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    Category: Home Restoration

    Decision for proposed tiny home development will have to wait a little longer – KFOR Oklahoma City - December 14, 2019 by admin

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    OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - It's a development planned to help women in need. However, some folks fighting against new neighbors will have to wait a little bit longer for the answer.

    It's a proposed development for single mothers in the north part of the metro near the Oklahoma CityEdmond line. After an hours-long meeting Thursday afternoon, the Planning Commission delayed their vote.

    Community members on both sides of the argument presented to the commission why their opinion was best for the community.

    Members with the nonprofit charity Beautiful Restoration agreed to amend some of their plans, but residents living in the Rush Brook community say that's not enough.

    A big crowd showed up for the fight over tiny homes. The issue at stake, a 16-acre development to temporarily house single mothers while they work to get back on their feet. But people living near the Danforth and Western property complained about the type of clientele who might be staying at those homes, worrying it will decrease their property value.

    That is what Rush Brook is. It is a dynamite neighborhood. Everybody is sweet to everybody, everybody helps, everybody takes care of everybody. It is wonderful. This is destroying our neighborhood, said one person.

    The meeting became a back and forth between the applicants attorney and concerned neighbors.

    Officials with Beautiful Restoration agreed to not host any outdoor events at the former Governor's Mansion on property, downsizing retail space and moving the intended parking lot away from the already existing homes.

    But neighbors in the North Oklahoma CityEdmond area say they still don't support it.

    I think undeniably there is better ways we could be using this property if we took away everything they proposed and just had the tiny homes left. I don't see how that is best use, and I don`t see how we are going to come to an agreeance on anything else. I think the property in itself, better tax dollars is better spent in other ways, said another neighbor.

    The planning commission fought back, saying it is not their responsibility to decide who can or cannot live somewhere. They voted to hear another round of arguments early into the new year.

    I am sorry. I get it. We understand the concern about property values. We understand the concern about safety. We get it. I promise we get it. But we don`t need to talk about the occupants anymore, it is not something we need to talk about, said the Planning Commission chairman.

    This meeting will continue January 23. The planning commission will decide then if they plan to present it to the City Council for a final vote.

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    Decision for proposed tiny home development will have to wait a little longer - KFOR Oklahoma City

    What you can buy for just over the national median home price in Sonoma County? – Santa Rosa Press Democrat - December 14, 2019 by admin

    The median home price in Sonoma County is $660,000 according to the latest Press Democrat housing report compiled by staff writer Martin Espinoza and Compass real estate agent Rick Laws. That is more than double the median listed price for homes across the nation. According to Zillow, homes listed on its site average around $285,000 while they sell for $48,000 less than the asking price on average.

    With the possibility of floods and fires in our future, some Sonoma County residents are pondering relocation.

    In other cities across the nation, $285,000 can buy you a whole lot more house. In the Charlotte, North Carolina, suburb of Gastonia, you can buy a recently remodeled historic four-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $274,900.

    205 W 5th Ave, Gastonia, NC. Property listed by Jenna Calhoun/ My Townhome,, 207-807-0083.

    In the Amador County town of Pioneer, $265,000 buys you an immaculate two-bedroom home in the woods near some of Californias best trails for hiking.

    27568 Cedar Court, Pioneer, CA. Property listed by Brenda Cannon/Coldwell Banker,, 209-304-2473.

    If you are willing to shell out a few more bucks, for $499,900 can buy you a historic farm in Astoria, Oregon with 1920s Craftsman, several outbuildings and 1.65 fertile acres.

    40232 Hunt Ln, Astoria, OR. Property listed by Christy Chaloux Coulombe/ Windermere,, 503-724-2400.

    What does the U.S. median home price buy in Sonoma County you may ask?

    Click through our gallery above to see homes priced at or slightly above* the national average.

    *With only a couple move-in-ready properties listed under the median, we expanded our list to $315,000 to offer a more robust sample.

    The rest is here:
    What you can buy for just over the national median home price in Sonoma County? - Santa Rosa Press Democrat

    $1.5 Million Homes in Indiana, Oregon and Colorado – The New York Times - December 14, 2019 by admin

    Indianapolis | $1.5 MillionAn 1889 Victorian with seven bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, on a half-acre lot

    This property is in the Old Northside neighborhood, a historic district with many elegant homes, less than two miles northwest of downtown. (Among them is an Italianate Victorian several blocks southwest, where President Benjamin Harrison lived.) The builder came from a lumber family, and this house displays a rich variety of woods, including cherry, mahogany and oak. At one point, it was the clubhouse for a fraternal order. A two-year renovation was completed last year.

    Size: 9,097 square feet

    Price per square foot: $165

    Indoors: The original wood doors inset with gridded glass open to a marble-tiled foyer, followed by a reception room. Turning left, you enter a library with casement windows, a nonworking, exposed-brick fireplace with a wood-slab mantel and industrial-style floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

    Beyond is a series of rooms: a breakfast room with a beamed ceiling and a terra-cotta fireplace, which opens to a kitchen with a large marble-topped island and a custom stainless steel hood and, finally, a family room with a coffered ceiling and French doors opening to a large rear deck with an outdoor kitchen.

    Pocket doors off the reception room on the other side of the staircase take you into a dining room with a coffered ceiling, wall paneling and a green-tile fireplace. Past the dining room is a home office with a curved wall and honeycomb floor tile. A nearby area beside the back door is outfitted with coat hooks and a phone-charging station.

    On the second floor are four bedrooms with attached bathrooms, including a master with walk-in closets on either side of a decorative fireplace, a changing room and a bathroom with twin marble-topped vanities, a soaking tub and a multispray slate shower. There is also a large laundry room with black-and-white Moroccan-style wall tile that matches the kitchens backsplash.

    The third floor has two additional bedrooms with hardwood floors and dormers, and a family room or game room.

    The original carriage house was expanded several years ago to include a five-car garage at the base. One of the bays is extra high for the storage of a camper or boat. The second floor contains a two-bedroom apartment with a living room that has a gas fireplace, a corner kitchen with stainless steel appliances and an elegant bathroom.

    Outdoor space: The house has a fenced front lawn, a curving front porch and a large rear deck with a trellis roof, an outdoor kitchen and a firepit.

    Taxes: $40,129 without a homestead exemption (2018)

    Contact: Joe Everhart, Everhart Studio, 317-916-1052;

    A 1997 conversion created this three-level unit in a building on the North Park Blocks in the citys Pearl District. The Willamette River, Union Station and Powells City of Books are within blocks of the condominium. The area is filled with restaurants, high-end doughnut shops, breweries, art galleries, boutiques and theaters.

    Size: 2,050 square feet

    Price per square foot: $729

    Indoors: Elizabeth Raftopoulos, a fashion and interior designer, created the look of this fourth-through-sixth-floor unit. You enter a large loft room with wide-board French white-oak floors and a nook with coat hooks and storage under a metal staircase. Off to the side is a bead-board-paneled half bathroom with a marble-and-brass sink.

    The open kitchen has custom dark-navy cabinets and an island with an Italian marble waterfall countertop. Among the appliances are a six-burner Wolf range, a Sub-Zero refrigerator with a glass door and an Electrolux wine cooler. A living area is at the end of the room, with Restoration Hardware glass-globed pendant lights, near a wall of casement windows.

    The entire second level is taken up by a suite with a sitting area hung with Restoration Hardware hemispherical brass ceiling lights. Next to it is a bedroom with steel-framed glass walls on two sides, around which curtains can be drawn for privacy. The bedroom opens to a bathroom with a walk-in shower with black-granite tile and a marble-topped vanity.

    The top-floor master bedroom has a sliding barn door and a niche for a desk. The en suite Italian marble bathroom includes built-in storage, a double vanity and a walk-in shower with controls and showerheads mounted on opposite walls. An interior steel-framed glass wall next to the Victoria & Albert Barcelona bathtub admits light from the bedroom windows and offers treetop views. This level also has a laundry room with a stacked washer and dryer and a granite-topped cabinet.

    Outdoor space: A door from the living room opens to a terrace, and there is access from the master to a roof deck with planters. The unit looks out to the mature trees in the North Park Blocks. Parking for one car is in an attached garage.

    Taxes: $13,171, plus a $658 monthly homeowners fee

    Contact: Susan Suzuki, Sasha Welford or Todd Peres, Debbie Thomas Real Estate, 503-226-2141;

    A previous owner built this house with reclaimed oak barn-wood siding and a metal roof. It has about 150 feet of frontage on the Animas River, popular for kayaking, rafting and fishing. Durango is a city of about 19,000 in southwestern Colorado, at an elevation of 6,500 feet. This home is two and a half miles northeast of the terminus of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which makes a daily 50-mile trip north to Silverton, Colo., in summer. It is just east, across the river, from restaurants, markets and other businesses on Main Avenue. The campus of Fort Lewis College is three miles south.

    Size: 2,068 square feet

    Price per square foot: $725

    Indoors: A cluster of attached, gabled forms creates interior spaces with vaulted ceilings. The double-height great room, for instance, rises 20 feet from its cherry floor to its ridge beam (made of fir from a Boeing airplane hangar in Seattle). Floor-to-ceiling windows offer river views, and a ladder ascends to a windowed loft.

    Off the great room is a kitchen with raised-panel cabinetry, marble countertops and a white subway-tile backsplash. An attached dining room has direct outdoor access.

    There is a ground-floor master bedroom with picture-rail molding and built-in wardrobes flanking glass doors that open to a river-facing back deck. The master bathroom includes a marble-topped vanity and a walk-in steam shower lined in glass subway tile and furnished with a bench.

    Both upstairs bedrooms have vaulted ceilings. One has a cantilevered balcony overlooking the river. The upstairs bathroom has white paneling, a rustic wood vanity and pale-aqua glass tile on the bathtub wall.

    Outdoor space: The property has shrubs and flowering trees, stone and gravel paths, and wood and metal-mesh fencing. There is also a wood-fired hot tub.

    Taxes: $6,684 (2018)

    Contact: Hannah Chary, Wells Group Real Estate, 970-799-5011;

    For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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    $1.5 Million Homes in Indiana, Oregon and Colorado - The New York Times

    Majestic Federal on the Hudson | – - December 14, 2019 by admin

    This majestic 1825 Federal home on the banks of the Hudson River was designed by architect Barnabas Waterman for shipping entrepreneur Anthony Rutgers Livingston. Steeped in history, the house has undergone an extensive yet sensitive restoration. Enter into a grand hallway with Double Parlors to the right and a formal Dining Room on the left. Original Federal flourishes abound with acanthus leaf capitals and entablatures, Corinthian columns, Keystone cap arches and intact mantels and crown moldings. Seven wood-burning fireplaces! The high ceiling heights and tall windows throughout provide extraordinary elegance, light and comfort. A thoughtful Kitchen renovation, with 1/2 Bath for 21st century convenience. Upstairs is a Full Bath and four spacious and airy Bedrooms, the Master with ensuite Bath. The walkout lower level of the house features a Family Room with fireplace, a full bath and the original 1825 kitchen with hearth and beehive oven. A stroll past the boxwood garden and pergola leads to a 3-bay Garage with finished Studio and 1/2 Bath above, perfect for artist, home office or additional guests! Convenient to NYS Thruway, Catskill, Lumberyard Performing Arts; 15 minutes to Hudson, 2 hours to NYC.

    The Hudson River is right outside the door. Endless hours of enjoyment can be had observing river activity: the ever-changing ebb and flow of the river current and the parade of boats and ships gliding by.

    Any individual or family who can envision a contemporary lifestyle in a turnkey historic Hudson Valley home right on its own waterfront.

    This house is perfect for entertaining, both inside and outand even on the river.

    Water activities from kayaking to a canoeing, on a sailboat or a larger craft. This house is all about having fun on the river. Plus, its just a short two-block walk to the middle of Athens to enjoy a meal or a brew at Crossroads Brewery, Food Studio or The Stewart House Pub.

    The immediate surrounding area offers opportunities to visit the homes of the American Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. High quality performances are available nearby at The Lumberyard Center for Film & Performing Arts and at The Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill. And the dynamic little city of Hudson, N.Y., is only a short ferry or bridge crossing away.

    Anthony Livingston, the gentleman who built the house, mortally wounded a man over a legal dispute one night on the streets of Hudson. Although he was jailed, the judge dropped the charges but Livingston left town anyway. Since then six more owners have lived happily in this historic, Hudson River home.


    INTERESTED? Contact:

    Christine Jones

    The Kinderhook Group Real Estate



    38 South Front Street

    Hudson, N.Y.

    INTERESTED? Contact:

    Paul Barrett

    The Kinderhook Group Real Estate



    38 South Front Street

    Hudson, N.Y.

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    Majestic Federal on the Hudson | -

    The incredible renovation of a historic castle’s former beach house where you can now stay – Wales Online - December 14, 2019 by admin

    Next to the stunning Pencarn sandy beach on the Conwy coastline stands a stone-built historic little cottage that looks out to sea.

    A beach house that once served the owners of Gwrych castle, it was a place where the family would come to enjoy the beach whilst having comfortable facilities nearby.

    In fact, the cottage was originally part of the castle estate near Abergele and enjoyed for many decades by the Lloyds of Gwrych through to the era of the Countess of Dundonald, the last member of the family to use the property until her death in 1924.

    The house then went through a number of owners, one of which added a large side extension wing in the 1970s.

    But turn back the clock just two years and this pretty building called Ty Crwn was in trouble.

    In need of urgent renovation, the roof was falling off, there had been a fire and the building was now on the local council's empty homes list.

    Outside there were large sections of the original exterior stonework painted bright orange, ivy swallowing up the remaining and original stone structure and overgrowth reaching 6ft high in places.

    Inside, not many original features survived except a cast-iron log burner covered in undergrowth and birds' mess.

    A trustee of the castle had bought the cottage from the previous, long-term owner with the idea of restoring it, but due to ill-health reluctantly had to sell it.

    Not being a listed building, the property was very lucky that the new and current owner, also keen to bring the cottage back to its former and traditional glory, was architectural historian Dr Mark Baker.

    Mark is well-known within the historic building restoration world, and beyond, as the passionate expert who set up a preservation trust with the view to saving Gwrch Castle after falling in love with it when he was just 12 years old.

    Originally from Prestatyn, after years of fundraising and campaigning by Mark and the trustees of the castle, the structure was eventually bought in June 2018 to much celebration by local residents keen that the castle be owned by a group pf people passionate about its survival and restoration.

    And then the castle's beach house was up for sale, and Mark couldn't resist buying it.

    However, Mark didn't even view the property before he bought it for around 150k.

    Mark says: "I wanted it to be more of a surprise but I knew it was a wreck.

    "But I also knew that it was very solidly built and what had been burnt down was a later addition and the historic core had survived.

    "The condition was awful, it was little more than a shell. Part of the roof had been blown off in storms, there was no security - you could walk straight in - the windows had gone, the doors had gone and there were areas of collapse.

    "The atmosphere when I first went in was very forlorn but very dramatic, even picturesque with the windows smashed and the wind howling in, like something out of an 1820s Gothic novel!

    "And the front room was like a 1970s pub, painted a red letter box colour; it was hideous!"

    But the charm of the beach house, even in its wrecked state, had captivated Mark, so a year of restoration and renovation began.

    But this was no ordinary renovation project.

    Mark explains: "The cottage is so distinctively linked to Gwrych Castle and its estate, you can feel it's part of something bigger. It was important to link the two buildings."

    The castle is about 500 yards from the beach house and forms part of a route that the family and visitors used to travel, from the castle to a structure on the hillside called Emily's Tower where they would have lunch.

    The party would then travel down to the beach house where they would spend the rest of the day.

    Mark says: "My long-term aim is for the cottage to become part of the original castle estate again because there's a lot of history at this site, you can feel it within the building."

    Originally the beach house was only three rooms and, after some careful consideration, how they were originally used was the starting point for the restoration. The only change is that the original parlour is now a luxurious bathroom.

    Mark and his team of construction experts, who have also been working on the restoration of the castle, wanted to take a historically accurate approach to make the cottage as authentic as possible, but also adapt it for modern life.

    At first glance, it appeared that apart from the original stonework hiding under bright paint colours, nothing much inside had remained, but the cottage actually became very helpful in showing Mark its past.

    Most of the original plasterwork had been hacked off over the years, to expose the limestone walls, which were then painted. But luckily a section of the original plasterwork survived in the kitchen.

    From analysis of the composition of the horse hair, beach sand and lime in this plaster, an authentic mix was recreated and used throughout the property.

    There was also an original gem waiting for Mark in the front lounge.

    He explains: "There was a tiny section of the cottage underneath the stairs that was untouched.

    "We took the 1970s stairs out and discovered a section of plasterwork and skirting, and this was enough to recreate the room.

    "It was painted in a yellow ochre which is a typical, traditional early 19th-century colour and used elsewhere on the castle estate.

    "We had seen it used in the castle in the high status rooms so using it in the cottage means we can, again, link what the family were doing to the decor in the castle and what was in existence at the beach house.

    "It makes sense for the cottage to be influenced by the interiors of the castle; they had the same colour scheme at both buildings, as part of the overall estate."

    When the structural work inside was completed, Mark's attention again turned to interior design and furnishing and accessorising the beach house.

    Mark says: "I wanted the bedrooms to be peaceful so their colours are influenced by the sea location and what would have been used at the castle as well.

    "It's called Fowler Olive by a designer called John Fowler and the lamps are Laura Ashley, all second hand. I have tried to reuse and upcycle as much as possible.

    "A lot of the artwork is to do with the castle so we've got pictures of different members of the family and from Country Life magazine. The painting in the sitting room we found at the castle and believe it's of a former estate manager. I was keen that the art tells the story of the cottage and the estate."

    One of Mark's favourite items within the beach house is the restored Victorian bath, with its position free-standing in the middle of the room making the space feel opulent. In fact, if he is pushed to choose his favourite room, the bathroom just about wins.

    But the cottage is full of items chosen wisely or that has a unique story.

    Mark says: "The mirror was donated by one of the trustees of the castle as a housewarming present, the beds are a pair of French early 20th-century brass frames dating back to the Arts and Crafts period.

    "All the appliances obviously are new, but the fireplace came from my property in Cardiff."

    One of the eye-catching rugs was bought on eBay and came from Croft Hall in Shropshire, an impressive country home designed by celebrated architect John Nash.

    Mark laughs: "It only cost 40 because it was in a bit of a state, but that's been restored too."

    So as the restoration journey continued, Mark gave each of the three original cottage rooms a purpose as well as its distinct interior design.

    The kitchen now has a rustic design boasting bespoke carpentry by the castle carpenter who was employed by Mark to bring this room to life.

    The bathroom is where the original parlor would have been, and the front, high-status room is a comfortable sitting room.

    All spaces have engaging views either of the sea and/or the castle in the distance.

    Each colour, furniture item or accessory within the cottage has been carefully considered, from the pair of Egyptian obolus and head of Medusa referring back to the family's past foreign travels to the remade, authentic sash windows.

    But there needed to be additional space added to the property, and luckily the footings of an original extension at the rear of the cottage could still be seen.

    Still wanting the beach house to be as authentic as possible, Mark decided to add the two bedrooms at the back of the property rather than recreate the 1970s extension at the side.

    But he also didn't want the bedroom extension to be intrusive or seen from the front of the property.

    So after advice from good friend Dr Greg Stevenson, experienced in authentically recreating historic properties through his company Under The Thatch, Mark opted for a tin-shack style extension.

    With the roof tucked under the eaves of the main house and the walls positioned in from the cottage exterior walls, the extension is virtually unseen from the front of the property.

    Mark never thought about giving up or regretted his decision to restore the property, but there was one huge challenge that caused major headaches; the bright orange external paint.

    He says: "The worst thing was definitely removing the orange, that was the most difficult and it took almost two weeks. I don't know what they used but it was very high-quality, unfortunately!

    "We had to get it blasted, so that was not fun, it was very, very messy but it enabled us to go back to the original look of the house and reveal the beautiful limestone underneath."

    Now the beach house is finished, after draining a restoration budget of about 40,000, Mark hopes he has created a slice of history for people to enjoy and literally step back in time.

    He says: "We know the central part of the cottage is 18th-century and is the oldest surviving part and that the front room can be dated to the 1830s.

    "I like the views through the property, where you can get different lines of sight, you can see different spaces just looking in one direction and this creates depth.

    "The views from the kitchen through to the high status room at the front take you on a journey from a rustic 18th-century feel into opulent Georgian Jane Austin-style room.

    "I wanted it to feel like the Lloyd family had just stepped out, like they could just walk in through the door at any time but I also wanted to make it feel like it was 1820, 1920 and 2020."

    And now that high security and car parking has been added Mark has just launched the property on Airbnb so guests can enjoy this historic atmosphere and the beach side location for themselves.

    He says: "It's now time for the beach house to pay its way, we need funds to restore the garden, which includes the foundations of a medieval roundhouse that was once built on the site which we've made into a garden feature."

    And for the 34-year-old who never stops restoring period properties, there's still more to do after the garden has been landscaped and planted with cuttings from the castle grounds.

    Mark says: "In the next five years the plan is to put the slate roof back on and reinstall the Gothic style cast-iron window we found in the rubble in the garden, back into its rightful place.

    "My biggest fear is that because the beach house isn't listed, someone could own it in the future, knock it down and build something brand-new on the site.

    "So the aim is to get it listed in the future and give it the protection that it needs to survive in the future."

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    The incredible renovation of a historic castle's former beach house where you can now stay - Wales Online

    ‘The House By The Cemetery’ 4K Restoration Coming Soon – PopHorror - December 14, 2019 by admin

    The House By The Cemetery, the outrageous Italian shocker from The Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci, is getting a 4K restoration! The Blu-ray release is coming this January from Blue Underground. This baby is packed with special features spanning 3 discs!

    Check out the Blue Underground trailer below, then read on for all the details!

    A young family moves from their cramped New York City apartment to a spacious new home in New England. But this is no ordinary house in the country: the previous owner was the deranged Dr. Freudstein, whose monstrous human experiments have left a legacy of bloody mayhem. Now, someone or something is alive in the basement, and home sweet home is about to become a horrific hell on earth.

    Catriona MacColl (THE BEYOND), Paolo Malco (THE NEW YORK RIPPER), Ania Pieroni (TENEBRE), Carlo De Mejo (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD), and Dagmar Lassander (HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON) star in this outrageous Italian shocker from The Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci (ZOMBIE). Blue Underground is now proud to present THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY in a new 4K restoration from the original uncut and uncensored camera negative, fully loaded with exclusive new and archival Extras!

    Uncut? Uncensored? Hell yeah! Check out the new cover artwork!

    Ooh, the soundtrack to boot! Sweet!

    Great stuff! A grindhouse classic, for sure. Its great to see Blue Underground continue this 4K restoration trend for Fulcis work. Youll remember they did The New York Ripper not long ago. I wonder whats next?

    The $49.95 suggested retail price is a bit steep, in my opinion. Fortunately, Amazon has our backs. You can pre-order the movie on Amazon for $35.49. That will at least leave you a little extra for beer and popcorn!

    Its been a while since I saw this one. Im looking forward to revisiting.

    What do you think? Will you pick up a copy of The House By The Cemetery 4K restoration Blu-ray in January? Tell us in the comments!

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    'The House By The Cemetery' 4K Restoration Coming Soon - PopHorror

    My secret doors: filming the restoration of Pisano’s masterpiece – The Florentine - December 14, 2019 by admin


    David Battistella

    December 10, 2019 - 16:21

    Ive been keeping a secret for three years. In April 2016, I started to document the conservation process of the magnificent South Door of the Florence Baptistery. The embargo was lifted on December 6, 2019, when the 14th-century portal crafted by Florentine artist Andrea Pisano returned, restored, to public view.

    The Opera del Duomo Museum has completed the arduous task of restoring all three original bronze doors originally created for the Baptistery of San Giovanni in piazza Duomo. Fine replicas can be seen on the octagonal building today and are better placed to bear the brunt of the elements (heavy rain in the autumn and ardent heat in the summer) as well as the acid rain and smog that tarnished the original works, which now enjoy the secure shelter of the well-appointed museum.

    Deep inside the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (the organization that oversaw the conservation of the three sets of doors over 35 years), I documented the entire process from the moment the doors were painstakingly removed from the Baptistery through to being placed in their new home in the museum. Its hard to imagine anything predating the cupola in Florence, but these doors were actually a fixture on the Baptistery prior to the construction of Brunelleschis Dome and before Lorenzo Ghiberti heated and poured his first bronze sculptures to create the North Door and the famous East Door, dubbed by Michelangelo as the Gates of Paradise when he first saw them.

    The historical significance of the work cannot be overlooked as the doors use a long lost and dangerous technique of fusing the gold to the bronze using mercury, which has been abolished as it can produce deadly results for the artisans. The technique and workmanship from the early 1300s would lay the basis for generations of Florentine artisans, who learn bronze sculpture techniques to this day. The formella named Visitation, for instance, would later seem to form the basis for Pontormos paintings.

    Filled with awe on so many levels, I watched as the door began its journey from a deep green mold- and grime-covered work to the polished gold and dark brown bronze that it is today in the museum. First came the process required to move the door, which weigh in at a total of 6,500 kilograms per side. An enormous crew had to transport the portal from the Baptistery to the restoration location and eventually place them perfectly behind glass in the museum.

    The amount of detail and step-by-step care that went into this conservation, which cost 1.5 million euro is an unparalleled study on how to conserve precious works of art and how not to destroy them in the process. Countless testing and retesting is conducted prior to moving on to the next step in the process. Florentine pride in their heritage is manifest as each person who came into contact with the work, myself included, experienced and appreciated the work, while proceeding with utmost care to preserve every detail. My job was to document each phase from various points of view.

    As a documentary filmmaker, this was pure documentary process as I understood that each phase was going into an archive for future generations to be able to study and appreciate. Many of these techniques have been lost over time and to know that a filmed archive of the process now exists is profoundly rewarding. The footage will be added to the Opera del Duomo archive and can be used by scholars, artists, art conservators, archivists and news organizations in the future as a detailed testament of how the process unfolded.

    The doors are part of the permanent collection of the Opera del Duomo Museum and can be viewed for the cost of a regular ticket.

    Excerpt from:
    My secret doors: filming the restoration of Pisano's masterpiece - The Florentine

    Restoring the past in Sabarmati Ashram – Frontline - December 14, 2019 by admin

    AMONG the several Gandhi heritage sites in the country, it is the Sabarmati Ashram that is the most significant. This was the first ashram that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi established when he returned from South Africa in 1915. It was from the Sabarmati Ashram that Gandhi began the 384-kilometre Dandi March. It was within its premises that he experimented with farming, animal husbandry and weaving. Home to Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba, for almost 13 years, the ashram in its early years was the nucleus of Indias freedom struggle. It was so dear to Gandhi that in 1930, as the movement towards Independence gained momentum, he left it vowing he would not return until India was free from British rule.

    As the country celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the spotlight turns on this historical and iconic site. The main trust of the Sabarmati Ashram and the Gujarat government have proposed that to keep the legacy of the father of the nation alive, the ashram needs to become a 35-acre (one acre is 0.4 hectare) integrated and holistic campus. For this to happen, a busy and popular part of Ahmedabads new city would need an extensive redesign and overhaul. Obviously, the proposal has met with resistance from many people in Ahmedabad.

    Soon after paying tribute to the Mahatma on his birth anniversary on October 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly gave an in-principle nod to a Rs.247-crore ashram revitalisation project. A draft plan for the restoration of the original ashram was put forward by the well-known architect firm HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited (HCP).

    Given the enormity and controversial nature of this project, government officials are unwilling to confirm or provide any details. Elabehn Bhatt, chairperson of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, says a proposal has been made but as yet there have been no discussions with the government on it. Frontline sourced a copy of the design and found that a comprehensive plan is definitely in place. The question is whether it can be executed. A local resident says: Only this government can pull off a project on this scale.

    Modi made an attempt to redevelop the ashram in 2003-04 when he was Gujarat Chief Minister, but because of mismanagement and differences between and within the trusts that run the ashram and a general reluctance on their part, the attempt failed. The sesquicentennial celebrations have given him an opportunity to appropriate Gandhi the way he did Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with the Statue of Unity. Therefore, while the project may seem legitimate because of the miserable condition the ashram is in, there is reason to wonder why it is being pushed, says a political observer.

    Urban planners in Ahmedabad say the project will cause the displacement of lakhs of people from their homes and workplaces, and the rerouting of the arterial Ashram Road (which is part of the plan) will change the layout of a fundamental section of the city. A few Gandhians, trustees and urban planners, however, believe that the effort will be worth it and that it is important that the Sabarmati Ashram is restored in its entirety. The State government says the ashram attracts up to seven lakh tourists a year and this should be capitalised upon. The idea is to restore it to its pre-Independence appearance, which would make it an interesting and historical tourist destination.

    This will be the fourth attempt at reviving the Sabarmati Ashram. In 1966, a plan by the architect B.V. Doshi was considered but shelved. In 2003-04, the architect Charles Correa conceived another plan, but that did not move either. In 2007, the architecture school of Ahmedabads CEPT University designed an area development plan, but that too remained on the drawing board. The latest entrant is Bimal Patel, who runs HCP and was asked to come up with a contemporary plan. Incidentally, he was recently commissioned to restore the Parliament area and Lutyens Delhi.

    HCPs plan for the restoration of the ashram essentially reclaims 32 acres of land between three points: the Dandi Bridge, the Collectors/Regional Transport Office and the Subash Bridge. The main ashram and 63 significant Gandhi establishmentsincluding a college, the Environment Sanitation Institute, a school, a gaushala, former homes of well-known Gandhians and the offices of the Sabarmati Ashram trustsare located largely within this perimeter. At present, the ashram institutions and historical homes are scattered in the Ashram Road area, making it appear as if the ashram is just on a sliver of land on the riverfront. Documents and maps from the ashram prove that large tracts of land in the area belong to it. It is not clear how Ashram Road was planned, but it cuts through sections of ashram land and has led to the carving up of the ashram.

    An informed source who has worked on the new plan says if the campus is created it will enable historians to document Gandhis lifes work, allow research and study on subjects that Gandhi believed in such as community living and, of course, allow people to view and explore the area in which the Mahatma spent a significant amount of time, which would be an exceptional experience.

    The restoration concept may seem like a good idea, especially if the intent is to uphold the legacy of the Mahatma. However, a critical aspect appears to be missing from the project: it does not take into consideration a community of 200 families who are direct descendants of the original inhabitants of the Sabarmati Ashram. They live in tiny colonies scattered around Ashram Road. Rangshala and Vanatshala colonies are situated exactly opposite the ashrams main gate. Before the road cut through the erstwhile ashram, their homes were located close to Gandhis house (Hriday Kunj) as their forefathers were part of the commune-living experiment Gandhi had initiated. These colonies will be the most affected if the project goes through. The beleaguered community has filed an official protest with the Gujarat Governor.

    Shailesh Rathod, a leader of the anti-project movement and a resident of Rangshala, says the project relocates the residents of his colony to a nearby area, which he believes has a nullah (drainage canal) running beneath it and is, therefore, uninhabitable. The biggest grouse they have against the project is that they were not included in any discussions. He says that while the land the colonies are on has been included in the land acquisition plan of the project, the community has been excluded from it. He says they have seen the drawings and know what is going to happen. Some people have been told they will have to leave. However, few have been given official notices as yet, he says.

    Rathod says: Gandhiji asked our great-grandfathers to work with him in the ashram. We are from Dalit communities. We know he believed in our uplift. It is unfortunate that even though the main trust is called the Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust, there is not a single Dalit trustee in this organisation. He says it gets huge grants from across the world for the restoration of buildings. Yet, never once have the trusts asked them whether they needed help. Rathod says none of the families has members working in the ashram or trusts.

    Frontline spoke to several residents and found that many feel a sense of betrayal, not just because of the new proposal but because they feel they have been neglected even though their forefathers worked for the Mahatma and, they believe, made critical contributions to creating the Sabarmati Ashram. The trusts take rent. That is all they do. Both my great-grandfather and grandfather worked in the ashram. I grew up in this area. Yet, we do not get work, and they do not include us in anything. Now we fear we will be thrown out because this government is very anti-Dalit, says Kantibhai Mangal Rathore, a resident of Rangshala and a retired government employee. Four generations have lived in this house. How can we live anywhere else? Even though we dont work there, we feel we belong to the ashram, he says.

    Dimant Badhia, owner of the Imam Manzil Khadi Vanat Ane Vechan Kendra, a khadi-weaving unit near the ashram, says they understand that the ashram needs to be restored but the community should have a role to play in the plan. We are after all stakeholders and descendants of men who helped Mahatma Gandhi build this ashram. Trustees and the ashram management say we are making unreasonable demands and are stalling development. We have made no demand. All we want is to know where we stand. Politicians who have no link to or understanding of Gandhi are involved in the project. I dont trust them. Badhias weaving unit is located in the house of Imam Saheb Abdul Kadar Bavaveer, an associate of Gandhi who accompanied him from South Africa. I look after the legacy of Imam Saheb, who started this weaving unit. How can they overlook these contributions?

    As per the records, in 1917, Gandhi asked a few Dalit families to help set up weaving and leather units in the ashram. They came mainly from Surendranagar district. Over the years, as the ashram lands got carved up, many people stopped working in the ashram and found employment elsewhere. At present, the 200 ramshackle homes seem like an eyesore as the historical buildings around them are being given a facelift. The irony is that even these homes have a bit of history to them.

    The Sabarmati Ashram was first established in the Kochrab area of Ahmedabad in 1915. It was relocated to the present premises on the Sabarmati riverfront in 1917. At the time, it occupied 120 acres. As Ahmedabad began expanding, the ashrams land was reduced to 32 acres, and what is now known as the Sabarmati Ashram was reduced to a 3.5-acre strip of land on the riverfront.

    Literature from the museum says that the present location was chosen because Gandhi was looking for a barren site on which he could experiment with livelihood techniques. The spot he chose was the mythological ashram site of the rishi Dadhichi, who had donated his bones for a righteous war. The area was also located between the Sabarmati jail and a crematorium, as Gandhi believed a satyagrahi would invariably go to either place. Initially christened the Harijan Ashram, the Sabarmati Ashram reflected the movement towards passive resistance the Mahatma launched. He wanted it to serve as an institution that would carry on the search for truth and be a platform to bring together workers committed to non-violence. The ashram has been credited with being home to the ideology that set India free.

    Documents at the ashram say that along with Harijan uplift and creating khadi, it was here that Gandhi began writing his autobiography. In 1920, Gandhi founded the Gujarat Vidyapith university. In 1922, Gandhi was arrested from the ashram for sedition. When the struggle for Independence intensified, historians say, Gandhi moved out of the ashram in order to reach out to villagers and others in the country. Gandhi left the Sabarmati Ashram in 1930 but continued to visit it. His last visit was in 1936.

    A historian says after Gandhis time the ashram was looked after by the Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust. In 1960, after the death of the reformer Parikshit Lal Majumdar, who looked after the ashram, the trust split into seven trusts, six of which exist today: the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust also known as the Sabarmati Ashram, the Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala Trust managed by the National Dairy Development Board, the Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust, the Gujarat Harijan Sevak Sangh, the Gujarat Khadi Gramodyog Manch and the Khadi Gramodyog Prayog Samiti. It is believed that the deterioration of the larger ashram began once the main trust was diluted. Interestingly, none of the trusts has any of Gandhis descendants on their boards. Dimant Badhia alleges that the trusts began leasing and selling land that belonged to them and that led to rapid development and urbanisation in the area.

    Those in favour of the project, and this includes a few Gandhians who want to remain unnamed, say the ashram urgently requires improvement and so it does not matter that the push for the project has come from Modi. They believe the work of Gandhi is getting lost in todays technology-driven world. There is still a draw towards Gandhism, but the infrastructure to support research and study is lacking. In fact, some believe in the current climate of intolerance it is critical to resurrect the Mahatmas teachings.

    Elabehn Bhatt told Frontline that plans to revamp the ashram and create a campus would only happen with government partnership as the land was not private. She says she has not received notifications or a time frame for the project, but it is in the pipeline. It has helped that in recent years the trusts that have historically had a fraught relationship are united in the goal of restoring Gandhis treasured ashram. We have been meeting, so I believe something positive will emerge, she says.

    She says they have categorically told the State government that in order to retain the sanctity and dignity of the premises it should not be a touristy site. We would like people to visit, to understand Gandhis teachings, get solace and peace while here. With regard to the issue of displacement, Elabehn Bhatt says, the trust will not allow people to lose their homes and livelihoods.

    Jayesh Patel, a trustee of the Environment Sanitation Institute (an ashram institute), says the affected residents will be given homes with ownership titles, which is far better than their current situation. Patel is a resident of the area and says an integrated campus will enhance Gandhis teachings. He says: Gandhi is a space not just a human being. If we do not follow his teachings while implementing the project, there is no point in doing it.

    Badhia and others have no faith in Patel or in the other trusts. For one, Patel is the son-in-law of former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who has been accused in several land-grab scams. The project is a real estate opportunity, and for Modi it is an opportunity to exploit the Gandhi brand. In the 12 years Modi was Chief Minister, he never visited the ashram. Every other Chief Minister would come to pay homage when they took office. Modi did not. Where has this sudden need to work on the ashram come from? asks Badhia.

    Continued here:
    Restoring the past in Sabarmati Ashram - Frontline

    Quebec: The story of this 100-year-old sheds restoration is fascinating – Architectural Digest India - December 14, 2019 by admin

    Take a tour with us as we discover how this property was saved from despair

    Louis Beliveau, the designer of Montreal based La Firme Studio created magic by turning an abandoned shed into a warm and versatile family space, lovingly called The Barn. This residential project in Quebec has saved a 100-year-old building from loss while preserving its vernacular quality.

    The Barn is a 4,500-square-feet home, which includes a utility and mechanical room, mudroom and a garage in its basement. The property also embraces a patio, an outdoor swimming pool, and a garden.

    The property owners wanted to turn the old barn on the property of their chalet into a secondary country residence. Additionally, owing to their busy lives, they wanted a self-contained retreat, far removed from the noise of the city. The objective was to preserve the rustic character of the barn without compromising modern comfort. The redesigned space separations followed the existing wooden structure, says Beliveau.

    Taking up this challenge, Beliveau teamed up with architect Michel Lemieux on the project, which involved stripping an old shed and moving it to a new location on a farmhouse property in Quebec.Beliveau adds, We avoided vertical elements to preserve the eye-line to the view. Since the foundations had to be reworked, every salvageable piece of the original hemlock construction was numbered and carefully stored.

    There were plenty of open, semi-open and closed areas at the space, which provided different degrees of privacy. The 30-feet ceiling allowed the space to breathe and invite the natural surroundings inside. Additionally, the large windows rolled a spectacular view of the Sutton Mountains and agricultural landscape. The Barn is located on a hillside and has to be accessed by a footbridge, which leads into the main part of the home on the middle floor. Additionally, there is a basement and a first floor, completing the three-storey property. The entry is enclosed in glass, accessing a double-height dining room with a 35-feet glass wall. The living room has two grey couches, a light grey coffee table and a dark feature wall that accommodates a fireplace. The main floor houses a television room, a space with a pool table and a power room. A steel staircase with powder-coated white steps leads up to four bedrooms and three bathrooms that are arranged in a U-shape. This leaves an opening with views down to the dining table below.

    La Firme concludes, Our approach balanced utility, the clients needs and desires, and uncompromising aesthetic standards. From the perspective of a rural house project, one of our concerns was achieving a harmonious balance between the building and its natural surroundings. Additionally, love and respect for materials are in our DNA and we feel them out for their inherent beauty and identify what relates them to the environment. In the case of The Barn, natural materials and textures make for an organic feel that helps integrate the building into the surrounding environment, even from the interior.

    Inside John Lennon and Yoko Onos Bed-In for Peace hotel suite in Montreal

    Quebec: The story of this 100-year-old sheds restoration is fascinating - Architectural Digest India

    English Restoration gowns and mental slavery – Jamaica Observer - December 14, 2019 by admin

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    Miss Universe Jamaica 2019 Iana Olivia Tickle Garcia is a gorgeous, brave, smart, out of many, one lady; now maligned by scurrilous gossip and ignorance. This energy did not greet the 5 in 4 growth target, but there are many who thrive on negatives and snatch defeat from victory with glee, but some are misled.

    Iana and her crew are pilloried for wearing a colonial, slave owner-like gown akin to Rose Hall's evil white lady, and this reward for honest effort must hurt. The White Witch Annie Palmer, if she existed, was never convicted in a court and, like our rapacious black criminals, is innocent until proven guilty. Hang her on social media?

    This cass-cass is unnecessary as there was no sexy, murderer witch as White Witch is a legendary story and, despite years of speculation, modern scholarship has shown the story to be untrue. (Yates, Geoffrey S The Rose Hall Jamaica Legend)

    Dr Yates says this may have started by the strangling of Mrs Palmer at the adjacent Palmyra Estate in 1830 and the novels Zelluco and White Witch of Rose Hall finessed it. But even if the said witch existed, maligning Garcia for a lookalike gown used in the artist's impression of Annie is wrong.

    Jamaica uses this to attract tourists, and it works; but not rolling calf legend or Nanny catching bullets in her bum, as they are nasty. Still this raises issues.

    First, it proves we need good education, good history to remove ambivalence about Annie Palmer, slavery, and emancipation by reading books. Our facts are from European traders, archaeologists, files, ship manifests, travellers, writers, as Africans have not written their side of trans-Sahara, Indian Ocean or transatlantic slave trades. We can't prosper until people stop whining, accept the past is as it is, move forward and write our own glorious history.

    Next, Jamaicans do not handle race issues well. We kin teet, but chat behind back. For decades we take massive aid from whites, yet seem angry at them; why? So white Annie, not convicted of crimes, is hated, but black convict Buju Banton is feted; racism?

    Garcia wore an Annie lookalike gown and some blast her, but convicted criminal Dudus wears Prada, Nike, and all wear them gladly? Are blacks entitled to be bad, but not whites? Bob sang country songs but whites must not be in reggae Grammy; racism?

    Thirdly, Garcia's Restoration design gown is not proprietary to Annie. Fashion reflects the zeitgeist in Europe, so in war apparel get tight, precise, martial, but in peace, exuberant to excess. After Charles I was beheaded, Oliver Cromwell's republic was drab, puritanical, like death to fashionistas; but the restoration of Charles II in 1661 saw flourescence in art, architecture, and fashion.

    The sackback day dress stiff corsetry, cane side hoops, and layered skirts was hot in London and fictional Annie's embroidered in silk-best of Mayfair or copied by her black seamstress so check the V & A collections. Some free blacks owned slaves, were fashionable, and copied London and Paris couture from wives of visiting estate owners. So, today, if notorious Nikki Dread wears Moschino, Zanotti; drinks Moet and Alize, then we must never touch them yuh mad!? Unhand Garcia, you villain!

    Four, the tourist industry spent millions promoting Annie Palmer and Rose Hall. We have cashed in, so when did these serpents develop shame? Why should acts of long-dead crazy white people shame us? Shame is our ancestor's brethren who sold them without a GPS to find their way back home; and 250,000 of them here could not rise up, give 28,000 whites a back-siding to free themselves! Rwandan men killed one million using machetes; 200,000 a week, 40,000 a day; our cane cutter ancestors did what? Shame!

    Five, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa is Miss Universe 2019; congratulations! She is black, gorgeous, conscious, has a narrow face, high cheekbones, aquiline nose like Mom and androgynous. Her dad is typical African in physiognomy, but not her or our Garcia (no nuff derriere and flared nostrils). She speaks perfect English and could be any colour. Her people have no angst about apartheid as ours about slavery. After truth and reconciliation, former oppressors and oppressed get closer every day; is this true for Jamaica?

    Six, this incident is symptom of a deeper malaise; our people are conflicted as history does not read as they would like, and Africa is silent. We are not heroes in our own story and Rose Hall, its fictional denizens are anathema to our 92.1 per cent black. We see this racism in many issues and it's alive. Cleansing fire can destroy remnants of slavery and colonialism? Why refurbish The Ward theatre? What about a ground zero of great houses, churches, hospital; will this exorcise their demons? No! Quality education can dissolve hate and resolve conflicts of heart and mind so they study war no more. People must stop looking in the rear-view mirror and forward unto growth! Stay conscious!

    Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK); and lectures in logistics and supply chain management at Mona School of Business and Management, The University of the West Indies. Send comments to the Observer or

    Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at

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    English Restoration gowns and mental slavery - Jamaica Observer

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