-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hillsdale House block

I got home from work early today as a treat to myself, to make me feel better about yesterday. So I had some time to just muck around online and I ended up delving randomly through the houseblogs sites... I try and at least skim everyone's latest posts now - thanks to Bloglines it's really easy. But this is the first time I've had time to trawl in detail through anyone's back story.

If you haven't already, check out the Hillsdale House blog. Their post today caught my eye about building a garden bench, and then I looked at their "before and after" picture and was blown away by how much they'd done and how wonderful it was looking. Then I browsed their Flickr collection and found this:

Back Porch in Progress
Originally uploaded by Greg_e.

Well, that was it for me... I was hooked. I love this verandah post. It sparked a wave of homesickness too... it reminds me of the front posts on the "California Bungalows" in the area where I used to live in Melbourne (in Australia). To show you what I mean I did a search for houses for sale in the area and came across this... and it could be yours if you have around A$700,000!

California Bungalow
Originally uploaded by lynetter.

The tragic thing is that even though they've done the house up, one of the reasons it's selling at this price is because it has planning permission to build a townhouse at the back. *sigh* This is why I'll never live go back to live in this part of Melbourne ever again - all the lovely old houses and gardens are being destroyed by an influx of little box units and townhouses (ie: a 2 storey boxes) everywhere. I was really shocked the last time I visited at how much the area has changed.

Anyway, back to Hillsdale House... Besides looking at their cool pictures, I went through their archives and read all their entries. I'm in awe of how much they've done. It makes me realise how daunting it's going to be for us when we actually pick up tools and start(!) - but also, how rewarding it'll be in the end.

It was fascinating to read their history sectionabout Bungalows in the Portland area. Early on in our research I stumbled across Gustav Stickley and we briefly toyed with the idea of building a replica of one of his houses at Amherst. We bought a book which has reprints of many of Stickley's houseplans, room drawings and articles. They have such anachronistically descriptive titles - my favourite: "an inexpensive but charming cottage for women who want their own home"! It's interesing to see how others like Hillsdale House are interpreting this style in a modern context.

At Amherst we plan to have elements of Craftsman style (lots of built-ins, detailing) plus a few oddities that we got the idea of from these plans which will be perfect in Australia - namely, a "sleeping porch", probably up on the second level, for those hot hot nights; and a small outside kitchen (in addition to the usual indoor one) for those hot hot days when you have to do things like bottle tomatoes! I can imagine us using the outside kitchen - planned to be on the verandah just outside the normal kitchen - almost as much as the indoor one. Anyway, that's all dreams for now...

I must read more Houseblog archives, you never know what you'll discover!


jm@houseinprogress said...

I totally agree with you on the posts at Hillsdale...they are so lovely.

Greg said...

Hey, I just heard about your post and had to check it out. Thanks very much! I'm definitely blushing up here in Portland... :-)

By the way, those are some beautiful house plans you have. Good luck with that and keep posting!

Steve said...

Hey Lynne

Now its my turn to say that I know those Californian bungalows that you are talking about! In fact I am sure I have driven right past the house you have a photo of in Melbourne, Australia.

The "sleeping porch" was an original feature of those homes. I was reading just the other day, that as well as a place to sleep on hot nights, the idea of an airy place to sleep was thought to be healthy as it minimised the chances of getting things like TB/consumption. Well that was the thinking back then. Of course, most of these "sleep outs" became third bedrooms over the years.

Yes, it is so true that Glen Iris, Surrey Hills, Mont Albert etc. are all getting way too many mock-Georgian town-houses with double garages as the main street feature!