FREEZE FRAME

House covered in snow.

House covered in snow.

The weather was cooperating nicely with above average temperatures until the new year. 2015 brought with it freezing cold temperatures. It has been around -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) and feeling more like -25 with the wind chill consistently the last few weeks. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised since it is January, especially with last year’s record cold Canadian winter. I don’t mind a little snow on the ground but the freezing temperatures and bitter cold wind make it impossible to do anything outdoors.

Back of house covered in snow.

Back of house covered in snow.

The problem is that this whole house moving project needs very specific weather in order to get everything done when it needs to be done. Ideally we would have had warmer weather until we were able to get the permit approved which I had hoped to have by early December. Than we could dig the foundation and pour the concrete footings and basement before Christmas. Then in the new year the snow could fly and the ground could freeze so we could safely move the house over bumpy farmer’s fields to its new home and everything would have been peachy and on schedule. But as most projects like this go, things don’t always go as planned. I am still waiting on the permit to be approved as the septic plan took a little longer. And now even if we are approved in a week or two the ground will likely be too frozen to dig and the temperature too cold for concrete to be poured.

From what I understand and have read (don’t quote me on this though as I am definitely not an expert) it is not a good idea to pour concrete at temperatures that are below -7 degrees celcius (about 20 degrees Fahrenheit) and not to pour on frozen ground, snow or ice. Basically, the concrete needs to cure for about 28 days ideally in warmer temperatures. If it doesn’t cure properly and freezes or is affected by high moisture levels it can lead to possible cracks in the concrete. There are ways to work in the cold with additives to the concrete and keeping the poured concrete warm with heating and blanket tarps while it cures but this is costlier and must be done just right to avoid any issues. So unless the temperature rises consistently by the time we are able to dig, it will likely have to be postponed until spring…sigh. I am a bit frustrated about this since the weather was really perfect for the last couple of months and I guess I just thought that the cold would hold off a little longer. The house will still have to be moved in the next month or so while the ground is frozen and snow is on the ground but will have to stay on blocks until the foundation and basement are ready. This is an extra step and extra cost since the moving crew will have to come twice now. We also can’t replace the siding or the roof until the house is moved as it could shift. Hopefully the recently strapped roof and tarp will hold up and keep any rain and snow out. I guess it does no good to get upset though when something is out of your control. And realistically, my favorite season spring is only a few months away (hopefully.) There is still plenty to do…and write about in the mean time so I’m not going to worry too much.

MID CENTURY DOOR CANDY

Selection of 1950s Schlage door escutcheons.

Selection of 1950s Schlage door escutcheons.

I have always admired these mid century doors with their pretty geometric shaped panels in so many wonderful designs. Mid century home owners not only had amazing styles of doors to choose from, they also had fashionable accessories for their front door and entranceway.

Mid century door styles from a 1960s Beaver Lumber ad.

Mid century door styles from a 1960s Beaver Lumber ad.

Schlage was a company that sold very stylish door knobs, locks, latches and escutcheons in the 1950’s and 1960s. The company started out in the 1920s and is still in business today. A 1952 Schlage ad in a home planners guide explains to home owners that “Locks and latches are important ornamental details of your new home. You should choose them with the same care you would give to your personal jewelry, or to the silverware that adorns your dining table.”

1950s Schlage magazine ad for door handles.

1950s Schlage magazine ad for door handles.

I would really love to have a starburst design similar to this on our door. Time to do a search on Etsy and Ebay.

The astra design by Schlage.

The astra design door knob and wide Novo escutcheon by Schlage.

Here is another design – simpler but so stylish.

Vintage Schlage door knob and escutcheon.

Vintage Schlage Saturn door knob and banded Riviera escutcheon.

And you didn’t just head to a big box hardware store in the 1950s and grab some door knobs off of a shelf – you went to visit your local Schlage dealer. This great photo is from a 1952 home planner guide…it shows a young couple deciding on door hardware, the wife looking so hopeful that her husband will agree to buy the knobs and escutcheons she has her heart set on.

Photo from a vintage 1952 Schlage ad.

Photo from a vintage 1952 Schlage ad.

There were also lovely door bells to choose from including a starburst design and other unique mid century styles.

1960s Nutone pushbutton doorbells.

1960s Nutone pushbutton doorbells.

Even mail boxes were a thing of beauty and style. I was lucky enough to find this one in a great little Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/midcenturykitschen) which will end up in our entranceway.

Mid century starburst mail box by Griswold.

Mid century starburst mail box by Griswold.

I am hoping to find some vintage hardware for our door makeover on Etsy or Ebay but luckily I have a back up plan as Rejuvenation sells reproductions of some of these mid century styles like the Titan door set show here: http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/titan 

I can’t wait to post photos once we’ve completed the home’s exterior and entranceway. I’ll be sure to take lots of boring before and eye-catching after photos of our door.

 

 

A DOOR TO ADORE

 

Eye-catching front entrance on mid century home...from 1962 Main Line Homes Guide.

Eye-catching front entrance on mid century home…from 1962 Main Line Homes Guide.

One of the things I was most excited about when we first toured the 1960s rancher we are renovating was the front door. It caught my eye immediately from the inside with it’s three oval windows – one of the classic mid century door styles. Right now, you can’t really see the door from the outside because the screen door covers it but that will not be the case when the home is made over. This hidden gem of a door will soon be our home’s focal point. It may be old but it’s got a lot of life left in it.

The front door of the house.

The front door of the house.

You really can’t beat an original mid century door. They came in so many wonderful eye-catching designs. Check out the designs below, all from a vintage Beaver lumber catalogue (belonging to the original home owner)…and they were each only $29.95! I love them all but if I had to pick my three favorites they would have to be the raindrops, the rectangles and the stacked ovals…but I would gladly have any of them for my front door. These doors put todays boring and basic doors to shame.

I love all of these doors. My favorite would have to be the teardrop style.

I love all of these doors. My favorite would have to be the teardrop style

And it wasn’t just the doors that were amazing it was the door handles, the escutcheons (the decorative outer part the door knob fits into) and even the door bells were special. Look at these 1960s Nutone doorbells. I have more photos of stylish mid century door accessories here http://modranchreno.com/2015/01/mid-century-door-candy/

1960s Nutone pushbutton doorbells.

1960s Nutone pushbutton doorbells.

Before I can add shiny door accessories the door needs to be painted. My plan is to have it sprayed with a semi-gloss lacquer paint so it stands up to the elements. So now comes the BIG decision of what colour to paint the door. I’d like this door to set the tone for the whole house…a lot of pressure for an old wooden door.

Here are a few possible door paint colour samples shown beside a grey that will be similar to the siding colour. These are the contenders so far not in any particular order:

Sico Sponge Toffee

Sico Sponge Toffee

Sico Paint’s Sponge Toffee is a great match for the original starburst mail box (below) that will be installed beside the door.

Mid century starburst mail box.

Mid century starburst mail box.

And then there is:

Sico Apricot Jam

Sico Apricot Jam

Sico Paint’s Apricot Jam is a warm sunny orange. I’ve always loved the way orange and grey look together. They seem to compliment each other well.

And the colour I keep leaning towards for the door is:

Sico Limoncello

Sico Limoncello

Sico Paint’s Limoncello is bright and cheerful. It is almost identical to Rona Collection’s Chartreuse which has a little more green in it which I also really like, shown below against possible siding colours and the stacked stone we might be using around our entrance area.

Rona Collection Chartreuse

Rona Collection Chartreuse

I really want the door to make a statement and the colour to look great with the grey siding and the stacked stone and compliment any landscaping and gardening we might have out front. I will likely pick out a few more paint swatches before I make a final decision – I’ll post them when I do. Until then, any vote’s?

 

**If anyone is looking for a door that is close to a mid century style I found a company called Therma-Tru Doors which are available in Canada. There are a variety of styles.**

Therma-Tru door 'Pulse' line www.thermatru.ca

Therma-Tru door ‘Pulse’ line www.thermatru.ca

DRIVEWAY DISCUSSION

 

Ranch front with landscaping.

A similar ranch home frontage.

So, the latest topic up for discussion at our place is our future driveway design. I really like the idea of a circular or teardrop style driveway and my husband has suggested a straight, double wide driveway. He sometimes needs to park a truck or other equipment at our house so that is something we need to consider. I have come up with what I see as the pros and cons for each option and some very basic sketches (please don’t judge my drawings – they were done quickly and are not to scale…and I coloured them with crayons.)

Straight Driveway –  This is obviously the simplest option that would just go straight from the road to the garage. We would make it a double wide driveway that would likely continue beside the garage which would make it easier for my husband to park a large truck when necessary. Also, this would be the easiest option for snow removal and lawn mowing (although there would be more lawn frontage to mow.) For me the cons would be backing up out of the driveway especially if there is a large truck parked and also guest parking might also be an issue if several cars are parked along the driveway. That is where the circular driveway design shines with it’s ease of use. We would have to fill in more of the ditch to create this double wide entrance and the municipality would have to move a drain that is where the driveway’s entrance would be. I’m not sure if there would be a cost involved with that but quite likely.

Straight driveway sketch.

Straight driveway sketch.

Circular or Horseshoe Driveway – The horseshoe or half circle driveway looks like a horseshoe and begins at the street and then loops around with a separate entrance and exit and has a section that leads to the garage. This is also a fairly easy design. I’m not sure exactly where the section leading to the garage would have to start off of the loop but you can get the idea from my drawing. This is a great design for parking, especially if you are having several guests. Also, lawn frontage would be a little less for lawn mowing. This design would also mean more of the front ditch would have to be filled which may involve extra cost.

Sketch of horseshoe driveway.

Sketch of horseshoe driveway.

Teardrop Driveway – The teardrop style driveway also begins at the street, loops around and continues around back to the street and has a section that leads to the garage. I like the look of a circular driveway and the ease of use, especially for easy guest parking. It can also be a great and safe place for kids to ride their bikes and I think it makes for a more interesting landscape design (we could do something interesting within the circle) and less lawn to mow.  The cons would be that this takes up more space and it is a bit more complicated to create as it has to be designed and measured properly for proper turning angles. And this type of driveway would not be ideal for parking large trucks which as I mentioned, my husband would have to do on occasion.

Rough sketch of teardrop driveway.

Rough sketch of teardrop driveway.

So, we will have to give this a little more thought and get some more measurements to get a better idea of exactly where each driveway would be located. Personally, I’m thinking that the horseshoe driveway would work out best as it would still allow for straight parking and also have the ease of a circular driveway and additional parking.

 

 

RETRO RANCH EXTERIOR

 

 

Aluminum siding ad from a 1960 Canadian Homes magazine.

Aluminum siding ad from a 1960 Canadian Homes magazine.

 

When we first planned on moving and renovating the house we didn’t realize that the bricks would need to be removed prior to the house being relocated. Bricks obviously add a lot of weight to the house and can crack during the moving process so although it’s been done, it’s easiest and safest to remove them. After a few weeks of hard work, my husband along with some great help have successfully debricked the house. As you can see below, the brick was a neutral mix of red, oranges and black which I quite liked but I am looking forward to giving the home’s exterior a makeover.

The bricks partially off.

The bricks partially off.

I like the idea of keeping it neutral with a medium to dark shade of grey (a neutral grey with no blue or green undertones) board and batten siding with a mix of stacked brick around the doorway and window section of the front, a look that was popular for mid-century ranchers. The house is quite long so having just board and batten siding would be pretty boring. The stone will give it some depth and separation and make it much more visually appealing. Below is a sketch of what I’ve got in mind.

Sketch of possible house exterior.

Sketch of possible house exterior.

Grey siding may not be the most daring colour of siding, unlike the turquoise and pink pastel siding popular in the 50s and 60s, but I think it will be the perfect shade for our house to really make the door pop…which I would love to paint in a lemon lime colour. Some landscaping in the front will also add some colour and interest. Here are our possible colour choices so far.

Our house exterior colour choices so far.

Our house exterior colour choices so far.

Finding a neutral grey has been quite a challenge. I have yet to find the perfect grey that doesn’t have a blue, green or mauve tint – any suggestions? I have to get some samples of grey siding but I’d like to have a paint sample to bring along. I like the one on the above left (Dulux Paint ‘Grimmy’s Grey’ but I’m not sure if it is too dark.)The lighter grey (Dulux Paint ‘Granite Grey’) is probably too light but it might work for an interior colour. The door colour looks extremely bold here and is a little more subdued in real life – it is Rona Collection paint ‘Chartreuse’. The stone above is ‘Slate Grey’ from a company called Canyon Stone Canada. They offer lots of stone options. We are thinking of using their Quick Fit series which is manufactured 4″ high panels in varied lengths of 8, 12 and 18 inches. I like the colour above because it has various shades of grey as well as a mix of tan which will warm up the grey a bit and blend in with the door colour if I end up going with the lemon lime or an orange colour. The two other possible stone colours I like are below. On the left is ‘Dark Ember’ which has more grey and less tan, ‘Slate Grey’ is in the middle and ‘Platinum’ on the right side which is quite a bit lighter…maybe too light. We have to go see the samples in person before making a decision.

Dark Ember, Slate Grey, Platinum - stacked stone from Canyon Stone Canada.

Dark Ember, Slate Grey, Platinum – stacked stone from Canyon Stone Canada.

 

And for fun, check out these ads from the early 1960s for all the pretty pastel siding that was all the rage back then. I love the turquoise although I’m not sure I would ever be brave enough to do a whole house in it.

 

Retro siding ad.

1960s siding ad – coral must have been a popular shade.

 

retro siding

Lovely pastel shades in a retro siding ad.

 

Aluminum siding ad from 1960 Canadian Homes magazine.

Aluminum siding ad from 1960 Canadian Homes magazine.