On April 13, the Rijksmuseum will reopen to the public after a renovation and makeover that took five years longer than expected and went tens of millions of dollars over budget. The museum's most famous painting was also one of the last to be restored to its original location: Rembrandt's "The Night Watch". Sponsor ING Bank celebrated with a unique and special flashmob. [more inside]
As the NYT reported in 1948: The ceiling of the East Room, elaborately done in the frescoes of fruits and reclining women and weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging six inches on Oct. 26, and now is being held in place by scaffolding and supports.... But it took the $50,000 survey authorized by Congress to disclose the fact that the marble grand staircase is in imminent danger. Supporting bricks, bought second hand in 1880, are disintegrating. So in 1950 a renovation began: this is what the White House looks like completely gutted. [more inside]
"Ah, the mythical $100 home. We hear about these low-priced “opportunities” in down-on-their-luck cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland, but we never meet anyone who has taken the plunge. Understandable really, for if they were actually worth anything then they would cost real money, right? Who would do such a preposterous thing?" Amongst others, artists who have hope for the future and money to invest. [more inside]
Dirk Dieter, an industrial and exhibit designer, paid $101,000 in 1999 for a 250-square-foot house built on a triangular lot at the end of a dead-end street in Pacifica. Built in 1954, the little house was probably a warming shed for local fishermen, but Dieter's modest yet dramatic renovation has transformed the house into a marvel of space-saving design, inspired him to formulate strategies and design furniture for streamlined living, and brought a recent appraisal of $375,000. Previously on MetaFilter: Tiny Footprints.
Houseblogs.net is an aggregator of home renovations blogs, created by our own Jeanmari and hubby DIYer. The 340 member blogs range from This Old Crack House to a couple converting a missile silo. Featured stories include the people who found a secret room in their house, and a community section has more good home renovation advice than you could shake a wrecking bar at. A nice place for inspiration and commiseration for owners of older homes.
Browstoner renovations. Watch a brownstown be renovated blog post by blog post.
Dixie Square Mall, in the mostly-blighted "inner ring" Chicago suburb of Harvey, Illinois, opened in 1966. It suffered gradual decline, until it closed in 1978. A year later, film crews gave the mall a brief makeover and Jake and Elwood Blues drove through the place. Then, nothing. For 20-plus years, the mall sat and decayed. Renovation plans (even a planned baseball stadium for the White Sox) were popular over the years, but never panned out. In 1993, a rape and murder took place in the JC Penney's space. From space, the mall looks beat up. From the ground, it looks even worse. Human fascination with deserted space has borne a number of websites and spelunking trips (along with some excellent then-and-now comparisons), and a documentary is apparently in the works. Finally, at long last, there's renewed hope for the site. Previously seen here and here.