Nostalgic Neighborhood Home Tour, Part Whatever

I don’t even know what part we’re on now.

A few things happened to reduce the amount of photos I have of these next two houses: #1, as previously mentioned, is the fact that by the time we got to these homes the tour had gotten crowded, and there were lots of people milling about either getting in the way of shots, or the shots were getting in their way. #2, however, is that after the tour, I came straight home and went on a processing binge, spending hours editing shots, and quite honestly, by the time I got to these last two sets I was a bit too delete-happy. Things like that happen when I get tired and really should stop processing, but the obsessive part of me continues on, making editing mistakes and, in this case, deleting shots out of a sense of fatigue. For example, with this house, I took loads of shots of this sunken sitting room which was definitely my favorite part of the house, but by the time I got to looking them over on my computer, I decided screw it, I’m tired and I want to finish this task – I only need one good shot of that room, and deleted the rest. Then when I went to write this post, I realized I wanted more than one shot of that area – but it was too late. So. That’s why even though this was the most impressive house on the tour, I don’t have as many shots of it.

This is the house, by the way, that was a private school for awhile, and was also used by a local church for a time. It was built in 1913 and sits on a double corner lot. It is beautiful, but not cold or ostentatious; it is still homey, but definitely more of a show home than any of the others on the tour.

real big house exterior
I would love to show you pics of the servant’s quarters in back, but I deleted them. 

real big house porch
So many fabulous wraparound porches on these houses.

real big house stairs
I can’t recall if that’s the front or back door to the house. I guess it’s the front door, since there are so many people using it.

I loved this little study area:

real big house study
The smaller the space, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Lots of little antique touches in this one, too:

real big house typewriter

real big house bible
Carved wood Bible cover.

Two shots of the den:

real big house den

real big house den 2

They also had a lush backyard (this pic was taken through the window, though – they didn’t want anyone going back there):

real big house garden

This is another outdoor shot, but in looking at it just now, I realize it’s actually from a different house – I just don’t know which one:

real big house garden 2
Whatever, it’s pretty; I’ll put it here anyway.

Prepare to ooh and aah over this kitchen, it’s pretty gorgeous:

real big house kitchen

And here it is, my favorite part of this house, which I really wish had more photographic representation. But one shot will have to do. This is a sunken sitting room off to the side of the house. I love the tile, the high ceiling, and all the windows. If this were my house, I’d put up police tape and never let anyone else in. I’d also never leave.

real big house sunken
I have no idea who these women are or why they are in my sitting room. They must have cut through the police tape.

Nostalgic Neighborhood Tour, Part 2

Before jumping into this post, I must preface it with a warning: I know next to nothing about architecture, home design, decoration, restoration – anything to do with houses, much less historical ones. So my names for things, and my descriptions, will be completely ignorant. I apologize. If I were more motivated I’d look all this stuff up before writing about it, but I mostly want to share pictures and the memories they evoke for me. I realize this makes me lazy and sloppy, but it’s my blog, so if you want to read expert writing on this subject, go read someone’s blog who’s getting paid to write. Moving on.

(And as previously stated, all pictures were taken with my iPhone 5S. I love how easy and portable a smart phone makes photography!)

The first house we toured had a name – Rosecroft – and was one of the more modest homes we visited. For that reason, I liked it best. It was still small and homey, and although it had been completely restored, all the renovations were fairly true to the original home. Call me crazy, but I actually prefer small homes to large ones, small rooms to big, and dark walls to light. I guess my ideal living space would be a cabin – something cozy and warm. Light, airy rooms feel sterile and drafty to me. So this house, which had retained the narrow hallways and tiny spaces of the original, felt very homey.


The house was named by the original owner, artist Charles Sherman. The name is seen here over the porte cochere (the brochure calls it that – I would have called it a car port, because I know nothing).

The rose motif carries over into the house, where stenciled art graces the sunroom. This is original artwork, which was restored by the current owner.


The sunroom, showing the rose stencils in action. The stained glass windows are a new addition.

Oh, how I did love his bathroom! I know that sounds weird – but the bathrooms in both my great-grandmother’s and grandparent’s houses were so distinctive, and different from what we had in our modern home, that they are etched in my memory. Tile everywhere – hexagon tile on the floors, and shiny tile on the walls, the counters, just all over. And in my grandmother’s house, it was ALL pink! And then of course, she kept pink toilet paper on the roll (remember colored toilet paper? I know it’s horrible stuff, but I miss it). Then my great-grandmother had a claw-foot tub, so I enjoyed seeing another one of those here, too. The tile on this guy’s floor was new, but it is very true to the original tile of the houses of the time (I think – remember, I know nothing). In all the other houses, the bathrooms appeared to be the one area where the owners modernized a lot, but I feel this gentleman did a nice job of maintaining some of the original feel (of the bathroom? Weird, I know. But still, it mattered to me).

Could have used tile on the walls, though. 

And now to share a shot that really captures a childhood memory for me – the glass doorknobs. Every door in my grandmother’s house had glass doorknobs (and that house had a lot of doors – every room including the kitchen had doors to close it off from all other parts of the house) and when I was a kid, I thought they were diamonds. I figured out at some point that they were not, but still considered them incredibly fancy and extravagant. This house maintained the glass doorknob feature throughout the house, so I made sure to get a shot of some:


The back of the house, where the two bedrooms were, was quite small and cramped, and although I loved that about it (the hallway was teeny-tiny, yet there were still built-in cabinets in the walls) I couldn’t get any decent shots of anything. So this house, although it was probably my favorite, doesn’t have a lot of photographic representation. Not that I didn’t try:

A shot of the den, taken from the front sunroom.

I also didn’t get any decent shots of his kitchen, once again because it was so small. But you can see a little glimpse of it there in back of the den. Here’s a shot of the den taken while standing in front of the fireplace:

Probably my favorite photo from the whole shoot. I don’t know if there’s a name for this feature, where the driveway pulls up right alongside a side door of the house – but I love it. So glad I got this shot. 

Sadly, this next one is the last photo from this house. It felt rude to me to spend too long setting up shots and getting obsessive with the photos, so I tried to do what I could quickly and move on. Since the den area was the largest part of the house, well, that’s where I took most of my shots. This last one was taken from the kitchen:

One of those dudes is my husband. Unfortunately, the owner of the house (whom everyone is listening to, as you can tell) can’t be seen. He was an incredibly friendly and interesting guy.

Oddly, both houses I liked the best have the least photos to represent them. Again, this is partly because the spaces within both places were very small, but also, I think when touring them I was more interested in experiencing the space than taking pictures of it.

I’ll share my shots from the second stop tomorrow.

Nostalgic Neighborhood Home Tour – Part 1

Wow, do I have a lot of photos and things to say about them. Through a random Google search a few weeks ago I found about the Eastwood Civic Association’s annual home tour – a neighborhood which is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary this year. You can click the link to read about the history of the neighborhood, as I do not need to restate what’s been said just fine over there; what I’d like to focus on instead is the fact that my grandparents on both sides of my family, as well as my great-grandparents, and at one time, my great-great grandparents, all lived in this area. In relation to my great-grandmother and grandparents in particular, I spent a massive amount of time in neighborhoods very close and very similar to this one, if not in the neighborhood itself (my grandparents moved out of the area entirely by the nineties, and my great-grandmother died in 1982, so I am not exactly sure of where they were all located; I do know that Eastwood is definitely an area we frequented and drove through on a regular basis, so if she was not in it, she was close by). The architecture was mostly in the Craftsman style, as was my great-grandmother’s home, so when I read about this home tour I decided I wanted to check it out, if for nothing else to give me a reason to revisit this part of town and peek inside some homes that might remind me of my childhood (my GG’s house and neighborhood is one that still features prominently in my dreams on a regular basis).

A typical street in Eastwood. The sign is not typical, unless it’s Home Tour Time, but you probably figured that out already.

To be honest, the entire time I was a kid growing up this area (I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and great-grandmother, much to my delight)  the neighborhoods were worn-down, crime-ridden, and still in decline. It’s been in the last ten years that interest in Eastwood has been on a slow rise, and homes are still being bought and restored at a decent price – but it sounds like that may be changing. It would definitely take a long time, but the potential is there now for a huge profit down the line for homeowners who buy in cheap, and I admit part of my interest in going out there was to consider the possibility of buying a house now as an investment. I thought it would be thrilling to live in the old neighborhood, but after walking around and touring the houses I decided it’s not for me. It was still a nice experience, but the people buying homes are decidedly younger, hipper, and more tolerant of the high-crime areas left and right of it; I’m too accustomed to the relative cleanliness and safety of the suburbs to move into what is still a high-risk area with the hopes of the situation improving 20 years down the road.

And the dogs don’t want you there either.

Although viewing the homes was nice, I wasn’t as overwhelmed with nostalgia as I thought I’d be anyway. Perhaps that’s because this was a walking tour, and the walk from the ticket tent to the first house involved passing by several blocks of dilapidated crack houses on the way over – I unabashedly admit to convincing my husband to turn around and head back to the tent so we could get in our car and drive the five blocks to the first house instead of walking past so much blight. Typical middle-aged suburban woman, I guess, but I accepted that about myself long ago (the truth is I’ve been a typical middle-aged suburban woman far longer than I’ve been middle-aged). The way people are raving about Eastwood here and there online, I expected the surrounding area to be more cleaned up than it was, but if anything it’s gotten worse than I remember (statements like this are why I took the word “Eastwood” out of my blog post title, because I don’t want people searching for information about the neighborhood, finding my post in a Google search, coming here and reading what I’ve said, and blasting me in the comments for being lame or defaming the neighborhood).

corner house
Some damn fine houses out there, though.

I took a ton of photos of the houses we toured as well as the neighborhood (once we got to the heart of Eastwood it felt much safer to walk around), and try as I might I could not get them all edited in time to put them into one post. That’s probably best since it’s way too much stuff anyway, so for this one I’ll show the photos I shot as we wandered from house to house around the area. Keep in mind I left the ‘real’ camera at home, for the usual reasons (too big and bulky, too obtrusive, etc.) and used my new iPhone 5S to take shots – it’s supposed to be a much better camera than the 4S I had before but honestly I can’t tell the difference, as I thought the camera on my 4S was fine. Because they were iPhone shots, I did take lots of liberty with editing, because I either want a perfectly crisp and clear photo, or I want something arty – perfectly crisp and clear didn’t to happen due more to user error than the phone, so you’re gonna get a lot of arty .You’ve probably figured out by now that I’ve actually already started the photo tour, so let’s continue:

Another typical Eastwood street. It’s hard to tell, but I was trying to take a photo of that distant black cat in the road. Eastwood has a lot of cats, in the roads and elsewhere.

Another yellow house. With a front-yard fence. Eastwood has nearly as many front-yard fences as it does cats.

So much about this next house reminds me of my grandparents’ old home. Small, cracked pavement, a fairly large, defined front porch, and the main entrance set to the side of the house. There was also a long driveway with a car port which didn’t make it into the photo. What’s missing here is the wrought iron scrollwork their house had everywhere. I think that was more of a 50’s thing? Not sure, but I didn’t see that on many houses here, which indicates my grandparents’ area was newer than this one.


The pale-colored brickwork on this next house is a dead-ringer for the house my great-grandmother owned. In fact, the entire housefront looks a lot like hers – another large porch and brick steps leading up to it. We never used the front entrance to her house, though; her driveway was long, and led to a side entrance which took you through the screened-in porch where all the kids had to eat their meals.

Not my great-granny’s house, but a reasonable facsimile.

crazy garden
My husband made me stop and take a picture of what he claimed was a “crazy lady garden.” He later explained it was actually a “bee garden,” which made no sense to me, but he seemed so confident I would understand that I didn’t want to ask.

Yep, you’re in Eastwood:

eastwood brick
The moose out front shoulda told you.

fence.Another front porch that reminded me of great-granny’s. I never knew my great-grandfather, by the way. He died before I was born. Well, he was my GG’s second husband, and not my biological great-grandfather, but that’s another story. 

flat house
I probably should have titled this blog entry, “The Fence Post.” You’re welcome.

This place has been in business for over 50 years. I don’t believe they’ve ever updated the decor.

It was bright outside, and y’all know how I love me some lens flare:

lens flare 2

lens flare
Look at the left hand corner of the house, framing the covered car port: yep, white wrought iron! Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Another typical Eastwood street. If right about now you’re thinking, man, this looks kinda junky, you’re in good company, as I don’t disagree (double negative? Oh well). But it does have appeal in spite of it. If nothing else, you can see the potential.

Crap. This may be way too many photos for one post. But I’ve come this far, and I’m determined to get through it. Can you believe we haven’t even gotten to the houses on the tour yet? Sheesh.

no dogs
My husband pointed this sign out to me as we walked past. At some point during the day he learned to stop pointing things out to me because he realized I’d stop to photograph every single thing he prompted me to notice. So you can thank him for the number of photos in this post.

random house
Quaint, non-junky house. And bonus: no fence!

random house 2
But this one IS protected by chain-link? The whole fence thing just stopped making sense to me. 

Ripped-out tree; must be recent as the leaves are still green. But hey – at least there wasn’t a front-yard fence that has to be replaced!

If you stuck with me for all of this, you’re probably NOT looking forward to massive amounts of home photos tomorrow. But I promise we’ll be going inside some of these suckers next time. Stay tuned!