Thursday, May 21, 2009

Done. Again. The End of the Box Gutter Saga.

Done. Again.
It has been a ride to hell and back. The box gutter war is over. I’ve lost many of my battles with them. But the war has been won. I danced in the street last night.

We’ve gone from poorly restored and leaking gutters to gutters lined with gold (actually, it’s copper but the check I wrote felt like it was gold). Water now pours into my house only in my nightmares. That musty smell is starting to fade. Plaster repair and painting of water damage will be underway soon.

Amazingly, from the time the work began in late April to completion yesterday, we’ve received over 7 inches of rain. That’s nuts. It made it difficult for the contractor, Patina Copper & Slate, and extremely stressful for me. A couple Fridays ago, we got a storm that a meteorologist called an “inland hurricane”. I’d never heard the term. I cursed him. But it is all over now.

It’s time to move on and make more stupid restoration decisions that will cost me thousands :-)

Here are more photographs of work in progress taken by Kurtis Hord, owner of Patina Copper & Slate.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Windows, Windows, Windows - Workshop this Tuesday

Even I'm getting a little tired of my continued ranting on not destroying historic wood windows.

So just don't do it.

Instead, learn how to repair them at our Preservation Workshop this Tuesday, May 19. Learn more here. Bring a receipt from a dining establishment downtown and be entered to win a prize!

On the topic of windows, have you heard about the tax credit being offered for replacing your windows? I’m not giving you a link because I’m pissed off. I'm firmly in the Obama camp, but this is completely irresponsible. I can only assume a plastic peddling scumbag lobbyist has gotten a nice fat bonus. I hope he/she chokes on it.

There is nothing "green" about destroying existing resources. There is nothing "green" about failing to maintain your windows. There is nothing "green" about replacing historic wood windows with an inferior product that will fail and have to be replaced again. That's irresponsible.

Get your butt to the workshop and learn something. Or buy a damn book. Or Google until you find instructions. Or visit one of the links below. Just don’t give in to the scare tactic sales pitches from hot chicks or some greasy looking salesman on TV telling you that you need new windows.

Green Home Tips
Historic Wood Window Tip Sheet
Window Repair Video

Save the Windows!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Perspective from 2005, Downtown New Albany

I’m lucky. Every May I work with some extremely dedicated preservationists to help plan Preservation Month events in New Albany. We’ve been doing this for several years. We’ve even expanded the operation to include events outside of May – Newport forum and Windows Workshop.

Fellow planner, David Barksdale, made a great point the other day. In 2005 the situation downtown was much different than what we have today (2009). Sixteen properties were available along the Pearl and Market Street corridors. Large swaths of blocks were unoccupied. Today, in the same area, there are only 4 properties available.

The weakness, and one I’ll take my share of the blame for, is the lack of tracking of important data like this. Local activists focus on the current and in many cases the ugly issues. Seldom do we take the time to look back and appreciate just how much progress has been made. We don’t do a good job of defining the outcomes desired either. I will endeavor to help change that.
As I related to a large group of people recently, the quality of life here has improved here. While I have no data to support this, I do believe the image for the area is changing in a positive way. And this is being done without any coordinated strategy whatsoever. Just imagine if we tried?
I have to go now because it’s the opening day for the Farmers Market. I also have to stop at our local bookstore, Destinations Booksellers, to do some shopping. At 11:00 I’ll be attending a walking tour downtown with dozens of visitors, touring buildings downtown that are in progress of being restored. Then I have to hit River City Winery to pick up two bottles of wine for my Dad’s birthday. I’ll have to grab lunch somewhere along the way, probably at Studio's. Then a stop at the Gallery on Pearl for a Mothers Day gift and a welcome gift for a gal from California who is buying a house on my street. A workout at the YMCA may get squeezed in there or maybe a run along the Greenway (workouts will need to increase, as Wicks Pizza opens in July). And I’m really looking forward to dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse this evening.

Best of all, it’s going to be a “no car” weekend, as I can do all the above walking.
Indeed, 2005 sure seems like a longtime ago.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Get out this Saturday and Do Stuff in New Albany

Gym, Gems, and “Guice” seen together only on a walking tour of historic downtown New Albany

On May 9, 11 AM, meet at the new YMCA, 33 State Street, New Albany, to participate in a tour of the “Gems” of Pearl Street. This exclusive tour, based on the year-old guide to historic downtown New Albany, not only browses the facades of the wonderful buildings.

Participants explore the inside of the old Fashion Shop at 213 Pearl, the White House Centre at 222 Pearl, and the old Kresge Building at the corner of Pearl and Market. It’s the opportunity for the curious to see how the Fashion Shop and the Kresge Building have evolved since they’ve been closed to the public. The tour ends at River City Winery, the historic Baer Building, where participants sample “Guice,” exclusively named for this event.

With the tour ending at noon, participants can visit the Farmers Market, open 8 AM–1 PM, at the corner of Bank and Market, and downtown merchants during the First Saturday event, 10 AM–5 PM.) Floyd County Historian David Barksdale, leads the tour.

Free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by New Albany Historic Preservation Commission, Develop New Albany, and Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.

Submitted by: Judy Martin, Program Assistant
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New Albany Kicks Off Preservation Month with Preservation Conversation

Connecting preservation of historic buildings with the green movement, Steve Wiser, Louisville architect, shares his visualization as far into the future as 2035 of how preserving the built environment can influence southern Indiana communities.

Tuesday - May 5, 2009
Cornerstone Evangelical Methodist Church
418 East Spring Street, New Albany
7:00 – 8:30 PM

Join the conversation on how restoring a building rather than tearing down and building new significantly reduces landfill waste and increases the need for human labor, while the neighborhood and its community stay in tact. Potentially, choices to rehabilitate, restore, and repair our inherited structures influence the lives of the community’s residents and visitors well beyond our own lives.

This event is free and open to the public. The co-sponsors include New Albany Historic Preservation Commission, Develop New Albany, and Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

What’s my motivation?

Motivation to get going on the exterior rehabilitation work has been hard to come by lately. I’ve found it entirely too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and be tossed about.

In case you are new to the Our History experience, my house has undergone a rebirth in recent years, being removed from the “plastic baggie” so to speak:
The plan this spring and summer (and I don’t do much without a plan) is to start small. Windows will get much needed attention. I’ve had a tendency to move along the house leaving them for later and later is now. Nice weather last weekend and about 6 hours of work resulted in this:

The dreaded box gutters are being relined by a professional. That alone, when done, will help me sleep at nights. Then there’s a ton of detail work to do as I return to areas of the house to apply the final coat of paint. And yes, the devil really is in the details. And then there’s the rear of the house. It’s untouched and pristine but will get hit hard with the goal being to complete before cold weather hits.

It’s an ambitious work plan. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

And speaking of windows, you really need to check out this website. The Kansas State Historical Society has posted several videos giving great detail about window rehab. From the site:

For decades, consumers have been led to believe that replacing their old wood windows with new vinyl, metal or clad windows will improve their home. Replacement windows have been marketed as energy efficient, and therefore environmentally friendly, and economical, by saving the homeowner money over the lifespan of the window. In reality, properly repaired wood windows can be equally energy efficient, are more environmentally friendly, are a better financial investment, and preserve one of the most important character-defining features of a historic home.