Sunday, April 29, 2007

Installment 2: “Honey, there’s a guy on the phone that’s going to sell us the easy life!”

Wife: The easy life?

Husband: That’s right, the easy life forever! We’ll never have to paint our house again!

Wife: Can we defer that maintenance that we know we really should be doing too?

Husband: You betcha!

Wife: How?

Husband: He says we can cover our architecturally charming little home with monochromatic plastic!
Wife: Gosh darn it honey, that’s a great solution to avoiding our problems that we know we should address but don’t really want to. I’ll go get the checkbook.

Husband: Sweetie, can you walk into our new laminator that just happens to be the same size as you? I think I left our checkbook in there.

Wife: No problem pumpkin. I’m gonna love you forever……………

I’ve been hanging out on my porch roof this weekend – scraping, fixing, sanding and priming. So please indulge me a little as I poke fun at the folks who put vinyl on my house. I believe I've earned that right.

I’ve got a coat of primer on the front gable. If time allows, I’ll get it all painted up this week. Then we’ll move on to the next section.

Here’s the full sequence of the gable being returned to its proper state.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Installment 1: Scrape it, fix it, sand it, prime it, paint it

I plan to do regular postings this summer updating the status of the exterior restoration work on my house. To bring everyone up to speed very quickly –
*I bought my house on Cedar Bough Place about four years ago
*Two years ago I removed vinyl siding – aka “the point of no return”
*I had bad luck with a contractor and the house was untouched for the first year
*I eventually said “screw it” and started doing the work myself (with a ton of help)

I truly had no idea what I was doing. I’d painted interior rooms but never had attempted anything that approached the entire exterior of a home.

I bought books, went to workshops, asked friends for advice and eventually got started. It has been maddening, frustrating, painful, and time consuming. I’ve broken windows, put holes in my roof, fallen off a ladder, and can probably set off airport metal detectors with the amount of lead paint I’ve inhaled and is in my system.

But I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything. It’s been wonderful. I’m learning new stuff all the time.

This past weekend I started to prep the gable at the front of my house.

I’d known there were some trouble spots up there. But until you start taking the paint off, you never really know what you’re going to find.

How about a gapping hole?
After some sanding, application of wood hardener and wood epoxy, I ended up with this:

I got a coat of primer on it and will finish it up this weekend, time and weather permitting.

Stay tuned for more updates and the after pictures of the gable work.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Help Wanted – HistoricNewAlbany.Com Needs You

Be part of the team that is changing the image of New Albany one house at time! Be part of the HistoricNewAlbany.Com team!

There are multiple openings for a “House History Investigator”. Apply today!

Job Title: House History Investigator
Job Location: New Albany, Indiana

Responsibilities: The individual(s) will assist the Floyd County Historian, David Barksdale, in researching home histories for properties listed on HistoricNewAlbany.Com. Individual(s) will receive property addresses and then utilize tools available at the New Albany Floyd County Library Indiana Room to construct a history of the property for publishing on the website. Histories to include, but not limited to, original owners/builders, dates of construction, and identifying significant historical facts about residents of the home.

Qualifications: Training will be provided. Familiarity with the library a plus, but not necessary. Experience with computers also a plus – especially Microsoft Word.

Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
Salary – none
Benefits – personal smugness from a job well done
Work Schedule – anytime the library is open

Interested parties should contact David Barksdale at

Seriously, some help really is needed. The site popularity is growing and the number of listings is going up. The house histories and naming of the homes are things that help potential buyers connect with their future house. David does 99.9% of the histories and he can get behind due to his busy schedule and many other commitments. That means houses get delayed in hitting the website.

If you have the time to help, please contact him.

And don’t forget that on Tuesday May 15th – you can learn all the skills you need to research homes by attending the “Research Your Historic Home Workshop” - 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM at the New Albany – Floyd County Public Library, 180 West Spring Street, New Albany.

Reservations required: Call Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana – 812.284.4534.
Limit: 20 participants

Sunday, April 08, 2007

NeighborWorks Training - Community Revitalization

In March, I had the opportunity to attend a NeighborWorks Training session at New Directions Housing Corporation. I joined a contingent of New Albanians along with about twenty five individuals from Louisville Metro neighborhoods. The training was part of series called “Community and Neighborhood Revitalization” and this was part one, “Strategies and Implementation Techniques for Creating Neighborhoods of Choice Through Revitalization”.

The highlight of the two day course was a walk through my neighborhood – S. Ellen Jones and parts of East Spring Street. The walk was part of the “Reading a Neighborhood” section of the training. Complete strangers walked where we live and then gave feedback. It was a little weird.

Over at S. Ellen, I've summarized notes from the training. If you are interested in revitalization in New Albany please give it a look.

A definition of Community and Neighborhood Revitalization: Community and neighborhood revitalization is the strategic process of transforming neighborhoods and communities that lack vitality into places of choice through collaborations of residents, organizations and other stakeholders. These communities and neighborhoods strive to be resilient places where it makes sense for people to invest time, energy and money, where they are optimistic about their future, where they feel they have control over their surroundings and the capacity to respond to community dynamics, and where they are connected to each other and the larger region. The process addresses five key elements:

1. The neighborhood’s or community’s image
2. Market forces that act on the neighborhood or community
3. The physical conditions
4. The social conditions
5. Stakeholders’ ability to manage neighborhood or community issues and affairs

(Source: Strategies and Implementation Techniques for Creating Neighborhoods of Choice Through Revitalization, pg 29, NeighborWorks Training Institute)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Positve Trends and a new SEJNA website

March 2007 was another record month at The numbers are impressive. Some of these visits are turning into home sales. Decisions are being made to invest in this community. is helping facilitate that investment. Thank you Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Halo Applications, Develop New Albany and the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission for keeping the momentum going.

The site also received enhancements in March which include categories based on sale price and a new section for rentals.

S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood Association launches website:

Jim Sprigler (Halo Applications) strikes again, designing a community website for the folks in the S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood. The site purpose is to encourage resident participation and communication.

Check the featured news on the homepage for a great article on how neighborhoods in Battle Creek, Michigan worked towards revitalization. When you read it, I believe you’ll note some distinct similarities to New Albany. There are definitely some concepts in that article that local neighborhood groups should discuss and implement.