Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Basement Ceiling

I've been muttering to myself about how the POs (or perhaps the PPOs) finished the basement ceiling when they finished the basement. Oops. I was wrong. Last night, I was looking at the ceiling and the plumbing, trying to figure out how to gain access.

The ceiling, it seems, is composed of some sort of material on metal lath. I'm inclined to say that it is mortar or concrete of some sort - it feels harder and more rough than plaster.

I've never seen anything like this. I'm not familiar enough with the style of the work to say whether it was original or later. Whatever the case, it won't make working on the plumbing or utilities hidden underneath it easy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My New Computer!

Yesterday, I went to Pittsburgh, to pick up my new computer, a Power Macintosh G4/450 DP that I found, with a 17 inch Apple Studio Display, on Craigslist for a mere $135. I managed to get 2 gigs of ram pulled from another working G4 on eBay for $30. The hard drive that will go in it, to supplement the current one, is a 1TB Western Digital. I'd considered Seagate's 1.5TB drive, but there were too many negative reviews, and the price per byte was pretty close.

It's a lot of computer for $300 - although it only met that budget because I haven't purchased a DVD burner for it yet. I'll be buying that as soon as I sell off some of the parts from my dead PowerBook G3 and A's dead PowerBook G4.

Thinking Warm Thoughts

Over the holidays, I talked with my father-in-law, an HVAC tech, about my current boiler and possible future options. Our system is hot water, which lends us to greater efficiency potential than is possible with a steam heat system. He had just installed a Burnham Alpine boiler in the church across the street, and had primarily good things to say about the company. As a tech, he appreciates that it is still easy to get parts, quickly, for 35+ year old systems, while some other manufacturers discontinue parts after 10 years.

Although he wasn't able to give specific numbers, he thought, given our usage, that a new boiler would probably pay for itself in 5 or so years. The problem becomes then one of determining how we will pay the $5000-7000 that it will probably cost for the purchase and installation of the system.

The issue that this brings to mind for me, however, is one of venting. The Burnham Alpine uses PVC pipes for ventilation. High efficiency boilers and hot water heaters have special ventilation requirements to meet and as a result of their higher efficiency. They draw air in from outside because it is cleaner, and therefore burns more efficently than, say, sawdust or humidity laden air. They must exhaust outside, rather than into the chimney because their exhaust is cooler, more humid, and more dense, and would lead quickly to the collapse of the chimney in just a few years.

The normal installation would be to just run the vent pipes through the wall of the house. I find the idea of two bright white PVC pipes poking through the wall of my house rather unattractive. Yes, they could be painted to match the brick, but I'm still not completely comfortable with that solution.

One alternative that my father-in-law suggested was to run the vent pipes up the existing chimney. Our boiler and hot water heater use one chimney, while our fireplaces use another, so this wouldn't be a problem. He thought it wouldn't be too difficult to run things that way - just a matter of dropping two or three lengths of PVC pipe down the chimney. While this would cost more, I think the result is worthwhile.

This all leads me to thinking about the hot water heater and its eventual replacement with a tankless model. Tankless hot water heaters have their own special ventilation requirements, which seem to tend toward stainless steel, but which could probably be fit into the chimney if necessary. If I could settle on one system, it seems that it might be reasonable to drop in the vent pipe for the water heater at the same time as the vent pipe is being installed for the boiler.

Of course, I'd love to hear other ideas, including less ugly ways to conceal vents run through walls.

Random thoughts

A. is spending a few more days with her family before returning to Cleveland. Theoretically, this will provide me with an opportunity to get some stuff done, but in reality, it just leaves me lonely.

She'd like me to get the ceiling completed in the master bath shower, as would I, but I'm having trouble making everything fit properly. Sigh. She also wants me to get the hall cleaned up and vacuumed, a task which should be somewhat easier.

Tonight, after work, I'm going to help my dad move some art, but I should have at least a little free time - enough to move the mattress out of our bedroom and into the guest bedroom (new mattress tomorrow!) and maybe clean the hallway.

I can't wait until I can take some vacation time and use it to work on the house. Wow - what does it say that I want vacation time for housework?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Should this worry me?

Shower ceiling - gone!

Last night, I finished the rip out for the light fixture in the shower ceiling. It was a beautiful chunk of porcelain, but unfortunately, a bare bulb in such an environment is no longer up to code, and the city chose this as one of the few violations (of the many many that we posess) to write up. The fixture is curious in that it mounts without any visible screws - the screws that hold it to the backing plate are in the socket itself. I'll have to post a photo of this at some future time.

Since this photograph, I've sistered in some 2x3s to hold the drywall flush with the edge of the tile - the plaster and fiberboard combined were about 7/8" thick. But before getting to that point, I took some photographs from the vantage point afforded me.

The following two images are of the same location.

Questionable wiring - far

The stud in the foreground at the bottom of the picture is one edge of the shower enclosure.

Questionable wiring - close

This is a close up. Note the cracked joist, the tube with a nail resting in it, the wiring joined outside a box, the knob and tube wiring just resting on the ceiling, the beautiful notching and drilling...

The strange part of all this is that I can't figure out the purpose of the copper pipe that necessitated all of this. This pipe, I assume, would be servicing something on the third floor - yet there's nothing there or anywhere near where this pipe appears to run. If it were a radiator pipe, there should be another one accompanying it.

It's just a small crack, right? I really don't want to pull up the floor up there, not yet.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Art installation in the airlock

Eva Kwong art (detail)

We'd been trying to figure out where we'd install this work by Northern Ohio ceramic artist Eva Kwong. None of the other walls seemed suited to it, until we found this one, in the airlock, between the front hall and the front door.

This photo should provide a better idea of how it fits in the space.

Eva Kwong art

Plaster and Fiberboard walls

Not so long ago, I wrote about my walls, which I identified as plaster and lath. I had torn out one of the walls, on the stairs going down to the basement, because they were so badly bowed that the city had written them up as a violation it its point of sale inspection. I assumed that the fiberboard material used for the walls was a replacement, used when part of the tile was ripped out to install the cabinets in the 1950s.

Then, this weekend, I ripped out the ceiling in the shower in the master bath. The bare bulb attached to it in a lovely porcelain fixture was, unfortunately, another code violation that the city said we had to deal with, in favor of a recessed fixture. The ceiling was made from the same fiberboard as the wall on the basement stairs, covered with a thick layer of plaster. It seems that this material was used throughout the house.

While this fiberboard and plaster combination may not be as durable as lath and plaster, it seems to have been good enough, surviving for 80 years in one of the more difficult environments for plaster, the shower stall.

Living room walls

It seems, if you look at the above photograph, that these fiberboard panels were only nailed at the edges. I'm seriously considering the use of a countersink bit and some drywall screws to help even out the panels and make for a smoother wall.

Has anyone ever encountered these walls or know of anyone who has dealt with them? Is there some basic reason why drywall screws shouldn't work to hold them in place? Is there anything else I should know?

The worst way to plumb an icemaker?

We were told by the previous owner that the icemaker in the fridge didn't work because there wasn't any plumbing running to it. When the refrigerator was replaced, we found that there was, in fact, a copper line running to the icemaker, but it was crushed, as the refrigerator had rolled over it. I asked A. to buy a new line for it, which turned out to be about 8" too short. When I was able to extend the line, I found that the pipe it connected to was warm to the touch - not something that you want with an icemaker, but one that caused my parents trouble with their icemaker for years.

I looked at the pipe, but it wasn't connected obviously to the hot water heater, so I set this problem aside to deal with another day, after I'd had time to think about it. This time, the line was hot to the touch. I traced the pipe to the extent that I was able to - and found that it ran into the boiler! Eeew.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dining table and chairs

One of the reasons we wanted such a big home was the hope that ours would be the one that our whole family gathered at for the holidays. Ever since I saw the massive flitch inventory at Hearne Hardwoods I've wanted to have a dining table made from a single slab of wood. With time, I came to consider that perhaps a dining table made from two slabs, bookmatched together, might be an acceptable alternative. This is due partially to the lack of massive boards available in colors complementing the dining room's rather dark wainscotting within our budget - while we could afford something in maple, or even sapele, walnut was just too expensive.

A couple weeks ago, I went to talk to Dean at Metro Hardwoods at 5901 Train Avenue, in Cleveland, Ohio (216-651-2345). He tends to keep late hours - generally about 4 in the afternoon to two or so in the morning - which is actually quite convenient. There's only a small sign on the door of the industrial building where he has his space, but the lot of massive tree trunks across the street provides an obvious sign. On this visit, the most interesting thing I saw was some Siberian elm with a natural edge on one side, 15-18 inches wide, at a mere $3 a board foot.

I described to Dean what I was looking for in a dining table - something about 10 feet long (the dining room is 14 x 15), 40-48 inches wide, made from a single slab of wood. As his bandsaw is only capable of cutting 30 inch wide boards, we agreed that two bookmatched boards would be a reasonable compromise. My hope, I told him, is for a reasonably rectangular table, though I definitely want at least something of a natural edge on one side of the boards.

I'm not absolutely set on walnut - I just want something dark enough to look good in the dining room without having to resort to a stain - I'd strongly prefer to only use an oil and wax finish. For instance, a lighter color wood with a significant bark inclusion would probaby look good, too.

The base of the table will be of a trestle design, the exact nature of which will be determined by the top and available materials. If, for instance, the table top has significant splits or other structural issues, the base will have to be more extensive to evenly distribute the stress. I hope for the base to be cut from the same log, perhaps with natural edges.

Dean said that he should have some wood ready to show me in about a month. When I pressed him for a ballpark figure, he said that it would be in the neighborhood of $300-400 for walnut, which might also take longer to obtain/cut, or less for other species. This was great news - given the offerings at Hearne Hardwoods, I'd been expecting to spend 2-3 times that. What this really means is that Metro Hardwoods will be getting more of my business as I am able to start on other projects sooner, like a desk for the library, some coffee tables, and a massive freeform bookcase for the living room.

Another part of my decision to stay local was the lack of chairs available in sapele or in colors that would go well with it (as well as the issue of how one moves a board from this flitch like 2492 or 2493 three hundred miles without it splitting further).

I don't see myself as the sort of person who makes chairs. Cutting boards and things with square edges, sure, I can handle that. But all of the shaping and bending that goes into a chair just seems beyond what I want to learn, especially as these are skills that I doubt I'd put to use in many other projects. Finally, I'd rather defer to those other individuals who have learned how to make a comfortable chair, something that would surely take even more time for me.

The plan, I think, is to buy one or two chairs a year, so the chair needs to be something that is in production from a furniture maker who will still be making them in five or six years. Based on the size of the table, I expect to have eight or ten side chairs and two armchairs.

I really really like the lines of Thomas Moser's Eastward Chair, which is available in walnut. I've had the pleasure to spend some time in their New Gloucester Rocker and if these chairs are as comfortable as it is, I'd be quite pleased with them. The price, however, is about two times what the very high end of our budget is, I think. Comfort is important - I'm not going to get a chair simply because it is sexy.

I also really like birdcage Windsor chairs. These are a good example of exactly what I think would look good, although I've yet to find one in production that I really like. Of course, I'll keep looking.

I'd love to read some suggestions of other chairs worth considering.

That's not Wright!

I was looking for photographs of other Tudor Revival houses on Flickr when I came across this photograph of Frank Lloyd Wright's Nathan Moore House (built 1895, rebuilt 1923). The Nathan Moore House, in Oak Park, Illinois, is one of the most important Tudor Revival houses in America. Look again at those garage doors. I can't believe it either. Given that that house, today, would probably cost at least a million dollars, there has to be someone who could have retrofitted a mechanism for opening them automatically within the budget of the current owners. Of course, if it wasn't in their budget, would it really have been so hard for them to get out of their cars to open the doors?

Just thought I'd point this gem out, lest you think that such injustices only happen to pedestrian, run of the mill houses.

Better photographs of the Nursery

A. took some better photographs of the nursery, so I thought I'd share them:

View 1 of nursery

view 2 of nursery

View 3 of nursery

Now we just have to finish assembling all of the wonderful cartoon Ikea furniture and perhaps paint the baseboard. A. likes to tease me about how cartoony the furniture is - she should just be glad that she's been able to relegate it to the nursery - if only it was bigger, it'd probably be in other rooms in the house, too!

I should state, for the record, that I have two significant annoyances with Ikea with regard to the Mammut dresser. The first is but minor - they use two pieces of masonite to cover the back - could it really have taken up that much more space in the box to use a single piece, which, in the long run, would have provided additional structural strength? If I ever have to rebuild the dresser and glue all the edges, I will use a single piece for the back.

My greater annoyance is with the drawer slides. The halves of them that mount on the drawers are fairly intuitive. The half that mount on the case seemed intuitive, until I tried to install the drawers and saw that the drawer sloped slightly downwards. At first, I credited this with construction issues, but soon realized that while that might be expected after a few years, it shouldn't be the case right away. I took out the drawer and took the glides off both it and the case, assuming that I'd reversed them. Nope - the ones on the drawer clearly could not be mounted on the case. After cursing to myself a bit and blundering around some more, I realized that I had reversed the part of the drawer glides on the case left and right. After removing and reinstalling all of them, I was finally able to install the drawers.

I fault Ikea's reliance on interchangability of parts for this - it would be nice if there was some sort of visual cue on the glides so that one was clear as to which side is up and front. Alternately, the screw holes could be placed in the glides in such a way that it would be immediately obvious when they were mounted incorrectly.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

About the Intro

In my introduction I state that this house will be "less of the "how are we going to make dinner without a functioning kitchen" type of place. Unfortunately, this is not quite the case.

As I have mentioned previously, the c. 1950 Crown gas stove that came with the house was pretty much DOA. As such, my amazing wife has been preparing meals using a single electric burner, a microwave, and a toaster oven. She's been doing an impressive job of it, too.

We've been making very slow progress on this front, primarily because none of the options are especially attractive. We haven't had much luck finding a replacement stove on Craigslist or eBay - the closest decent contenders have been in Chicago, Illinois, 350 miles away. The cheapest new 40" gas stove is $1600. Putting a narrower stove between the two cabinets would probably be ugly. And while there's a certain novelty to installing two 20 inch apartment stoves, that doesn't seem quite right either.

So we're waiting and hemming and hawing. If you have a 40" white (or even some other color - just not stainless) gas stove that is in good operating condition, and hasn't been sitting in your basement for the past three decades, I may be interested, if you're within 300 miles of us. Of course, we're probably just going to wait some more, as my wife bakes Christmas cookies two at a time in the toaster oven.

In other news, last night I tried to hook up the water line for our new refrigerator. A. had, at my request, purchased a 10' icemaker hook up kit. I pulled out the old copper line, which had been crushed, and enlarged the hole. I hooked the hose up to the refrigerator, and, with a great deal of difficulty, used the old copper line to thread it through the floor. I threaded it under the existing pipes in the basement (note: proximity to the hot water line may be an issue) and came up short. My hope was that the location of the refrigerator was the issue, so I pushed it back into place. Nope - still about 8" short.

I hoped that I'd be able to buy a new line, just a bit longer, with all the fittings at the store today, but alas, they are not avaiable longer than 10'. I guess it's just a matter of waiting for it to do the plumbing work itself.

Moving forward

We are moving forward on the house, slowly but surely.

Last night, I finished ripping all the staples and tack strips out of the baby room. Now all that remains is to sand and finish the spackling where the blinds were and to touch up the paint. I'll also want to repaint the quarter-round on the floor, but I'm not sure if that needs to be done immediately. It's half yellow, due to the location of the carpet. Also, the floor needs to be scrubbed to remove the last bits of carpet padding residue, but that duty has been delegated to A.

I installed drywall yesterday over a very small wall in the basement, due to concerns that our car might try to climb into it and get stuck. Now we'll be able to move the litterbox from our first floor bathroom to the basement!

I also schlepped all of the lumber from the garage into the basement. I purchased some metal shelving brackets to hold the wood, though it has become clear that I will need more. I will get my workshop organized, one way or another. I'm inclined to cut a certain amount of the butternut I purchased on eBay a few years ago into firewood. It has twisted and turned so much that I doubt I could even use it for shop shelving.

Basement door

On an unrelated note, I thought I'd share this view of the basement door. Clearly someone made an error when framing it and so had to cut the door to fit. Aesthetically, I think that it is more interesting than the door would have been otherwise.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Plaster walls aren't supposed to look like this, are they?

Living room walls

Please excuse the awful lighting - it was my attempt to make the issues with the walls more visible.

For the most part, the walls in our house are in good shape. The plaster shows few issues. The only wall that was really bad was the one on the stairs going down to the basement, which appeared to have been re-done previously, and which I have already tackled.

These walls in the living room are the exception. While I'm perfectly comfortable with the occasional plaster bulge, this seems to be quite a bit more than that. Is this the sort of situation where plaster washers should be used? Alternately, would it be acceptable to just do a couple of thin coats of spackle in the valleys of the cracks to even things out?

I ask because A. insists that this needs to be dealt with. I will gladly do so, but I'm trying to figure out what to do. I don't want to replaster the walls, as that is almost certainly beyond my skill set.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Proof of progress

ceiling fan project

This weekend, my stepfather helped me remove the old ceiling fan which had some issue brought up in the point of sale inspection. It had recently shed a blade when it was bumped lightly, so it was time for it to go. The fan was removed without incident, but one of the old wires broke (due to the way that it had been flexed by the fan). Next weekend, with a new box and some new wire, we'll have a new light.


Today, A. and I (but mostly A) painted the baby's room. I then proceeded to rip out the carpet. The floor looks surprisingly good.

A beautiful new refrigerator

This morning, at the exceptionally early hour of 8:15, we recieved our new LG bottom drawer refrigerator, a Christmas present from my dad and stepmother. It is a bottom drawer model, in white - not the stainless steel that seems to be all the rage these days. We take great pride in our excellent color choice, bucking the trend from the dark monotony of stainless steel.

We had expected a phone call from Sears to inform us of the delivery time, but evidently, they had not heard the phone number correctly. This made for an interesting series of events when A. informed me, while I was in the shower, that the appliance delivery people were here.

They determined that the refrigerator would not fit through the path I had hoped would work. This necessitated the removal of the swinging door between the kitchen and dining room. I dinged the dining room door frame a bit with the door in my efforts to get it out of the way. Ugh.

Much to our surprise, when the old refrigerator was removed, there was a water line underneath it, albeit one that was crushed to such an extent that water would not flow through it. This was a surprise because the previous owner had told us that the reason why the icemaker didn't work was becuase there was no water line running to it. Surely it will be easier to repair this existing line than it will be to run a new line.

Additionally, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the area underneath the refrigerator is tiled, unlike the area under the stove. This will provide us with a source for matching tile, should we ever choose to fix the cracked floor tiles.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Insulating without rewiring?

My house has no insulation. It is on the large size. Thus, I dread my upcoming gas bills.

I've been installing weatherstripping on the frames of the storm windows and will do the same with the windows themselves, if we have a warm day anytime soon. I've come to realize as I weatherstrip the windows that more cold air seems to be coming in from around the edges of the windows, presumably due to a lack of insulation around the window frame. Given that the exterior of the house is brick and that that there isn't any trim around the windows (just a nice rounded plaster edge), I have to imagine that gaining access to the framing around the window won't be easy.

My bigger question, though, is about insulating the house as a whole. I'd like to be able to blow in insulation, but everything I've read seems to indicate that you cannot blow in insulation where knob and tube wiring is present.

The wiring, while knob and tube, is in excellent condition. Every fixture I've removed is in a box, and on all of them, the insulation is in good condition. The current electrical service meets our needs without any trouble. As a result, I don't feel a strong desire to rewire.

I welcome any thoughts, ideas, and insights on the subject.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The bulge in the wall and its reprecussions

Bulge in kitchen wall

A couple days ago, I ripped the drywall and fiberboard off this wall, on the stairs leading down to the basement. On the other side of this wall is the kitchen. Personally, the massive bulging in the wall wasn't an issue - there's a similar bulge on the basement stairs wall at my parents house - but it was one of the things written up by the city in the point of sale inspection, so it needed to be fixed.

Underneath the drywall, I discovered metal lath and lots of mortar. It seems that the tile in the kitchen is original to the house, not a 1950s renovation, as I had suspected. The tile is yellow, but has been covered with several coats of white paint, presumably because the previous owners had the same question that I do - what do you do with a whole kitchen of yellow tile?

Kitchen Kitchen

The tile covers the wall behind the kitchen sink, all the way up to the soffit. It is trimmed nicely around the window. It also covers the wall by the bar sink, to the left and the area underneath the bar sink - presumably this was the icebox nook originally. I find it curious the way that the trim around the doorframe was cut - this was part of the reason why I had assumed that the tile was a later addition.


This more clearly illustrates the area around the bar sink - the walls are tiled on all three sides.

Kitchen Kitchen

The dividing wall is covered with tile on the stove side, with a nice bullnose at the end. The area above the countertops is tiled and the chimney, the bit of wall that juts out between the counter and the tall skinny cabinets, is tiled from floor to ceiling. The tile was cut out behind the tall skinny cabinets. It seems to only go as high as the top of the refrigerator, though it is possible that it was plastered over.

It seems reasonably likely that the space where the refrigerator and adjoining tall skinny cabinets are was originally the location of the stove - it's about the right size, and would be convenient for exhausting the stove, if that was desired.

For the forseeable future, it is unlikely that there will be any major changes - the kitchen works well the way it is. I really really dislike the way the soffit half-covers the doorframes and will probably be cutting it away as soon as I can figure out what to do with the space above the refrigerator. We also hope to remove the existing countertops and replace them with butcher block, using the tile as a backsplash.

However, being who I am, I can't stop thinking about possibilities. How could one possibly make a kitchen with so much yellow tile work? There is enough tile behind cabinets and the stove to do any necessary repairs, so that isn't an issue. A nice red Linoleum floor would probably help. Perhaps a row of accent tiles in a different color would break up the monotony. Or perhaps there are some other colors in this kitchen, hidden underneath the paint.

Built in cabinets and tile, kitchen

A similar yellow works in this kitchen, with a green accent. Adding a border might be more interesting if it didn't mean resetting all that tile in order to have the spacing of the tiles be correct.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Compact fluorescent bulbs and 1920s light fixtures

Our house has several original 1920s light fixtures that appear to be incompatible with the compact fluorescent bulbs I have purchased. These fixtures are designed to have a bare bulb. They are metal of some sort and generally floral in appearance. There's one in the basement, a couple in various closets, and a couple in the attic - all places where things tend to go unchanged, so long as they do the job.

I am unable to get the CFLs that I've purchased to work in any of them. The problem is that the CFLs cannot screw far enough into the socket to complete the circuit, because of the relatively wide ballast at their base.

Has anyone else had this problem, or been able to find a solution other than rewiring the socket?

Monday, December 1, 2008

I need stove help!

As as been previously discussed, our 1950 Crown stove is pretty much DOA. I've been looking for another stove to fit in between the existing cabinets. The current stove is 40 inches wide, so we need a replacement that is the same size.

I'm looking for a stove that meets the following criteria:
1. 40 inches wide
2. natural gas
3. doesn't have a huge "dashboard"
4. is currently operational

I'm willing to drive a reasonable distance, but even going as far away as Chicago or Baltimore, I'm having trouble finding anything. I've considered buying a new stove, but they are simply too expensive - the lowest price I've seen is around $1600.

Then I had a brilliant (or stupid) idea: why not buy 2 20 inch wide apartment stoves? They're available new, so I wouldn't have the hassle involved with an old stove, and wouldn't have to drive a gajillion miles to get it. I could have two ovens and all the joys of eight burners, for perhaps 1/2 to 2/3 of a 40" stove. I might even be able to find a pair used, locally.

Is there any reason why this shouldn't work? I assume that it can't be that difficult to install a wye to split the gas line...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Regrouting poorly regrouted areas?

Built-in cabinet and shower stall

Given the amount of tile in the bathrooms and the age of the house, inevitably some of the grout has failed. While some of the tile hangs in, tenuously, some of it has been regrouted. These areas are often quite obvious - the grout is white instead of gray, and the tiles sit unevenly on the wall. This is not a project that I will be dealing with in the immediate future, but right now, I'd like to gather information as to the most appropriate solution to this problem.

Given the number of tiles that are already broken, I'm afraid that in the process of removing the replacement grout, I'll damage even more of them. However, at the same time, the unevenness of the finish really bothers me, as does the disparity in color.

Any thoughts as to a reasonable course of action, or how I might redo the existing grout work without causing a major disaster?


Siwelclo, by Trenton Potteries

Because I know that disgusting old toilets are just the perfect conversation topic on a Saturday morning. Yes, we have five toilets. Just think about this as though the house was built today, and it won't seem quite so excessive. Three of these toilets are original or originalish.

The toilet photographed above is Trenton Potteries (TePeCo) Si-Wel-Clo model, which was top of the line at the time that it was produced. In 1926, it cost $97.50. This toilet is in the non-master bathroom. I assume that the master bathroom originally contained an identical model. I am searching for a replacement for the toilet in the master bath that will fit inside my budget. I know that I can find one, but I'm waiting until I can find one at a reasonable price point. It's just a matter of time, and as I keep saying, I have 40 years.

Interior of the Trenton Potteries SiWelClo toilet

The interior of the toilet is not as awful as it could be. The condition of the rubber at the base of the tank is a bit disconcerting. Also, I'm afraid to learn what function the plastic bag serves.

Third floor bathroom

The third floor bathroom appears to have been completed in the early to mid 1930s. The tub and sink were both manufactured by Standard, so I think we can safely assume that the toilet would have been manufactured by Standard, too, which is what I will be looking for in a replacement.

Toilet made by Trenton Potteries, I think.

I am unsure as to the maker of the toilet in the half bathroom on the first floor. I think that it may have been Trenton Potteries, due to the presence of their products in the bathrooms on the second floor and the presence of a sink of their manufacture in this bathroom. The internals of this toilet have been replaced in the relatively recent past, so I'm not too concerned about the availability of universal repair parts.

Toilet - note the lack of knee room

The major problem with this toilet is that the bowl sticks out so far from the wall. I cannot sit down on it properly because my knees hit the wall. Fortunately, my wife, who tends to be more practical about such things, can sit there without any trouble. People certainly are taller than they used to be. Or, maybe it's just that I'm taller than people used to be.

1920s Kohler Toilet

This toilet resides in the basement. It is a cast iron model made by Kohler in the 1920s. One might question whether cast iron is a good material for something that will be continuously filled with water. This would be an excellent question.

1920s Kohler Toilet

This is the interior of the tank. It has been flushed recently (and flushes clear!) - all the iron oxide visible here is built up in the tank - I can't even see through the water. This photograph also illustrates clearly just how far back the tank sits relative to the bowl. I'm not sure whether this is a standard pipe connecting the tank to the bowl or what.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I need plumbing help

Hot water heater

First of all, we're seriously considering a new hot water heater. The one we have at present is a ten year model that is 14 years old. The faucets in our showers seem to yield warm water at best. This morning, I turned up the temperature on the tank, and hope that will help, but I expect to have to buy a new hot water heater in the immediate future. Given how difficult it can be to find someone to install a tankless hot water heater, this is something I hope to address sooner rather than later - before it becomes a real problem.

I'm inclined toward the Rheem models at present simply because they only require a single vent line, something that I think can be accomplished more easily given the current set up in the basement - I have a small window that a single vent line could be run through. Alternately, I'd like to run the vent through the chimney, as is the case with the current hot water heater, but this doesn't seem to be an option. I'd be interested to hear any thoughts, feelings, or recommendations on the subject.

Another plumbing related issue - three of the five toilets in our house are original, 1926 vintage TePeCo (Trenton Potteries) models. I'd like to replace the guts, as they all seem to be starting to fail, but I can't seem to find a good source for parts, especially for the rubber bits. If you have a source for such things, I'd love to hear about it.

Finally, in my search for the perfect stove, I found this incredible 1920s or 1930s Magic Chef in Pittsburgh, for a mere $250. While it won't fit our kitchen, I know that someone out there must need it.


Perhaps I should clarify my question. Given that there are several window wells in the basement, a chimney that is presently used by the boiler and hot water heater, and that the exterior walls of the house are brick, is there a non-ugly way to vent a hot water heater? ]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anyone want a Crown stove?

Crown gas stove

I wrote about our Crown gas range a while ago. The stove appears to have been made in the 1960s.

It is not in good operating condition, although the PO claims that it was the last time she tried to use it. When we tried to use it, we were only able to get one burner to light and one half of the oven to light. According to the repair person that came out today, the complete burner units need to be replaced, and they are hard to come by. Additionally, some part in the oven (I'm unsure which one, though I suspect A. may be able to tell me) also needs to be replaced.

We're going to look at a great looking stove we found on Craigslist tomorrow evening. If you know of a source for the parts that we need and can let us know before that time, I'd appreciate it. Alternately, if you want the stove, or want some parts off of it, I'd be more happy to accomodate. I can hold onto it for a while, but not too long...

The stove we hope to get looks like it should be fun. It's another double oven stove, and has a griddle in the center, too! As is often the case, the clock doesn't work, but I don't see that as a real issue.
kenmore3 kenmore1

Stripping wallpaper

Ripping off wallpaper

Last night, A. asked me how to go about stripping the ugly ugly wallpaper in the entry hall and second floor hallway. I used the scorer and some chemical stripper and let it sit for the required 20 minutes. Once I was able to get an edge started, it pulled off without too much trouble. I wondered if the stripper was really necessary. So I pulled off the adjacent section, and the section adjacent to that. In about an hour, I'd pulled off all the wallpaper from the first and second floor hallway, including removing and reattaching the various switchplates.

Now, let the scrubbing of glue begin!

Friday, November 21, 2008

And we're in!

Front entrance

Yesterday, we got the keys. This weekend, we begin cleaning and moving in.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Researching the history of your house

Many homeowners are interested in learning the history of their house. The following will be a general description of some of the routes one can take in this research. As with many things relating to old houses, it takes a fair amount of time or money, more of one almost always making up for a lack of the other. The following resources wil be presented in the general order one might take. Keep in mind that, in many places, street names may change over time, so it may be necessary to consult additional resources to determine this.

Talk to the current owners and to the neighbors. While they may be somewhat sketchy on the exact details of the ownership of the house, they'll likely have photographs and other history not available elsewhere. Also look at the physical records attached to the heating and other mechanical systems, which will often have a name attached to them, usually with a date, which should provide some idea as to who owned the house and when.

Real estate transfers are a matter of public record. In Ohio, these records are kept at a county level, but elsewhere they may be recorded at a city level. In some places, like Cleveland, the County Recorder or equivalent will have an online database of all real estate transfers, which, in the case of Cleveland, goes back to the early 19th century. Keep in mind that the quality of the search results is entirely dependent upon the quality of the original documents, and that variants in names can make things more time consuming, for instance, someone might be John Smith in one instance and Jno. Smith in another.

If the real estate records are not available online, they can probably be search at the place of record either in person or as part of a fee-based service. This will generally require knowledge of the individual parcel number for your residence, which should be listed on the title transfer paperwork and the mortgage. This is usually very time consuming, and methods discussed below should probably be attempted first.

See if your city hall keeps building records. They may, for instance, have documentation as to when the building was built, the architect, builder, and cost. They may even have copies of the blueprints. Even if they don't have these, they may have records of building permits taken out on a property, which will help determine what work has actually been done on a residence and by whom.

Look at city directories and Criss-Cross directories, both of which list the resident or residents of a given address. A detailed ownership history might be learned by looking at these directories, year by year, and seeing who the listed residents were that year.

Fire insurance maps, sometimes called Sanborn maps after one of the major publishers of them, can sometimes provide clues as to when a structure was built and added to. Plat maps can also be useful, if available. These, as well as the directories metioned above should be available at the closest major public library.

Your local public library or historical society may have other types of information not mentioned here - before you begin researching the history of your house, it is probably adivsable to contact them and see if they might have other useful resources.

Once you have a general ownership history, start looking at local genealogical resources. Many public libraries have indices of obituaries from local newspapers. These often include the survivors of the deceased, and sometimes even their address, which helps to confirm the information that you've already located. The library may also have other resources that can help you learn about the history of an individual or family.

Ancestry.com can provide a wealth of information, but it requires a subscription - it is also available at many public libraries. When searching for a name, it really helps to limit by approximate date of birth and death, if known. The most useful records, in my research, are those relating to immigration and the WWI and WWII draft cards, which in addition to name and address will often list profession and location of business, as well as other history. Census records can also be useful, though the quality of the microfilms from which the scans were made is very hit-or-miss. Census records will list the names of all the residents of a given address, which can be useful when searching for other records - often things will come up for one name that might not come up for another, again due to the quality of the original documents.

I hope that this provides some assistance to the casual researcher. Most of all, I want to emphasize how helpful the local history department at your library can be, as they surely have resources and methods available that I have not mentioned here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ownership history for our house

This is the ownership history of our house (and lot, before the house was built), to the extent that I have been able to research it. I'm still trying to determine when the Van Sweringen Co. purchased the lot, as well as the ownership history before that date. All dates listed are the dates that the documents were filed with the county recorder.

I'm posting this now that we've closed on the house and are just waiting for the current owner to sign the documents and for them to be filed. Then, at some time tomorrow, we'll get the keys!

I expect for this to be an ongoing research effort, which I will update as I am able. I hope to be able to post more on some of the individuals involved, as well as the architect and builder.

Names noted in bold were residents. Notation is for first use in this document only.

3 September 1925
Sold by the Van Sweringen Co. to Florence Cicelia Garbison (29 January 1887, Cleveland, Ohio - 30 August 1962, Overbrook, PA) (Florence Cicelia Roether) and John Clyde Garbison (21 September 1880 (or 1883 or 1885), Mt. Gilead, OH - 17 December 1946).

The house was designed by architect William A. Bingham (14 July 1896 - 22 April 1979) and built by Richard U. Collier (30 May 1889 - 2 June 1966), in 1926, for $25,000. I will address what little I've been able to learn about the architect and builder at a later date.

John Garbison is listed as a resident at this address in the 1926 Cleveland City Directory.

Virginia (Ginny) Garbison (6 October 1913 - 26 January 2002)
Alice Jane (A.J.) Garbison (4 November 1916, Cleveland, Ohio - 6 May 2001, Maryland)
Nancy Ellen Garbison

John C. Garbison and Florence C. Roether married on January 28, 1909. Before moving to this house, the family lived at 8907 Empire Avenue, Cleveland, OH. They moved out of this house into the house that was previously owned by the next residents, 3816 Montevista Drive, Cleveland Heights, OH. Their next address appears to have been 400 Roslyn Avenue, Akron, Ohio, according to John C. Garbison's WWII draft card.

The Cleveland Necrology File, date 17 December 1946, provides this obituary:
Garbison: John Clyde, of 400 Roslyn Ave., Akron, O., formerly of Cleveland, passed away Dec. 17; survived by widow, Florence C., and daughter Mrs. Elsworth Morse jr., Mrs. Byron Mann and Mrs. Mark Fisher. Services Friday, 10 a. m., at the McCafferty. MeCormick Funeral Home, Akron. Interment at Cardington, O.

Cardington, Ohio, is a couple miles southeast of Mt. Gilead, John C. Garbison's birthplace, so it seems likely that the burial is in a family plot there. This is most likely in Glendale Union Cemetery, which occupies a significant portion of the land in that town.

November 12, 1931
Sold to Harold V. Hahn (H. V. Hahn) (9 August 1895 - 29 June 1954) and Ina (Ida?) M. Hahn. Their four children, listed below, were likely residents, at least until the end of 1935, and probably from 1941-1942 as well.

Harold M. Hahn (born March 1920 in California)
Barbara Ann Nenonen (born March 1927 in Ohio)
Daniel Frederick Hahn (born 1929 in Ohio)
Lois J. Mickey (16 July 1931 - 21 October 1998)

The transfer between the Garbisons and Hahns is curious - it seems that they traded houses, the Garbison's receiving the Hahn's residence at 3816 Montevista Drive, in Cleveland Heights. It is unclear what additional financial considerations were involved. Further, on 23 February 1934, the Hahns bought (or otherwise had conveyed) the house back to them by the Garbisons. The Hahns sold 3816 Montevista again on 15 November 1940.

Harold Vinton Hahn was born in Bourbon, Indiana on 9 August 1895. His father was a German immigrant, and his mother was from Indiana. As of 1910 (U.S. Census), he was attending a boarding school (XXXXX XXXX Training School - I can't read the full name) in Noble, Wabash County, Indiana. As of 1917 (WWI Draft Card), he was employed as an electrician by the Gen'l Chemical Co. of Bay Point, California. By this time, he was married with a dependent wife, and is described as being white, of medium height, slender build, with blue eyes and blonde hair. The California Voter Registrations for Alameda County, 1918 lists one Harold Vinton Hahn, an electrician and registered Democrat, residing at 1411 Castro Street, Oakland.

The 1920 Census gives us a bit more background, and a new address: 357 51st St., Oakland, CA. Harold V. was employed at the time as an electrician in a repair shop. This is the first mention that we have of him with Ina Hahn (Maxwell) . Ina (May 1897 - 30 July 1971) was born in Neihart, Montana the third child of Fred Maxwell and Annie Maxwell. Fred Maxwell (May 1862 - ?), a miner, immigrated from Denmark in 1878. Annie (Anna) G. Maxwell (May 1863 - ?) immigrated from Finland in 1891. Their address was 243 Spring Street, Neihart, Montana - the road does not appear on recent maps.

By 1930 (U.S. Census), the Hahn family had moved to 3816 Montevista Road, in Cleveland Heights, OH, which was then valued at $12,000. Harold was employed manufacturing automobile parts. Ina had had three children: Harold, born c. 1920 in California; Barbara Ann, born c. 1927 in Ohio; and Daniel Frederick, born c. 1930 in Ohio. Ina's sister, Anna Maxwell (September 1895 - ?) resided with them at the time.

The Cleveland Necrology File provides this obituary for Harold V. Hahn, dated 29 June 1954.
Hahn, Harold V., husband of Dorothy; father of Harold M., Barbara Nenonen, Daniel F. Hahn and Lois J. Mickey; son of Idella S. Hahn, brother of Donald S. Hahn; grandfather of 6; June 25. Friends may call at the Fairhill Home of the Millard Son & Raper Co., Fairhill at East Blvd., where services will be held Tuesday, June 29, at 3 p. m.

This obituary for Ida M. Hahn was published in the Cleveland Press on 30 July 1971:
Hahn, Ida M. Hahn (nee Maxwell), wife of the late Harold V., mother of Harold M. of Lyndhurst, Barbara Nenonen (Mrs. Tolvo) of Garfield Hts., Daniel F. of Wayne, Pa. and Lois Mickey (Mrs. John) of Olmsted Falls, grandmother of 13. Private family services will be held Saturday, Brown-Forward service.

Biographical information on Harold M. Hahn is contained in Who Was Who in American Art, Edited by Peter Hastings Falk. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985 and Who Was Who in American Art. 400 years of artists in America. Second edition. Three volumes. Edited by Peter Hastings Falk. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.

An obituary for Lois Mickey was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 24 October, 1998 (section B, page 6).

Householders, as listed in the Cleveland City Directory:
1936 - Isadore B. Silber
1937 - Carl H. Brown
1939 - Carl H. Brown
1940 - Vacant
1941 - Harold V. Hahn
1942 - Harold V. Hahn
1943 - Paul Mears
1944 - Paul Mears

Isadore Bert Silber (5 November 1895, Cleveland, OH - 14 October 1964, Cleveland, OH) and Dorothy W. Silber (22 April 1906, Cleveland, OH - 5 July 1987, Cleveland, OH) lived in the house 1936, as per the Cleveland City Directory for that year. Given the ages of their children, Avery Silber and Nancy Pickus, it seems virtually certain they lived in the house at that time, too.

As of 1920, Isadore B. Silber was a physician, with his address listed as 1800 E. 105th Street. Dorothy, daughter of Mary Haas and Samuel Weitz, married Isadore B. Silber on 26 November 1924 in a wedding officiated by one A. Nowak, according to US, Ohio, Cuyahoga County, Jewish Marriage Record Extracts, 1837-1934 Biographical information regarding Isadore Silber may be found in Biography Index, Volume 8: September, 1967-August, 1970. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1971. and The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 51. New York: James T. White & Co., 1969.

The 1930 Census lists the address for the Silbers as 2915 Ludlow Road, Cleveland, Ohio. They were renting the residence for $128 a month. At the time, they had one child, Avery Silber, who was ten months old (born 4 June 1929). They employed a servant, Anna Stuber, who was 20 years old. Dr. Silber was listed as being a physician. His parents were born in Czechoslovokia, her father in Russia, her mother, Hungary.

Avery Silber (born 4 June 1929)
Nancy Pickus (born September 1934)

Isadore and Dorothy Silber are both listed on a New York passenger manifest for the French M/S "Lafayette" dated 25 February 1936. Their address is listed as 3205 South Moreland Boulevard, Shaker Heights, Ohio.

This obituary was published for Dr. Isadore B. Silber in the Cleveland Plain Dealer of 16 October 1964.
Dr. Isadore B. Silber, residence, 13900 Shaker Blvd., beloved husband of Dorothy (nee Weitz), father of Avery, of New York City, and Mrs. Nancy Pickus, grandfather of three, brother of Joseph S. Silber, Mrs. Fannie Phillipson, of Washington, D.C., and Mrs. Yetta Andalman, of Chicago. Services at The Temple, E. 105 and Silver Park. Friday, Oct. 16, at 1 p. m. Interment Mayfield, Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Dr. I. B. Silber Library Fund of Mt. Sinai Hospital, or the Temple. Arrangements by Cleveland Temple Memorial.

Obituaries were published for Dorothy Silber in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 7 July 1987 and in the Cleveland Jewish News on 7 October 1987. Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2002 tells us that Ms. Silber died at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio. It lists her industry as "Real estate, including real estate -insurance-law offices" and her occupation as "Real estate sales occupations". Finally, it states the she lived in Census Tract 1835.

Carl H. Brown (10 April 1880 - 4 June 1959) and Frances T. Brown (25 September 1892 (Sharon, PA) - ) lived in the house from 1937-1939, as per the Cleveland City Directory, cited above for those years. It seems unlikely, given the ages of their children, listed below, that they too were residents during those years, however, I do not yet have any evidence to support or deny this possibility.

Carl H. Brown, Jr. (c. 1907- 1 October 1959)
Frances Hoerble (c. 1903-)
William Pierce (c. 1917)

The Cleveland Press printed this obituary for Carl H. Brown on 6 June 1959:
Brown, Carl H., husband of Frances T., father of Carl H. Jr., Mrs. Frances Hoerble of Philadelphia, Pa., and William T. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., grandfather and great-grandfather, late residence, Garklisville, O. Friends may call at the Shaker home of Brown-Forward, 17022 Kinsman, 3-5 And 7-9 P. M. Saturday And Sunday. Services will be held at 2 p. m. Monday, June 8, at Wade Chapel, Lake View Cemetery.

An obituary for Carl H. Brown, Jr., in the Cleveland Plain Dealer of 2 October 1959:
Carl H. Brown Jr., an expert of real estate and corporation law and for the last seven years ?n associate of Harold E. Clark, attorney here, died in Hanna House of University Hospitals yesterday after a long illness, He was 53. His chief business interest, side from the law, was as a director and secretary of the Cleveland Quarries Co. Mr. Brown was born in East Cleveland. He was the son of Carl H. Brown, formerly of Garrettsville, and the former ?lay Clements of Cleveland Heights. His primary education was in the East Cleveland Schools; he attended University School from 1921 to 1925. Surviving him are his wife, the former Mae Patrick, and a sister. The family home is at 3232 Ormond Road, Cleveland Heights. Services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights. Burial will be in Lake View Cemetery. Friends may call at the Brown-Forward funeral home, 17022 Kinsman Road, Shaker Heights, this evening. His family would appreciate memorial contributions to the General Fund of University School.

Paul Mears and (possibly) Edith Mears lived in the house from 1943-1944. I have not yet been able to locate enough information about Paul Mears to be certain of these relations.

Children (possibly):
Robert Mears
Richard Paul Mears (c. January 1946)

The Cleveland Necrology File records this undated obituary:
Mears, Paul, suddenly at New York, N. Y.; beloved husband of Edith; father of Robert and Richard; brother of Alvin Emerson. Friends received at the De Vand Funeral Home, 11130 Euclid Ave. Services Monday at 3 p. m. Burial private.

February 7, 1945
Sold to Israel W. Kohn and Idele M. Kohn. It seems unlikely given their ages, though certainly not impossible, that their children resided in the house.

Irma K. Blum (27 June 1904 - 13 December 1992)
Robert I. Kohn (c.1913 - 22 October 1981)
Marvin G. Alexander (29 April 1921 - 4 April 2003)

Israel W. Kohn is listed as the householder in the 1947 Cleveland City Directory.

Previous address: 2929 Washington Blvd., Cleveland Heights, OH

Israel W. Kohn (26 June 1877 - 1953) was born in Ohio to Czechoslovakian parents.
Idele (Alexander) (Miller) (c. 1894 - c. 25 November 1979) was born in Cleveland to Esther Cohn and Marks Miller. Idele, a widow, married Israel on 22 July 1924 in a ceremony officiated by Walter G. Peiser. They had three children: Robert (born c. 1914); Marvin (born c. 1922); and Irma. As of 1930 (U.S. Census), Israel was a secretary in a furniture store. Their house at the time, on Washington Blvd was worth $30,000. As of 1942, Israel was employed at S. Kohn & Sons, St. Clair and E. 105, Cleveland, OH.

The WWII draft card describes Israel as being white, of light complexion, 5'6", 170 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair.

A 1953 obituary in the Cleveland Press reads as follows:
Kohn, I. W. (Israel), residence, 13800 Fairhill Rd., beloved husband of Idele, father of Robert I., Mrs. Irma K. Blum and Marvin G. Alexander, brother of William and the late Joseph and David Kohn and Mary Corday, and grandfather. Services at Cleveland Temple Memorial, Euclid at E. 90 St. Sunday, Apr. 26 at 1 p. m. Interment Mayfield Cemetery. Kindly omit flowers.

An obituary was published for Idele M. Kohn ("Wife of late Israel W.") in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 25 November 1979, section AA, page 6.

Robert I. Kohn enlisted in the Army on 21 January 1943. He had four years of college. He listed his civilian occupation as "Purchasing agents and buyers, n.e.c." The Cleveland Jewish News published an obituary for Robert I. Kohn on 30 October 1981. He had remained in Shaker Heights.

Marvin G. Alexander enlisted in the Army in Cleveland on 29 June 1943. Two obituaries for Marvin G. Alexander were published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, one on 6 April 2003 (section B, page 8) and one on 27 April 2003 (section B, page 6).

The Cleveland Jewish News published an obituary for Irma K. Blum on 18 December 1992. Blum was still a resident of Shaker Heights at the time.

May 27, 1948
Sold to Richard C. (Campen?) Friedman (31 July 1921 - 29 April 2009) and Charlotte W. Friedman (20 December 1922 - 5 September 1989).

Previous address: 3569 Ingleside Rd, Shaker Heights, OH
Next address: 20020 Marchmont, Shaker Heights, OH

James R. Friedman (26 Sepember 1947 - 13 September 2007)
Donna Wasserstrom (born May 1942 (or perhaps December 1944))

An obituary was published for Charlotte Friedman [Charlotte Weiner] in the Cleveland Jewish News on 9 August 1989. One was also published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 10 September 1989, section B, page 15. The Social Security Death Index lists her last residence as Saint Petersburg, FL.

An obituary was published for James R. Friedman in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 14 September 2007, section B, page 6.

An obituary for Richard C. Friedman was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 11 May 2009. It reads:
Richard C. Friedman, 87, known as "R.C.", passed away April 29, at his home, in St. Petersburg, FL. Mr. Friedman was from Shaker Heights, OH. He and his brother, Jack, owned Comsumers Plumbing and Heating Supply Co., which was started by their father. Mr. Friedman was predeceased by his parents, Nathan and Lee Osteryoung Friedman; his brother, Jack; his devoted wife, of 48 years, Charlotte Weiner and his son James. He is survived by his daughter, Donna and Rodney Wasserstrom of Columbus, OH, his grandchildren, Bradley and Julie Wasserstrom of Columbus, OH, and Kelli and Jeffrey Gellis, of Cleveland, OH. Mr. Friedman has three great granddaughters and a sister, Eunice Rich Schiffman, of CA. He will aso be missed by his special friend, Betty Synenberg of St. Petersburg, FL. A graveside service was held Tuesday, May 5th, at Woodlawn Memory Gardens, St. Petersburg. Contributions may be made either to to the James Cancer Hospital, at the Ohio State University, 300 W. 10th Ave., Columbus, OH, 43210, or the Richard Ross Heart Hospital, at the Ohio State University, 452 W. 10th Ave., Columbus, OH, 43210. Friends and family will be recieved at the home of Donna and Rodney Wasserton in Columbus, on Tuesday evening, may 12th, after 6:30 p.m. Online Guestbook at davidcgross.com.

David C. Gross Funeral Homes, St. Petersburg, FL. (727) 381-4911.

October 14, 1958
Sold to Harold P. Roth (2 August 1915 - 14 November 2000, Baltimore, MD) and Kelly C. Roth

Anita (Barry) Bercovitz (Anita A. Roth)(born January, 1958)
Edward Roth of Los Angeles, CA.; (need more information)

The U.S. Public Records Index lists one Kelly C. Roth in Rockville, MD, with a birthdate of either August 1915 or March 1925. The 1925 birthdate is more believable, though only slightly so, if the birtdate for Anita is correct.

Next address: 81 Manning Drive, Berea, OH

This obituary for Harold P. Roth was published in the Plain Dealer on 16 November 2000:
Dr. Harold P. Roth on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Loving husband of Kelly Roth; lovin father of Anita (Barry) Bercovitz of Baltimore, MD. and Edward Roth of Los Angeles, CA.; devoted brother of Benjamin and David Roth, Patricia Howard and Shirley Bernon; adored granfather of Genia and Rachel Bercovitz. Funeral services and internment will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. in Baltimore, MD. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Sol Levinson & Bros, Inc. (800-338-1701)

One was also published in the Cleveland Jewish News on 12 January 2000. (2001?)

See also bios in:
Biographical Directory of the American College of Physicians. 1979 edition. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1979.

Who's Who in America. 42nd - 52nd editions, 1982-1997. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who.

American Men & Women of Science. A biographical directory of today's leaders in physical, biological, and related sciences. 12th - 21st editions. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1971-2003.

Who Was Who in America. With world notables. Volume 14, 2000-2002. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 2002.

Who's Who in the East. 23rd edition, 1991-1992. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1990.

December 1, 1959
Sold to Thelma B. Goldstein and Leo Goldstein (28 August 1905, Hungary - 26 April 1968, Shaker Heights, OH)

Michael S. Goldstein
Kenneth A. Goldstein

Leo Goldstein is listed as the householder in the 1965 and 1967 Cleveland City Directory. He died at his home (our home!) on 26 April 1968. According to the Cleveland Jewish News, 5 October 1968, he is buried in Zion Memorial Cemetery. However, according to the obituary from the Plain Dealer, below, he was buried at Park Synagogue Cemetery.

This obituary for Leo Goldstein was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 28 April 1968:
Goldstein. Leo Goldstein, beloved husband of Thelma, devoted father of Michael S. and Kenneth A., dear brother of Bernard, John, Emery, Ernest, Esther and Betty, all of New York. Services at Berkowitz-Kumin Inc. Memorial Chapel, 1985 S. Taylor Rd., Cleveland Heights, Monday, April 29. Call funeral home for time. Interment Park Synagogue Cemetery. Family at the residence, 3205 Van Aken Blvd. Family suggests contributions to the Heart Fund.

Thelma Goldstein's obituary was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 30 March 1988, section C, page 11. I am reasonably certain that this is the correct Thelma Goldstein.

The 1968 Cleveland City Directory lists the house as vacant.

April 23, 1968
Sold to Anne F. Miller and Luke P. Miller

Luke Miller is listed as the householder in the 1969-70, 1971, 1972, and 1976 Cleveland City Directory.

Previous address: 3326 Stockholm Road, Shaker Heights, OH

Anne F. Miller (2 December 1903 - 23 October 1992).

October 27, 1978
Sold to Jerold C. Heiken (1933 -) and Nadine M. Heiken for $72,000.

Robert G. Kennedy is listed as the householder in the 1978-1979 Cleveland City Directory. He was born 2 April 1922 in Pennsylvania. He died 14 December 1995 at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights. Obituaries were published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 16 and 17 December, 1995, section B, page 8. Kennedy had served in the Navy. His industry was listed as "Hospitals", his occupation, "Managers, medicine and health". At the time of his death, he was living in Beachwood, Ohio.

See bios (for Heiken) in:
Who's Who in the East. 16th - 18th editions, 1977-1982. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who.

February 26, 1980
Sold to Arnold Byron Swertloff (29 September 1939, Pennsylvania - 30 May 1993, Cleveland, OH) and Esther R. Swertloff (born November 1943).

Anthony (or Abraham) R. Swertloff (b. April 1974)
Brett J. Swertloff (b. December 1976 - 16 August 2003)
Rebecca Swertloff

Arnold B. (A. B.) Swertloff was a psychologist. His publications include:
MA Thesis, 1967: Some personality correlates of group risk taking
PhD Thesis, 1974: The composition of staff teams in a juvenile correctional institution and its relationship to delinquent's behaviors and attitudes

Work Shift, Occupational Status, and the Perception of Job Prestige
(with Ronald Bohr) (both were affiliated with Philadelphia State Hospital)
in the Journal of Applied Psychology; June 1969 Part 1, Vol. 53 Issue 3, p 227-229

Obituaries for Arnold were published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on 1 June 1993, section E, p. 2, and 2 June 1993, section C, p. 6, The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent (no date given) and in the Cleveland Jewish News. The date of publication in the Cleveland Jewish News is listed as 6 April 1993, which is clearly wrong.

According to The Cleveland Jewish News Obituary Index, 1964-2007, Brett Jay Swertloff was born c. 1977 in Langley Park, MD. He died 16 August 2003. He is buried in Bet Olam Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Cleveland Jewish News on 9 May 2003. One was also published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 18 August 2003, section B, page 5.

November 20, 2008
Sold to Audrey Busta-Peck and Christopher Busta-Peck

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pre-closing pondering

Built in cabinets, northwest bedroom

I've looked at enough books of bungalow interiors that I've started to wonder what this massive built-in in the northwest bedroom would look like with the paint stripped. Obviously, this isn't a project that I'll get to any time in the near future, but it could be marvelous. Of course, I'd have to do something to lighten up the rest of the room, because otherwise, it'd suck all the light out of the space.

Almost there!

Bull Dog Electric breaker

Closing is scheduled for tomorrow at 1. Possession will be on Thursday!

I chose this image, a large switch related in some way to the boiler, because it, in some way, symbolizes change - a switch being turned on, something being activated, etc. Ok, so it's already in the "on" position, but that is beside the point. Additionally, I like the way it looks and I couldn't think of any other post I might use it in in the immediate future.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free carpet, barely used!


We will probably (and I say probably because there's always the chance that the floor underneath the carpet is in awful condition) be getting rid of this carpet shortly after we move in. This probably means in the next couple weeks, or, at the most, by the end of the year.

The carpet appears to be relatively new, within the past couple years, and is massive - the living room measures 24 x 14. With the cut-out for the fireplace, you'd still have at least 22 x 14.

The freeness of this correlates to the amount of work that you make me do - the more work I have to do, the less free it will probably be. Additionally, I make no promises right now as to being able to give up the carpet, as I've stated above. Still, I thought it might be easier to say something now than to have to lug the carpet up to the attic to store while we wait for someone to pick it up.

Our stove

Crown gas stove

Our stove was made by Crown, probably in the 1960s. At present, it is barely functional - only one burner and one half of the oven works. I hope that it can be repaired, because we like it and there aren't many new stoves that are 40" wide. I've looked on Craigslist and eBay, and there seem to be plenty of used stoves this side within reasonable distance for around $200, which I've set as our budget for repairing this one. Either way, I think, we win.

I haven't been able to locate much information about Crown. They seem to have gone out of business in the 1960s.

Another house we didn't buy

Copper lantern

Ages ago, I talked about a house with all sorts of beautiful pink and purple tile. The house, for the record, is 3170 Ludlow, Shaker Heights, OH. It is currently priced at $125,000, $100,000 below the value assessed by the county. I just wanted to share a few photos of the great interior.

Built in cabinets and tile, kitchen
Built-in cabinets and tile in the kitchen.

Vent hood over stove
Tile hood over the stove.

Breakfast nook
The tile continues into the breakfast nook. The tile, for the record, is yellow and green - the walls are pink. I'm still not so good with the white balance.

Purple and green tile bathroom
The first floor bathroom is where the fun really starts.

Purple and green tile bathroom
A detail.

Pink and green tile bathroom
There are two bathrooms on the second floor, both with pink and green tile.

Pink and green tile bathroom
While the wallpaper in both of them could surely go, the rest of the space is quite nice, I think.

The most surprising part of all this is that the exterior of the house doesn't hint at the interior at all - on the outside, it looks like your basic late 20s brick Tudor Revival. It does take a certain sort of person for this house - either you love it or you hate it - I think we can all guess which category I fall into.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A curious way to finish the tile

Tile, master bathroom

Nice border tile

The tile in the master bathroom is primarily 6x6 and white, with the exception of this lovely little border near the top. The curious, and slightly awkward part is the way it finishes at the ceiling, as shown here. I have to wonder if this looked slightly better before the spiky plaster was added to the ceiling.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our house!

Our house!

I knew I had a good photograph it somewhere...

Friday, November 14, 2008

An unmolested 1920s kitchen

1920s Kitchen

1920s Kitchen

The thing about duplexes, as with many rental properties, is that the owners generally don't update anything unless they absolutely have to. This can be both good and bad.

This kitchen was in a 1920s Tudor Revival duplex, on Windsor, in Shaker Heights. The area around the sink seems to be virtually unchanged. The massive hood for the stove is just out of frame, to the right, though it has had some shelving added around it. The refrigerator nook remains, out in the hall. The second built in, which would have been easier to remove, has, surprisingly, remained. The small cabinet on the wall used to house an ironing board - in the other unit, on the second floor, the board is still there.