Friday, March 30, 2012

Benton Park évasion de feu

That's Benton Park fire escape. This neglected but lovely friend sits on Utah in the southern part of Benton Park. You can barely see its facade due to the fire escape, brick veneer, grates, bad door, plywood and overgrown vines (are those trumpet vine? euonymus? it doesn't look like ivy).

It's for sale and evidently this place is so bad it takes 4 realtors* to try to move the place.

It does have great potential so I hope it finds a buyer.

*spell check wants me to capitalize realtor. Tell you what- I'll capitalize realtor once we start capitalizing other relevant professions like Art Director, Lawyer, Police Officer and Garbage Collector.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

at the Island

Here are the badmansard kids at Soulard's newest frozen yogurt place, the Island. The Island is so named due to the Soulard neighborhood being somewhat of an island, cut off from surrounding neighborhoods by Broadway, Highway 55, Gravois, etc. We walked to the Island on our way to Pontiac Park.

The Island is located on Russell near Menard in the space formerly occupied by Paste. It is like Fro-yo or Yo My Goodness in that you add crazy toppings to your yogurt and your purchase is weighed by the ounce. According to my resident frozen yogurt expert Audrey, the price per ounce at the Island is much less than her former go-to spot Fro-yo.

I had a raspberry pomegranate yogurt and it was quite good. We spent about $13 for 5 of us. The kids concocted bizarre yogurt/gummy bear/m+m/fruit cups.

The lady behind the counter was helpful and sweet. The decor was cute. I hope this place does well. I love having an ice cream shop in Soulard. The last place I had for ice cream was the DQ on 7th Street and that closed abruptly about 3 years ago.

Go get yourself some Island frozen yogurt!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don't go back to Oakville

This is directly across from Oakville High School on Millburn Road in South County. My daughter Audrey is doing a volleyball clinic in the gym. I had never been to Oakville High School before. Getting down there (Mehl Road to Yaeger to Millburn) was like driving down the yellow brick road of bad mansards. They were every where.

In high school (Webster Groves class of 1989), we used to play against Oakville. I had very little school spirit, but one cheer I could always get behind was singing REM's Don't Go Back to Rockville as Don't Go Back to Oakville. Which really made no sense considering wouldn't you want the opposing team to eventually go back from where they came? Nonetheless, it was a cheer for the reluctant Statesman, especially since it was from REM's Reckoning, one of the last good albums before REM started to suck.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Raising kids in the city- Girl Scout cookie time

I am going to post a photo every week of my kids living in the city of St. Louis. If you want to see more of my kids, click over on my 63104mom tumblr on the right of this site.

Here are 4 of the 16 Brownies in our multi-school troop selling cookies at the Arsenal Schnucks.

Friday, March 16, 2012

More reader mailbag

A few weeks ago reader D. asked for help with his 100+ year old mansard. This week reader Erica asks for help with her new mansard in Fort Wayne Indiana. She writes that the spacious interior more than makes up for the ugly exterior.

How can a bad mansard be remedied?

The first thing I envision is a row of nice evergreens near the house; Emerald Beauty boxwood are perfect.

Any other tips for Erica's new place?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the Climb, taxes and weeds

Usually our weekends are packed solid with activities and social events. This weekend was a little different thanks in part due to my oldest daughter Kay breaking her big toe and therefore unable to play soccer until April.

On Saturday my husband juggled Gus' karate and Audrey's last basketball game. I did Master the Met, a stair climb up 40 flights in St. Louis' tallest building Metropolitan Square. My song of choice to get me to the top was the Chemical Brothers Container Park from the movie Hanna. Unfortunately, a crappy Hannah Montana song kept making its way into my head- the Climb.

Despite the dueling Hanna(h) songs, I made it to the top in 8:40. I was pleased with my time and ranking- 232nd out of 1000 and 14th in my age group (40-49, thank you very much).

Sunday I caught up on two terrible things that are inevitable every spring: weeds and taxes. I hit the yard first knowing it would rain in the afternoon. Those weeds were as bad as I've ever seen them in early March. It never got cold enough for them to be killed off. I think they've been growing full force since the summer.

I wish to share with you my little time saving trick. When I weed I throw the debris on a giant tarp that one would use for camping or painting. Then drag the tarp with all the leaves/weeds/sticks/pine cones/trash/condom wrappers/broken Mardi Gras beads/cigarette packs to the dumpster. Pull up the corners of the tarp like you're making a dumpling. Unload the debris and start all over again. It took me 5 trips.

Much cheaper than using the brown garden bags.

I am going to be sore on Monday but I will be in better shape- body, garden, taxes.

If you've seen Hanna, you know exactly why I would have picked Container Park for a climb. If note, watch the trailer/song:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just some Tuesday ugly

I don't know if this is an office or a house. It's located in Washington's downtown district, which means it could be either. This is the first bad mansard I've ever seen with the big/little window pairing and the porch-under-mansard thing going on.

I have a "photo shoot" planned- the Bad Mansards of Lindbergh Boulevard. Hoping for some good material out of that.

I've been writing bad mansard for more than 3 years. Someone asked me when I planned to stop. I told him when I run out of material. So far that hasn't happened. The only thing that keeps me from posting every day is a job and four kids.
Please keep your suggestions coming. I love getting your photographs.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reader Mailbag

Imagine my delight upon opening the bad mansard email inbox and finding this mansard in Tower Grove East recently purchased by DL. Welcome to the near south side DL! Your new place is darn cute and I love the brick detailing under the cornice.

D. seeks my advice as to how to fix this mansard in the rough. He writes: I was thinking diamond shape grey slate singles with no paint would look good, but part of me wants to do a painted floral pattern. I was wondering if you, as the expert on Mansards in St. Louis, might be able to give your opinion on what I should do. Pattern or no pattern? What pattern would look good with a plain brick facade? All grey or mixed colors? Diamonds or flat pieces or scallops? I'd also like to be somewhat historically accurate, but I have no idea what this mansard would have looked like before it was butchered. Any suggestions??

I am certainly flattered someone thought me to be a expert. But I am only good at tracking down and publicly defaming the bad mansards. I wish I knew how to rehab a mansard. My only advice is to drive around St. Louis and take pictures of mansards you like. Find a good contractor and a good tuck pointer. If memory serves, you don't have to do the slate; some of the composite materials look quite good. And maybe slate tiles have even been banned because it's so heavy and can kill people on the sidewalk? Or is that a rehabbers urban legend?

Does anyone else have any tips for D?