Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My other passion

I have another blog that highlights my other passion - fiber/needlework/Victorian macrame.

it's here:

Finally, pictures!

My wonderful, wonderful boyfriend took some pictures of the house for me:

Here it is - an American Ugly as one friend jokingly calls it. Note the 41 windows. I really love my corner windows. The light inside the house is lovely. I'm so grateful the flippers put blinds on all of them. :)

Here is a close up of one of the two porch lights. There's one on either side of the door. These are original to the house! The picture in the upper right corner of the blog is the front light. It's original, too. Those are three metal pine cones shaped over the glass. It can't be seen well but there's also a pine cone knob at the top of the light. This is one of my favorite things about the house!

Here's the fireplace. It's kind of hard to see the detail under that white paint. The hearth is red underneath the black paint the flippers used. I'm guessing that the fireplace was originally unpainted. It looks like there's only one coat of paint on the brick. The screen was a gift from my bf, who noticed that it's decorated with metal pine cones and nicely evokes the pine cone theme of the outside light. It's a good thing one of us picks up details. I am totally Ok with him having better taste than me.
That's me, modelling a hat that I'd just recieved from a friend that day. I have an impressive wardrobe of hats now, all from knitting friends. :) That's my living room. I love my floors. The flippers did a great job. See all that light streaming in through 3 of the 41 windows? :)

Yep, still unpacking.

That gorgeous old bungalow

Right at the edge of the south western most part of the city is a gorgeous old bungalow. It looks, at least to my untrained eye, like a real Arts and Crafts type place, complete with river stone worked into the chimney and front porch. It has narrow little windows that remind me of Frank Lloyd Wright inspired houses. Unfortunately, it's rotting. Some of the windows are boarded up, the porch flooring has obviously seen much better days, and the surrounding property is unkempt. Oddly enough, there's a newish looking antenna attached to the chimney.

I was wondering about this place to a friend of mine and was told that attempts had been made by some local folks to buy the place from the owner who lives in one of the local projects. The story goes that the woman refused to sell, saying to let the place rot. Said friend and I figured that there had to be a story behind that and I promptly forgot about it.

I was reading the latest architectural review board guidelines this morning and was surprised to learn that the historic district actually extends as far as the south western most part of the city. This also happens to be a poorer area, which is probably why there aren't many restored houses to be seen. It occurred to me that maybe the renovation standards required by the city are beyond the means of the owner and is the reason that lovely old bungalow is rotting.

There's a kind of beautiful irony in that.

Monday, October 8, 2007

and by the way... case the previous entry wasn't an indicator, the chemo ick has gone. :)

More sides to the story...

The historic district - I have been avoiding naming it but anyone from the Roanoke area knows it's "Old South West" - is ever interesting to me because of the model it provides for what could happen in my own neighborhood.

A friend who rents an apartment in OSW was telling me the story of how OSW was being destroyed, and I don't believe this is too strong a word, by slum lords who were buying up old Victorian houses and chopping them up into sub-standard housing. Crime was rampant and lovely old historic buildings were being torn up. The neighbors were in agreement that designating the district historic would save those old houses and the neighborhood. Here is a link to an article at written by a local man who lives in the Historic District. I've read a few of his online articles and frankly find him strident much of the time, but I think this particular piece is pretty well said in terms of how that designation has created a class rift in OSW.

It's a tough call. Gentrification is something that is obviously happening in Roanoke and it can really be seen in OSW. I really hope that Mr McCLure at the Journal is proved wrong and that the ARB doesn't end up running the elderly and working class folks out of the city. The neighborhood plan as seen here:

shows that the ultimate goal is to eliminate multifamily housing and establish only single family dwellings. Having seen this happen in Philly back in the 80s, it means that lower income residents will have to move elsewhere, which means that the artists, poets, and other artistic types will leave. The heart of a city is its residents, and its soul is the artists and creative thinkers.

Anyway, back to my friend, who according to the OSW neighborhood plan will soon need to look elsewhere for affordable city living. Said friend is grateful for the lovely homes and safer neighborhood. I have to ask, however, couldn't this goal have been attained by enforcing already existing laws? The historic designation is a tidy way around what had to be some very messy battles with the local slum lords but at what cost?

It will be interesting to see how things play out. In the meantime, I've already started attending neighborhood meetings and have decided to go ahead and paint my porch door in some kind of artistic statement. Maybe I'll get a single Leisure Suit Window and take my time restoring the rest of my old funky glass single hungs.

here is a link to the neighborhood planning page for Roanoke: