All posts tagged: historic preservation

6 Days in the Bathroom with Dental Probes and a Razor Blade

I promise you, it is safe to read on. This isn’t about mental health. It isn’t about a hostage situation. It has nothing, whatsoever, to do with home veterinary surgery. It is about antique tiles and latex paint, achieving their disunion, and bothering with old things. Once upon a time, Buffalo was the center of the universe and Olmsted’s parks were filled with flowering vines, nannies and prams, horses and bicycles. In this 1912 world of hope and money, Mr. and Mrs. Butler built my house. Its rooms were airy, the windows numerous. The bathroom gleamed with state of the art, antiseptic white subway tiles and tiny hexagonal floor tiles. Let’s imagine it was a joy to clean – for the woman who lived in the attic room, whose own toilet was in the basement. Mr. Butler died fairly young in 1920. He spent only 10 years shaving in front of the shiny, new bathroom mirror. Catherine, his widow, sold the house within two years. As I picked latex paint from grout lines among the …