Discover Farmington Avenue- Saturday June 9

“DISCOVER THE AVENUE” is on Saturday, June 9th, 12-5pm, rain or shine, on Farmington Avenue in Hartford. This street festival is sponsored by the Farmington Avenue Alliance and celebrates the arts, culture, architecture, and history of our Farmington Avenue neighborhood. There will be trolley rides, activities at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, music at the corner of Girard and Farmington Avenues, architectural walks in the neighborhood, an exploration of the Park River, artists exhibiting their work for sale, clowns, plein air artists painting neighborhood sites, and more. Here’s an outline of the events:

Noon to 5:00PM
Harriet Beecher Stowe Birthday Celebration
Location: Forest & Farmington

Nook Farm Green Arts & Crafts Show & Music
Location: Farmington & Woodland

Corner of Girard/Farmington
Swing to gospel, soul, R & B, and reggae in an afternoon of music sponsored by West End Civic Association featuring Tony Harrington, Precise and local performers.

Hartford Preservation Alliance Walking Tours
Meet at Nook Farm Green, Farmington & Woodland
12 noon – Nook Farm
1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Park River
4 p.m. Asylum Hill (Woodland/Niles)

Immanuel Church
Location: Farmington & Woodland
Sanctuary open all afternoon, organ and bell ringing demonstrations

Stowe Center
Strolling musicians, drumming, community choirs

Nook Farm Green
America’s Music…Celtic Roots. The Boys of Wexford featuring P.V. O’Donnell, fiddle, John Taub, accordion, Paul Recker, “Old Time
Country,” Claudine Langille, banjo and mandolin.

Immanuel Church

Corner of Girard/Farmington
Tony Harrington, featured vocalist. Gospel, soul, R & B, and reggae

The Hartford Insurance Group
10-piece salsa band, Mikata

Art and crafts for show and display at Nook Farm Green.
Clowns, mimes, street entertainers, Praise Dancers at the West End Community Center.
International art exhibit at The Hartford, with salsa band and free dance lessons.

West End Community Center
Location: 461 Farmington Ave.
Children’s Playscape, face painting, water balloons games, pony rides.

Stowe Center
Carriage rides, hat decorating, drumming, lawn croquet

Nook Farm Green
Bead table

Immanuel Church
Face painting

Noah Webster School
Location: 5 Cone Street
June Fair – games for young children

Refreshments at Stowe Center, Mark Twain House café, Nook Farm Green, West End Community Center, avenue restaurants.

Trolley – 8 stops runs all day
CT Transit bus – no fare with day pass (at information table, Nook Farm Green)
Walking – all Farmington Ave events are within 6 blocks

All legal spaces on street
Clemens Place (enter Mark Twain
House driveway on Farmington Ave.)
Sherman Street – UConn Law School
Sherman Street – Hartford Seminary
Forest Street – lots with signs
Woodland Street – lots with signs
Farmington & Kenyon – Kinko’s lot (aka West End Plaza)

What's a Fixture?

Many times when I’m walking through homes with clients, they often ask “Does that come with the home?” and point to something that appears to be attached to the wall. Essentially, they are asking if the object is a “fixture” or not.

Typically in real estate transactions, “fixtures” convey with the property. Fixtures are items that are permanently attached to the home. A central air conditioning system, wall to wall carpet, and a built-in oven range would all be considered fixtures. When you write an offer, you will review an Inclusion and Exclusion form that the seller completed. This form will state what they plan on leaving with the house. Usually all fixtures are assumed to be included, unless they are specifically stated as “excluded” on the Inclusion/Exclusion form.

There are some gray areas when it comes to decorative items like curtains, drapes, and rods. Additionally, small sheds and yard ornaments usually cause some confusion. The best thing you can do is walk the property and write down all the things you would expect and like to stay (within reason, of course) and then make sure your agent includes those items on the purchase contract. You may negotiate back and forth with the seller some, but at least your request will be clear. The worst scenario would be doing the final walk through and realizing that the curtains you loved in the dining room did not convey with the sale. If it’s agreed to in the contract, it should convey with the property.

One final word of caution: plasma TVs. Because they are wired to the house, plasma TVs are being seen as fixtures. So, if you’re a seller and really want to hold on to your plasma TV, make sure it is specifically called out as “excluded” on the Inclusion/Exclusion sheet. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the line.

Knob and Tube Wiring

If you’re looking to purchase a home that was built between the late 1880s and early 1930s, your home inspector may discover knob and tube was used as the electrical wiring. While some argue that the knob and tube is actually superior to current electrical wiring practices, the age of the system typically leads to some type of degredation, therefore necessitating that it be at least partially replaced and upgraded.

It’s becoming more and more common now that buyers are unable to get a home insurance policy on a home with knob and tube. What insurance companies were willing to insure just 2-3 years ago has changed. If your home inspection turns up knob and tube, the homeowner will most likely need to upgrade the system in order to sell the home. You won’t be able to get an insurance policy to satisfy your mortgage commitment otherwise. I’ve seen this issue pop up twice in the past week. The seller now has to upgrade the system before the closing in each case. If you’re a seller, you might want to consider having the wiring fixed even before you list your house for sale. You’ll head off potential issues.

If you’re not familiar with knob and tube, here are two good links that give helpful explanations of how the wiring works and why it needs to be upgraded. Ask The Home Inspector and Wikipedia.

House Styles

Often when I’m driving around looking at homes, I wonder “what’s that specific house style?” It’s easy to pick out the traditional colonial, tudor, raised ranch, etc., but what about a Federal vs. Georgian style colonial? Or a Queen Anne vs. Eastlake victorian? I sometimes have difficulties telling the differences with older homes.

Well, no more. has a great picture dictionary that not only provides images, but describes distinguishing features that you can use to tell what differentiates design styles within the same category of home. Check it out to see if you can learn more about your house style.

Celebrate West Hartford- June 2 & 3

Every year West Hartford has a weekend-long community celebration. This year’s event will take place next weekend on June 2 and 3. You can enjoy a multitude of vendors selling arts and crafts, games and rides for kids, a 5K race, and some great food. The celebration takes place in West Hartford Center along Main Street.

Celebrate West Hartford is held rain or shine. Make plans to stop by for a few hours to check out the sites and the progress of Blue Back Square. Here’s a link to the official website if you’d like more info.