Wrong turn led to right home in Shorewood

At Home With…

Jay and Laura Sorensen

Michael Sears

The Sorensens are: (back row, from left) twin sons Anton and Aleksei, both 16; and Jay; (front row) Laura and daughter Annika, 12.

Wood and multicolored painting scheme brighten interior

By Jackie Loohauis-Bennett of the Journal Sentinel
July 20, 2012

The Sorensen family of Shorewood lives in a home made happy by wood.

Jay, wife Laura, twin sons Anton and Aleksei, 16, and daughter Annika, 12, relax in the warm light cast from oak and pine floors, built-ins and moldings.

And then there’s the 100-year-old silver maple that stands sentinel in their backyard.

It’s almost as if the wood gives off a sense of gratitude for the care that Jay and Laura provide. When the couple bought the 1921 house in 1992, it was what Laura describes as “an ‘other-house.’ Not a farmhouse, not a Colonial, not a bungalow, not an Arts and Crafts. An ‘other.’ ”

That meant that the Sorensens weren’t limited to one decorating style, but the interior woodwork was also “other” than what they wanted. “Every stick of inside trim was once covered in seven layers of paint,” says Jay.

Are we finished?

The couple’s original idea was to simply strip the built-in china cabinet in the dining room and leave the rest of the woodwork painted. But then, says Laura: “I was on my back stripping the built-in and I started crying. It was so beautiful, and everything else was white.”

That’s when the refinishing campaign really started. “The plan was to strip the first floor, but it looked horrible so we did the upstairs, too,” says Jay.

Refinishing pitfalls included rotten 70-year-old trim that had to be replaced; the couple searched the area to find matching lumber. But the result, after three years of stripping and staining, was a 2,100-square-foot home filled with amazing woodwork.

Sweet treat

Outside, more beloved wood welcomes guests to the Sorensen home. That giant silver maple, one of the largest in Wisconsin, “defines the backyard,” says Jay. The tree has been gently cared for, trimmed and cabled to keep its branches from splitting. Jay taps it every spring and its sap, which is made into maple syrup, provides pancake toppings for family breakfasts.

Laura happily gardens around the great tree’s shade and roots, using containers for her flowers. A wooden pergola with slate floor and hanging lights creates a space in the backyard that’s great for entertaining.

But caring for wood wasn’t the only task that the Sorensens faced when they bought their home. Luckily, Jay, president of the IdeaWorks Company airline consulting firm, is also a self-taught handyman who finished many of the jobs himself, including wiring, carpentry and plumbing.

One of the major projects was upgrading the electric fireplace into a fully functioning natural and gas fireplace. “In the 1920s homeowners were switching to central heating, so to celebrate they’d put in fake fireplaces with electric logs. We wanted a real fireplace,” says Jay. He put in marble finishing around the fireplace to accent the vintage built-in cabinets that flank it.

Color coordinated

Laura, a classically trained pianist and a teacher at Indian Hills Elementary School, felt she wanted professional decorating help after she failed at her attempt to paint the dining room walls an acceptable color. “I’m color challenged,” she says.

The decorator repainted the dining room a deep rusty red, painted the then-mustard kitchen an off-white, and an upstairs bedroom buttercup yellow.

The house also needed more work to make room for the growing Sorensen family. A previous owner had built an extension that included a family room that opened into the kitchen and an extended area in Annika’s bedroom. Laura and Jay knew the family would need more bathroom space, so they made two enlarged bathrooms from one, “stealing space” from an original bedroom, closet and hallway.

Jay took on more remodeling, including removing a “useless” linen cabinet at the top of the second-floor stairs and replacing it with a linen cabinet he built. Together the couple tackled less-than-perfect plastered ceilings in upstairs bedrooms by covering them with Anaglypta wall coverings – a thick material with an embossed pattern that can be painted.

Today all major remodeling is done, and the house boasts a family room, living room, formal dining room, kitchen and half-bath on the first floor. The second floor holds two bathrooms and three bedrooms. The finished basement has an office and a sewing room with space for exercise equipment.

Laura and Jay took some time recently to talk more about their home.

Q.How did you choose this house to buy?

Laura: We made a wrong turn. We knew we wanted a fixer-upper with a dining room and at least three bedrooms. We made a wrong turn when we were looking for houses one day and saw a “For Sale by Owner” sign. After the walk-through we knew: “This is more than a starter home. This is the one.”

Q.Jay, how did you become such a handyman?

Jay: I’m not sure. I have been somewhat mystified by it myself. My dad would show me how to fix stuff, but we never had projects as involved as I got into. We had a workbench at home and I would mess around on it. I love watching “This Old House.” I guess I’m just naturally inclined to do things with my hands. I’m a national park junkie so this summer I’m taking the boys out to North Cascades National Park in Washington and we’re going to be renovating a ranger cabin. I will enjoy the work because I enjoy teaching my sons how to paint, drywall and plumb. They’re going to enjoy it.

Q.How would you describe the style of decorating in your house?

Laura: “Traditional Comfortable.” I don’t want it to be a museum piece. I want it to be a place where you can plop down on a chair and have a glass of wine.

Q. Describe the color palette you used.

Laura: Each room is different, but basically earth tones: deep green in the foyer, teal in the living room, deep rose in the dining room. I wanted color. I wasn’t afraid of color.

Q.How would you describe your home’s personality?

Laura: It’s a happy home. When he was in third grade Aleksei wrote a poem about it: “I hear the laughter in the living room/ I smell the bread in the kitchen . . . ” We love having friends and family over. We can always find something to celebrate.

Q.Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or art in the house?

Jay: The wooden shelf with carved leaves and grape clusters. There’s a story in my family that there was a Russian count on my father’s side of the family who carved this.

Laura: The built-in oak cabinets that flank the fireplace. That’s what cinched the house for me.

Q.What advice do you have for anyone remodeling an older home?

Laura: Realize that an older home always needs something done for it. Also, come up with a timeline for remodeling or it never gets done. We decided on a couple of months for the dining room and we got up at 7 a.m. and would work on it until 10 p.m. Also, do your remodeling room by room. Don’t have the whole house as a construction zone.

Jackie has put together a great article.  What would you like to also have learned from this article?  Just ask in the comment section 

Information on bathroom remodeling in  upcomming posts.

You will also find free tips by clicking on Tips in the page header or ‘Click Here.’

Great tips huh?  How do you feel about these tips?  If you want additional information, just ask.  Either send me an email to support@LearnRemodeling.com or ask a question in the comment area.  You will receive a response very soon.

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If you have remodeling planed in the future and you plan to hire a contractor, I suggest that you have a look at this report.  The Investment is 100% Money-Back Guaranteed for 60 days by clickbank.

Ultimate Guide To The Home Remodeling Process Click Here

 

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Secret to Window Blind Repair

I am currently in process to ready a house for a new tenant.  As usual, the old tennant left a bit of a mess.

While cleaning the horizontal blinds today, one of the  little slats had the end brake off.

To repair this, basically what one needs to do is to look at the bottom of the bottom slat and find the little plastic plugs, occasionally wood, ( depending on the width of the blind there can be 2 to 8 plugs).

When removing these plugs please be extremely careful.  Don’t lose them.  Watch  what strings are in which holes.  Just please be careful and very aware.

With that being said, you can remove the lighter gage slat just above the bottom slat and install it where the broken slat currently resides.  Of course you will need to remove the broken slat.  It seems to work better for me if I install the replacement slat 1st.  The replacement slat can slide easily along the top of the broken slat to find its new home.

You will find that the elevator cords will be pulled out with the installation of the replacement slat.  You will need to run the cords through the holes in the lower slats to the bottom slat.  You may take note, alternate the cord passing to the right and left of the ladder strings (little strings that go from side to side for the slats to sit on).

Now you will need to knot the elevator cable (cord) after they pass through the bottom slat, after you have raised that slat to the new bottom set of ladder strings, of course.  After this accomplishment, you will need to remove just the length of ladder support and the bottom ladder.  Remember, be careful, remove just what is necessary.  At this point you can bundle up the lose elevator cord and ladder parts ( that are still part of the blind), stuff them in the holes where you previously removed the plastic or wooden plugs.  Reinstall these plugs.

An upcoming tip is how to repair the controller for the elevation of the blinds slats.

If you would like information on how to repair a particular item, leave a comment.

You will also find free tips by clicking on Tips in the page header or ‘Click Here.’

Great tips huh?  How do you feel about these tips?  If you want additional information, just ask.  Either send me an email to support@LearnRemodeling.com or ask a question in the comment area.  You will receive a response very soon.

Remember to receive all updates, just register on one of the easy forms in the sidebar.  Be sure to share with your friends.

If you have remodeling planed in the future and you plan to hire a contractor, I suggest that you have a look at this report.  The Investment is 100% Money-Back Guaranteed for 60 days by clickbank.

Ultimate Guide To The Home Remodeling Process Click Here

 

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Clean Energy Summit Provides Vital Information

By STEVE RYPKA GREEN LIVING

Posted: Jul. 12, 2012 | 2:03 a.m.

Since the dawn of time, the core of human existence has been fueled by fire. Human beings have always loved gathering around the hearth, whether a small fire in a cave 50,000 years ago or the latest induction stove in the kitchen.

We started by burning wood, but more recently added coal, oil and natural gas to the mix. In one mistaken turn down a dead-end road, we even invented the most expensive and dangerous Rube Goldberg-esque machines in the world. All they do is boil water, but it will take us a while before we are ever free of the nuclear energy quagmire.

Regardless of its twists and turns, our energy path has been both prolific and profligate, leading to this current and very unique point in the evolution of our species and our planet. We have chopped, mined, drilled and refined our way to an unlikely amalgamation of incredible energy abundance and equally incredible energy waste.

In other words, we have created the most potent social, environmental and economic opportunities ever known to man (and woman) kind.  READ MORE

 

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You will also find free tips by clicking on Tips in the page header or ‘Click Here.’

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Remember to receive all updates, just register on one of the easy forms in the sidebar.  Be sure to share with your friends.

If you have remodeling planed in the future and you plan to hire a contractor, I suggest that you have a look at this report.  The Investment is 100% Money-Back Guaranteed for 60 days by clickbank.

Ultimate Guide To The Home Remodeling Process Click Here

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Mind-Blowing Solar Panel Generates 12X More Power Than Regular Pannels

 

 

And How You Can Use It To Kiss Your Power Bill Goodbye

Are you getting frustrated with the current renewable energy sourcess, like solar panels, which are very expensive and don’t generate power in an efficient manner?

There is a revolutionary invention that uses the sun to create free electricity. And no, we’re not talking about the solar panel.  We’re talking about a solar energy plant.  This is a different solar energy generator called the Stirling Plant, it is a system that harnesses up to 12x more energy than the expensive solar photovoltaic energy systems. The best part about it, it is much cheaper to build than regular solar panels, and it is easy to build, meaning you don’t have to have any technical skills prior to building it.

Here’s how it works:

 

The Solar Stirling Plant harnesses the power of the sun, thus it produces free and clean renewable energy and it works fully off the grid. This is a new method of generating free energy. The concept of the Solar Stirling plant has been researched for quite a while, and now after the we perfected the design and simplified it to a point that everybody can design it, we decided to make it available to the public.

The Solar Stirling Plant operates by using a parabolic reflector dishes to gather all the sun rays which are focused and concentrated into one single spot – which is in focus of the parabolic dish, where the stirling engine will be placed.

When the sun rays are focused into one spot on which the solar stirling plant is located, the temperature difference makes the engine rotate at a fast pace and create massive amounts of energy, unseen by other renewable energy devices such as solar panels or wind turbines.

 

As a source of heat the Solar Stirling Plant uses parabolic reflector dishes to gather all the sun rays which  are focused and concentrated in one spot – in focus of the parabolic dish, where the stirling engine will be placed.

 

Instead of trying to generate power from the scattered sun rays like the basic solar panel does, by focusing the rays onto the Solar Stirling plant it is possible to generate 12 times as much energy than the regular solar panels, and generate enough energy to significantly reduce your power bill.

A Device Which Is Cheaper And Vastly Superior To Regular Solar Panels For Generating Your Own Free Energy And Becoming Fully Independent From The Greedy Power Companies That Utilizes Non Renewable Energy  ‘READ MORE CLICK HERE’

You will also find free tips by clicking on Tips in the page header or ‘Click Here.’

Great tips huh?  How do you feel about these tips?  If you want additional information, just ask.  Either send me an email to support@LearnRemodeling.com or ask a question in the comment area.  You will receive a response very soon.

Remember to receive all updates, just register on one of the easy forms in the sidebar.  Be sure to share with your friends.

If you have remodeling planed in the future and you plan to hire a contractor, I suggest that you have a look at this report.  The Investment is 100% Money-Back Guaranteed for 60 days by clickbank.

Ultimate Guide To The Home Remodeling Process Click Here

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