't the first old house they renovated, this is the one in which the reno bug built me. It's what made me fall in love with old houses and gave me the vision to see what an old house could be, when brought back to life. My house will never be as fancy as this one, but it remains to serve as my inspiration (and current place of habitation!). Also, I'm gad to see the front porch looking like itself again. Almost all the repair work has been completed on the house since back in March, when a tornado tossed a 400 year old live oak tree onto the front of the house causing the entire front porch to have to be rebuilt.