Windy City

I recently went to Chicago and the visit stirred some early memories:

The Chicago skyline.
My cousin Ana Maria and I had come to spend the winter in Chicago (summer break in Nicaragua) at my aunt's house, we were 10 and as part of our entertainment we had been invited to perform folkloric dances on a children's show for the local Telemundo channel.
Navy Pier seen from the gardens of the Field Museum.
After our performances we sat down for a chat with the hostess and she asked Ana Maria and I if we were enjoying the city; we had been "everywhere", we said, seen "everything", but my favorite thing to see in Chicago, I said, were the buildings! 
The Art Deco tower that houses the Chicago Board of Trade. 
I remember thinking that the hostess was not impressed with my answer, I think my cousin's favorite Chicago moment was somehow cooler than my "I like looking at buildings"...but it was true!  I loved the massive colonial buildings in Leon, the neoclassical arcades in Granada, and the 1700th century Church of Saint Anne in our hometown in Chinandega.  The Mayan ruins in El Salvador and Guatemala from our road trip the year before had been, until now, the architectural highlight of my young life, but now Chicago presented me with buildings of a scale and intricacy I had never seen!
The Field Museum, Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago.
I liked buildings and I wanted to make buildings.  Back in Nicaragua I told my family about our adventures in the big city, and one of my aunts mentioned the word "architect" and how an architect creates buildings; I was hooked, there was no looking back...

Moving with Antiques: How to transport your most invaluable possesions

House in The Heights. Houston, Texas.
The Houston Real Estate market is very busy, particularly in "The Heights," a great historic neighborhood just north of downtown Houston, where I happen to live; it seems everybody is flocking to The Heights these days, and with so much relocation going on in our city I thought it would be a good idea to write a post and spread some advice on the matter.

As with any specialized service, moving antiques -be they furniture, jewelry, photographs, etc. - comes with a host of best practices. Losing or damaging any of the aforementioned items, especially if they have sentimental value, could be heartbreaking. Protect your antiques (and your heart) by taking the following precautions on what is arguably the most dangerous day of the year for your belongings: moving day.
17th Century French chest from Kirby Antiques in Houston.
To develop this list, I enlisted the help of Coleman American, a premier Houston Moving Company. Here's what they told us:
Packing is half the battle…
Packing your items correctly will make a profound difference. Whether you do it yourself or with the help of a professional, the materials you use can also be the difference between a successful journey and… well, the opposite of that. Depending on the antique's size, weight and fragility, you should use varying amounts of the following materials for protection:
  • Double- and triple-walled cartons
  • Cushioning wrap / stretch wrap
  • Packing tape
  • Fine tissue and craft paper
You should also label your cartons appropriately. Stickers that read Do Not Load, Fragile and Do Not Pack will give others a truly valuable frame of reference.
19th century Austrian Empire Style Vitrine from Carl Moore Antiques in Houston.
Take preemptive measures.
Smart people know that the best offense is a good defense. When it comes to transporting priceless belongings, defense (conveniently) is all you really have. The following steps will reduce the likelihood that something will go terribly wrong in transit:
  • If possible, secure any loose parts or removable pieces with none-permanent methods, i.e., no superglue.
  • Any moving parts on furniture should be held down with rubber straps or strings.
  • If possible, remove protruding pieces like drawer handles and secure them inside the same drawer for easy access.
  • Remove any exposed glass/mirrors and cover them with stretch wrap and padding.
  • Upon removing any small hardware/pieces from your antiques, place them in labeled plastic bags and then in a labeled parts box.
Painted Venetian Sofa from Kay O'Toole in Houston.
Know what should be moved by YOU.
Just because you hired a moving company doesn't mean they have to move everything. Some things, though they may not be antiques per se, still assume equal amount of importance in life. These may include:
  • Birth certificates
  • Medical records
  • Photographs
  • Essential prescription medications
  • Stock certificates, bonds and notes
All of these items are, for all intents and purposes, irreplaceable; keep them with you at all times, your inner peace will thank you.
For more moving help check out Coleman’s Ultimate Pre-move Checklist.

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