bungalow blog

It is a simple house. Built in 1926, in a modest working-class neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. It’s a basic as it gets, staking out barely more than 700 square feet of American Dream. A bungalow. Over the past 80 years, previous owners had stripped most of its historic features in the name of progress. When I took the keys to my first home, with my father's help, we took on the challenge of returning the house to its original style and spirit.

Name:
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

UNCONVERING THE FIREPLACE WIRING


Flipping through my stack of library books, I admire the small lights above the fireplaces. Often small leaded glass shades, they cast an amber glow, joining the warm of the crackling fire.

I tell Dave that I want to wire the wall so I can put two lights on either side of the fireplace. He says—sure, we can do that. I draw on the drywall with my pencil the location I’d like to see the lights. Well, he says, let’s get the rest of that dry wall off while we’re at it. When we finish, to our surprise, there is already a hole in the plaster wall and an old outlet with two thick wires wrapped in electrician tape. I’ll be damned, we mutter. Whaddya know?

Sadly, there is no hole opposite the first. Looks like we’ll have to do some original wiring after all.

A week or so passes, my wall gaping open with the cement drying, my 1926-2005 peeking out of the shadow, and the one lone light outlet. My dad comes over to see the progress. I am pointing out the old light socket we uncovered, and pointing at the wall where I’d like to put the other one, when my finger pushes through the plaster. At that spot the plaster is thin. I poke more and peel away. Sure enough, there is the twin outlet.

for the first time, fortune has turned. I feel as if the house has one or two secrets its been holding, just waiting for the right person to find it.

Maybe that’s silly—maybe houses don’t hold secrets. Maybe they do. At least, for those who look, who uncover, rather than cover up, there are certainly a few pleasant surprises. Dave tests the wires; they are hot. When the cement dries, we’ll cover the wall again, good as new, and return lights where they had been meant to shine.

7 Comments:

Blogger Byagi said...

I think they hold secrets. Especially older ones. How can you last that long and not have a few untold stories?

7:36 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I am excited about using my new wood stove but I am lost as to how to install this thing wood stoves

1:30 PM  
Blogger mix said...

Hey whats going on with your place? You're one of the first people I've stumbled across that is doing a blog of their remodel in N PDX. It would be great to see some updates. I'm in the middle a similar project as well. I bought my place slightly before you did and am still working on it.

1:56 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...

There was a brief mention of your blog in the Oregonian last week:

http://www.repdx.com/2007/04/12/remodel-blogs-modern-day-support-groups/

9:58 AM  
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