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Monday, February 10

everything old is new again

Welcome to All in the Detail... I am so glad you are here!  



I seem to be coming full circle in my decor tastes. I remember being drawn to the vintage, the rustic, the aged, etc. Then, I was drawn towards traditional furnishings. Guess what... I actually am starting to combine the two now and I'm kinda loving it! I put on my 'To-Do" List the other day... "Go down in the basement and start digging through boxes of vintage (authentic and reproductions) items that I have packed away umpteen years ago..." It would be like Christmas in February! I'll keep you posted on what I find! (Who knows what all I saved)

We are probably correct in leaving behind many elements of yesteryear's home, with all the advances in home construction, technology, etc. But there seems to be a trend to reconsider some of the “once-popular details” of the yesteryear house, not so much for the novelty of the element, but actually for the practicality of it.

Let me know what you think...
Dutch Doors – I think this is a brilliant idea (if you don’t have to worry about bugs)
Popular with the 18th-century Dutch settlers of New York and New Jersey, Dutch doors are split horizontally in the middle; open just the top to keep out animals while letting in light and air. Making your own is straightforward. Saw any wood door in half, and then attach each half to the door frame with two hinges apiece. A simple sliding bolt joins the top and bottom as a single, solid panel.


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Sleeping Porch
I envy any homeowner who has this private oasis.
Sleeping porches became popular in the 20th century, when they were advocated by health professionals who believed that the fresh air they provided bolstered immune systems. Such porches were already popular in the South and West, where sleeping outdoors was cooler and more comfortable.


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Transom Windows – Always a gorgeous detail in any home.
Transom windows are panels of glass you see above doors in old homes, especially those built in the Mission or Arts & Crafts styles. They admitted natural light to front hallways and interior rooms before electricity, and circulated air even when doors were closed for privacy. Transoms serve both purposes just as well today, and of course, the beauty of glass is timeless.


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Laundry Chute – I would KILL for one of these... or at least move the laundry room to the second floor!
If your bedroom is two floors up from the washer and dryer, you might want to resurrect another nearly forgotten feature of old homes: the laundry chute. If you'd like to construct your own, to ensure that your clothes are funneled smoothly, get sheet metal welded together to create a ramp, or use lengths of extra-large PVC pipe to form a tube that ends in your laundry room. No matter your approach, adding a laundry chute injects low-tech convenience into one of life's never-ending chores.


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Boot Scraper – I actually had one of these at my Ohio home when I was growing up… I thought it was very cool - even when I was young.
When horse-drawn wagons were a common mode of transportation, a boot scraper at the front door was a real necessity. As paved roads replaced dirt and tires replaced hooves, the boot scraper fell out of use. Today, you can still find the traditional-style cast iron bars set into masonry on many a front stoop, although many modern wood, rubber, or plastic scrapers have been augmented with brushes to remove debris from all angles.


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Intercom System - When my children were growing up, this system saved me countless steps as well as my voice from screaming continually.
Intercom systems may remind you of The Brady Bunch, but these 1970's-era devices can be useful even if you don't have six kids, a dog, and an Alice. Systems consist of a base station and several remote modules, and the newest intercoms are capable of piping music throughout your home. If you'd prefer to avoid any hard-wiring, opt instead for a phone system with built-in intercom functionality.


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Pocket Shutters - What a clever idea to save wall space and keep the lines clean on great architectural detailing.
Northeast homes of the 18th and 19th century had walls of exceptional thickness (as they were often made of brick), providing a deep window jamb whose pockets could contain an entire interior shutter. These clever architectural details are making a comeback, because interior shutters provide not only privacy, but also insulation or shade when the elements really start to bear down.


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Dumbwaiter –
Boy, oh boy... talk about getting spoiled! This is, again, BRILLIANT
Convenient for carrying items like laundry and food from floor to floor, these small freight elevators rose to popularity during the 19th century. Although today they are seen mostly in restaurants and schools, a dumbwaiter could be installed in many multilevel homes and enhanced with electric motors, automatic control systems, and greater customization than was possible before.


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Ceiling Medallions - These have always been a beautiful detail and custom touch to homes.
Popular in middle- to upper-class homes in the 19th century, ceiling medallions were designed to add architectural interest and beauty to a room. They were typically placed above a chandelier so that the light would emphasize their delicate patterns. Traditionally made from delicate paper mâché or heavy materials like iron or marble, you can get the same look today with ceiling medallions made from foam, plastic or light wood.

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Root Cellar I think I would fill mine with wine but that’s just me!
If you live in a climate where the ground freezes in the winter, you can jump on the modern green trend and build an old-fashioned root cellar. It basically consists of digging a hole in your yard about 7-feet deep, putting in a sturdy infrastructure and roof, and covering it up with dirt. The result is a storage area where you can keep large quantities of winter vegetables like potatoes, squash and cabbage preserved and ready-to-eat throughout the cold months.


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Claw-Foot Tubs – Talk about a treat. I’m a shower girl, but soaking is a large claw-foot tub, wow!
They’re lovely to look at and provide a deeper soak than most modern tubs. So if you have enough space in your bathroom, consider adding the luxury of a claw foot tub to your life. Or, get whimsical and put one outside in your garden or on a patio so you can bathe under the stars. You can find many claw foots inexpensively at salvage yards that, with a little TLC, will look as good as new or rather, as old.


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Picture Rail Moulding – This is an ingenious idea, why oh why did this EVER go out of style?
Picture rails were installed primarily in the New England and Southern townhouses in the Victorian era and provided a way to hang artwork on plaster walls that would crumble under the force of hammer and nail. Today, they can be installed as visually appealing design elements that let you hang art in a unique way. Consider aligning your moulding with the tops of windows and painting the ceiling a color that extends to the picture rail.


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Don't throw the past away
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again


by Peter Allen