Category Archive: General

Bungalow Travels

We’ve had another few lazy weekends. Last weekend we went to the lake (Lake Lanier – the one with no water in it because of the drought). Then this weekend we went to Tybee Island for our 5-year wedding anniversary. Needless to say we didn’t get too much done around the house. (Unless you count my experimenting with lavender propagation, which are scattered in little containers across the porch.)

Despite the lack of our own work we were able to do plenty of marveling at other people’s historic homes. Though we stayed on Tybee Island for most of our extended weekend we made a day trip to Savannah. Although I love living in Atlanta I always thought it would be quite boring to visit as a tourist. I don’t think the same can be said about Savannah. (Which seemed to be confirmed by our tour guide who claimed it was currently the 8th most popular tourist spot in the US – however they may measure this.) The city is so rich in history it’s awesome. So as we are still drooling over the amazing architecture we wanted to share the pictures so you can drool too:







I’m throwing this Isaac’s at Drayton pub photo in here because we stumbled across it after parking in the parking lot across the street. We ordered a Guinness and were somewhat astonished that it was only $4.50. Thought I’d throw that out there as a “cheap Guinness stop” tip. (In comparison the Blue Moon Brewery charged $5.50 for their microbrew.)


Since the Joel Chandler Harris house is right down the street from us I thought I would give some recognition to our neighbors with this sign about Joel Chandler Harris.


This is the cute little cottage we stayed at on Tybee Island. It’s called Sea Biscuit. It was small but just perfect for the two of us with one bed, a living room area and a kitchen. The owners even surprised us with a bottle of champagne in the fridge and a “Happy Anniversary” card! :)

Tybee Island

And with these cooler temperatures in Atlanta this upcoming week I hope we can get a little yard work done…now that it’ll be bearable to be outside! Unfortunately there’s plenty of neighbor’s kudzu to battle once again. *sigh*

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Vacation Homes

During our travels to Europe we came across some lovely houses that would make great vacation homes. Of course they were all historic! In fact, most of them probably make our 90 year-old home look like a young vixen. It’s funny how the definition of “old” is quite different in Europe. We talk about old in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. They talk about old in terms of centuries. For example, a lot of the pubs we visited were from the 16th or 17th century, and they are still proudly pouring beer to this day!

French castle

Vacation Home #1 – A Spanish Castle in the South of France. This place even had hot water during its heyday! With a little renovation I’m sure it would be lovely.

English Tudor

Vacation Home #2 – Old Tudor House Along the Thames. This would be a great place to go when you feel like boating.

English cottage

Vacation Home #3 – Small English Village. We might as well own the whole village. It was right out of a storybook! Everything was so picture perfect!

English cottage

Vacation Home #4 – English Country Cottage. Old and cute – does it get any better? Check out the detail on that chimney and the old tile roof.

London house

Vacation Home #5 – London Flat. Why not? Everybody needs a place to stay when visiting the city. We might as well have one with a little style.

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We’ve been busy, busy, busy!

We have really been slacking on the blog lately, but Steffi’s parents were in town visiting so we have a good excuse! Of course we did continue working on the house (and the neighborhood) while they were here. We have made some great progress in the garden. We enlarged our vegetable garden, came up with a garden plan, laid out a path, created some new flower beds, weeded the old flower beds, and started a compost pile.

Westview bungalow garden plan

Garden Plan

It took us a while to come up with the plan, but it really helps to have a clear vision of the garden.

We also finally put up the Westview street toppers yesterday. We have been working on these since October (Steffi was the lead on the project), so it was very rewarding to finally see it all coming together. We had a small unveiling ceremony at Ontario Park, and then neighbors drove around with ladders installing them. The street toppers are very important for Westview since people often think we are part of West End.

Westview street topper

Westview street toppers

Months of hard work finally paid off!

Lastly, a couple weeks ago (when Steffi’s parents were visiting) we went to the Inman Park tour of homes. Inman Park is a beautiful old neighborhood on the east side of town, and it holds a lot of historical significance to Atlanta. Their tour of homes is always one of our favorites.

As we walked up to house number six on the tour Steffi’s dad headed inside while we remained outside reading about the house in the handout they provide you. Her dad promptly returned with a huge grin and informed Steffi’s mother she was in for a big surprise! As it turned out Steffi’s younger sister had gone to school with the homeowner’s son. Surprise, surprise! They had recently built a traditional Austrian Weinkeller (wine cellar) in the basement using old bricks, so the conversation turned to where they acquired the bricks.

I’ll pause the story here to explain why old bricks are significant. We have been looking for old weathered bricks since we bought the house. We want to tear up the front walkway, which is currently broken concrete, and replace it with brick. We specifically wanted old bricks to match the old house. New bricks just don’t have the same character. Unfortunately we haven’t had much luck. It seems that when a building is torn down these days a lot of the time the bricks are sold, recaptured, and then re-sold. Additionally, we don’t have many connections to the demolition industry in Atlanta, so we had no clue how to go about trying to ask for bricks that are headed landfill. This has been a very frustrating situation for us.

Okay, so back to the story… Sandi told us she would have to check with her husband, but they had a pile of old bricks left over in the backyard from the construction of the wine cellar. Could it be true?! Had we finally found the elusive bricks we were looking for? We got her email and phone number and left with our fingers crossed.

We waited for the weekend to be over since we knew they would be occupied with hundreds of people touring their home! Steffi sent a couple emails back and forth with Sandi, and finally the email we had been waiting for came through. She told us to come and get them!!!

This morning our neighbor Carl from West End rang our doorbell bright and early (10:30am) and offered to help us with his truck. We made a trip over there and filled up the truck and the trunk of our car. Then we headed back to the house to drop them off. We probably were able to move at 1/3 of the bricks on this first trip. (THANKS FOR THE HELP CARL!) Steffi and I then returned four more times by ourselves and were able to move the remaining bricks in our car. In the end when we stacked them up they look like a palette of bricks. Lucky for us it seems as if it is going to be exactly the number of bricks we need for the front path. Hooray!

So we have to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU TO SANDI AND KEVIN for giving us the bricks!! It means more to us than we can really express in words. They also put a lot of hard work into removing the mortar from the bricks, and we know that is no easy task. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

We had a lowrider with all those bricks in the trunk.

Trunk full of bricks

Trunk full of bricks

Pile of bricks

A big old “Pile-o-Bricks”

Steffi with bricks

A girl and her bricks have never been so happy!

Old Bricks

Check out the beautiful old bricks!

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Westview Bungalow Survives the Tornado

So technically this isn’t entirely house renovation related, but considering we can be thankful that our house is still standing I guess you could consider it “house related!”

I’m sure most people heard about the tornado sweeping through downtown Atlanta, and since someone expressed concern I thought I would write about it and show that we should be pretty thankful that we made it through unharmed. It’s actually kind of crazy because we didn’t have a branch down or a flower pot turned over or anything! I guess that’s the one good thing about tornados – they stay pretty isolated to the area they hit. So even though we were pretty close we didn’t notice anything.

Patrick and I were just spending a quiet Friday night at home. We have been very involved in preparing for Westview’s booth at the Atlanta Home Show at the World Congress Center and had just worked the Thursday shift, so we thought we’d keep it calm on Friday after a busy setup and prep week. Other neighbors had worked the Friday shift and we were due back to work a Saturday shift, so it was just another reason to keep it calm. It started thundering and lightning so we got off the computer and decided to watch a movie instead. Around 9:30pm it got a bit crazy, but I wouldn’t have thought it was more serious than a typical heavy summer thunderstorm (not that it’s summer, but I’m just saying we’re used to them a lot from the summer). There was one thing that threw us off a little bit, and that was how the downpour and wind came in waves. It would come down like crazy and the wind would blow really hard and rattle the windows, then it would be dead quiet. Then it would start the process over again. It wasn’t until our neighbor, who had just come back from her Home Show shift at the World Trade Center an hour and a half earlier, called to say she was just told a hole had been torn in the Dome and wanted to know if everything was okay in our neighborhood. We turned on the TV and realized all the craziness going on right down the street from us. As we went to bed after hours of watching the news we knew we were probably not going to work our Saturday shift at the Home Show – after all, photos and video footage were showing water pouring down the escalator of the building we had our booth set up in! Sure enough, the rest of the exhibit ended up being canceled. So what do curious photographers do on the morning after a disaster? They do what they’re told not to do, and that’s to photograph the damage.

And just to show how truly lucky we were to escape I drew out a quick map:

Atlanta Tornado 2008

See where Westview is? We’re about 2 – 2.5 miles away from the Downtown area where everything was damaged! You can also see the Vine City neighborhood to the north of us. Unlike Cabbagetown (to the right of the city), Vine City didn’t get as much exposure, but still experienced some serious damage as well. Again, considering how close we are to the disaster area I can say with relief that not a flower pot was knocked over! My heart just cried seeing all those historic homes being damaged beyond repair; those beautiful large old trees being knocked down. Knowing how much work we’ve put into our house, worrying about every little detail and getting that last bit of paint out with a toothpick…imagine all that destroyed in a matter of seconds. It really is sad.

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Breakdancing Bungalow

Too much partying, not enough home renovating! But that’s ok, we’ll get back to work before too long. There’s just been so much going on around the neighborhood lately. But you know what, that’s what makes our neighborhood so wonderful – all the amazing people that live here! It’s been a little over a year now that we’ve lived here and we’ve truely met some wonderful neighbors.

So speaking of wonderful neighbors – one of them had a party this past Saturday. A 70s/80s hip hop themed party! It was pretty funny to see what “costumes” some people came up with. :) And in the true spirit of the party the old skool hip hop was playing, the couches were moved to the side, and the hardwood floors made the perfect breakdancing spot!

It’s a little bit dark, but I have some video of the breakdancing…

[jwplayer mediaid=”1555″]

Westview breakdancing

Look at those crazy skills!

Westview breakdancing

Some great outfits…

Patrick wings

And some awesome ribs to chow down on…

What more could you ask for?! Like I said, I love our neighborhood! There’s no one better to party with than your neighbors. :)

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