Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Economic hardships

Many of us are facing economic hardships at this time, that goes without saying. It`s a very embarassing reality. We feel its our fault even though we have gone without many of the convieniences that one would normally have. Job losses and cutbacks, layoffs, ever increasing insurance costs and inflation of costs of everyday needs have forced us to do things we never expected. Old houses constantly present problems that you are`nt ready for. We have gone without airconditioning the last three years, and can barley heat this place in the winter. All the work done here has been with our own labor, and we love the work but the time has come for us to end our relationship with Pecan Place. I have loved living here and have never been concieted about owning a large victorian although it has been my dream for many years. Mostly its about pride in being able to rerstore something to what it should be. My work is my happiness and I try to do every job in the best possible way. My wife has been very good about this and has backed me up in every way she could and for this I am very grateful. Shes a wonderful and talented lady and deserves far better than I can give her. After our latest setbacks we decided to make a final loan from my 401K and try to get this place ready to sell. To anyone interested there will still be plenty of work left. we are only trying to sell it for enough to satisfy our mortgage, so everything I have invested will be lost but we must move on. It`s sad to me because I love it so, and have put so much of my soul into it, but I also look foward to the callenge of our next home. We have found one we like, nothing like this one but a beautiful turn of the century house thats a lot more managable for us. God has been good to us and I have a lot of support from my family and friends, and believe this is for the best. Thanks to everyone who has folowed our Blogs and best wished to you all.
                                                                        Till we meet again, Donnie Mitchell

Mls 143923 Centeral West TN Coldwell Banker

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Front Parlor floor finished.

Its been a long (8 months) job for Christie but the results are amazing.

Heres a link to the process she used on HGTV. You must register to see pics.
8 month project

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vintage Radio Fun!

If you love old radios then you know that wintertime is a great time to play with your sets and make repairs/restorations. This weekend I`m going to highlight some of my radio collection.To me nothing brings back memories of the past like vintage radios. I have added a player at the bottom of the page, and you can stop it if it annoys you. Just a few of my favorite radio shows on there. Over the years my collecton has grown to about 20, four of them are floor models and the rest are wood and bakelite table models. I only have a couple that work and I had no intention of creating a pristine collection. Just old sets that were reasonably intact and inexpensive. I plan on restoring some of these as I accumulate the parts and knowledge to do so. A lot of info can be found on the internet, in groups like and   
The first radio is a 1942 Zenith model 12H670 which designates that the chassis has 12 tubes which was a midrange set for the day. The top of the line Zenith was named the Stratosphere and came with 25 tubes which would create enough heat to warm a small room on a cold day. A photo of the Stratosphere can be seen here.
    Other companys made some fantastic sets also, such as Philco Here I have a nice art deco styled Philco floor radio model 41-300 from 1941. Its a large set with 12 tubes and multiband functions like the Zenith that can pickup AM Fm and Policebands. This one is my favorite because of its condition. It still has the original finish and aside from a few flaws is very nice to be 60yr +. The dial and controls are under the folding front cover so they were very well protected and in mint condition. The dial and escution around it were so nice that a screen print company made a copy of it to help a friend restore his. Unlike most radios this one had wheels that controled the Volume, Tuning, Tone and Band selection.  This set was missing its tubes and they are of a more expensive variety so I`ll have to do a bit of looking before I restore this one.
I have been studying radio repair on the internet and one thing I have learned is that you shouldn`t plug in any radio until you have had it checked by a pro. Many things are at risk including your health. The power transformers are one of the more expensive parts that can be damaged by a short. Usually all the electrolytic capacitors need replaced. Some of these when shorted can make the chassis hot and you could get electrocuted. A short could also damage the tubes which can also be expensive depending on the set. anyway always better safe than sorry. My next set is the only one i have with a family history. My grandmother had this set since before I was born. We were never supposed to touch it, but you know how curious kids are and I loved it at first sight. Its a Crosley from about 1950 with a built in record player. This one did work a little and I plan to restore it. It has a drawer on the left that holds the record player and a door on the right that hides the radio. This set has beautiful clear knobs and lower side doors to hold your record collection. It also has a very nice sound.One of my small bakelite sets is this RCA 66X11 table top. A real beauty, Its bakelite is bright and shiny and has a beautiful dial with a polished brass pointer. It was made in 1946 and was the first of this modle as designated by the numbers on the chassis. This one had been worken on and plays but probably needs more attention as I dont get stations very clearly.Its an AM band only and the dial lights up nicely at night.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My first working antique clock.

I felt this mantle needed something special, and as I have been a long time admirer of antique clocks I started looking. I found this one on ebay. An early 1900s Ingraham with gong on the hour and a bell chime on the half. I love to hear it at night and in the wee hours of the morning, and wonder how many more lives it has kept time with over the years. Its like giving the house a heartbeat. Christie and I have a small collection of oriental things some old and some newer and thats what were decorating this room with this year. I also found the black clay dragon vases on ebay and think they fit with the theme . Lastly, while cleaning the mantle and tilework I noticed that the decorative surround for the firebox is made of solid brass, so I gave it a good buffing and clearcoat and now it looks like it belongs. These rooms tell you what they need if you only listen. Thats why the longer you live in a place the more comfortrable it becomes. Ok, I have added to my clock collection. On a trip to Nashville, we found this cool consignment store that had everything you could imagine. The day we happened to visit they had a 20% off sale and I found this beauty. its a Seth Thomas that was in nice condition for the price. It was just missing the glass on the dial. When I got it home I found that it had the special Adamantine finish which is sought after by collectors for its durable, and glossy looks. It also has marbleized inserts and collums. I was lucky to find a guy on Ebay that had an original convex dial galss that fit perfectly for only a couple of bucks. This one has a gong for the hour and a chime for the half hour.

Tour Ready

Finished just in time for our anual Teapot tour. Sorry we havn`t posted in a while but we have pressed ourselves to get everything as done as it can get before the tour. Everything has turned out pretty good, I`ve been laid off work a couple of weeks and I`ve put that time to use finishing up projects started and cleaning up the work debris. Christie is planning on making a video the day of the tour and when its finished I`ll post it here. Heres the second parlor mantle finished.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Almost done.

Ok I see the boarder missing on the left! But we are gettin` there. Here we are trying out the Eastlake set we bought last fall. It may not stay, as we have several suites.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jewelry for the Queen

After many hard hours of stripping polishing painting . We are lucky to have the original hardware in good working condition with only cosmetics required.

More wallpaper

Now the fill goes up!