Monday, July 21, 2008

This Old House

This post is more family history oriented and while it deals with a recent bathroom remodel in my Chicago home, it got me to thinking of what kind of home improvements my ancestors may have made. As you read below and view the before and after photos, ponder the following and how they apply to those in your family tree:

- growing up, did your family embark upon a major home improvement such as a kitchen, bathroom or building an addition for more space?

- did anyone in your family history experience major damage to their home that required repair? What were the circumstances of the damage?

- have you come across any family history related to when indoor plumbing was installed? An electric or gas stove instead of a wood stove? An ice box and then a refrigerator?

I'll post some of my responses later this week - I've already done some research on the Freer-Low House in New Paltz, New York which was built by one of my ancestors, Hugo Freer, and in a separate post I'll discuss the many additions made since the late 1600s.

Now, on to the remodel. Although my home is only two years old it really is 105 years old. How can that be? Well, I live in what is called a "condo rehab" which is quite popular in Chicago. A developer or builder purchases a two-flat or three-flat building (a flat means an apartment that runs the entire length of that floor which is different than a duplex or triplex which take up two or three floors). They usually gut the inside and replace everything with more modern amenities including different floorplans. Sometimes they will add a balcony or deck and a car port or garage. This arrangement allows you to own your own home many times with unique architectural touches such as exposed brick, oak staircases and floors, etc.

That being said, I never like the master bathroom and it had become a sticking point in negotiating a purchase price. The developer obviously had purchased the cheapest and smallest shower stall available at Home Depot or Lowes. Seriously small - as in cruise ship shower. I could not even raise my arms in that shower and felt like veal.

So about a month ago, the project started after we chose our tiles, fixtures, colors, etc. A relative was doing the contracting work and I couldn't be happier with the way in which it turned out. The goals were to:

- enlarge the shower even if it meant building a custom tray and ordering a custom shower enclosure and door

- add more storage space with a built-in linen cabinet behind the door

- add more surface space with a larger vanity and installation of a vessel bowl sink

Here are the results!




Jasia said...

Very nice T! I can see why you're excited about it. It really is a dramatic difference. Classy.

Apple said...

It came out great! I don't know much about renovations made by ancestors but we always seem to have had some project going on. You've also got me thinking about a couple of the flats I rented way back when.