Wednesday, September 18, 2013

bell of the barn

Still slow here, are you surprised yet? Eaves are built, plywood is up on the roof along with the wrap, and the frames for the windows have been made and are installed. Over the next couple of days the windows will go in, the shingles will go up on the roof, and the trim that will divide the vertical from the horizontal siding will get installed. Timing-wise it looks as though we may have to wait a few weeks before we can slate the cupola roof . . . At least the bell has scaled the gable to its final home!

And yes, the pictures are horrible, the sun and glare were conspiring against me. Oh well . . .

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

glass slides of Baywood

I did manage to find a few pictures of the glass slides mentioned in the previous post (only a few of the interior though sadly), so for your viewing pleasure . . .

The grounds in winter

The master bedroom

Walls and turrets around property, I don't think these exist any longer. The woman in white may be Sarah Cordelia King, Alexander King's wife or Mildred Kelly King, Robert's wife and J.G. Kelly's daughter (we know that Robert was the one that added the castle-like features to Baywood)

The formal gardens

The solarium/orangery

The grounds in summer

Robert and Mildred again, I think I love this photo enough to post it on every post. Just look at Robert's pose, the moorish interior, the SNOWY OWL in the background . . . Through the doorway you can see the gold room, photos of it restored are in the previous post.

And just because every house needs its own postcards . . .

Sunday, September 8, 2013

and now for something completely different

More schoolhouse. More windows. Blah . . .
Wouldn't you prefer some pretty pictures instead?

This house is Baywood, the Alexander King estate in Pittsburgh. What is our relation to such a grand house you ask (at which I must take offence, as our house was once as grand, although a tad smaller)? John Gracey Kelly, the original owner of our home and founder of Braddock National Bank, sold our house to move into Baywood when his daughter Mildred married the King heir, Robert King.

Mildred and Robert, I am beyond in love with this photo
The Pittsburgh Press Jun 25, 1911

The Pittsburgh Press Nov 11 1911

I suppose that's a good reason to move, but wouldn't he be horrified to see what the chain of owners who followed him inflicted upon his beautiful home. When he sold the house he also divided and sold off the additional lots that comprised the estate, resulting in a row of smaller foursquares being built down the hill we once presided over.

it's funny that the maid's rooms didn't count . . .

Baywood fell into disrepair much like our own home. Following Robert's death in the 50's (and after a failed attempt to raze it via eminent domain) it was left to the city for use as a facility for nonprofits, and after years of hard use was bought and restored, in what must have been a parade of the best of the best craftsmen in the region. Aiding the restoration were 28 glass slides and stereoscope images of the interior at the turn of the century, a find which (for me) is the stuff dreams are made of (I tried and failed to find photos of the slides). We've attempted to contact the current owners in the hopes that they have uncovered additional photos or information relating to Mr. Kelly, but alas, have never heard back. But, if you happen to have 2 million burning a hole in your pocket, Baywood can be yours (just please invite me over for tea, I promise to wash the grime off my hands before petting the woodwork and wallpaper)!

If you're interested in the listing or reading more about the history and restoration check out:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

the two towers

In a previous post I made a joke about house value being calculated by the number of gables one has. I was mistaken, it's actually based on the number of towers.

Although work has been going slowly, the guts are all there - the walls, roof and cupola are all just waiting for shingles and siding. While the bell tower will be slated, the rest of the roof will just be asphalt (can't have it all I guess). Luckily, we have enough in store for the tower that I'm fairly certain it'll be all that anyone notices, and if their eyes do wander, the oak carriage house doors will take care of that! Nevermind that the "doors" currently consist of an antique shop drawing, a box of hardware, a mountain of discarded oak flooring and some filthy barn track. I wouldn't be surprised if they're one of those DIY blogger projects that ends up looking far more lovely in photos than in person . . . On the other hand, I'm also convinced that I have superpowers and am invincible - so we'll see how it plays out.

check out those rafter tails!

Our bell has also been doted upon over the past week. It was in such nice shape I had intended only on going over it with a brass brush before painting it, but when the brush gummed up I realized that the bell had been painted in several thick layers of white latex house paint (enough so that I joked the bell was an inch smaller in diameter). I used several coats of chemical stripper (actually heavy duty adhesive remover that I had left over and would never use again now that nearly all of the glue down carpet has been removed from the house) and thankfully revealed no cracks, just a nice beaded detail that had been completely lost under the paint. The writing on the yoke is now easy to read as well, the yoke did get painted out in red, as that did appear to be the original color. The bell was cast in Hillsboro Ohio in 1886 by C.S. Bell, with the scraping and painting it should be maintenance free for the next hundred years (assuming no one steals it again, or lets the building collapse on top of it).

I'm nearly done with the windows, and rather miraculously finished the stained glass window yesterday. The window itself cleaned up surprisingly well given how much damage it had (the muntins were all individually glued and clamped, and the checked wood filled with epoxy wood filler), and I got each piece of glass perfect on the first try - a small miracle when working with textured glass. The glazing itself is rather pathetic, but I know when to pick my battles.

apparently I forgot to take a picture of the actual window,
so my mock up for color and placement will have to do...