Frank Lloyd Wright Quote

"Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union"

Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bye Bye Bunnies!

It's not that I have anything against those fuzzy, long-eared, carrot-munching rodents. It's their dusty little cousins that I can't stand. Whenever I sweep my floors, I end up having to pick the dust bunnies out of the broom bristles. Well, not any more.

Broom Groomer Dustpan
I just got my new Broom Groomer dustpan from Quirky, a social product development company.  It's got a row of teeth that comb out the dust bunnies so you don't have to pick them out by hand.  It also has a couple other really nice features.  The handle is designed so you step on it to hold the dustpan in place so you don't have to bend over.  It's also got a rubber lip on the leading edge that eliminates that little line of dust that lesser dustpans leave behind.

A community of over 340 people came together  (including myself) to design the Broom Groomer, just as they do every week for other products at  You should check it out; it's pretty cool stuff.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dining Room Wainscott Progress Report

Wainscott and Plate Rail Installed

I got motivated to do some work in the dining room. I literally got more done in the past two days than I have in the past two years! Seeing Bungalowcious' finished interior really got me wanting to finish this thing already.

I spent about 9 hours on Saturday getting all of the new moulding cut and installed. Now it's just a matter of filling nail holes, priming, and painting. I'm hoping to be 100% done with the dining room by the end of the year.
Bungalow Dining Room Under Construction
Here's a shot of the other corner. Notice that two sets of the window sashes still need to be sanded and painted. I'm not looking forward to doing that in this cold weather.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back Door Strike Plate

Missing Strike Plate
 The back door of the bungalow originally had a strike plate for a mortised lockset, but it was long ago filled in and made to work for a modern door latch.  The repair filler had cracked and allowed the strike plate to loosen, and it eventually fell off completely.
Some of the tools needed
Since I happen to have plenty of the Abatron WoodEpox left over from my window sill restoration, I used it to fill in the old hole and provide a fresh start.

WoodEpox is a two-part epoxy dough that you can use to restore rotten or missing wood.  It has the consistency of Play-Doh, but when it cures it is very hard and lightweight.  The gloves pictured are worn while kneading the two parts together.  The screwdriver is for digging out the old filler, and the putty knife is for smoothing the new filler before it hardens.  I forgot to include a 1" chisel for cutting the mortise for the strikeplate and a drill for predrilling holes for the two mounting screws, as well as a 1" spade bit for cutting a hole for the latch.

Hole Filled with WoodEpox
Here you can see that I've filled in the old hole with the Abatron. Take your time to get it as smooth as possible, since this stuff is very hard when cured and you can't just sand away large bumps or irregularities.

I let the WoodEpox cure overnight and then used a 1" chisel to cut a mortise for the new strikeplate. After 24 hours the epoxy is semi-cured to a point where it is hard, but not as hard as it's going to get. This makes it relatively easy to work with a chisel. Be sure the mortise fits the strikeplate precisely. A good tight mortise will add a significant amount of holding power to what the two screws will provide.

Here's the finished product after I drilled pilot holes for the screws and used a 1" spade bit for the latch hole.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back From the Abyss

I'm Baaaaaack!  Miss me?

You may have noticed that the blog got a redesign.  Well, that's not all I've been up to!  I'll have some fresh pictures and updates in the Dining Room, as well as some old posts from this summer that I never got around to writing.  So stay tuned; I'll have some new posts coming very soon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back Steps

I had an unexpected project come up this weekend that had to be started and finished by today.  
When I tore down my deck two years ago, I never got around to building a new set of stairs coming off the back of the house.  We are in the middle of doing a refinance, and the appraiser made our appraisal contingent upon a set of stairs being built.  This weekend.  Crap; my normal process of spending weeks, if not months, planning something in my head was out the window.  I had to improvise.

Here's what I came up with.  Not bad for about 8 hours work, if I do say so myself. (and I do.)

New Back Steps
As you can see, the floor joists still need a little cleaning up.  I'll get to it, really.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Party at the Bungalow!

Block Party Today!

We're having a block party on NE 58th between Siskiyou and Stanton from noon 'till 8:00 PM on Sunday, July 25.

There'll be a band, water wars, and BBQ in the streets.

I'm hoping to meet some of you in person, so stop by and don't be shy.

Our house is 3007, about mid-block on the west side of the street

See you there!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Musings from a nine year-old


My nine year-old had me in stitches yesterday when she said, and I quote:

"Do you think Riley's favorite color is black, or white?"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spray Paint

Terry Border, of Bent Objects fame, has posted an image that not only do I love, but it ties in with the theme of this blog. Click over to his site and check out "Spray Paint". While you're there, spend an hour or two looking through his old posts. He's a creative genius.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

2nd Annual Bungalow Blog Tour

Welcome to the 1916 Portland Bungalow! I've been racking my brain trying to come up with something interesting to post here today. I figured it would be best to talk about something that I know a lot about, preferably an area in which I can truly call myself an "Expert". Then it dawned on me...

Gallery of Unfinished Projects

There have been a lot of projects started around here in the past 4 years, but not too many that I can truly call "Finished". Here are just a few things that have fallen victim to the 80/20 rule at the 1916 Portland Bungalow.

This is where our 1948 O'keefe & Merritt stove will go. Now that I finished hooking up the vent-a-hood, this is the last thing before I can call the kitchen done.
Dining Room
The dining room still needs the windows to be finished and the rest of the wainscotting and plate rail installed.
This is how the kitchen sink drains.  Luckily for me the utility sink sits directly below the kitchen sink.  It's been in this 'temporary' configuration for three years now!
No pictures of this, but I have a full run of ductwork that runs behind the kitchen cabinets that isn't hooked up to the furnace yet.

Back Yard
The fence is done being built, but still needs a coat of stain.  Also, the old deck was tied into the floor joists of the addition off the back of the house.  This addition is known as "The Hot Tub Room", because oddly enough, it has a hot tub in it!  It will eventually become a sun porch.
In the near-term, I need to do something with those exposed joists.
Previous Bungalow in tour: Northland Stories 
Next Bungalow in tour: Foxcroft

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm Venting Here

Who remembers the kitchen rebirth post?  Nobody?  Maybe that's because it was almost THREE YEARS AGO!!  So why is that such a big deal?  Because I've had my fancy new Vent-a-Hood range hood installed since then, but I had never gotten around to installing the actual vent, so it was nothing more than an overpriced overhead light.

Well... NOT ANYMORE!!!  I finally got around to installing the ductwork so I can now use the vent.

Step 1: Drill a small pilot hole all the way through your wall.  For this you'll need a very long drill bit - about a 12" x 1/4" bit is what I have.  Determine the center of your duct on the inside of your cabinet and then proceed to drill a hole all the way through your wall.  I know, it's a little unnerving.  Make sure you hold the drill perfectly perpendicular to the wall otherwise the hole you cut on the outside will not line up properly with the hole you cut on the inside.

Step 2:  Cut the siding.  Measure out from your pilot hole equal distances on all four sides, taking into account your vent size, plus any trim pieces you want to add.

I got lucky and set my circular saw depth perfectly on the first try (3/4").  It cut all the way through the siding, but left the tar paper untouched underneath.
 Step 3: Cut a hole through the exterior sheathing.  Make sure it is a little bigger than the duct you will be stuffing through it.  I used a combination of a jigsaw, sawzall, and a keyhole saw to get it done.  Don't forget to make sure there are no electrical wires or plumbing running through the space BEFORE you start cutting.
Step 4:  Cut a hole through the back of your cabinet and the interior wall.  Use the same method as you did on the exterior.  If you took your time, measured right, and are an expert with the saw, your holes will line up perfectly and will be about 1/4" bigger than the duct.  If you are like me, it will be a jagged mess that needs trimming until you can force the ductwork through without too much bending and warping.
Step 5: Install the vent and trim pieces.  My vent has a round duct that you stick through the hole you cut, and a square flange that gets nailed into the exterior sheathing.  I then use some brick moulding to surround it.  All gaps were caulked to keep the water out.

Step 6: Install the ductwork and caulk the hell out of it!
Now I can boil pasta without steaming up the kitchen windows, or grill chicken on the stovetop without setting off the smoke detectors. Yay!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Please, Fence Me In

The fence that my neighbor and I share was getting pretty rotten, so we finally decided to tear it down and build a new one.  I'm quite happy with the results!  While we were at it, I decided to tear down the one-year old fence along the back of my yard and use the leftover materials to make it match the side yard. To add some visual interest, we used copper post caps on each post, as well as clear cedar 1x4's horizontally to coincide with the 2x4's on the other side. That way the fence looks pretty much the same from both sides.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Basement Demolition Update

I've been trying to follow my slogan and get things done "10 minutes at a time" and it seems to be paying off in the basement.  It may not look like much, but since my last update I've managed to get all of the tile flooring ripped up (and disposed of in my weekly trash pickup), as well as removing the ceiling tiles and a good portion of the built-ins.
Unfortunately for me, the previous owners decided to do the brickwork properly instead of half-assed like the rest of the house.  Busting out the brick is reminding me that I'm not twenty anymore. ;-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

City Government Resources for Portland Residents

Since I seem to be gaining some traction on this whole basement remodel thing, I've been researching Portland's building codes, rules, and regulations.  Their website is a labyrinth of information, but I managed to find a few key URL's that will most definitely prove valuable to anyone wanting to do a basement or attic remodel "by the book".

Portland Online has a page for Converting to Living Space which has buried in it a link to a guide to Converting Attics, Basements and Garages to Living Space plus all the basics you need to know about the permitting process in Portland, Oregon.

I need to absorb all of the information on that page to see if I need to adhere to the new  stairway building codes, or whether mine will fall under the conversion rules.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spontaneous Progress!

Today out of nowhere came a spontaneous burst of motivation by not only myself, but both of the kids. I've been promising our 9-year old her own room for a long time now, and she sort of has one, but it is the guest room. The plan is for the guest room to go in the basement so the second main-floor bedroom can be our eldest daughter's own room with her own stuff in it.

So today myself and the girls got busy moving years worth of toys and miscellaneous crap out of the space that will eventually be the guest room.

Before we started

After about an hour of work

Now I realize that all we did was move a bunch of stuff from one room in the basement to another room, but at least I can start demo'ing the space now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

And the Mailbox Goes To...

Kelly Berggren!

As of midnight I had 30 followers. I used a random number generator which gave me 18 the time I ran it. I counted my followers from 1-18 in the order they display on the screen and Kelly is the lucky winner.

Congratulations Kelly, I hope you like the mailbox. I'll send you a message with instructions for claiming it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time is running out

If you want a chance at winning the very cool stainless steel mailbox I'm giving away, you need to add yourself as a follower of this blog soon! I'll be drawing the winner this coming Sunday night at midnight.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Latest Side Project

My blogging here has been sparse for quite some time for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I haven't done anything to the house.  I've also been busy building a new website that I hope will serve as inspiration to fellow classic home bloggers and remodelers.

New Classic Designs is the site, and it is meant to provide interior design ideas to anyone with an older home who wants to undertake a respectful remodel of their bungalow, foursquare, cottage, or other classic American home.

So far I only have pages for the Bungalowcious kitchen and basement bathroom, but I am looking for other finished rooms and also for interior designers who are looking to get more exposure.  If you have a high-end interior that you would like considered for the site, please drop me a line.

If you visit the site and like what you see, don't hesitate to tell your friends!  And if you're really feeling gracious, a link from your blog would be much appreciated. ;-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who wants a free mailbox?

I've got a mailbox to give away to one lucky reader!  The good people at have supplied me with one of their Ecco small brushed stainless steel wall-mount mailboxes as part of an internet promotion, and I get to give it away.

I also get to make up the rules, so here they are:

On February 1, 2010, I will randomly choose one person from my list of followers.  To add yourself to the list, just click the "Follow" tab in the upper-right portion of this page.  Do it now!  You'll have pretty good odds at getting yourself a free stainless steel mailbox that will look good on any front porch.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Trio of Reuse Ideas

I've been wanting to post this for a while, and since it's a new year I figured I should start blogging again, so here goes.

A good use for at least two of those flower vases that you have sitting around (because you buy your wife flowers so often...) can be put to good use.  One can become a plastic bag dispenser and the other can hold your dead batteries until you get a chance to recycle them.

You can also use an empty diaper genie container to hold strings of stuff like the bead garland from the Christmas tree.