Saturday, May 08, 2010

2nd Annual Bungalow Blog Tour

Hello folks,

Welcome to Foxcroft, a late 1920's bungalow set in University Heights, Iowa. I'm Mike, your host. I live here with my family.

A little about us:

We are the second family to live in our home. We owned the house for a year before beginning to restore it. We had the incredible opportunity in that time to get to know the daughter of the builder during her final year she lived here as our life tenant. Helen passed away in December of 2004 at age 93. She was 18 when she moved in with her widowed mother in September of 1928.

Helen and her mother, Bess, 1929.

We started work to make it our home in 2005. We have had the privilege of keeping much of the historical documents that came with the house: daily journals of both Bess and Helen, and amazing photo albums, including pictures of the house under construction:

And original interior photos

The big project we embarked upon was taking the entirely unfinished second floor...


2005 (before we started working on it)

...and putting in three bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room and sitting room. We also added a gable to the rear of the house. Here is the interior of the new gable this morning.

We used salvage materials (the bookcases, door, picture rail and casing above) as well as the original blueprints to match trim, etc.

Perhaps the single best day of our renovation was here:

A Little Off the Top, Please

Lately my big projects have been outside. Bess and Helen by themselves built a cement fish pool in 1933.

More photos of their work are here: Digging the pool.

The pool was completely filled in some time in the 1960's. Over the past couple years We excavated and and now have it working again. We added a small waterfall:

Last summer we also built a pergola and patio of mostly salvaged materials. Here it is as used for our youngest daughter's birthday party in September:

A particularly interesting part was lifting up the very heavy cement columns. My partner in crime during this adventure is a fellow teacher and the lead builder of our upstairs. Our two families have been friends for over 25 years:

Here is a walkthrough of the entire pergola project:

We sincerely hope you've enjoyed your visit here, but sure to leave a comment or question if there's anything more you'd like to know. Feel free to poke around and snoop in the closets, etc.

If you wandered here not due to the online house tour, be sure to check out the other stops:

Next House on the Blog Tour: Stuccohouse
Previous House on the Blog Tour: 1916 Portland Bungalow


StuccoHouse said...

I just love reading the history of your house. I'm pretty sure if I had all of those old diaries & photos of my house...I'd have to quit my job and just stay at home and read them :) Your upstairs looks original...

denise said...

Yes, I've loved reading the history of your place too. We're still friends with our PO so we can get some background info from him (we used to live 2 doors away before we bought the house from him), but he moved there in the '60s, so I wish I had more history from the previous PO.

And I just love your pergola--great job!

BlackDog's Photographer said...

I have to say I'm just a little bit jealous of all the old photos you have of your home. It sure is fun to look through them. Love the little pond you've renovated. Nice feature.

Josh said...

I enjoyed following your pergola progress last summer-- it's a project I'd like to tackle someday and yours is gorgeous. I love all the historic photos & journals, too.

cristina said...

I've been following you for years--can't believe what you've accomplished. You and Stucco put us all to shame. Amazing!

Mike said...

Thank you all for such warm comments. I can't believe the good fortune we've had these past 5 years.

The whole idea of buying a home on an uncertain time line with MAJOR restoration tasks, two small children and 2 working parents was fraught with peril. The fact that we did it and are still an intact family is a testament to the strength and character of my oh so patient wife, Lisa.

Neighmond said...

You got all the goods with that one! I think I drove past it when I went down to the school last year-it's even prettier in person.

Cat@BudgetBlonde said...

I love all the vintage photos!!! I'll definitely be checking back to your blog!!