Saturday, March 7, 2009

Catching Up - The House and Barn Project

Well – It has been far too long since I have posted to my blog – so I have some catching up to do! Here is the story of our house and barn repair project:

A House-Doo!

Well our “little” mansion finally got its make over. We loving call our house “Money Pit – The Sequel” because sometimes it seems like we will never get it all done – and probably we won’t. But we sure are having a good time with it, and spending a goodly amount of money trying!

Our house is the longest still-standing residence in our village – 200+ years old (1804). We actually gave it a 200th Birthday Party in 2004 and had an open house to celebrate. We bought our grand ol’ home in 2001 and got married in it that September 29th. We had thought of canceling our wedding because of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, but changed our minds with the thought that if we did cancel our plans then the terrorists had won. Shortly after 9-11 I put electric candles in all of the front windows and they have been our little beacons of hope and peace even since. They even stayed lit during the flood of 2006, and the fire fighters that brought us the news that our house did not flood inside told us how nice it was to see those candles lit as they patrolled at night. So we have been pretty dedicated to our house since we bought it.

The Briarwood Company ( crews showed up for the first time on August 3, 2008, with a projected date to be finished somewhere around the first week of October. I am ever the skeptic and knew it would not go that quickly or that smoothly. After all - It has had 200 years to rot and decay! There were places in need of repair that we would never guess or find until the repairs started, but it was not without hope as most of the repairs were pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. The project was pretty much wrapped up by the beginning of November with only a few minor adjustments left to be done.

They started with scraping . . . and scraping . . . and more scraping. They took all of the shutters down – battling the bats hiding in the slats and the hornets nesting behind. They did repairs to trim and moldings, put in a new portico floor and replaced any bad pieces of clapboard siding. As the painting was done, storm windows were adjusted and refitted for better energy conservation, and drafty places were insulated and plugged. Then came the primer and then coats of the traditional yellow paint the house is famous for – even written about in several books.

The Barn - Deplorably Before!
The “carriage house” was another matter. It’s not really a carriage house, but the broker who sold us the house called it that and it stuck. I always thought it was a little snooty cuz it’s actually a barn! So now – I have insisted we call it the barn! The front addition that made it look so cute was originally attached to the house. It was moved back and placed on the front of the barn. It gave it such a cute look and was once even an apartment with electricity, running water and even a small bathroom. At one time it was even used as a music studio – but it had fallen in much disrepair over the last few decades and the flood finished it off by caving in the floor.

On the back of the barn at sometime or other an addition was added to transform the barn into a three-stall garage. The sad part was that the original hand-hewn beams were cut into in order to mount garage door openers, and this compromised the beams and they began to sag. So the addition on the back had to come off as well.

Our main goal for the barn was to stabilize the structure and restore as much as possible to the barn it once was. It still has its working sliding barn doors and a chicken door! The Briarwood Company did a fabulous job and we are very, very pleased with how things have finished up!

Now that spring is just around the corner, we look out to the back of the property and see all of the next steps (work) that we will soon be taking. We put in a 12 x 24 foot garden shed behind the barn for all of the lawn and garden equipment in order to keep the grass clippings and oil from the equipment from getting onto the barn floor. We kept the concrete floor in the barn and it worked out very nicely – We don’t want to mess it up. And we are not really sure what we will eventually use the barn for – maybe we will just sit back and admire it!

The Barn - All Done!
The House - All Done!

No comments: