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Jacob Henry Aley Mansion; Wichita, KS
Photo of the Jacob Henry Aley Mansion at 1505 North Fairview in Wichita, KS. This photo was taken about 1890. Note the newly planted tree (left). Construction on the house was started in April 1887 and completed later that same year at a cost of $25,000. This home is a confirmed design and build by William Henry Sternberg (1832-1906), who was originally from New York. True to Sternberg designs, this home features tall, fancy corbelled chimney flues where the decorative brick work continues on through the 2nd and 1st floors, highly decorative milled woodwork (both exterior and interior), a square porch above a triangular-shaped main entryway of the house (also seen on Sternberg Mansion and other Sternberg homes), a roofline that visually seems to be a "hodge-podge" of different pitches and shapes which add visual interest to the roofline, three main entries on the first level, usable / functional porches on the first and second floors, fish-scale shingles on the second floor and a 4th floor dormer at the very apex of the house with a window. Typically with Sternberg designs, rounded towers (and turrets - say over a rounded porch - as in the elegant Hatfield Residence @ 430 S. Seneca) appear on the left-side of the main entry of a house and square towers (or square projections) appear on the right side of the residence (when facing head on). Typically these square projections are on a 45 degree angle to the main structure. Although hard to discern from this photo, the dormer at the very apex of the roof has a row of windows in the rectangular area (see note in photo above). Years before this house was built, Sternberg was promoting himself as both an “architect and builder” of homes, specifically “designing and drafting” services. Many persons have thought of Sternberg as just a contractor, but indeed his design and architecting services (that he did himself) were a substantial portion of his overall business. An advertisement for Sternberg, Hall & Co in the 1869 - 1870 Chenango County, New York Directory noted, “Being Architects and Builders themselves, they know just what is wanted for a house and how to prepare it. Give them your patronage if you would have everything in first-class style.” It is interesting to note that the advertisement listed "Architects" first and "Builders" second. As with most designers and architects common design themes can be seen throughout their works. Sternberg's unique mix of residential styles were just as well-loved in the 1800s as they are today and the common themes throughout his works make identification of them fairly easy. As Sternberg worked most of his life in the Wichita area, this particular style of Victorian architecture (although similar to Victorian-era styles) is unique and distinct to the Midwest. Some areas of the U.S. (like the south, the New England area or the southwest) have had long standing residential design trends that have helped to distinguish those areas. The Midwest is no different. Sternberg's particular residential designs help to distinguish Midwestern Victorian architecture from that of other areas of the country . . . Mr. Aley was originally from New York and moved to Wichita where started a successful boot and shoe retail business. He also served as a Sedgwick County Commissioner. Today this house is a Local Landmark and is open for public historic tours. Lumber for building in late 1800s was usually brought in from other areas of the country - especially the Pacific northwest. When "white people" started arriving in Kansas, the prairies were virtually devoid of trees except by streams and rivers. What lumber that was available was mostly cut down by the 1870s. When the transcontinental railroad was being constructed, photography crews followed along taking photos of not only the work but also capturing the hills and prairies in the background. Identical shots today taken from the same vantage points of where those railroad photographers took their photos in 1869 show that virtually all the trees on the prairie today have been cultivated - they are new since then and were not originally there. In the 1800s the prairies were horribly devoid of trees. Indians had a practice of burning the prairies in the early spring. The charred and blacked earth absorbed sunlight better and warmed the ground earlier in the Spring than it normally would have which allowed grasses to grow sooner and most importantly brought buffalo back sooner for grazing. This practice of burning may account for some of the lack of trees in the 1800s. When trees were cut down, the lumber was sawn and planed on location by a steam-powered saw mill. A steam-powered saw-mill was frequently a shoddy open-air shack with a large boiler in the middle which provided steam to a cylinder steam engine. Sometimes steam leaked from boilers or pipes (or both). Steam also blew from the governor as well as iDC: White House - North Portico
The White House has served as the executive residence and principal workplace of every President of the United States of America since John Adams. At various times in its history, it has been called the "President's Palace," the "President's House," and the "Executive Mansion." President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901--a reference to the 570 gallons of white paint covering its exterior. Originally built between 1792 and 1800, and expanded over the years, today the White Houses consists of three major parts: The East Wing; the West Wing, housing the offices of the President and senior staff, the Cabinet Room, the Situation Room, the Press Briefing Room, and the Roosevelt Room; and the Executive Residence. Following the Act of Congress in December 1790 declaring current day Washington D.C. as the new seat of the federal government, President George Washington and city planner Pierre L'Enfant chose the site for a new presidential mansion--1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Irish-born architect James Hoban's design of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the late Georgian style was selected from a competition with eight other entries. Construction began on October 13, 1792, with Washington overseeing the laying of the cornerstone. Initial construction took place over a period of eight years, at a reported cost of $232,371.83, largely using slave and immigrant labor. Second President of the United States John Adams became the first chief executive to take residence on November 1, 1800, while it was still unfinished. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe expanded the residence, creating the East and West Colonnades, concealing the domestic operations of laundry, a stable and storage. It was President Jefferson who first opened the house for tours, and it has has remained open to the public ever since. In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by British troops, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior walls. Reconstruction began almost immediately and President James Monroe moved back in by October 1817. Construction continued with the addition of the South Portico in 1824 and the North in 1829. In 1835, running water and central heating were installed. In 1848, gaslight was installed. Covered pavilions and then large greenhouses for growing flowers and vegetables were constructed on either side of the mansion. Victorian ornamentation and decor were added from the 1870s to the 1890s. Electric lights supplemented gaslights in 1891, and the first electric elevator was added in 1898. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt began extensive renovations. To address the overcrowding in the executive mansion, he also built a new one-story office structure, connected to the Residence Jefferson's west colannade and giving rise to the West Wing. Roosevelt also built an early-one-story East Wing as a formal guest entrance and removed the Victorian ornamentation and restored the mansion to the federal style with Georgian touches. In 1909, William Howard Taft remodeled the interior of the West Wing, creating the Oval Office. In 1927, a new roof and third floor were added to Residence. A Christmas Eve electrical fire in 1929 significantly damaged the West Wing, which Herbert Hoover had the building remodeled without making significant changes. In 1934, Franklin Roosevelt added a second floor to the West Wing and moved the Oval Office to the southeast corner. He also added a swimming pool and gymnasium in the gallery (later replaced by Richard Nixon's bowling alley). The present East Wing was expanded in the 1940's, creating additional office space, balancing the enlarged West Wing, and covering the construction of the underground air-raid bunker known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. In 2007, the White House was ranked #2 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list. National Register #19600001
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