Why Preservation Matters?: Introducing Louise Burgess

Blog entry by Louise Burgess

“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own
we have no soul of our own civilization.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

"It takes energy to construct a new building. It saves energy to preserve and old one." Image Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation

“It takes energy to construct a new building.
It saves energy to preserve and old one.”
Image Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Why should we preserve the architecture of the past?
Why will its preservation matter to our future?

The idea to preserve buildings, communities and landscapes isn’t a new one though it is a growing. It also is a topic that has so many facets it would be impossible to do justice to the scope of historic preservation in one blog. What we do want to do is to create a forum that invites all aspects of historic preservation into one usable tool. A resource for homeowners, people in the building trades and realtors to come for ideas and the tools they need to maintain a buildings historic character. That is what we aim for this blog to become. Please join in on our conversations and share why preservation matters to you.

Continue reading

David and Tiffany’s Kitchen: Ready to Serve

2010 12 29 Image 01In our previous blog entry, “David and Tiffany’s Kitchen: Restoring an Original”, we saw an amazing original kitchen. Now, with a preservation sensitive restoration, the kitchen’s beauty is even more apparent. David and Tiffany chose not to destroy their historic kitchen, and instead worked with it. The pictures above show the transformation that took place under their fine stewardship.

Continue reading

David and Tiffany’s Kitchen: Restoring an Original

2010 12 28 Image 01David and Tiffany lived in a wonderful Victorian with an amazing staircase, plaster medallions, and large windows. But as their family grew, it became necessary to look for a larger home. They came across a 1921 English Cottage style home that fit their space needs. It had plenty of room for each of their children to have a room of their own, spacious rooms on the main floor, plenty of built in cabinets, a sun porch, a beautiful master bedroom, and a finished attic space for family activities.

Continue reading

Nate and Molly’s Kitchen: Sinks, and Floors, and Lighting, oh-my!

2010 03 09 Image 01The kitchen sink was in really poor shape. Molly and I discussed the possibility of finding a replacement that was in better shape, but we both felt it would be too disruptive to the historic tile to attempt to replace the sink. Instead, Nate and Molly opted to have their sink refinished by Stanley Tub. The sink lost it’s dull, stained, worn appearance and once again looks bright white. Molly understands that this finish is not as tough as the original porcelain, it is more like an auto body paint and may need to be touched up or even redone in time. When using a refinished sink, it’s important to use a sink mat or kitchen towel to put dishes on when you sit them in the sink, and use Bon Ami Cleanser, never an abrasive cleanser or Brillo pad to clean the sink.

Continue reading

Nate and Molly’s Kitchen: In the Beginning… 1920’s meets 1970’s

2010 02 11 Image 01Nate and Molly have a wonderful 1905 home. They consider themselves stewards of this wonderful historic resource, and wish to honor the interesting story that this home has to tell. Initially, they did not know what their options were other than what is so commonly heard throughout the media…. which is “rip it all out to the studs and put in the latest kitchen style… Make it personal to you!” This approach to kitchens runs counter to the preservation ethic of conserving historic building fabric (50 years or older). It creates a state of “cognitive dissonance” with the rest of a historic building, unnecessarily puts huge amounts of building materials in the waste stream, and costs homeowners tens of thousands of dollars unnecessarily. Historic kitchens can be repaired with creative solutions and made to contend with contemporary demands.

Continue reading

Eastfield Village: An Educational Opportunity Like None Other

2009 10 21 Image 01I went to some wonderful workshops at Eastfield Village . As described in previous blog entry “Eastfield Village: Total Immersion Into The Past”, Eastfield Village is a long journey from Portland, Oregon, but it is an educational opportunity like none other. Classes are held in various buildings throughout the village, but many take place in the 1836 Universalist Greek Revival church Don Saved. He has restored it to include it’s original gallery, so students can sit both upstairs and down.

Continue reading

Eastfield Village: Total Immersion Into The Past

2009 10 06 Image 01In the quest for unique and in depth educational opportunities, I signed up for several workshops at Eastfield village, which is located near the small town of Nassau in Upstate New York. Don Carpentier rescued numerous early buildings and set up workshops on a large variety of early american crafts. He has created an educational opportunity like none other.

Continue reading

Fox’s Victorian Kitchen: A Restoration Done Right!

2009 09 21 Image 01The Fox’s Victorian kitchen remodel was completed earlier this year, and it is an amazing sight.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and after the reproduction icebox Kim and Roy Fox had hoped to purchase was no longer available, another approach had to be found. The solution came in the form of separate Liebherr refrigerator and freezer components. Kim and Roy purchased the two components, and had Brendon Powell of Mountain View Door and Woodworking build an icebox shell and doors to go around them. The antique icebox hardware was the finishing touch bringing everything together. People have come into Kim and Roy’s kitchen, looked around, and said “Gee, where’s the refrigerator?” In most cases they were standing right next to it!

Continue reading

Fox’s Victorian Kitchen: In The Home Stretch

Kim and Roy Fox, clients of mine, are in the home stretch of restoring their Victorian kitchen. You can read more about their story in two previous blog entries.

Kim and Roy wanted to capture the beauty and elegance that was often historically reflected in the butler’s pantry. They chose a natural wood finish, soap stone counter top and back splash, and an absolutely wonderful early mixer faucet. Kim needed to have a functional work area sooner rather than later, so the emphasis was placed on completion of the lower cabinets so she would have a functional sink and dishwasher (camping is fun for a while, but there are limits….).

2008 12 10 Image 01 L

Soapstone sink in pantry

2008 12 10 Image 01 R

Wall mount mixer faucet

Kim and Roy wanted to have a mixer faucet in the butler’s pantry, and their quest ended when they came across piece that was at a salvage place in California. It ended up having problems with worn out seats. No one we knew here in Portland would touch it, and they didn’t want to send it back. I contacted my antique plumber (I call him the Plumber from the gods…) Walter Parker of School House Plumbing in Massachusetts. He said he would fix it without any hesitation, so off it went to New England. Walter repaired the seats. He was also able to help Kim and Roy with installation advice and last minute trouble shooting. Like I say, Walter is truly the Plumber from the gods! Kim and Roy love the faucet, and it looks beautiful!

2008 12 10 Image 02 L

Totally hidden dishwasher!

2008 12 10 Image 02 R

Drawers, the real deal

We all want them, even if we don’t admit it… Dishwashers, yes indeed! Kim and Roy wanted to incorporate a hidden dishwasher, and I recommended a Fisher & Paykel. One of the most challenging aspects, however, is that the control panel happens to be on the front of the drawer. The panel had to be recessed into the wood and then covered with an antique pull handle that was just the right size. It is completely hidden, but still accessible for operating the dishwasher. The carpenter, Brandon, was able to create false drawer fronts that make the dishwasher completely indistinguishable from the bank of real drawers on the right side of the sink! Yep, dishwashers, we want them, but we don’t want to look at them!

2008 12 10 Image 03 L

Eriez Stove now at home

2008 12 10 Image 03 R

Utility Sink next to stove

The first stove that Kim and Roy purchased was not well restored. They ended up sending it back, but not sure where to locate a well restored replacement. I recommended Dave Erickson of Erickson’s Stoves in Littleton Massachusetts. It seemed like the best thing to do was for Kim and Roy to go to New England, meet Dave, and see if he had a stove for them. Dave had so many choices, that Kim and Roy almost came home with two stoves! But alas, with only one kitchen they ended up choosing this lovely Eriez stove that has eight burners, two small ovens and one large oven. It is all gas and electric, so no need to tend the fire and clean the ash box here! They had it in time for Thanksgiving, and it worked beautifully, as Dave’s stoves always do. To the right of the stove, they have a utility sink. The sink is copper, with a more plain wooden cabinet, soapstone counter top, and vintage separate hot and cold faucets. Kim has an enamel tin cup and stand in the corner at the ready!

2008 12 10 Image 04 L

ish dresser in the butler’s pantry

2008 12 10 Image 04 R

Roy, Kim and Karla

Kim needed storage, but in an unfitted kitchen there just isn’t much. The storage is usually in the pantry. So Matthew Roman and I came up with a bank of upper and lower cabinets that were designed to look like the old dish dressers commonly found in butler’s pantries. Kim wanted a wooden counter top, and chose a contrasting wood finish, which reflects light into the room. The upper cabinets will have etched glass fronts when they are finished. Kim will actually end up with more storage with her new old kitchen than she had with the contemporary kitchen that was removed… Fancy that! Although Matthew was not able to be with us when this photo was taken, Kim, Roy and Karla posed for a group shot in the pantry. Between them is the kitchen plan.

2008 12 10 Image 05 L

Kitchen design plan

2008 12 10 Image 05 R

Light fixture above utility sink

A beautifully finished light fixture is above the utility sink. Note the lovely bullet shade, and wonderful pull chain lever. There is great attention to detail that takes time, but Roy and Kim are now in the home stretch to having a wonderfully restored Victorian Kitchen.

Fox’s Victorian Kitchen: The Great Stove Safari

Kim and Roy Fox are clients of mine and in the process of restoring a Victorian kitchen as first described in “Fox’s Victorian Kitchen: A Creative Interchange of Insights and Ideas”.

Kim and Roy were struggling with their stove selection for the restoration. They had successfully found many elements for the kitchen on their own. But the stove they had found and purchased on the web had quality problems when it arrived. Fortunately, they were able to return it for a refund, but they were unsure of where to look for another stove. They were leery of going back on the web, but needed to figure out how to locate the type of stove they wanted.

Eriez Stove at Erickson's Antique Stoves

Eriez Stove at Erickson’s Antique Stoves

Eriez Stove top

Eriez Stove top

Continue reading