Lessons in plaster dust

The fellow that owns an old home is always just coming out of a hardware store.  ~Frank McKinney Hubbard

My architect-husband, Doug, and I have owned five old houses throughout our 30-year marriage, including a Craftsman-bungalow duplex we’re renting out near downtown Royal Oak. We’ve lived in our circa 1926 Tudor for nearly 20 years, and just finished remodeling the upstairs bathroom last week.

When we were newlyweds, the two of us did most of the renovations ourselves, happily spending our free time tearing out carpeting or scouting the local flea markets for vintage light fixtures. After we became parents, we started hiring contractors to handle the heavy-duty projects — but we’ve always had a taste for plaster dust.

Older homes are a lot of work, of course. Yet there’s nothing like the sense of satisfaction we get when we’re renovating a building with its own history and character — a home that will be enjoyed by other families in years to come.

After we began remodeling the master bathroom this month, it hit me that home improvement is also a metaphor for self-improvement. With that in mind, I wrote “Life Lessons in Plaster Dust” for Royal Oak Patch. The column includes a few “before and after” photos of the project.  Please click here to read it. — CL

— UPDATE: After reading “Life Lessons in Plaster Dust” on Patch, Tom Bramford, host of the KCMO 710 (Kansas City) Home Show invited me to be a guest on his radio program. To listen to the podcast, follow this link.

 

Starting the year Wright

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

Late last summer, my husband and I fulfilled our longtime dream of purchasing a Frank Lloyd Wright home in southwest Michigan, where we hope to retire in a few years. Like most homes that need repair or renovation, this one has its own lessons to teach. You can read my new essay online in The Christian Science Monitor. –CL

–Photo of the Carl Schultz house by Doug La Ferle–