an old house’s journey: from ugly duckling to a charming swan #greenlake #seattle

Let’s just get age out of the way, shall we?  I’m old.  I’m even older than Seattle’s Smith Tower which was the tallest building in Seattle and Washington state from 1914 to 1962.  I was built, apparently, on the same year that Woodrow Wilson succeeded William Howard Taft as the 28th President of the United States. And if truth be told, I was already here when  Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market — known for its tradition of fishmongers throwing fish that customers have purchased before they are wrapped — was established in 1930. And hey, I’m still here.

There’s obviously a long, lost history of the people who used to lived here.  My most recent memory was of Mrs. C. settling in in the early 1990’s to be closed to family.  She lived here from 1992 until she passed away in 2004.

Mrs. C’s son and family, my current residents (let’s call them J&R) were working overseas and did not come to live here until 2010. Since then, it’s been quite an adventure getting all fixed up.  If an old house can be an ugly duckling, this is my pictorial journey to becoming a swan.

Front Door, 2015




oh, there’s way too much wood in the kitchen … let’s fix that

No one liked the cabinets. It seemed as if there was way too much wood in the kitchen. So, J&R were going to have it torn out and replaced with something new. But it was a perfectly fine cabinet and with the right shade of paint, it helped make the kitchen sparkle brightly. They spent a long time selecting the colors and the cabinet knobs but in the end, it all worked out perfectly. Props to Queen Anne Painting for a great job! Take a look!

kitchen, june 2013
Kitchen After. June 2013
Kitchen Before. Jun 2013 #greenlake #seattle
Kitchen Before. June 2013

the calamondin tree survives its second winter, yay!

According to Barth Fruit, the Calamondin orange (citrofortunella microcarpa) is a naturally occurring hybrid of the citrus reticulata (a type of mandarin orange) and the fortunella margarita kumquat (oval kumquat), which is presumed to have originated in China. It is reportedly hardy to 20 degrees F.  and is hardier to cold than most other true citrus specie.

The Calamondin orange is cultivated particularly in the Philippines, where it is also known as the Calamansi.  The leaves are oval and their underside is much brighter than their dark green upper side.  The fruit has very sour taste even when ripe.  My folks used the fruit as juice diluted with water and sweetened with sugar or honey.  This can be drunk cold or warm for sore throat. The pure juice is also used with soy sauce as a marinade for meat or chicken. Our calamondin tree had to spend most of the winter in the basement, and it lost some of its buds but it is looking gorgeous again!

Calamondin Tree. March 2017


goodbye wind bird of winter



 In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird


with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us


This poem is from the Poetry Foundation, read the whole poem here. Below the view from my window one light snow day this winter.

Winter. February 2017

a bathroom so bright, you can sing in the rain even if Seattle gets 37 inches of precipitation

So, Seattle gets about 150 days of rain a year and an average of 37 inches of rainfall. Apparently, last year, Portland edged Seattle out with an annual average rainfall of 37.5.  Big deal, yes? But did you know that the Olympics Mountains create a rain shadow which benefits Seattle. Yes, without the Olympics, Seattle would get even more rain!  Chicago, Dallas, and Miami reportedly also get more rain than Seattle, but no one really thinks of those cities and think RAIN. Blame it on ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ where one of the characters famously say,  “It rains nine months a year in Seattle.” And people believed him!

As if Seattle folks can’t get enough of the rain — when I was renovated, my folks decided to replace the tub with a shower stall.  German-maker Hansgrohe asks, “Think a shower is just a shower? Take a shower with Hansgrohe. You will be able to feel and see the difference: Our showers gently douse, wonderfully refresh and vigorously massage.” I understand that this is all true with the new shower. My folks are pretty pleased with it, they want to make an additional bathroom and install another Hansgrohe shower!  The lighting is gorgeous in this renovated bathroom. We also added a shellcrafted mirror to match the sink pedestal. Yes, you can sing in the rain in there.

055 12 Sep 2013_FotorBR
Bathroom | Sept 12, 2013
Bathroom | Sept 12, 2013
Bathroom After. 2013
Bathroom Before. 2010

we three christmas trees … wait, are we too late or too early for the season?

The mantle above the fireplace makes a perfect place for this triplets. They look so at home there that J&R have decided that these get to stay there all year round. How crazy is that?  It’s like Christmas every day of the year without the fruit cake and the egg nog. Well, in this living room, that’s what it feels like with its festive warmth in this blasted, wet, and dreary Seattle weather!