Monday, March 14, 2011

Wherein the boy should get a medal too.

Just a warning on this post: BAD PHOTOS, AHOY. I was working in low-light/flash situations and they look terrible.

I was doing some research on my house and I decided to ask for help from the Multnomah County librarians. I always feel a little sneaky doing that, being that I'm a librarian and all, but nobody knows how to use their resources better than them. They found this newspaper clipping:

One of the houses I blacked out is mine. My house is modern! Hell yeah it is.

I also found this historic map that showed the proposed design of my house. It doesn't match the way my house looks now.

My house actually looks like this, with no nose at the front of the house.

The boy checks pretty frequently on Zillow to see how my house is doing. I don't do that because it's depressing (and I don't think it's accurate). It turns out one of the OTHER houses mentioned in that newspaper clipping is currently for sale.  And from the pictures it looks EXACTLY like mine on the inside. The boy got megapoints for that find.

I've written before that I don't believe my dining room has always been this big. I think it used to be two rooms.

Exhibit A: the hardwoods in this room inexplicably end about six inches past where the carpeting begins. There's only subfloor under the grody, grody carpet.

Exhibit B: this window in the basement looks into a very small square crawlspace that runs underneath the far corner of the dining room where the windows are. It meets the main crawlspace only via a small ventilation hole. That's not normal. I think it used to see daylight.

Exhibit C: there's a high spot on the dining room floor where that wall with the window to the crawlspace hits. Something is amiss.

Exhibit D: variegation in the finish on the wall . . .

 . . . which makes me think a wall used to be here. 

I really wanted to look inside that house for sale, so I sent an email to the realtor and asked. We pretended we were househunting and I have such a terrible memory, would he mind if I took photos? Playing spies is FUN. I was worried that Greg wouldn't be able to play the part because he's an enginerd but he was awesome. He totally kept the guy involved while I measured and took photos.

Their living room is identical to mine. They have the same fireplace tile (many people told me mine wasn't original, *coughDADcough*), except that they have twelve tiles across where I have ten.


Oh, looky here. They have half as much dining room as I do. Their dining room ends right about where my wood flooring runs out. Hmmm.



We both have excellent taste in living room paint colors!

Into the kitchen we go. They didn't retain any of the original tile or fixtures, sadly.


Mine. We win because we have Gatorade.

That light fixture above the sink is going SOON. So what's on the other side of that dining room wall?

A breakfast nook!



We measured the depth of their breakfast nook, which was 78", corresponding exactly to the high point on my dining room floor.

Their house was really dilapidated and sadly had lost a lot of the original charm. They bumped out their attic, adding two bedrooms upstairs (but no bathroom). This is good food for thought, should we ever want to add on.

We also discovered in the basement that they have the original oil tank!

Their window looks into their front yard.

This is excellent news for me. I had assumed that the tank was buried on my property, which makes it a hugely expensive pain in the ass to decommission and remove. If the tank has leaked (and they always leak) they have to bring in a back hoe to remove ALL the contaminated soil. My neighbors three doors down did this and spent $15,000. $15,000 for something that doesn't even look pretty or improve the function of your house. $15,000 to basically mess up your yard.

I looked at the historical permits and theirs look the same as mine. Both are labeled as underground yard units.



It might explain what this random pipe in the side of my house is. Maybe where they used to fill the tank?

So, to recap, here's what I think happened. My house used to look like this in the front, with a separate dining room and breakfast nook.

They knocked down the interior wall between the dining room and the nook and brought the exterior nook wall out so it was flush with the outer wall of the dining room, creating a dining room on steroids and an exterior that looks like this.

Clear as mud? Am I crazy to think this or even care about it? Don't answer that.

I had so much fun being sneaky with Greg that I think we should quit our jobs and become grifters. Just think of how much more interesting this blog would be.


  1. This is so cool! I've done a little to try to figure out more about the history of our house, but as the gentleman at the local history museum told me, "they didn't think 1968 was ever going to be 'historical'" so they didn't keep much record of what happened during that era. Theoretically they're going to be doing an exhibit later this year that will allow me to find out more, or at least verify the extent of the info that does exist.

    I *love* that you went and played SPY to find out more! I have been known to troll to look for other houses in our neighborhood to see photos of what they've done with their floorplan and interiors. I also tend to sneak glances in people's bay windows as we pass by their houses when we walk in the neighborhood.

    Even though I've never been in your house I find it extremely interesting and satisfying to know how it was altered from the original floorplan!

  2. Thanks, Anne. :) And my copy of Refresh Your Home finally came--you were right, it's so inspiring!