Friday, December 26, 2008

Flat Roofs + Snow = Oh, No!

Update 12/24/08: Yup, it started snowing on the 14th and we're snowed in. Still. 3 more inches fell yesterday. No mail in 7 days. No garbage service in 2 weeks. Cars are encased in snow cocoons. Chains are required everywhere. Our town is still under a State of Emergency (the National Guard rolled into town and Haley's on the roof hoping to signal helicopters and get a ride to the mall via a HumVee and I'm expecting a Home Depot Gift Card from FEMA. It's my right!!). Cars can't make it up our hill without 4-wheel drive AND chains (I only know that because I got to the office on Monday with a Suburban driving co-worker... had meet him at the bottom of the hill). Can you imagine how much worse it would be if we didn't have Global Warming?!! Thank YOU Al Gore.

But never fear, since it's Christmas Eve and we're big believers in Christmas Miracles we're bundling up and marching about 1-2 miles to the nearest strip mall. Ho Ho Hum. (Christmas this year is brought to you by Ross Dress 4 Less, GI Joes, Teriyaki King, and Craft Warehouse!) It WILL be fun.

Actually we're expecting the thaw to begin over the weekend... I'll send you a flood update on Monday. -Steve

We are slowly digging out of the snow. This is the snowiest December for our area in recorded history. About 2 feet with some drifts chest high. It's crazy.

It has been beautiful, but all this snow needs to go somewhere when the temperature climbs. Our roof has a lot of snow on it (2 feet in some areas) and it needs to come off. We have no idea about the best way to remove it, so we're just planning to climb up there with shovels and brooms. Wish us luck!

UPDATE: We just cleared the snow and ice out the downspouts, downsized the drifts and cleared out the run off trough things (scuppers?). It was 45-degrees today and the thaw is staying outside the house. I think we're fine. -Steve

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Holidays!

Snowed in for 5 days... and we're a little punchy. Had to get a little creative with the Santa hats! Have a safe and happy holiday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'Tis the Season... to decorate.

We've put up the tree, the lights and the plastic figurines. Decorations... are done.

Snow Day!

UPDATE 12/17/08: We hardly ever get snow here... and any snow that doesn't melt immediately is quite the novelty. We have about 4" from last Sunday's storm... and it's been snowing all morning on Wednesday. Should get another 4-6" by tomorrow, and more (possibly another 12") is expected this weekend! I know this doesn't sound like much to you mid-western folks, but there's a layer of ice under all this white fluff. I can't get off the hill (I might be the only person in East County that doesn't have 4-wheel drive!) It's so beautiful, but I'm getting a little cabin fever. I'll post more pictures after the storm passes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What am I thinking????

I'm still pining for summer and window shopping for the back patio. Steve found this darling set on Craigslist and I'm just obsessing over it. I NEED IT!!! I think I might have a sickness for patio and pool sets... but this one is really cute.

Let's hope it's still there after Christmas. Then I can seriously consider it... the holidays and bathroom remodel are sucking the life out of my pocketbook. Sigh! Pain!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


OK... I can't help myself. Steve found a Thermador cooktop and double ovens with an extra cooktop (still in the box). Also, comes with the original book from Thermador. Yeah, we bought it and now I'm reworking my whole kitchen concept around these pieces. Looks like we'll have a sleek Jenn-Aire set for sale soon. Sigh. I love that one too, but the Thermador is just too amazing and fits the house perfect! I'll post pics as soon as we pull it out of the back of the truck.

While the Jenn-Aire is a super fine appliance, a Thermador is probably better quality, is more original to the house and c'mon... all 4 pieces (including the extra cooktop) were only 50-bucks! They look to be in primo condition, although I think they are from the 1950s... a little too early for our house, but that's fine with me.

The Primary oven is model W-016-A and sold for $176.00 according to the price written in the booklet. The Secondary oven is model W-016 and was $163.25. I've never seen this model of cooktop before. It's big, with a good size griddle in the middle. Model SU-4G and was a whopping $199.50 way back when.

Haley's deciding if we're going to mount the ovens side-by-side or go with a top/bottom configuration. I'm sure she'll keep you posted! -Steve

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Winter Projects:

I'll put a green X next to the things we've finished so far.... we've been busy.

It's raining! And probably will continue to rain until May. So we are now focusing our efforts on indoor projects. Our goal this winter is to get as many rooms as possible completely DONE. Top priority is the living room, atrium, second bath/laundry room and hallway. (Basically, anything visitors would see!)

In order to keep things organized we've compiled a punch list. It's really more for our reference than anything, but it will also be interesting to see how much we can get accomplished during these dark, wet winter months.

Here's the to dos (in random order.)

Living Room:
• replace all electrical outlets (They're white... brown goes better)
• paint upper beam and trim (They're really high and I think a scaffold will be better than teetering on top of a ladder.)
• install finish trim (Should be straightforward, except we all know there's nothing square in any house.)
• remove fireplace surround
• install new fireplace screen
• install new hearth (concrete? tile? ...not sure 'bout this one.)
• add fireplace up lights (would show off the stonework better.)

• install finish trim
• trim out front door
X • complete planter (lights, plants, rock)
We're getting closer... put in new plants and a few new lights. We're just waiting for one corner that's being used to store remaining finish trim.
• paint beams
• paint skylight (No... not the skylight... the woodwork around the skylights)
• fix skylight opener (one has been broken before we moved in... may require welding.)
• build new step (Right now it's concrete blocks. Haley's thinking 2x4's on edge would be nice... a sort of Nelson Bench effect.)
X • re-build fountain (Love the Leaky Tiki, but I think he's sprung a leak somewhere and the motor's getting loud. Time for a re-do.)
• clean bamboo furniture (A nice Sunday afternoon project)
• order new cushions for chaise
• paint grooves in floor (To erase the last rememberences of our experiments in grinding/staining.)
• reseal concrete floor (I think it's time for a shinier shine.)

Second Bath:
• install new toilet flange
X • install new t-connection for sink plumbing
X • move shower head up 10 inches
X • install drywall and concrete board
• install tile Haley's going to tackle this job! I'm confident it will look great!
• paint walls
• install new subfloor the rubber flooring must be installed on a plywood base.
• install flooring
• set toilet and vanity sink
• install new light fixture
• install new fixtures
• finish trim
• install laundry light
• stack washer/dryer and hook up
We have "people" doing this stuff... I gotta know my limits!

• finish birch paneling
• install finish trim
• buff and polish VCT flooring
• install closet doors

Things to Order:
• closet doors
• 2nd bathroom door
• master bath door
• atrium light
• gutters/downspouts

I'm tired already.
Me too, but it's going to be great!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vintage Stoves!

Found this article in the Tuesday Oregonian:
"A Burning Passion for Vintage Stoves"

It focuses a lot on the stoves from the 40s and 50s, but the vintage 60s stoves are my passion! We have acquired a vintage Jenn Air stove (with aluminum cover and built in fan and cook light!) and matching oven. It's been sitting in our garage for months awaiting the new "vintage" kitchen we have planned.

We'll post more details on the stove when we start the kitchen project... but here's a peek at some of the original literature that came with our stove:

Summer Dreams

It's not even November and I'm already dreaming of summer. I'm going to be a basket case by March!

Instead of preparing the pool and patio for winter... I've been searching for a very specific patio umbrella that we saw on our recent trip to Disneyland. The umbrella is aluminum or fiberglass petal leaf construction in a multi-color palette. Can't seem to find a resource for them, so if anyone knows where to get them please let me know. It looks kind of like this:

They may be vintage and out of production (welcome to my world.) We'd love a backyard full of high quality vintage patio furniture, but unfortunately pieces are rare and usually in poor shape or outrageously expensive! This stuff will be used a lot and we need it to hold up to use, abuse and the lovely Pacific NW weather. With that in mind, I'm looking at NEW.

In the search process I have found some interesting options for our patio and pool.

Umbrella Option 1: Fiberglass umbrella with star burst

Belson Outdoor
offers this in several stock colors. Not too exciting. But wait! We may have a winner with STM Industries that offers the same fiberglass umbrella with over 200 custom colors!!!!!

Umbrella Option 2: Aluminum top umbrella

Park N Pool offers a few options for aluminum top umbrellas. I love this color. (See previous post on color scheme) Don't know if this is what we want in the backyard... too much of a good thing is never good. Luckily they offer quite a few color options:

Furniture Options: Panama and Pacific Island Weave Collections

This site also offers patio furniture. We have approx. 1200 sq. ft. of deck and patio surrounding the pool, so we need some furniture to break up the expanse.

Park N Pool also offers some chair designs that are kinda fun. (This is the closest thing I've found to that "resort" feel we are trying to accomplish in the backyard design.)

These nifty patio chairs go great with the aluminum umbrella! The site offers a design generator to custom design the color weave on these chairs. Sweet! Plus the chairs and chaise are all stackable (perfect for our weather.)

Time to wake up and get back to work!

Monday, October 27, 2008

RUMMER HAS IT: Builder's name is golden, 40 years after homes were built

Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Oregonian

Of all the rooms in her house on Beaverton's Southwest Glenn Court, Mary Smith prefers the atrium -- a central, sunlight-drenched 20-foot square of lush plant life surrounding a comfortable sitting area. Large skylights on both sides of the overhead gable peak welcome sunlight by day and moonlight by night.

"Sitting out here under a full moon, with the fireplace going in the next room, is magical," Smith said. "I love the play of the light in this house, the openness, the expanse of it. The home itself is like an object of art."

Peak experience

Smith's home is a Rummer -- one of the most sought-after "collectible homes" on the Portland market. During the 1960s and '70s, World War II veteran Robert Rummer built more than 1,000 such homes in West Portland, Lake Oswego, Newberg and Gresham.

Most Rummers are classic Midcentury Modern homes: open, spacious, with wide expanses of glass. Common Rummer design elements, inspired (although Rummer himself, to this day, steadfastly denies it) by the classic Joseph Eichler homes of California, include ranch-style one-level designs with central atriums or courtyards; a flat roof with a peaked central gable and interior vaulting; lavish use of glass and sliding doors to bring the outdoors in; in-floor radiant heating systems; and design details such as open ceiling beams, "flying coffin" cabinetry and tiled, step-down Roman showers.

At any given time, there can be a half-dozen Rummers available for sale. Meadows Group Realtor Jim DeMarco, who has sold a number of them over the years, estimates that the typical Rummer commands a premium of $20,000 to $30,000 over a similar size standard westside ranch.

"The people who like these homes typically have a design background, and often work from home or need a studio space," DeMarco said. "Some clients just want to live more of a retro, mid-'60s lifestyle. Interestingly, for some reason many of the clients who buy these homes are designers at Nike. I compare owning a Rummer to owning a classic car. These homes have really stood the test of time."

Enduring appeal

Rummer himself, now 81 and retired from building, is somewhat bemused at the enduring popularity of his homes. "I don't understand it," he said. "I suppose part of it is the post-and-beam construction, which makes them look a bit like Frank Lloyd Wright houses. I used top-of-the-line materials, beams and siding you can't get today, and top-of-the-line Thermidor appliances. The open floor plans make them great entertaining houses. But if you ask me why they're still popular, I just don't know."

Smith's four-bedroom, two-bath, 2,177-square-foot home at 13200 S.W. Glenn Court, built in 1970 and listed with Mike Shainsky of Arete Realty NW for $442,000, exemplifies the Rummer appeal for many owners.

By day, Smith -- a licensed massage therapist and nutritional consultant -- says she uses the atrium as "the nicest waiting room in town." Sliding glass doors off the atrium lead to the living room, kitchen, studio/office and bedroom. The living room is an open, white-beamed expanse with floors of polished concrete that features a wood-burning fireplace of white brick set in a wall of windows overlooking Taliesin Park -- named, coincidentally, after Frank Lloyd Wright's famous home in Wisconsin.

Outside, spacious decks -- one with a hot tub -- provide access to a manicured backyard. Through yet another slider, the home's kitchen, with its black glass cooktop and original, Italian-influenced ceramic tile floor, hearkens back to the Tomorrowland fervor of Rummer's late-1960s construction heyday.

In the opposite wing of the house, the spacious master suite has a distinctly Asian tranquillity, a walk-in closet (not found in all Rummers) and a slider to the garden. In the master bath, the step-down shower is illuminated by a wall of frosted glass.

Just around the corner, another Rummer home, at 13105 S.W. Heather Court, offers a slightly different take on the Rummer oeuvre. This 1969-vintage, 2,062-square-foot home, listed by DeMarco for $494,900, features a stone-filled atrium reminiscent of a Japanese garden and a vast, open living/dining room with sliding doors to a deep and flourishing fenced backyard.

The all-white kitchen features Rummer's original cabinetry and glass cooktop; the master suite boasts another sliding door to the backyard and a white subway-tiled bath. A floor-to-ceiling sheet of privacy glass spills light into the roomy step-down shower. The house will be held open Sunday, Oct. 26, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

A bow to the master

Rummer's success inspired other builders to imitate his style -- some on a grander scale. The home at 4900 N.W. Malhuer Ave., listed with Tim Cairns of RE/MAX Equity Group for $665,000, is a testament to the influence of Rummer and Eichler. The home was built by Dick Hanning in 1972.

This sprawling 3,165-square-foot ranch, half again as large as the typical Rummer home, overlooks the 18th green at the Rock Creek Country Club. Walk through the 810-square-foot entry atrium and its classical fountain, and the doors open to a vaulted living/dining room with white stone fireplace, separated from the entry by a unique wrought-iron screen. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out on a backyard with heated in-ground pool and gazebo.

The right side of the house opens up into a vast and elegant kitchen, recently renovated with white glass-front cabinetry, Thermidor appliances and slate-colored Corian countertops. An unusual semicircular fireplace of Montana basalt warms the living room and game room. Beyond lies a sumptuous, marble-tiled bath and two spare bedrooms, one with extensive built-in cabinetry.

On the opposite side of the home, the master suite features a wall of windows overlooking the pool and golf course. The ornate master bath includes a marble-tiled, jetted soaking tub, a tiled steam shower and a separate, skylighted meditation/exercise room. It will be held open Sunday, Oct. 26, from 1-4 p.m.

"The house had had the same owner for 33 years," said current owner Simon Tam. "When we first walked in we were just in awe of it. It's such a great space, with so many unique details. It's like living in the Frank Sinatra era."

Jeff Kuechle is a Portland-based freelance writer. He can be reached at

Vanity Light for Bathroom

We are slowly plugging away at the second bath. The floor is scheduled to be installed and the plumber is on deck. Our contractor is picking up our cute vanity to resize, refinish, and install the new counter top.

I ordered this new light for above the vanity. It's fairly modern, but works with the vintage fixtures we are using. It has the same feel as the lighting we used in the entry, but longer and sleeker. It's the only light fixture in the bathroom so the double sconce will hopefully put out a good amount of light.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog is International Sensation!

Well, maybe that's a slight overstatement.

We have been documenting our Rummer restoration for about 18 months and had no idea anyone was reading this... except for a few comments here and there. Our new neighbors from Scotland bought the Rummer behind us and knew us from our blog before we ever met them. Small world!

A couple weeks ago Steve installed this nifty little counter thingy that tracks how many people visit this blog. Many of you are one timers, but most are return visitors! Thanks for checking in on our restoration adventure. We don't know you (my mom is the only one I've told about this site... and she doesn't check it at all!) but we truly appreciate your interest. Please leave us comments if you have any insight or suggestions on the projects we're working on. We are amateurs at this home improvement stuff and would love some input.

Oh! and here's a screen shot of where folks are visiting from around the WORLD. Amazing. Welcome and hello!

Good, Fast, Cheap... pick 2

We are do-it-yourself-ers! (With some help from our trusted contractor, Randy!) But I've got to admit I found a excellent work crew that I plan to use again. They were good, fast AND cheap. They needed a lot of supervision, but were eager to please and completed the job on time and within budget.

The project: Living room window flower beds.

We cleared out the shrubs from the beds and fixed the downspouts (see previous post) when we painted the exterior trim. Now is was time to rebuild. After visiting the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon Plant Sale on September 20th I formulated a quick and easy plan for the beds that included shade grasses, rock (lots of rock) and a little punch of color!

The materials: Landscape fabric, white rock, shade grasses, pots and colored rock!

The process: Secured the landscape fabric in place with large fabric staples then spread the white rock evenly over the bed.

The crew at work: Max with a couple of neighborhood friends attack the project with muscle and enthusiasm.

The cost: 3 juice pouches!

The final touch: Aquarium Rock! Gotta give credit for this to McDonalds. Yeah, that's right... we took Max to breakfast and noticed the colored rock in their outdoor ashtray. In seconds we all had the same idea.

Paint: Before and After

We all like the before and after shots... so hope you're not disappointed!



The rains have hit, so we put the old white downspouts back up. New gutters and downspouts will be installed next month.

A Picture Says it All...

I am at a loss on what to write here, but I'm seeing a hint of DEVO hats in our future.

That's one cool thing about home ownership... you get decorate how ever you want to! Unfortunately the Energy Domes are a bit too small for our atrium "Leaky Tiki" water feature. But I couldn't resist one picture.

NOTE: The Verbtones are playing our annual Halloween show at Duff's Garage in Portland. Guess what our costumes are going to be? If you're a spud who likes instrumental surf music and are going to be in the Portland area on Halloween, and aren't driving to Seattle for The Sonics show, come see us! -Steve

Are we not men?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Almost beat the rain!

That's the deal about trying to get outdoor stuff done when you live in the Portland area in Oregon... it tends to rain.
A lot.
Okay, actually I think Seattle gets more rain, and we've had a really nice summer... but they're forecasting rain that should begin this evening and continue until around mid-June. And I wasn't quite finished painting the trim. ...and we have a lot of trim.

So yesterday I loaded up the roller, 4" brush in my back pocket and painted like the wind. Up on the roof to hit all four peaks. All around the house to put the second coat on the upper trim boards. All exterior 4x4 posts. There are three beams that have some rot that should be treated... but that's gotta be on hold for a bit. (One beam is really, really bad and will be the topic of a future blog-post about beam restoration using thinned 2-part epoxy.) Then it was a mad dash to finish the garage doors.

I must confess that Steve did nearly all the painting. It's impossible to keep up with his "super-human" painting skills! Look at the motion blur on this photo... he was painting a breakneck speed and cutting in by hand at the same time. NO TAPE! Amazing. (I did turn on the back light when it started getting dark!) -H

DD helping us throw the paint on the garage doors. Yes, we painted them turquoise! We're replacing the doors next summer so we thought we'd live with it for a bit. It's a bold choice, but we're not the typical homeowners. I think I like it. -H

By the time it was too dark to paint, we had painted everything except a few areas that need a second coat, the trim piece under the roof overhang (since it's sheltered from rain, I think I can do that later), the entryway trim (again, covered so that's manageable for later), and a few bits here and there.

We'll be posting pics in the next day or so, so check back. We think it's a major improvement over the previous non-contrasting colors, but you be the judge.

Now it's cloudy, starting to sprinkle a bit and I have my sights set on finishing the kids’ bathroom and finishing the atrium.