More “Where We Live”

I was busy taking pictures of Chicago when a BIG WEATHER front moved in and that was that, at least for the moment. Monday I took a 6 mile hike from my place all along the lakeshore and around downtown but then it started to thunder, lightening and, as Dan called them at age 2, Hell Balls were flying. In fact the hail was so large that it left little marks all over my arms and legs- probably my head, too, but I can’t see them there. I do have the Opera House and Navy Pier and lots more and I’ll get those up shortly.

But first, I had to come to Florida. It had been 8 weeks since I snuffled the Snarl and that was far too long and besides, the time had come to pick out tile. You remember this little green house: 130
This is our small Arts and Crafts bungalow in the historic section of St. Petersburg, about 5 blocks from the Bay. (I seem destined to end up 5 blocks from any major body of water in the vicinity, which is too bad because I love big water even more than I love big weather. It will take a silver spoon in another lifetime but really, 5 blocks is close enough.) We bought this house as an investment/rental property and I was certain that I would never want to be in Florida, a place I have long thought of as the pink flamingo-waiting room- armpit of the nation.

Funny how things change. In the short weeks I spent outfitting this place to rent I fell in love with it. I love the Coopers Hawk that nests in the tree, the manatee at the seawall at the end of the street, the tiny lizards, the brick pavers that line the road, the diverse neighborhood. I really like this house, with it’s modest and simple 1930s construction. So after we furnished it I decided I couldn’t rent it to strangers. Then the Snarl started at USF and well, now I’m always happy to fly down here.

We decided the one thing that was missing was a porch (that and a bedroom for guests) and there’s nothing better than a good sitting porch. So I drew a little picture of what this house would look like with a nice porch. Then I drew a new master bedroom on the back, along with a nice big sunny bathroom. We hired a builder and we went before the Neighborhood Design Review board and, now, 4 months later it looks like this.Porch2_1

It’s still very rough, especially inside, but I can see where it’s going. I can see myself sitting on that porch come January, chatting with Rich over morning tea, when Chicago is bitter and cold. Today I picked out the porcelain tile for the porch and the tile and trim for the bathrooms and kitchen. Tomorrow morning I’ll pick out the new door color for the front door and new doors that open on to the porch. We’ll keep the main color and trim the same but I think a reddish door of some hue might be nice. I’ve been watching Laura and Kimberly work on their kitchens with great interest and today I felt a lot of that sort of excitement thinking about how this little green house is taking shape.

The house will conform to it’s original style on the exterior so those posts will be trimmed out to match the original trim around the front door. The new porch is offset to the side because I didn’t want to disturb the tree right at the side of it.The underside of the porch will be beadboard and there will be three fans, too.

When I pulled up in the rental car from the airport to get my first view of it since construction began I thought, “How lucky is this? A city mouse AND a country mouse!” Some other very nice people in the blog neighborhood live in Florida- FC, Beverly, etc. They complain a lot about snowbirds and I’m about to become one- but I drive better.

14 responses to “More “Where We Live”

  1. They are extremely lucky to have you there, if even for a week at a time! That is such a cute cottage. Do you still have to blog on the bench?

  2. You did, you did go to Florida!!!! Have fun with Abby. Nyssa has made herself pretty much unavailable the last two weeks. I guess things are really busy for her.

    Looking forward to those pictures, and pictures of your place there in progress.

  3. So you’re an architect, too?!

    Spread your tiny wings and fly away…To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow!

  4. I think the people in St. Pete are older than the ones in Bradenton, and if you go to Sun City, they’re really old.

    Those cottages near downtown are jewels. Many of the little homes in Bradenton are being transformed into beautiful little places to live. It’s helping the neighborhood as well. Bradenton has converted one of the rundown areas into “The Village of the Arts.” It has been a great success. Artists have bought homes nad set up studios. Other cities have looked at the model. I don’t know where Bradenton got the idea.

    Watch how you talk about Florida. I’m a native, and my parents were as well. Florida has been called God’s Waiting Room, though.

    When you’re there in January, I want to get together with you for lunch or dinner at the Crab Trap for some shrimp!

  5. The house looks wonderful. We will be in Florida for a gymnastics meet in March. I haven’t been there since college.

  6. I think FC will forgive you (as will the rest of your Floridian friends) if it means you are that much closer a few days/weeks/months of the year 😉

    That is a gorgeous little house – it looks just PERFECT for a country-mouse home. I can’t wait to see what you do with the inside, assuming you indulge us with pictures at some point.

    After all, I’m not going anywhere for quite some time, I need someone to amuse me.

  7. I agree that there’s nothing better than a good sitting porch… well, almost nothing better. Right about now, I’d trade our lovely front porch for a working kitchen. Only a couple of weeks to go, but I’m really, really tired of living in a construction site, and I miss cooking.

    Your new porch looks grand! I like the sort of brick red color on the front door in these photos; were you planning to go redder?

  8. January on that porch in Florida will be ever so much nicer than in Chicago.

    I’m glad you didn’t disturb the tree in the front.

  9. You are lucky! That little house is just adorable! I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.

  10. Oh, that house defines charming! Had to laugh at your last comment, however. (about driving better!)

    St Pete has change a lot in the 10 years I’ve been here. The downtown area, especially. I really do think the population is shifting toward the younger generation.

  11. It’s pretty, but not a very powerful shade of GREEN and WHITE. GO SPARTANS!!!

  12. I absolutely adore porches. Especially in Florida.

  13. Whoa, we could never complain about you. That porch is gonna be great to sit and enjoy the FL weather.

    My Emma may be at USF in the fall! She visited and really loved the campus.

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