August 21, 2014

One of the best 'hunting grounds' for affordable
and unique treasures is at community sales.
Every August the nice residents of Wolfsville, MD, gather for a picnic which features Blue Grass music, homemade goodies and a sale to raise money for the campground maintenance.

The elderly gentleman sitting beside the empty lawn chair is Bob's cousin, Don Kuhn.  He's a 94 year old veteran of WWII who still farms and keeps a garden.

After greeting family and childhood friends Bob headed to the tent where they sold homemade ice cream and real from-scratch deep fried potato chips.
I headed to the community yard sale!

And just look at my box of treasures:

It's a veritable vintage treasure trove:
Original oil painting  

Adorable 1950s Napco Spaghetti poodle figurine

An old Ball mason jar 

A vintage syrup pitcher 

An awesome industrial metal desk lamp
(that works!) 

A beautiful hand tatted doily

A Fire King Bonnie Blue cup and saucer

An old silk tapestry/rug (look how big it is beside the Fire King
cup and saucer.)  Definitely not my taste so it's going on eBay. 

A promotional calendar, address book and pen from 1966

Guess how much I paid for all of these collectibles.
Come on, guess.

$6.00!!!!  Actually, I gave them a $10 bill and told them
to keep the change.  (I felt guilty for paying so little.) 

 My handsome man carried the box to the car!

 It was a wonderful afternoon filled with friendship, delicious food, delightful music, and incredible bargains.  What more could you ask?

August 20, 2014

On our recent trip through my husband's old stomping grounds, Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, we saw some beautiful rolling farm land.  One of the remarkable things about farms in that area is the number of rock fences still standing.

It got me to thinking, "What happened
to our country's rock fences?"

Let's step back a few hundred years and look at the
importance of natural rock in our country's history.

 When settlers first came to America there was
an abundance of trees for wood and log houses.
Most of the early homes had rock foundations.
Colonists tamed the wilderness and were able to sustain themselves through farming and hunting.  At the same time building became more sophisticated.

As farmers tilled their fields behind a horse and plow they uncovered rocks which they used to build homes, out buildings and fences.

The Old Stone House, left, is located in Georgetown and was built in 1703.

This old stone house sits at the crossroads in Wolfsville, Md.

By the middle of the 19th Century, at the height of the industrial revolution, steam powered rock crushers were efficiently reducing rocks into rubble.  As automobiles became popular in the early 20th Century, country dirt roads were paved with gravel.

My husband remembers his grandfather telling him that portable rock crushers were brought to their area in the 1930's.  Many farmers donated the rocks from their fences to be crushed into gravel to pave the dirt roads as more efficient and less labor-intensive fencing was becoming available.

So, there you have it.  Modernization made stone fencing obsolete.  

But, wait.  Look what we saw as we drove back home:


These beauties might not be used to make fences but it's heartwarming to know that they'll probably be used in someone's garden.

The Circle of Life is so satisfying, isn't it?

August 19, 2014

Well, this is awkward . . . . . 

. . . . . space, that is!  How do you decorate
an unusually structured area in your home?

Unless you're a giant this charming little window is too high on the wall.  The owners camouflaged the height discrepancy by hanging different size portraits underneath it.

Under-the-stairs space is not only awkward, it's
often under-used.  Consider these solutions:

Room Envy

It's hard to believe but these are actually steps down
to a basement.  What an ingenious use of space.

Austin Architect
A compact and efficient office was located under stairs.

Do you have a nook off the kitchen that's
too small for a 'normal' table and chairs?
I love how they dressed it up by wallpapering the ceiling, adding a small chandelier and hanging an antique oil portrait.

 Very old houses are prone to offer unusual little crannies that are interesting but are also a challenge to decorate. 

Don't hesitate to dress up the stair landing.

The Inspired Room
Sloped ceilings definitely present a unique challenge when it comes to decorating.  These homeowners chose to panel their ceiling which added a cozy element to the room.

By positioning the bed at an angle the
homeowners didn't have to block the window.

Custom cabinets beneath a sloped ceiling makes
use of what could have been an unusable area.

Odi et Amo
What a perfect spot for shelves.

A small kitchen needed extra room for the refrigerator.  The solution?  The closet pantry doors were removed, a cabinet and counter area were added, the refrigerator was moved into the closet and shelves were added.  Genius!

Even the tiniest of spaces can often
accommodate a guest bathroom:


Seriously, wow.

This might possibly be the tiniest bathroom in the history of The Lou:


Don't be intimidated by awkward spaces.
Look at them from a different point of view.
You'll be surprised at the results!

August 18, 2014

Sorry for the late post today.  Hubby and I just pulled in after a quick 4 day trip to Maryland.  Yikes, we drove through some really heavy rain. Glad to be home safe and sound.  Special shout out of thanks to Mom for babysitting her grand-doggies!

So, what do I have up my sleeve for this rainy Repurposeful Monday?

Climbing walls!

You're thinking, "What could climbing walls have to do with repurposing?"  

Well, tons, as it turns out.

The photo, above right, is actually an old abandoned nuclear power plant near Kalkar, Germany, that was turned into a climbing wall.  In fact, Wunderland, a high-tech amusement park, was built around the radiation-free plant. 

Built in 1972, the reactor was never used due to soaring construction costs and residents' fears following the Chernobyl accident.  It stood abandoned until 1996 when the plans for the park were drawn up.
Over 600,000 visitors a year enjoy the park's 40 rides, restaurants and hotels.
Kind of creepy but in a fun and practical way.

So, where is the world's tallest climbing wall?
Right here in the USA - Reno, Nevada, to be exact.
Built on the side of the Whitney Peak Hotel, the climbing wall is 164 feet tall.

Located outside a residential area of Nad Jazerom, Slovakia, a heat exchanger (I have no idea what that is) was converted to indoor galleries.  Part of the exterior was transformed into an angular climbing wall.

I would feel so much less anxious if there was padding on the concrete.

Extreme sports enthusiasts will go to great heights to experience the thrill of the 'unconquered.'

What's that on the left?  It's a grain silo in Iowa that is turned into an ice climbing wall in the winter.

Here's an interior shot of the silo.  No, thanks!


Curt Marx, a clever University of Minnesota student, has drawn up plans to convert the abandoned Bunge grain elevator, right, outside Como into a rock climbing gym.  

Watch out, Reno!  The 206 ft. tower would become the world's tallest climbing wall.

Today's post features just a few of the many abandoned buildings across the world that are being repurposed into climbing walls and other types of recreational facilities.  Maybe there are unused buildings around your community that could be transformed into useful and fun centers of activity.