Friday, October 9, 2009

This Old House

A picture of our house in 1988.

Thought I would finally introduce you to my house today. It's drizzly, it's cold, and Aaron is absent from school today. My goodness, I've got uninterrupted time on my hands! I can't remember the last time this happened.

I started cleaning out my desk, and found my old photo albums. That lead to one thing after another...without further's the house. I'll introduce you room by room over the next few months ok?

The first picture at the top really isn't a good representation of when we first bought the house. We'd already done some work on it at that point. The following picture IS a good representation of the back of my house. Remember my sis-in-law that came by last weekend? That's her there! (Sorry Sherie. Love the socks.). She helped us quite a lot.

This is exactly what the house looked like the day we took possession in May of 1988. Playpen and all.

Here's a more accurate pic of the front of the house when we first got it. What I do know about the house: It was built in 1869. The Tucker Family owed it for 80 years, and it was Darlene Tucker (Marvel) that lives in the house up the hill that we bought it from. It was being used as a rental when we purchased it. It's a happy house. I can't put my finger on it, but there are good vibes here. About 1990, on a cold wintry December night, a frail old figure appeared at my doorstep. I opened the door to a wisp of a woman, looked like she was 90, if a day. She told me she'd grown up here and she'd love to see inside again. I whisked her in as quickly as I could. She said the house has pretty much remained exactly the same. She told me a few things about the house that confirmed some suspicions that we'd had. My bathroom (the room you'll see today) had been a pantry. One of the bedrooms had been two bedrooms. Makes sense that there were two doors going into one room. I could tell a wall had been knocked out.

Here's a pic of me, standing in the threshold of the bathroom and kitchen. I remember feeling a tad overwhelmed in this photo. Isn't the kitchen wallpaper lovely? This is what the kitchen looked like when we first bought the house. There wasn't a bank in town that would give us a mortgage on this house, because of the condition it was in. We bought it on a six month balloon contract from the owners. We had six months to make it livable. I'm not going to go into all the detail about the house right now, this post is going to be long enough. Suffice it to say, I ran to the mailbox, cause I didn't want anyone to know that I lived here. It has certainly been an adventure.

The bathroom, upon arrival. Yep, that is orange glued down carpeting. It was so lovely. (insert sarcasm here)

If you are eating or drinking anything right now, please put it down.

Here is the toilet the day we walked in. Seriously. I had to clean that thing. We didn't have money to buy a new toilet. Once we ripped up the carpet, we found that the toilet was falling through the floor. It was just about in the basement. The original oak plank flooring was under all of that carpet. It was ruined by water. The entire floor was torn out and replaced.

Now, here are the afters. I took these pics today. It's so gloomy outside that I had to use a really high ISO, and try to hold the camera extra still. Sorry for the poor quality.

Here is that same spot that I stood in 20 years ago. My house has gone through MANY changes. This is how it looks today, it probably will look a lot different in a couple years. I change things....alot.

When we tore out the floor and finally replaced the toilet, Glen put it in on an angle. I like it like that alot! Now, I do think this is the fourth or fifth 'look' my bathroom has had. It was very primitive country at one time, rather traditional once, and now this. There are some things I don't like about it, but I'm letting it go. I've bigger fish to fry that to worry if I should have something on the back of my toilet. Should I? Oh I wonder....I also realllly hate how close the bathroom is to the stove. I just can't think about it. It's an old house. I'm not remodeling. It's just is what it is. Oh, it's also the only bathroom in the house.

Glen made these built in corner cabinets for me cause I always had so much junk to display. He also made the base cabinets and counter tops. I'd like to change them, but it just doesn't seem too important to me anymore. I just keep painting them different colors. :-)

I know what you are thinking. Yes, we actually use this tub and shower. Yes, it's wood. Yes, yes yes. Wonderful story about this tub. My sister-in-law Sherie and I were shopping in Shipshewana, Indiana and she found this tub filled with pillows. It was $110 I think. Might as well been $1100.00 at that time, we were so broke. Couldn't pass it up though. It's from the Civil War era. General Grant's home in Galena, IL has the same tub! When I look back at it now, I feel like we stole the tub, it was so cheap.

Did you know that most of my furnishing are from the trash? Yeppers. This lovely little chest was part of a dresser that I found in the garbage. Someone started to strip it, but didn't finish. I love it just like it is. One of my favorite things.

A closer look at the tub. It's lined in .....I'm not sure.....tin? Copper? All I know is I love it. The drain and overflow are so lovely and detailed. When you sit in it, you can have water up to your chin. Several friends have come over just to take a bath. I light candles for them, bake cookies and serve them tea or wine. It's a spiritual experience. I'm not kidding. There is healing in this tub!

Glen, in his infinite craftiness, put an old pump for the water to fill the tub. I love it so much it hurts. I started to clean up all my 'product', but hey...gotta keep it real.

A couple of my favorite little vignettes in the bathroom. You do know it's all about the vignette don't you? A little card that a friend gave to me, framed. My gardening soap and hand brush, and a couple of old bottles. I love old bottles. I have a little collection.

I light the candles on this shelf when I bathe sometimes. It lights up all the little bottles. It's very beautiful, and calming. Sigh. Then I see that Glen left the Blue Lagoon ladder out in the middle of the yard. Nice.

If you are interested in what brought a girl from the Southside of Chicago, out to the sticks of NW Indiana, how I slept with an axe for the first two weeks here, how the flies didn't even want to live here........tune in next time.........


  1. Jayme, I'm taking my "lunch break" and making the rounds of my blogs. Some people watch soap operas and call them their "stories". I people watch and call it "reading my blogs"

    Love, love, what you have done with the house. Amazing. I so need you to come here and give me a consultation. I live in a very old house that looks just like that, a very old house. Nothing charming or quaint about it. Just old and seems impossible to clean correctly because it is so old.

    Okay, enough whining. We are having company tomorrow and I am going to make the Pumpkin Maple cake you made. I'll let you know how it goes!

  2. I love your blog. You are too funny, Jayme. I also live in an old house, built in the 40's. One day the kids who grew up here (now in their 50's+) came to the door, and like you, I let them. Wonderful to visit with them! I love knowing that happy children grew up here, including my own!

  3. Seeing your old tub is bringing back memories of Aunt Jean telling me about taking a bath at your house......sigh.

  4. You guys did an amazing job with the kitchen and the bathroom. It is so beautiful and serene. The bathtub is wonderful, all those "newfangled" ones can't hold a candle to yours.

  5. Jayme, I love what you have done with the house!! Amazing. We are throwing in the towel on our old house soon, but it doesn't have the good 'bones' that your house apparently has. I love the shade of green you've used, the wall lettering, the chicken border.. everything! But mostly? That old tub is just to die for. Love it. Thanks so much for sharing, and I will look forward to seeing more! I just adore the touches you've added. -Tammy

  6. With all the copious free time on your hands now, why don't you send those pics to HGTV...or Country Living or BH&G? Your home is warmer and more creatively merchandised than many I have seen featured... and as to your frugality...those tips are marketable also. I'm sure you're aware of I believe it's called the Penny Pincher Gazette. The woman had a dozen or so kids and lived on a shoestring. She was featured on Donahue in the late seventies/early eighties and sold a slew of subscriptions to her little magazine.

    Do what you love... and make some $$$$ at the same time. You have the time and Glen's support I'm sure..

  7. Jayme aka The Coop KeeperOctober 9, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    Mama Hen...I absolutely know what you mean when you feel like you can't get the house clean enough. Think about it...this is the same kitchen floor that was put in the house in 1869. It's 140 years old! I scrub and scrub, it still seems dirty. You'll find your groove on your house hon, don't get discouraged.

    Lynn! Hi! Welcome, so glad to see you! Don't you just love a happy house!?

    Sparky...oh my gosh, I'm laughing. I remember Aunt Jean telling me she'd just take a 'bird bath' in the sink. What did she tell you about the tub!?

    Anke..thanks for the compliment. I can't wait to show you all the outside, the pics from the peak of the garden. So pretty. I'm proud of all the work we've done, and that we've done it with no money or outside help.

    Hi glad to have a visit from you. I'm sad to hear that you are throwing the towel in, but I totally understand. This house did have pretty good bones. Some houses are just old.

    Peggy..I think you are talking about the Tightwad Gazette? I need to get her book. I'm flattered that you'd think the house is nice enough for BH&G. I don't see it, but thank you. I sure wish there were some way to make some money outta stayin' home and bakin' bread! Ya just never know....thanks so much for your visit today! Always so happy to see your name here. :-)

  8. I will personally testify that Jayme's house is one of the "homiest" feeling homes I have ever been in. You feel like a grandma should come walking out of the next room. You feel blessed just being there. Thanks for sharing the pics Jayme! :)

  9. I agree..I love your house! It is very warm. I'm still surprised about the wooden tub/shower! Who would have thunk it? Baths were always off of the kitchen back in the day. It is something you have to get used to, but it is all good. Lots of loving meals come from that kitchen of yours. It is a beaut!

  10. WOW! Jayme,
    I love the house! It's a great house. I grew up in my great grandmother's victorian house with a widows wall all the way around the house. My sister say's it haunted which is why so many have move out of it after my father sold it. Truth is it's only haunted by the utility bill every month. No one could afford both house note and utility bill.:)
    Your tub is lined with Zinc. Just like the old lids on mason jars. Zinc don't rust. It's a great find. Our tub was a ball and claw foot tub that was about 3 ft long. My dad could only wash 1/2 at a time. (our family joke) It too was an after thought because it was built on the back porch pantry.
    Anyway...loved the post!

  11. How nice; I love what you've done and how blessed are you to live there!!! :)

  12. Hello...
    New reader here..
    Your house is just lovely ! What you have with the kitchen... So full of charm and grace. And the colors... that green on the bath door... Beautiful !!
    You have quite the eye fo blending it all together and making it look like "Home".

  13. Jayme aka The Coop KeeperOctober 10, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    Hi Kasey! Thanks for stopping by.

    Debbyrose, you are such a sweetheart. Your comment really blessed me.

    Hi PiecefulBits...yep, that tub is different isn't it? I researched some more and found out it's circa 1840. Thanks for the compliments!

    Anonymous, thank you.

    Susan...that's IT! ZINC! I couldn't for the life of me think of what it was. My husband thinks it's zinc coated copper, cause he's had to do some repair to it, and he said there is copper underneath it. We had an old claw foot tub in our apartment in Chicago. I love those! The little ones are so cute.

    Sally and B'Ham...welcome! Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it so much. You have encouraged me so much!

  14. What a beautiful job you've done on that lovely old home. Surprising what some TLC can do.

    I LOVE the tub! I've never seen one like that.

  15. Wow Jayme,
    You guys did an awesome job! The tub is wonderful. I also love the shade of green that you used in the bathroom. My Granny's bathroom was added to the back of the house. Her original back porch was closed in to become an entry way with the bathroom. I can't wait to see more pictures!

  16. Holy cow, Jayme! I am in awe. That house is a keeper and I love you all the more for recognizing a neglected diamond in the rough. And the tub...I'm not a bath girl at all, but this could turn me into one. Maybe it's lined in zinc? Looks kinda zinc-y to me. Also, do not put anything on the back of your toilet. (I can be bossy sometimes.)

    Can't wait for the next installment...

  17. Jayme,

    What a beautiful home you have! Thanks for sharing.

    I really would love to chat with you about growing up on the Southside. I did too. I should make a point of meeting you sometime. I live in Chesterton. Not too far!


  18. Hi Mrs. C! Thanks for stopping by. You know, I've been trying to find an old tub like mine on the internet, to find out it's value, and I can't. Now I really want to know~

    Lorilee...I just try not to think about the bathroom being so close to the kitchen. It is what it is, old house, you know? Imagine when it was a pantry, how cool that would have been. But then I'd have to potty outside. :-/

    FlowerPatchFarmgirl...I will keep the toilet back clean! Boss away. Yep, it is zinc. Thanks for the compliment on the house, 'twas truly still a lump of coal when we bought it. I'm really starting to like it now. :-)

    Kathy, click on the 'contact me' link and email me...I'd love to chat! I'm from the Southeast side...Ewing Ave to be exact.

  19. Man, I miss your posts for a couple of days and I miss a lot! I LOVE your house. I LOVE your bathroom. I WANT your tub. Our house one tub. A couple of showers, but only one tub. And that tub leaked over a year ago and my husband has never fixed it. I've been without a tub for a year. Isn't that a crime? Your tub is FABULOUS. And the historical factor is best of all. LOVE IT!!!

  20. Man, I miss your posts for a couple of days and I miss a lot! I LOVE your house. I LOVE your bathroom. I WANT your tub. Our house one tub. A couple of showers, but only one tub. And that tub leaked over a year ago and my husband has never fixed it. I've been without a tub for a year. Isn't that a crime? Your tub is FABULOUS. And the historical factor is best of all. LOVE IT!!!

  21. Jayme, did I know you were from the Southeast Side??? And Kathy, too? I grew up on 98th and J.

  22. Wow I got invited over for lunch but had I know about the healing properties of the bath.... :o) - and you would have served me wine and cookies and lite the candles... darn I feel cheated ;o)

  23. Lynn...YOU ARE FROM 98th & J!??? Did you go to Taylor?? I went to Taylor. I grew up on 97th and Ewing...holy moly.

    Kim...when you come through this way again, you get over here and take a bath girl. I'll light ALL the candles for you and bake you what ever kind of protein cookie your heart desires. :-)

  24. Jayme, how we could have never talked about this?? I went to Taylor for part of third grade, then to St. George, followed by good old GWHS. I'm a good, ahem, few years older than you, however, or our paths surely would have crossed.

  25. I am so in love with your house. This is just the kind of house I have dreamed of my whole life. LOVE that bath tub. . .oh my stars! I hope to see every square inch of that house and hear all kinds of stories. Love it and thanks for sharing!


  26. WOW!!! What amazing improvements you have made to your home!!! I LOVE it! That tub is just fantastic!!! I also LOVE your chicken border in your kitchen! I think a complete photo tour of your home would be AWESOME...if you want to sometime, that is...LOL!!! :)

  27. Dani, Katy and Karey....

    Thanks and welcome! I suppose I will give a complete photo tour eventually, don't want to run this into the ground! It's fun for me to share it, it brings back a lot of good and not so good memories.

    Karey, thank you so kindly for the blog compliment! I guess I designed it, I mean, I just went to CutestBlogontheBlock, and picked the template. I'm always tweaking it around. It still doesn't look like I want it to though!


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