Friday, April 29, 2011

Sunnyside Neighborhood Bungalow: Architectural Heritage Center Kitchen Revival Tour XIII, April 16, 2011

By the time I got to this house, it was raining so I don't have an exterior shot, but I managed to get several of the kitchen.

From the line crossing the countertop to the bottom of the photo, the surface is a drop-down counter.

From the booklet: When this couple bought their Sunnyside Bungalow, the remaining original kitchen cabinetry was heavily painted and topped with red Formica. Ten years later they were finally ready to take on a kitchen renovation. In 2010, they partnered with Chris Wisdom who shared their vision of a modern functional kitchen. Taking inspiration from kitchen tours, architecture books, and the homes of friends and neighbors, their "kitchen revival" is truly befitting of this workingman's bungalow.


From the booklet: Nook benches feature under the seat storage, a shallow wall houses a spice rack, swing-up doors hide the microwave, and a drop-down counter adds extra space as needed.

From the booklet: A period Hoosier is echoed in the sliding panels of the hutch, and the deep window sill over the sink matches an existing one in the front room. A new cabinet where the chimney was located became a "California Cooler," but with bins ventilated into the basement rather than outside. (I didn't ask where the California cooler is, though.)

A mix of colors and materials, including a Marmoleum tiled floor, dark grouted subway tile, and soapstone counters near the sink give the room a casual, lived-in feel. Recycled fir from an old Portland trolley stop on the counters and in the nook matches the floors in the rest of the house.

Here you can see the floor, beneath the stereo cabinet. They're beautiful.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Arts & Crafts home in Laurelhurst. Architectural Heritage Center Kitchen Revival Tour XIII, April 16, 2011


The third house I visit had the happiest kitchen I've ever been privileged to be inside.

From the booklet: Constructed in 1922 for real estate businessman Ferdinand Reed, this beautiful Arts & Crafts home hides a special surprise--a breath-taking Depression-era kitchen in near-mint condition. Given a complete makeover in the 1930s using the most current materials, the kitchen features floors, countertops and lower walls of original white tile with stunning borders and accents glazed in transparent aqua/seafoam green, while the upper walls and built-in cabinets were resurfaced in matching, aluminum-edged pressboard panels (possibly Marlite, introduced in 1930) for a Streamline look.

I stood in the middle of the room, smiling and smiling. Immediately I felt so happy to be there, in all of that light, beneath those high ceilings. I love that the colors on the tiles are described as transparent. I think that help them absorb and reflect light. Lovely.

The sink sports a wall-mounted faucet from the 1950s, unusual soap and cup niches, and charming half doors below that allow both visual screening and ventilation. The butler's pantry behind the kitchen was similarly modernized, as well as the small room adjacent to it where the original refrigerator was located (converted to a half bath in 2003). A new refrigerator now resides in a former storage cabinet, and a dishwasher is tucked into a former grain bin.

However, the real star of this kitchen can be sensed in its absence. A new vintage-style range with flanking cabinets sits rather awkwardly in the dramatically tiled spot that was originally the home to...

...a top-of-the-line Hotpoint electric range, which is currently perched on its elegant high legs in the basement, awaiting rewiring and restoration to its rightful place at the center of this remarkable kitchen.

Don't ask me how they are going to get the stove into the kitchen--these are the stairs I walked down to take the photo of it. I forgot to ask. But I have faith that it shall be done. And I believe I heard someone say that those light fixtures over the stove will also be gone, once the Hotpoint comes home.

Staircase to upstairs.

Built-in in the dining room, original to the house I overheard.

There is a twin of this cabinet, not original to the house, right across the opening between the dining room and the living room.

This cabinet in on the living room wall and backs up to the cabinet in the previous picture. It seemed to me to be a bookcase with doors--perfect. I think there was one opposite it, a twin, just like the two cabinets in the dining room. You can see the front window reflected in the glass door.

The front wall of the house with more cabinets and a bench seat. I should have checked to see if it opened, but all I could think about at the time was, "Wow. These two rooms are huge. And look at all of the beautiful wood."

Look, there's robin on the wire! Fun.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My second Ken Birkemeier home! (The first one was yesterday's post.) Architectural Heritage Center Kitchen Revival Tour XIII, April 16, 2011

Built in 1949, as a Mid-Century Modern/Ranch/Cape Cod, also known as a Transitional home that combines elements of those three styles. It is in the Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood and very close to the other Ken Birkemeier on the tour.



From the booklet: This kitchen is a nearly intact example of a mid-century Birkemeier kitchen. Birkemeier was a "hands-on" builder who took pride in personally designing stylish and functional kitchens for each home he built. Perhaps the most striking feature of this kitchen is its original hexagonal tile counter. The powder-blue tile color anticipates 1950s Modern. (An aside, it looks more like sea foam green to me, but I wasn't there when it was purchased, so who knows?) The backsplash tiles are the same color but are rectangular shaped "subway" tiles. Notice too the sweeping curve at the end of the counter. This late "Streamline-Moderne" feature is echoed in the shelving bracketing the kitchen window, and in the curing dining room wall just outside the kitchen door. Birkemeier loved to include curved features of all sorts in his houses: notice additionally the wavy "scallops" at the top of the kitchen walls.

Other kitchen features include the complete set of original cabinets, a stylish "pass-through" opening between the kitchen and dining room, and the natural wood finish on the exterior kitchen door and associated trim. The original floor has been replaced with a new layer of Marmoleum. This is an entirely appropriate replacement material as many original Birkemeier kitchens of this ear were fitted with linoleum floors.

If you enjoyed the blue tile counter, be sure to ask the hosts to show you the blue and pink tile downstairs bathroom. With these colors together with the original plumbing fixtures and bathroom cabinets, you will magically be transported back to 1949's view of the "House of Tomorrow."

I can't remember ever seeing a fireplace surround (or whatever you call it) like this one. I really like it's mellow, warm beauty.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My first ever Ken Birkemeier house! Architectural Heritage Center Kitchen Revival Tour XIII, April 16, 2011

Backstory: On Saturday, April 16, those of us who purchased tickets got a map and a descriptive booklet that we could use between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in order to find nine houses and then tour their kitchens (and most of their first floors as well as get a peek at a basement or two). Because I went to the Post Office, the PSU Farmers Market and Freddie's first, then took everything home to put it away and eat a bite, I didn't pick up my map until about noon. I knew what I wanted to see for sure, so I checked my map and drove off in my Zipcar.

Here's the first house I visited, a Mid-Century Modern home in the Alameda neighborhood, designed and built by Ken Birkemeier, who according to the booklet " known for quirky, innovative, and cutting edge designs and today his architectural works of art are drawing increased attention and appreciation." He built this particular house in 1951 to be his own home. The front door is up the stairs that you can just see the bottom of there in the carport to the right of the white car.

Here's more of the text from the booklet. "The kitchen in the Birkemeier family reflects Birkemeier's originality. Although the original countertops have been removed, the backsplash and kitchen bar still retain their original tile. It's still easy to see the pattern and colors that reflect Birkemeier's style. The kitchen also retains its original cabinetry, providing an opportunity to see the quirky and fun features Birkemeier included in his designs. In the lower cabinets are two large Lazy Susans, and in the upper cabinets there are two smaller ones. Birkemeier was known for making creative use of otherwise dead space. Although this kitchen is not completely original, many of Birkemeier's creative and original design touches are still evident and this lovely home holds an important place in Portland's architectural design history."



There is one of these in each corner of the lower cabinets along the outside wall--fantastic.

Here is a photo of one of the corner Lazy Susans in the upper cabinets.

There are four outlets in the wood trim around the ceramic tile--the fourth one is out of sight at the right end of the counter. How fabulous is that--and the lady of the house told me each of them works!

This built-in cabinet is across from the main part of the kitchen. Notice the curved wall above the doorway!

The dining room. Another splendid view. The blue puffs on the counter are four of the booties given out when we got our maps and booklet--slipped over our shoes, they allowed us to protect the floors and rugs.

A portion of the living room. Can you believe that view? I just wanted to stand there and look and look, but time was ticking away.

I suppose this is a den. I forgot to ask the lady of the house. It's such a great shape. Those windows are fantastic!

Another view of the den.

How about this unique railing on the basement stairs? I like the quirkiness of it!

The original bar, still in the basement.

The view from the edge of the deck that is outside the living room windows.

Almost all of the stairs that go back to the carport.

Please come back tomorrow to see another fine home. Thanks!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I took this photo last Sunday while out on a neighborhood walk.

I think it's fitting accompaniment for my news. I see the tender buds and the sunshine as representing faith in the future and the nurturing of that faith. My Daddy's baby sister, my 77-year-old Aunt Baker, died suddenly last Sunday afternoon, a few hours before I went on my walk. I needed to clear my head and my heart, if only for a few moments, and to take time also to appreciate the ongoing beauty that is there for the seeing. I loved that woman so very much, as did everyone who knew her. The only peace I have is that she is reunited with those who loved her whose deaths came before and that I know I shall some day join them. I pray for my uncle, her daughter, grandsons and great-grandchildren that they may eventually find that same peace.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 14, now changed forever, by apartment management, Lamont, Ikea, and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Here's the back story. On April 14, 1983, my darling sweetheart, my hunky husband LeRoy passed away when we were living in Houston, Texas--our little boys were seven and four. Since then, the stigma attached to that day never actually left my consciousness. It's impact lessened with time which doesn't mean my love for LeRoy or my wish that he had been with Lamont, Leland, and me all of these years diminished. Two things happened yesterday that forever change my feelings about April 14.

First, I need to explain that I took a vacation day on April 14--after Mama's passing away on January 7, I just didn't want to get up and go to work on the anniversary of LeRoy's death. Is that what you call it? Anniversary? Anyway, I decided to take Thursday off and then figured, well if you're off Thursday why not take Friday so that I could have a mini-vacation. I figured it would be raining, but who cares? This is Oregon. I figured I would go to a movie on Thursday and out to lunch with Lamont and Leland on Friday.

The only constant in life is change, right?

Here's what I wrote the night of April 13 about the event that led to the first change on April 14:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the cabinet has left the building!” I repeat, “The cabinet, nicknamed the White Nemesis by my older son Lamont, has left the building!’ I have wanted this to happen since February 21—it’s now April 13.

Almost 24 hours ago, as I sat in my chair at my computer table, I had a brainstorm, picked up my iPhone and called my apartment management company. Why not leave a message, I thought, explaining just how great it would be if the cabinet could be removed from the apartment on Wednesday. You see, I would explain, I have taken two days of vacation, and it would be so fine to have it gone while I’m on vacation and my son is off work part of that time and he could bring my new piece of kitchen furniture which is still in the two cardboard boxes that it came in on over here and put them together so that I could get my kitchen like I wanted it, needed it. I even thought, I know why it’s still raining and cool and/or cold in Portland—it’s because the White Nemesis is still in my kitchen. It’s presence is messing with Portland’s weather vibes. I didn’t think I needed to mention that, though, no point in having the apartment management manager think I gone round the bend, or down south to Bend—there’s an Oregon pun, just so you know.

I called and left the message, not that wordy, I promise.

At work on Wednesday I did explain my rainy "daze" idea to a co-worker who responded with an appropriate chuckle. I then told her that if the cabinet is gone when I get home, I’ll put my right hand over my heart, look up at the sky and say, “It’s the big one ????” What’s her name, Fred Sanford’s wife? "Elizabeth," my co-worker immediately answereid. She’s younger than I am, so her brain works very well.

So, when I unlocked the door and only needed to put the key into the deadbolt lock to get in the door, I said to myself, shoot, it’s still here. You see, the other times that a maintenance person had been into the apartment, the other lock was locked as the person exited. Which meant I had to put the key into the other keyhole to completely unlock the door. I walked through, shut the door and said, "Shoot." Then I walked to the kitchen and looked. My breath caught and I said, "It’s gone. It’s gone. I can’t believe it. It’s gone." Quickly I headed for my jacket pocket to get my phone, then I texted Lamont so that he would know. Then I decided to call the apartment management manger and leave her an appreciative message of thanks. But first I found the “Hallelujah Chorus” performed by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus on YouTube. I needed me some background music for this message, yes ma'am. I hope she could hear the strings and the singing! I imagine she could hear me just fine as I thanked her for the cabinet’s removal.

It’s now 10:13 p.m. I just looked to see what time I left that message last night, 10:09 p.m., and it was just a minute long. Tonight’s was only a minute, too, so I’m not wasting her time or anything like that. Now if I could just figure out how to contact Adam Bjaranson of the Portland Trail Blazers broadcasting them and give him the 4-1-1 on how to pronounce Monta, as in Mon-tay, Ellis. Y'all know, the Lanier Bulldog who plays for the Golden State Warriors?

Updated to add: Adam Bjaranson has become my Facebook friend! I shall get up the courage to send him a message about that pronunciation well before next basketball season.

Updated to add: You see the photo of the Ikea Varde which now sits in the space formerly occupied by the White Nemesis. Lamont had just finished assembling the Ikea Varde kitchen cabinet when I took the photo, thus the fingerprints all over the stainless steel drawer fronts--they're now all gone. Needless to say I watched and took photos of the process which I shall soon share with you! This brought about a lighthearted, joyous change in my heart about where I live and cook.

Now for the other change that started on April 13 and finally happened on April 14. During the Blazers game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors, I saw and heard the announcement made by Mike and Mike about the Steal of the Night, a chance to become a Blazers Season Ticket Holder. Ever since we moved to Portland, I've flirted, toyed even, with the idea of getting myself a season ticket. It was not difficult to decide to instead watch all of those ball games at home with Mama--we had such a great time doing it! I am thankful for every single second. On Wednesday night, though, before I knew what was happening, I had my iPhone in my hand. I dialed the number and spoke with a precious woman who tried to find me a single seat season ticket on the front row of a section that I could afford. She took my name and number and asked if she could call me back on Thursday because she just knew that she could help me. Of course, I agreed.

Not too many minutes after Lamont started assembling the Ikea Varde kitchen cabinet, the iPhone rang. It was the precious woman. She had found me a suitable season ticket seat that I could afford. Immediately I heard the "Hallelujah Chorus." I said, "Yes!" and completed the transaction. See the picture for my best guess as to where my actual seat will be; I know that's the correct section and row!


UPDATED TO ADD: Leland, Lamont and I enjoyed our lunch together on Friday very much!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Loud music. Where?

You know how you're on the sidewalk and you hear loud music? You look around, searching for the source. All I saw this fine March day were two guys on bicycles. Obviously, the music was moving. Wish I tell you what was playing, but I didn't recognize it.

I watched them go east on the street and spied the jam box--is it too small to be a boom box?--that one of them attached to his back! He's got it strapped to the top of his backpack. Creative problem solving. He's got his safety red light on his backpack, too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sidewalk Session No. 2

Saturday, I'm waiting at the corner of SE 12th and East Burnside because I had to get off the 20 so that I could catch a 12 and end up closer to home with my rolling black bag filled with fresh vegetables, etc., from the Portland State Farmers Market. I decided to take a photo of the hippo on the pillar at the Hippo Hardware store. Little did I realize I also got a far-off glimpse of some of the participants in my latest Sidewalk Session.

By the time the first 10 boys made it behind me and started talking among themselves, I soon wondered just how many F-bombs and S-bombs these guys had in them. Middle schoolers, sounded like to me. Mostly they discussed where to eat with whatever money they had and how none of them knew where they were supposed to go next, then a couple of them began to talk about two stragglers who were still down the sidewalk. One boy kept hollering, "Come on! Hurry up!" or something along those lines. The stragglers ran up the hill after they crossed the street and arrived saying, "We told you to go on!" "We don't know where to go," I heard, along with more profanity, possibly from the one who had been exhorting the two of them to catch up.

Once I could tell they had moved away from over my right shoulder, I turned to see what was up. That's when I took this photo of them, riding away on the sidewalk and leaving my personal space.

Interesting that these two Sidewalk Sessions have involved overt profanity. I know lots and lots of people regularly engage in cussing, be it about the vegetables available in the grocery store or how much food you can get at Wendy's for $5, but I still can't get used to hearing it loudly and openly on the streets. And I still don't have to like it. Not that I don't say hell, damn, crap, and piss myownself now and then, but I do not speak or think or write the F-bomb, nor do I say those four loudly and openly in public. I'm a regular hair-splitter, ain't I?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Provvista's cheese truck

Imagine my surprise when I discovered an Oregonian story about this big red truck as I was looking at Provvista's Facebook page. My son Leland works for Provvista, Specialty Foods Inc.--that's why I was checking out their page. It took me a day or two of mulling it over in my head, and then I remembered that I had taken some photos of that very same truck. Here's the one I like the best of those I took on October 15, 2009. The white letters going up the side of the truck say "simple authentic food." I know I've enjoyed many of their foods as ingredients at 3 Doors Down Cafe.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sidewalk Session No. 1

To set the stage for this series of photos/events that I've decided to call a Sidewalk Session, here's a photo I took as I walked from the streetcar towards Kenny and Zuke's where I planned to eat supper. See the silver car's brake lights? There to its right you see a bicycle chained to a barricade. And there's a shiny metal metal sculpture on the corner; it's got three legs. I wish the car had not been there because you could see the bench where I sat later. When I took this photo, I had no idea what would happen on the sidewalk. Well, I suppose I ought to say what might have happened. Was the threatening sky a portent of things to come?

After finishing supper, I walked to the intersection seen in the top photo where I sat down on the bench to wait for the bus. I was on West Burnside, across the street from Powell's Books. The narrow blue pole with the signs is the bus stop. Naturally, I had my camera around my neck. I took this photo and felt someone closing up behind me. I didn't turn to see who it was, but I did hold my camera so nothing on the view screen could be seen from over my shoulder.

I heard the rumble of a motorcycle. When I glanced to my left, I saw a bit of yellow and wondered if this could be the motorcycle that Mama and I used to hear rumble by our apartment over on NW Everett--a few times we actually happened to be looking out the window and saw it. It certainly sounded like the same one, a distinctive, deep-throated, rhythmic rumble which its rider coaxed from the engine. I took this photo, and the person behind me sat down at the opposite end of the bench. Once again, I didn't actually look. As I glanced peripherally, I felt that I had seen her at another time. She just sat there, picking up a discarded newspaper from the seat.

I looked to my right, behind her, and noticed the intersection. I thought I could get a good perspective between the legs of the sculpture on the corner (more about it in another post), so I stood up and walked behind the bench, past where she sat. Here's the one of the first few photos I took. The woman on the bench heard the camera or turned and saw me taking photos. I don't know which. All I know for sure is she started to speak loud enough for me to hear, something along the lines of "Stop taking "profanity" pictures!" I quietly and slowly moved farther away from the bench, never looking back.

Here's the last photo I took before I stepped closer to the actual bus stop. In a moment, the bus pulled to a stop. I got on and sat facing the bench, wondering if she would follow.

When she didn't, I took this photo, hoping she would not notice. I have used Picnik to blur her features, not only to hide her identity, but also to protect myself in some fashion.