ref old hardwood flooringWe are in the midst of deciding what the renovation of the 1920’s bungalow we are purchasing will look like.  We live, work, and play in neighborhoods where new construction is booming in the midst of old historic homes.  Some people don’t feel these homes are keeping up with the quality and character of the older more historic builds in the neighborhoods.  What do you think?

We would like to keep as much of the original character as possible. The hardwood floors are the original one-inch oak hardwoods.  You don’t see any knots in the wood because back then they had access to one-hundred plus year old trees from which to harvest the wood.

If you’ve heard it said before, “They just don’t make wood the way they used to” – that would be a correct statement. They don’t. Trees in our grandfathers’ time fought with nature in ways that today’s second-growth, or new-growth trees do not. Those old growth trees were much denser, had much tighter growth rings and were therefore harder and more stable.  Today, the trees are harvested much younger and therefore quite “knotty” in appearance and not as hard and sturdy.  We have many things to decide!

I ran across an article recently by Adventures in Preservation that made me think.  They were commenting on how in America, we tear down more of our older homes and buildings than other countries.  It points out reasons why we should care about saving old homes.  It is indeed something to ponder.  Maybe we will keep the hardwoods!

Six Reasons Why More Americans Should Care About Saving Old Homes

  • Because tearing them down is wrecking our history. Countries rich in culture value history and buildings. “In Italy and France, you see 300-year-old buildings housing subways,” she said. “They make them work, they don’t tear them down.”
  • Because it’s bad for our Earth. Most of the wreckage will not be salvaged. All that glass and plaster goes into landfills.
  • Because you can never replicate these houses once they’re gone. The woodwork alone came from 200-year-old trees. These homes were built before electricity,
  • Because we don’t need new homes. “We have enough vacant homes to put everyone in.”
  • Because we’re losing our uniqueness. “There is something beautiful about traveling through America and seeing its distinct neighborhoods. Houses that get torn down and rebuilt erase that character.”
  • Because of their quality. “When you have a 100-year-old home made of timbers not particle board, it is solid. These homes have withstood decades of human life and natural disasters. But not city commissions and other self-interests.”

Posted on June 21, 2013 by Adventures in Preservation





I like staying in unique kind of places when I travel.  No monstrous hotels like Hilton or The Ritz for me.  I prefer something more adventurous and compelling.  Boutique hotels can be fun.  Bed and Breakfasts are a little too “up close and personal”.  Small inns are a must especially in places like Santa Fe, New Mexico or San Francisco. Well folks coming to Nashville will soon have another “cool” place to crash. Retail developer Mark Banks describes the five-room boutique hotel and restaurant he is creating from a former mechanics garage an “urban hideout.”

His 404 Hotel and Kitchen, opening this fall at 404 12th Avenue, is designed to offer travelers an alternative to large or mid-size hotels, offering what he calls “invisible service” led by one onsite manager. The idea is to let guests feel less like tourists and more immersed in the city.

It’s for “a traveler looking for something a little different, a little more unique in a booming part of town,” said Banks, who is principal at Retail Partners Development. “This is the kind of place my wife and I would try to find. … This is going to appeal to someone looking to have some elegant accommodations without too much fuss.”

As a developer, Banks said he keeps an eye out for interesting locations. After spending time at the neighboring Station Inn during the past few years, he noticed the nearby mechanics garage and approached the owner. After talking to people in the hotel industry, he learned about the Kimber Modern in Austin and decided a similar concept could work well in Nashville, especially in the Gulch.

“The Gulch is I think the center of what’s happening in Nashville right now, being surrounded by condos, apartments and new restaurants,” he said.

The 7,200-square-foot hotel is still under construction and his team is determining interior furnishing and design. Each room will have king beds with four including a loft living area connected by a winding stair case.

The restaurant seats 45 and is located in a storage container in front of the hotel, with the kitchen as a part of the hotel building. Chef Matt Bolus, who has previously served in chef positions at Flyte and Watermark in Nashville and FIG in Charleston, will offer a “modern take on classical European cuisine,” and the menu will be determined by available produce grown at local farms, including herbs grown on the hotel’s roof, said Libby Callaway, publicist for the hotel.


Well it has happened to me and my partner. We have been thinking about moving if we found the right home in the right area. Sound familiar? This has been going on for 2+ years so I really didn’t think it was going to happen, but we found a 1930’s bungalow and will be closing soon. We will be renovating the home over the next six months. Now if you want to follow along this journey with us, please do. It might be similar to a journey you have already experienced or will embark upon soon. The first book of business is where to live while the renovation takes place. There is only one Bathroom in the home and it will be torn out along with the Kitchen.

That brings me to a new topic. Have you ever heard of the Modern or the Metro Shed? Well these are prefab “sheds” or small spaces created for specific needs. For example, a writer’s, gardener’s, office or artist’s shed. They are even making elder sheds that could house your aging parent. These are very sophisticated with medical technology used in elder care. All can be very innovative and come in prices ranging $10,000 upward to $120,000. The upper end might include a kitchen and bath. Homeowners have been installing sheds versus adding additions to their homes like offices or studios. The trend is catching on all over America. Now with my situation of where I might live for the six months while they are renovating my new home, I thought about a Transition, Temporary Living, or even a Downsizing Shed, all of which will apply to my circumstance. It turns out there are many things to consider, like will the city or historic commission allow it? Who will put the kit together and connect the electric and water? Those questions remain unanswered but let’s don’t spoil the fun. Go to Houzz.com, my new favorite website, and search for Sheds and Studios. Brace yourself for the most fun you’ve had since you climbed into your last tree house.