Saturday, January 28, 2012

Everything Old Is New Again

So it's been just over six weeks since the closing, and camellias are in bloom (the property has about a dozen, and many are reportedly over 70 years old). We've come a long way in short time all things considered...

Our initial focus was to take care of one big ticket item before we moved most of our stuff in: termites.
Tenting for drywood termites
Although most of the cypress wood is in great condition considering its age (Pine Green was built in 1934), there was enough drywood termite activity and damage to warrant tenting the house as well as the garage and playhouse. We also went ahead and installed Sentricon as a precaution against subterranean termites.

In order to prep the house for treatment, we had to trim away a lot of landscape around the home's perimeter. Even with all the precautions we took, we still lost some plants we wanted to keep once they did the fumigation.

One side benefit of the tenting - the pest control company successfully restored the flamingo sculpture that looked like it had a broken neck when I first saw the place.

Flamingo sculpture before

Flamingo sculpture after

The inside of the home, considering its age, is in great condition.  We've mainly cleaned, moved in some furniture, artwork, and accessories, and have begun updating window coverings.

Living room before

Living room so far

So far we've found one "moneypit" item we didn't anticipate. Turns out the shower pan in the master bedroom had apparently been leaking for years, rotting lots of wood underneath:

What lies beneath revealed (shower area during repair)
It was missed during inspection, but Reid noticed dripping outside a couple of weeks ago, and from there we discovered the problem. It was a significant repair. The tile flooring (but not the wall tile) in the shower was apparently original (or close to it):

Shower before repair

I rather liked it, but since we had to lose the matching flooring in the shower due to the pan repair, we decided to go ahead and retile everything for continuity. We chose a simple natural dolomite marble for an enduring look that would also work with the finishes of the rest of the home. It turned out very nicely:
Shower repaired and retiled
While the shower was out of commission for a few days, we had to use the bathtub in the guest bath... this bath features one of Sam Stoltz's original famous flamingo frescoes:

Guest bath fresco
There is no shower, but I must admit it's quite a relaxing experience being surrounded by the flamingo and weeping cherry scene.

Aside from that, we spent considerable time over the past weeks starting to "contain" the landscape a bit. Pine Green has a marvelous palette of plants... including the largest podocarpus trees (yes, trees) I've ever seen... but it is too overgrown, unmanageable, and a bit of a hodgepodge in some areas. While we love the forest in the middle of the City that is Pine Green, we think the house was a little too hidden, and so, under the guidance of our beloved friend and well respected landscape architect Joe Brooks, we've been selectively removing or thinning some plants in order to reveal and preserve the best that Pine Green has to offer. We've even been giving away a fine stock of plants to friends to use in their own landscapes.

Front view before

Front view so far

Back yard before

Back yard so far

Driveway side before

Driveway side so far

Master bedroom rear side before

Master bedroom rear side so far

Yesterday Joe presented us with a wonderful preliminary plan for updating the landscape and really showing off the place while also respecting its heritage... It will likely be a while (perhaps years) before we fully implement his vision. For now, we've come close to reaching a point where we can pause for a moment and contemplate the future.

Last week one neighbor passing by gave me the greatest compliment: "... it's like watching a present being unwrapped..."

View from driveway before

View from driveway so far
(note the 8+ ft tall professor sargent camellia by the sunroom that was virtually hidden before)

Corner view from street before

Corner view from street so far

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