Sunday, April 29, 2007

Main Street: a Photo Essay

Well, okay, that's a little pretentious. I'm not sure it's an "essay" so much as "a bunch of pictures." In any event, here's a little tour of the wonderful old houses in the residential section of Main Street in my new town. (That is, a few blocks from our house.)

Lovely old Greek Revival-style house in sad disrepair. Those stumps in the front yard are the peculiar & inexplicable remnant of an avenue of crepe myrtles.

What do you call this style? There are a number of houses with this look in Elgin--brick, compact, lots of arches. I really like the red arched front door.

Same general idea--next door to the previous.

At one time, we were really considering buying this one. It's a lovely old thing from 1920, but it's SO not perpendicular, and it was pushing on the absolute outer limits of what we could afford. It just needed more work than we could really manage. No matter--somebody else snarfed it up double-quick.

This is one of a number of what I think are Craftsman-style houses on Main St. Main St. was clearly where all of Elgin's muckty-mucks used to live (probably still do, for that matter)--it has the biggest, snazziest houses in town. Since several of these big fancy houses are in (what I take to be) Craftsman style, I assume Elgin had its big boom in the 1930s. Which, come to think of it, seems rather unlikely. Nobody was having a boom in the 30s. Must have been in the 20s, then?

Right next to the big Craftsman grandiosities is this bungalowish cuteness. What a ducky little cottage!

I don't know what this style is, and I have no idea of the time period either--they still build homes that look very much like it. "Traditional Southern Cottage" or some such thing. Charming, though, isn't it? Nice use of ferns.

Here's another in that unknown style--compact, squarish, and brick. No arches on this one, though. Is this from the 30s or the 40s, do you think? For some reason, this style of houses always looks to me like it should have professors living in it.

The cupola (is that what you call it when it's only 1 story? I usually think of cupolas as having 2 stories) says to me "Victorian" but the fat pillars and deep porch say "Craftsman." (I need to get a book on this history of residential architecture in America.) Either way, it must be lovely inside. And what a marvelous, cool porch for having breakfast or dinner.

A cupola and a dormer window! What bliss! This house, unusually, is stuccoed.

For some reason, this house always looks rather British to me. Look at the details in the woodwork between the windows.

Another handsome old Craftsman (I assume) house. It wears April well--the bright spring green of all the new foliage certainly becomes it.

...and another really big old house. The more I look at it, the less I think I know its date of origin. Bottom line is, it's big and interesting. (Not exactly as pretty as some of the others, I think--that brown's a bit austere. But it's interesting.)

And that's it. Isn't my town cool?

On my specific house, we've planted a few odds and ends that really needed to get into the ground ASAP (a rose here, a crinum there), and begun the first round of the Furniture Shuffle. Now that we have floors in the front of the house, we're extracting all the furniture that goes in those rooms and filling them. Hopefully, this will make it easier to empty out the master and study when the carpet guys come (which should be right around the Crack of Doom). Even though chaos reigns in the kitchen, it's amazing how much better it looks now that the oven has been reinstalled and the island and china cabinet were brought in. Let me take that out of passive voice: after Matt & I half killed ourselves, pulled our muscles, and pinched our fingers wrestling in three monstrous leviathans of furniture. After much tribulation, the kitchen is already looking nicer (I scrubbed the island from breakfast till lunch yesterday--much ingrained grease and unidentifiable nastiness--eww.)
As our most inhabitable room, the living room has become our base of operations. A bed and an internet connection: the fundamentals of life.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mel and Matt,

We love the photo tour of Main Street Elgin. Such interesting houses!

Your bamboo and porcelain tile floors look great. David and I really admired your DIY skills with the installation of the bamboo flooring. Nice job!

We hope the remaining painting chores are completed soon.

Aunt Pauline

Elgin_house said...

Thanks, Aunt Pauline! It was nice to get out of the hosue and stroll around.

I have to admit, I'm a little impressed with myself about the bamboo floors--you should have seen the size of that nailer--it was a monster.

Ah--the painting. Kinda played hookey on that this weekend. Heaven knows, I found plenty to do that didn't involve painting, but I do need to grit my teeth and get back on that horse. Soon. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Very soon. Probably.

Mom said...

Mel and Matt,
Glad to see you took a few minutes to explore your neighborhood. What lovely old houses!

So glad to see the tile has been installed. I hope the porcelain is as indestructible for you has it has been for us. Your china cabinet looks like it was custom made for its new home. Can't wait to see pictures of the tile in the baths.

Lastly, I must comment on the lovely sofa bed you are surviving on for all these weeks. Can it really be that 1974 plaid thing?

Take care and keep up the great work. All the improvements are impressive.


Elgin_house said...

Hey Mom--

We're really pleased with how well the china cabinet works, too.

You'll be glad to hear that we finally set up our real bed in the living room and folded up the old sofa bed. It looks every month of its 32 years, I'm afraid, and is probably developing a bad case of low self esteem in the company of our snazzy tile and bamboo floors.

The rotten carpet guys won't be here till the week after next, so we'll be camping out for a little while longer.

Meanwhile, we've hung the pot rack and put away at least some of the kitchen clutter, so things are slowly coalescing.

We've sure been glad to have the Jeep during this process! It was notably useful for transporting tile, but it's also been generally handy for smaller projects, and Matt's been using it to shuttle plants between here & Dale. Thanks so much for that--we really appreciate it.



Zena said...

Interesting to know.

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