'Back in 1915, the house had no cooling and was heated by two wood-burning stoves. It now has central HVAC, including both air-conditioning and swamp cooling, plus a gas furnace. I’ve also replaced all of the plumbing and electric in the house. This included putting new receptacles into the exterior brick walls. So a room that originally had, say, two receptacles now has seven.’
‘The one structural change I made to the house was in the larger of the two bedrooms. Midway through the renovation, a friend said to me, ‘You have a beautiful home, but there’s not enough clothes storage…have you thought about adding a closet?’ Inspired by that conversation, I decided to reconfigure the master bedroom.'
'There’d been a sunroom off the bedroom, with an arched doorway leading to it. I put a beam in the attic to support the ceiling, then removed the load-bearing wall connecting the bedroom to the sunroom. I was then able to build a large closet to the left of where the doorway once stood, with the right side of the former sunroom becoming a sleeping area. I asked a floor sub-contractor, ‘If I take out the sunroom floor, can you piece in the floor to match the red-oak flooring in the bedroom?’ Fortunately, he was able to do that.'
‘As an architectural accent, I commissioned a set of custom-built wrought-iron window guards. They were modeled after some wrought-iron work I’d seen on a church in South Tucson. My friend Kate told me about this guy who did great work. I gave him a photo of what I had in mind and asked, ‘Can you make this?’ And he did. I’m very happy with how they turned out.’
‘Some final notes about the house: With the exception of the new closet doors in the master bedroom, all of the exterior and interior doors are original. And in keeping with the California bungalow style, I left the rafter tails along the edges of the roof exposed. Covering them with fascia might have been the expected way of finishing the roof edge, but leaving the rafter tails exposed is more historically accurate and true to the architectural style of the house. Plus, I like the look.'
'Lastly, the brown trim on the exterior of the house is the color of my favorite jacket!’
Thanks, Tom, for sharing your renovation experience. Looking forward to hearing about your newest project: a complete remodel of a mid-century rambler! (And perhaps photographing it once it's completed?)