Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Luxury From the Past Worth Revisiting...The Dumbwaiter

When I was a young girl my parents took our family to Cantigny in Wheaton, IL. which features a war museum and the property and grand home of Robert R. McCormick who served as a colonel in the army and was later the owner of the Chicago Tribune. Out of all the things we saw that day the one that stuck with me the most were the dumbwaiters throughout the home. It impressed me so much that I knew one day I would have one in my own home. Although I had some opportunities to incorporate a dumbwaiter into homes we renovated and built I never did. When we remodeled our 1893 Farmhouse in 2002 at first I did not plan for one. Shortly into the renovation I decided to research them and see how much it would the time all said and done it was around $3000.00 for a hand drawn dumbwaiter that would hold up to 65 lbs. After convincing my husband, my architect and my contractor that it made good sense we ordered one from the Vincent Whitney Co. in Sausilito,California. At the time they were the only company still manufacturing hand drawn dumbwaiters which is what I knew would be appropriate in a vintage home.

 Ten years later I can honestly say that the addition of a dumbwaiter has been one of my favorite features of our home. Since the shaft allows it to go from the cellar to the kitchen to the upstairs hallway outside our master bedroom we utilize it for so many things. It carries cases of wine to the cellar, newly purchased toiletries, laundry soap and cleaning products to the hallway upstairs where our bathrooms and laundry room are located. I also store larger kitchen appliances and stock pots in the cellar and load up the dumbwaiter when I need to utilize them. I use it to carry holiday items up and down to and from storage. The great thing is I can wait until my next trip up or down to unload it when I don't have time to deal with it now.

It surprises me with as many custom homes I have the luxury of working on that a dumbwaiter is rarely considered or worked into the plans. Some of the homes I work on even have elevators but why not a dumbwaiter too. After the home is complete and I am working on the decorating I see the kids books and toys and other miscellaneous items collecting at the bottom of the stairs waiting to be carried up when they could have been stored away in the dumbwaiter to avoid the cluttered look.

If you are considering a renovation or building a new home I highly suggest that you consider this luxury from the past. Maybe you want to look into a powered dumbwaiter for your project. Either way the results are the can make life easier and uncluttered with a blast from the past.

"Everything old is new again." Peter Allen

Cultivate Individuality in Your Unique Home
Celeste Jackson

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Adding a Pop of Color

Palatine General Store
Saddle Shop 
Palatine Hospital
Recently I had the honor of working on a historical property in downtown Palatine. The building had a history of many lives including a tavern and a hospital. The owner wanted to turn the upstairs space into 8 offices to rent out to small business owners so that they could have a professional space for meeting with clients at a reasonable cost. We decided it was important to preserve the historical aspects but to add a bit of edginess and bring it into the quickly moving millennium. There were a lot of details that went into creating the look but what topped it off and sealed the deal was the historical canvases we hung throughout. The Palatine Historical Society was kind enough to share the images with us. Using an online source that turns images into canvases we were able to utilize a Google application that gave these historical photo's new dimension with a pop of color.

This same application can be used to have some fun with family photo's and turn them into art. It is inexpensive and you don't need to frame them because the photo wraps around the edge but do keep that in mind when cropping the photo's so you don't lose an important aspect of the photo when it bends around.

Have fun and and don't be timid when it comes to adding color. It is a great way to brighten up your home.

"Colors are the smiles of nature." Leigh Hunt

Cultivating Individuality in your Unique Home.
Celeste Jackson