Five favorites — (Relatively) new homeowner (of an old house) edition

I am thankful for this wonderful Independence Day weekend that is upon on us, but this week I am reflecting on five favorite things associated with #oldhouselove.

1. Air conditioning.  Ours went out last Friday. It was a high of 98 degrees that day. Saturday it was also 98 degrees. I don’t know how people lived in Florida before air conditioning existed. I got home from work Friday night around 9:30-10 pm, after a work event. I immediately noticed something was off when I pulled in the driveway and saw one of the front windows was open. Never a good thing. I walk in the front and it felt like.. well, it felt like I was still outside. Apparently a few hours earlier the condenser stopped working. By Saturday, we felt like we were cooking. Luckily it was fixed by Saturday night and we basked in the beautiful, beautiful, cold air.

2. The design of old houses. This weekend did give me an appreciation for the design of old houses. On Saturday, the mercury hit 98 degrees. It was oppressively hot. Somehow, our house sans air only got to 86 degrees. Eighty-six is still miserable, but I acknowledge it could have been much worse. The more I looked into the way old houses were built, the more I was impressed with our home. It clearly was built to maximize both airflow and shade. I thank a few things: ceiling fans in every room. The front room of our house runs the entirety of the the front, exterior wall to exterior wall to exterior wall. The front-facing wall has the entry door and a set of three windows. Each side wall has two windows. Again, with our aesthetically – minded judgment, we thought the two windows flanking the fireplace were gorgeous and a little funky (they swing outward) but really, they create the most lovely of cross breezes.

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I always thought it was cool to see from our living room at the front of the house all the way back to the kitchen. That straight shot means a lot more when you have fans sending air through those doorways, moving around warm air enough to make life bearable.

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Beyond the interior design, the outside is designed with temperature control in mind too. We love chilling on our front porch with a cup of coffee or glass of wine but it serves more of a purpose than we realized. The porch covers a good chunk of the eastern – facing side of the house. It conveniently shades the side of the house from the sun during some of its hottest hours. The entire house also has extended awnings that provide shade.

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Some info on old houses and air control from the EPA and the Riverside Avondale Preservation.

3. Hot water. Our air conditioning was fixed Saturday.  On Sunday,  our hot water heater broke.  I took a very chilly shower Monday morning.  Brrr. It was fixed Monday night, luckily.

4. Washer & Dryer. The first time we used our washer, it broke.  It’s attached to the dryer so you can’t replace one without the other. We survived the laundromat for a few months, washing there, drying at home. But finally it was time to just buy a new washer (and dryer, by default). So I ordered them, they came Saturday, and by some stroke of genius I ordered a gas dryer instead of an electric dryer. So back the units went. And back we went to the laundromat because we hadn’t done laundry in weeks and we were both out of underwear.. BUT, I went and ordered the CORRECT items, and they are coming Tuesday and I have never been so excited about a washer and dryer in my life.

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5. My new quarter sheet electric palm sander. I’m so super excited about this purchase! So many things to sand. I tested it out on a chair that I had painted red, but was not satisfied with. There were so many layers of paint that it was impossible to hand sand off, so I just painted over it. There was literally six layers of paint on this one chair.

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Before. So many colors.

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After

The first big project I have in the works is inspired by the Boys From Cherry Street. We had the back door replaced before we moved in because it had clearly been kicked in at one point, compromising the door handle. We are going to turn the old door into a table of sorts.
Sander Sander

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