Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bath Tub Doors and Original House Layout

I'm going to start with the bathroom in the original house. We had a problem - the glass shower doors. We'd had the doors custom made years ago and we liked them. At first, we'd been diligent about using the squeege on the glass after showers as we have hard water. Well, it wasn't long before the squeege went by the wayside. I mean who wants to stand in the shower and clean windows? I didn't want to show the house with the calcium caked glass doors. They were awful looking.

So we bought a product specifically to remove lime and calcium. Then we bought another product and another until we had ten bottles. We even got one from a glass company. Don't bother buying those products that promise "they get off calcium and lime." We did find that if you take a razor and carefully scrape at the glass you can get some of the scum off. Labor intensive! An hour to do a little patch. And if you scratch the glass you're screwed anyway. My advice, and this is what we did, go to your local glass company and have them remove the glass and put in new. Costs a bit over $300 in Los Angeles, but it was so worth it. I know, some of you are thinking "why not buy new?" We looked and most shower doors were cheesy looking and to totally replace with installation it would have been about $800. They look great. We also had the bathtub, which is the original tub, refinished and it looks good too.
(This fuller shot of shower doors shows tiles sort of yellow, but they are white, white, just due to camera the color.)

The tiles in the old bathroom are white interspersed with little atomic symboled tiles. Years ago, when we were doing this bathroom. I called around and found a potter who would make the atomic tiles for me. Pink and turquoise atomic symbols. At the time, I thought how much can it cost for a few tiles? Well, they cost more than all the rest of the manufactured tiles, but I love them. And to be honest, they weren't as costly as some tiles you find in the tile stores. So if you have an idea for a specific set of tiles find a good pottery person.

Now, I'm going to try to explain the layout of the original house. Please bear with me. First, is a shot of the entry hallway with the picture taken inside the house facing the front door.
See you can look out at the street. Behind me, not in the picture is the glass door out to the patio. On the wall there you can see the original furnace, gas heater. This heater is the bomb. It heats up the house to the point where Steve complains that it is too hot. Personally, on cold days, I love to walk into the house and feel a blast of heat envelope me.

In the foreground of the picture to the left side, you see a hallway which leads to the bedrooms and bath of old house and in the front of that hallway is a folding door that goes from floor to ceiling to close off this room you can't see - a room I use as a computer room. This folding door is a door Gregory Ain designed and installed in these houses so that the room could function as another bedroom when the wall is closed. Originally, he had wanted this to be a wall that slide over to where the furnace is now, but by code the city had said no as the wall would have covered the furnace and been a fire hazard.

Here are two shots of the writing room, where the folding walls can close it off to become a bedroom. When I bought the house the bookcase was not there nor were the original built-ins. I needed a bookcase, but the closet and built-ins could be copied from ones in back to restore this part. And you can see the door that opens for when the wall is shut. The door leads to the hall and back bedrooms. To the left of Steve in picture is the glass door and hall going out to patio.

If you are at the front door coming in and you turn to your left, you go into the kitchen.

The open doorway next to the fridge is where the old door and window combo was located. We moved the whole section of glass and door straight back when we did the addition. (This is where Steve planted the palms outside - see earlier blog chapter). And here is a picture of my old O'Keefe & Merritt Stove from the 1950's.

The cabinet to the right of the stove is original as are the cupboards above which you can see in the next shot.

The stove which works great, I found at The Boy's & Girl's Club in Venice. They have a man named Ali who used to work for Westinghouse who refurbishes stoves, washers, dryers, and fridges. I stopped at his workshop one day and he had two of these old stoves. He fixed it up for me and Steve went and got it. Very heavy and finely made, needs a bit of cosmetic work, but totally cool. Cost under $200.
Here is a picture, I hope this pops up in the right place when I publish the blog, of the built-in table in the kitchen. I was standing by the sink when I shot this picture. This table and the little bump up at the left of pic are original. Originally, they were covered in dark brown formica of the kind available in the late 40's. When I first bought this house in the late 80's, I did it all in
black and white, thus the look of this tile. Above the table are original shelves and that square thing is a light. Above the shelves are original cabinets with glass doors. There were wood doors, but when a neighbor was throwing out the old glass (not original) I got them and replaced the wooden sliders (easy to make if one wants the original ones.) This glass matches glass near kitchen entrance which was original. On the living room side at the top of shelf there is a thin opening where once venetian blinds could be dropped down and under the table is a hinged piece of wood that drops down so the kitchen could be closed off from the living room. Again, Ain's concept was to make rooms take on different configurations.
A shot of Dylan crouching under the table - like "What's going on?"

A picture looking from hallway by living room to addition - you can see through the livingroom and outside to the left is the new addition. The windows in the addition mirror the ones in the original house and have the same hardware.

Shots of livingroom from a different angles.

Now start at front door again, past the heater and take a right down the hall. First to the left is the old bathroom with bathtub in one room and toilet in small adjoining room. Then further down hall are the two bedrooms or one large bedroom depending on whether you move Ain's original sliding wall.

You can just see the edge of the sliding wall on the right side of picture.

Picture taken from small bedroom looking into bigger bedroom with the sliding wall open.
Note the top wood frame where the sliding wall pushes into place.
In the small bedroom, we have a dresser and no beds. There is an original closet and built-ins with the original knobs.

This smaller bedroom looks out onto the back yard and there is a little patio.

Again, looking from smaller room toward bigger bedroom (we leave the wall open and have an L shaped room). This room with the bed has windows facing the street. Note more built-ins and closets - all original - including original round wood knobs. (I saved the kitchen knobs and they could be put back on. - That's right never throw anything original away!)

I have left the wall partially opened so you can see how it works. Then from this room a door is revealed. And from this doorway you can see the hall and where the door is open into the writing room. The built-ins and sliding wall were part of Gregory Ain's design as he wanted to make the home flexible - you can create different spaces. The built-ins were also great because you could move in with very little furniture. Parents could have the big room and a nursery right next to their room with the door open or later closed when the child was bigger. The room, I call a writing room, with the folding wall closed could also be another bedroom, or with the wall open a den, family room, or whatever the person needed.

Next edition of the blog will show the new addition in relation to the original house.
(The server went down today when I was doing this blog and I had to start again - it was so frustrating! Just saying this so you will know this blog is really a labor of love for the Ain home.)



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