Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm a Vulture... I'm not proud.

I have become a salvage vulture, encircling pending house demolitions, waiting to pick apart vintage bits for my own home's sustenance.

There are a few redevelopment projects going on around the University, and six houses between 1910 and 1932 are coming down. I have decided that free fits well into my budget, so I've swallowed any bit of pride and have begun essentially dumpster-diving for vintage building supplies! You can find me peering into the windows of vacant, neglected houses wondering "what did my trim look like again?" and "how many more doorknobs do I need?"

I was a little too late for two of the houses which have already come down to make room for a new three level apartment complex with some much needed retail across the street from campus. I had been inside each of these houses before when friends lived in them, so I knew what was salvagable in them. House #1, affectionatelly known to NDSU students as the 'Fiesta House' had a pretty nice staircase and three beveled glass windows (each had cracked panes) but much of the woodwork was either painted with gold spray paint (what?) or missing. House #2 was actually originally built as a 6 unit apartment building. The house had 1.5" oak hardwood floors and some nice radiators. The house had at least 18-20 pristine light oak 5-panel doors. Try to hold back the tears, fellow bloggers. I know I've read that some of you have been searching for those. There were two leaded-glass windows and about a dozen original art deco light fixtures and wall sconces. There was one nice entry door with a large beveled glass window that would have worked in my house, but other than that the rest wouldn't have worked for me. I have two panel doors. It just sucks that most of that ended up in a scrap pile of wood splinters. I could have grabbed some of those storm windows too.

There are four houses that are about to meet the same fate, and I'm thinking I need to get moving! I've included a photo so you can get an idea of the types of places I've been 'casing'. I, ashamedly, have done some window peeping and found that at least one of the houses has my same windows, doors, trim, and doorknobs. Score! I paid a visit today to the development company that owns the buildings, but their office was closed. I'm going back tomorrow to try again, but it might come down to a little 'secret salvage' if they aren't around their office the next couple days! I can see it now in the headlines "Catburglar Nabbed in Doorknob Heist". My parents will be proud.

I checked up on the sinks at Lowes a couple days ago, and there's a little bad, but mostly good news. The $25 Kohler self-rimming sink retails for $230, and the $30 American Standard pedistal sink top retails for $200. Bad news... This requires me to special order in the $160 pedistal leg! Aaah!!! I could have bought a whole bargain pedistal sink for less. But, as my Dad put it, buyers will pay more for the high-end fixtures. I love the sink though, so I suppose it will be ok. I've decided to do white wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls and white hex-tile on the floor in the powder room, and that sink is just going to rock. It's the first thing you see as you enter the room, so it's kind of the focal point.

I just want to hurry up closing and get started already! I have my roommates all lined up already and they all want to get moving in as soon as possible. All I'm thinking about is how long it's going to take to get the house ready for them to move in. I'm going to be so embarrassed if they have to move in and it's still a gigantic dump-hole.

For now I'll just continue being a scavanger!


carol said...

Many housebloggers will tell you to NOT ask the builder/developer for the windows and house parts you want. The legal people tell them NOT to for liability issues. Lotsa times, for the same reasons, they can't/won't sell it to you either. Just take it and they will look the other way. If you get hurt or lead poisoned or some such "accident", since it was a theft, they are not responsible.

Sandy said...

You should have been a writer. Funny stuff (the part about Catburglar Nabbed had me rolling in the floor). Carol is right about take it and they will look the other way.