Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I (we) have not opened, ok I did open so should say, unpacked any boxes this week. They are a looming albatross. I hate them.
Then, with a teething cranky baby in the house... well, not much sleep either. The kaptain has almost finished the first pocket door. Not much news otherwise.

Are we there yet?

z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z....packing sucks... z z z z z z z z z z z z z

Friday, August 26, 2005

Architectural input

Josiah shows great promise as an architect. I think we need some of his touch here! I certainly think he would enjoy the secret room in the basement, there may be a red dragon protecting its fortune in there.

Secret room = the doorway that has been mostly cemented shut and through the area we can peek we think we see treasures of times past... OK, just a hints of a bicycle from what looks like the fifties if we go by the handle bars.

Historic Registries

This house is on three of them

a good thing (?)

Those $2000 windows repair/replacement I mentioned in an earlier post (the one just before this you blog readers that want links to the references, sometimes I wish blogs could be a bit wiki)... well, there may be a competative grant process early next year. At least that is what I was told when I called to let the cities Historic Preservation Program know that we are the new owners.

Mood swings

It is so strange living in an old house. I am not sure if it is because there are so few here or if it is the same with all old home owners... but (and it is a big BUT), I find myself going through these incredible mood swings about it. Most of the time I am so exstatic about living here. It is a one of a kind, it has a history that is precious to me, it has withstood this harsh desert for the same amount of time as has my family. Then we get quotes of $2000 per window for replacement (we have either 12 or 20 windows depending on how they count it), there are galvanized steel pipes that may need replacement, there is all that horendous paint to strip off to return the wood to a glorious state. And then I get a sense of shock... "Oh My Goodness, what in the world did we get ourselves into".

Then I sit near the pool or on the front porch and those dollar signs and the amount of hard labor that this place needs seems to fade away into a doable sort of feeling. I do really love this house and all teh mysteries it has within its walls and history.

I don't think I could really have said it any better than what was said over at the Big Yellow House. (though we don't have the 7 children, I could certainly get a bunch here, we also do not need a house jack).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The marble fireplace


So I was looking through the pictures that my brother had sent from when he went to check out the house with his two sons... anyway, this looked like a good one to highlight first. This is the living room fireplace. The story, near as we can tell... is that in the 40's the fancy schmancy lady that lived here brought it (and the central hall chandelier) to the house from Italy. It is rather lovely and has a crack in it. It is also, we have been told, inoperable because it is missing a flue or something like that, though this is a desert and there is not all that much of a call for a fireplace, but then we do actually turn on our heaters in winter here so who knows, we may have a burn day and light it up.
Chris and I have debated about fixing in, or turning it into a gas fireplace... loads of discussion that is really rather irrelevant until we manage to unpack more.
So, we are unpacking, and we did make a dent in the mountain last night, but as I sat back and looked at it, I decided that I had overestimated my previous guess as to completion and that perhaps we are now actually truly really at the 15%... it is rather unfortunate that over half is hiding in the basement... there is so much truth to the old adage out of sight out of mind...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Our very own Flickr badge

Featuring the house...

My brother sent me a bunch of photographs he took before we moved in... So, for your viewing pleasure...

Chris and I plan on highlighting an area every day or so and explain what you are looking at.

Confusing, I know. But I wanted to get the before pictures up ASAP... Seeing as I can write up one for my 2:00AM feeding and feel like I may be ahead of the game.

You spin me round, right round like a BROKEN record baby

Someday soon, I will have to take you all on a tour of the jimmy-rigged portions of this house.
It can be quite amusing.

Though not as amusing as one thinks when one might wake up in a sweat at 2:30 am (this is a desert in August folks, quite hot at night) and try to turn on the ceiling fan only to discover that it only runs on "I will spin so fast in a vain attempt to create a frozen hell (insert evil laugh here)" HIGH via the light dimmer switch it is attached to? OK, I don't think Squink found it all that funny either as we both seem to have been built to be able to survive in a frozen tundra with the amount of body heat we put out when we sleep. The Schatz (aka Chris) rests comfortably (insert expletive here).

N.B. apologies offered in advance for temperamental post, but I have been up for an hour now and it is 3:00 AM!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stripping paint off old trim - Our How To Guide

OK, here is what we do to remove the build up of paint off out doors and trim:

  • Use tons of the chemical that strips it off (We have ACE hardware backordered I believe)
  • Dremmel tools are your friend for intricate pieces
  • Invest in a good electric hand sander
And most important of all...
  • Get yourself a Kaptain Kaos - because we sure could not do this without him.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Why is it that if you throw away a whole ton of stuff when you are packing to leave a house...
You still find yourself asking "Why in the hell did I pack this" as you unpack in the new house?

Also, why is it that the boxes have gone forth and multiplied? Surely, we did not pack this many boxes!

I unheart packing and unpacking...

So, we have one pocket door panel finished... and interesting note here is that all of this trim is supposed to be mahogany right, well, some "pieces" are pine... I am assuming that these are replacement parts... and yes, so far we have purchased mahogany to fix this silly pine thing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 likes us


Hi Blair (edit),

Congratulations, your website titus house is now a member of the HouseBlogs
Webring. Your site now appears in the member list. Within the next 24 hours,
excerpts of your future entries will also begin to appear on the
home page.

To finish enrolling your site, you now need to take the following steps:
3. (edit)
That's it! Let us know if you have any questions and thanks for contributing
to the HouseBlogs community!


Best wishes,

The (edits) are things you just don't need to see...

Maybe it took a while because I kept saying must be the packing!

Monday, August 15, 2005

So close

We have almost vacated the old house. I left a bunch of dishes in the dishwasher that I forgot to get. I am sorta sad as I will miss many things about that house in many ways.

Yes, that slate floor is the main one.
I had my first child there... or at least spent 17 weeks waiting at the front window for him to arrive... I mentioned this to Chris the other day and he pointed out the picture window and asked if I would miss the fights at that house or the memories of the dirt at that house and so on... I told him that even though I spent a long time looking out that very same window, that I was pretty sure that what, in the end, I would miss more, was just the view of our yard from that window. The birds playing in the sprinklers or in the pools of water... the gorgeous Palo Verde trees that were directly in front... I became close to that sight... it was what I saw for a long time (as in days in a row) and it became a part of me.

BUT... I am thrilled to have a gorgeous house!

We spent the first night in a hotel near the new old house. It is nice not having to unpack after all that packing, though I am fully aware that we have the mounds of boxes waiting for us when we do get there.

mounds and mounds of boxes...


Where would I start?

The only boxes that are labeled are the ones I did or the ones I reminded Chris to do, so I feel like I am in for a surprise when it come s to that.

Also, what is an acceptable amount of time to unpack? 3 weeks? 3 months? 3 years?

I just can't wait till I can get in and work on the house!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A brief discourse on stripping


As I have mentioned before, there is some pretty trim, however it is usually hiding under at least 112 years worth of paint....
So, Kaptain Kaos is undertaking the stripping and refinishing... of pieces like this...

Here you can see what Kaptain Kaos has done with the wood...

I just have to show you what is going on with the doors... a during picture if you will... ignore the date, we have yet to set the correct date on Kaptain Kaos' digital camera.

This is a door mid process... I can only thank our lucky stars to have the wonderful help of Kaptain Kaos.

Kaptain Kaos also took a fabulous picture of the house from the front, so this is the New Casa.

Packing and more packing

Well, I am taking a break.

I am nearing the end of the tunnel as far as packing my current home is.

I will miss this house, I have the most incredible slate floor, there are many memories here, most of them overshadowed by the 17 weeks of bed rest I was on and my staring at gackles and all sorts of assorts animal life in our downtown hood.

However, I am so very excited to be moving to this home!

I guess that today I will introduce you to our chandelier.

From what I can tell from the records I have on the house a pretty fancy lady had it put in the forties, but I am not sure I buy it.

See, if you look where it is hanging from the ceiling, it looks like it may be falling, but... If you were here we might take you up to the attic so you could see the mechanism to raise and lower it (though it is August here and it would not be all that pleasant an experience)... That mechanism, I must say looks pre 1940... Though I guess that doesn't mean that she could not have bought an antique then... And replaced a candelabra... The good news that while it is not in absolutely perfect shape, it is in pretty good shape and I think I only need to find one little piece of glass to fix it.

Oh, just thinking!

Friday, August 12, 2005

For the most part, this is the layout of the house, not including the additions and the porches.

Molding and or trim

So, I just have to show you this picture of the door trim that has been stripped. In this picture you can see that the pocket door (which is currently being painstakingly "stripped" by Kaptain Kaos our assistant) is still white. As I get more time I will introduce you to the house.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I plan on proving them wrong!

I got this email from
I am feeling a little disappointed, but plan on proving them very wrong! I built this blog two months ago in anticipation, I have tons of posts pending... So, their webmaster will see that we mean business...

From: HouseBlogs Webmaster
Date: 2005/08/11 Thu PM 10:33:48 EDT
Subject: Re: [HouseBlogs Webring] Join request
Blair, thanks for your interest in joining. For folks like yourself that are just getting started blogging, we typically wait a short while until you've established some entries. This allows us to confirm you'll be actively maintaining the site, as we try to avoid having a lot of members sites that are just one or two posts and then abandoned.

I'll circle back in a while and then approve your site once you've written a bit more.


Too bad my other blogs don't count for anything!

This incredible house!

This wonderful historic house is now all ours. We move in next Thursday!

We are so very fortunate that this house is ours. It really found us!

I was on bed rest at this time last year, when a friend of mine came to visit me. My husband happened to be home and overheard her talking about her friend that owned this wonderful old home in Scottsdale. I knew in an instant which house it was. I said "I have always loved that house". My husband knew which one it was and said "tell your friend that if she ever wants to sell, we want to buy it". Neither of us thinking it would ever come to be.

about 5 months after this conversation (and one gorgeous little boy coming into our lives) I am back at work and I get an email that said "My friend is ready to sell, here is her number".
I jumped for joy and called my husband right away with the news. He was there that very afternoon meeting with the then owner. She definitely wanted to sell! We definitely wanted to buy. The trouble, how do we go from a small bungalow in downtown to a once upon a time mansion in Scottsdale... We were lucky, we came in when the market was great and actually were able to sell our house and our investment house and then make the payments on this special house!

This whole process has taken months, we love the house, it is incredibly special and we have already started stripping off the paint from the inside molding/trim (the last owner let us start these projects too) and discovered some of the most beautiful wood in the world! Mahogany!
So, from this post forward, you can learn about our wonder trials and tribulations as the very proud new owners of this awesome house!

I am still somewhat in awe, I have loved this house ever since I was a little girl and would drive past it with my grandmother. This house has been in this state almost as long as my family. It all just feels so right for me!

Saturday, August 06, 2005