Monday, October 8, 2012

Like a New Friend

We met online, this old house and I. It was obvious by her profile we had a lot in common, but with any new relationship the most interesting facts surface later on after you've gotten to know each other awhile.

The sugar maples just outside the windows are fantastic right now. The beauty of the morning light illuminating the leaves through the stained glass keyhole window in the bedroom is a sight my camera could never even begin to capture.

The relationship so far has been an interesting one; attic expeditions have revealed much of her past and explained a lot of her quirks. The old lines for the gas lights were still up there along with all the knob and tube wiring. The wiring is gone but the gas lines will stay for some future generation's amusement.  The questionable conduit running down the interior wall in the master bedroom, it seems, was not placed there because the previous owners had bad taste, but because there is no channel inside the wall for the wiring to pass. The exterior of this building is three bricks deep then plaster and lath applied directly to the brick. The old wolf can huff and puff all he wants but no way is he ever blowing this place down! This also explains the drywall applied directly to the wall in the second bedroom. They were not just hiding crumbling plaster, but attempting to create a channel. Interesting. Very interesting. I have elected to simply remove the conduit and wiring and do without electricity on the master bedroom wall and I'll worry about the second bedroom when I get to it.

As I write this there are two men pumping 12 inches of insulation into the attic. Given that it was 31 degrees this morning when I got out of bed, I'd say the timing couldn't be better. Interestingly, the brick section of the house has remained comfortable while the modern addition, aka Sheville, is the room that is either way too hot or too cold. I believe the neighbors told us it was built in the sixties. Do you suppose they never insulated the walls back there? It has a cathedral ceiling so there's no attic to insulate. I suppose we could insulate the crawlspace? It is interesting to think about how the place was heated initially. There are three gas fireplaces and, of course, the kitchen would have had either a gas or wood stove. The living room fireplace has since been converted to wood, but it is so small you could really only burn one log at a time which seems silly. It is my favorite of the fireplaces though.

The hearth tiles have been removed but the surround tiles are still there and are fabulous. I never noticed the writing until after I moved in.




Another quirk related to heating revealed itself last night. We've known that the previous owners removed a wall connecting the family room with another small room once used as a bedroom. We also knew that they removed a closet door. What we didn't realize is that the closet was not original to the house. After close inspection of the closet from the foyer side, it became apparent that it was never there to begin with. The closet door and wall you see below were added later, it was just an open area under the stairs when the house was built.

Closing it in not only allowed for a closet, but the space houses the main intake and main second floor shaft for the furnace and air conditioning vents. I'm guessing this was done in the thirties. The closet reveals what the foyer wallpaper looked like at the time.

Another closet upstairs hides the plumbing vent. While I have not found any skeletons so far, I have discovered a few very disturbing holes. I think my new friend has had some pest control issues in the past. As you can see, I plan to be there for her if it becomes an issue again, because that's what friends are for!


Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Old homes are a blessing and a curse! Your woodwork and fireplace are just stunning! Hopefully you'll be toasty warm tonight!

Have a great week!

Florida Farm Girl said...

I'm loving your new old house more and more. I can't imagine the loveliness of the maples right now. (big sigh)

Mary Ann said...

Those are some BIG holes in the floor!

Kelly said...

You are running into some of the same problems/joys we found with our old house. No electricity upstairs, no running water and surely no insulation. We now have all and are so much happier. We also cooked on a 2 burner Coleman stove for 6 months until the kitchen was done. Found out the kitchen was a barn at one time due to taking down a wall and finding cribbing marks from a horse. LOL. Love old homes. Keep posting.

Unknown said...

OMG! Those are some big holes!

I remember my grandmother, who saved everything, tack a tin peach can lid over a hole she found on her floor. When we cleaned her house out we found tin lids nailed to the floor all through her house!

carla said...

Hi!!! Beautiful house!!! I love the fireplace!!! I love the figures and the writing!!! The wall paper in the closet is interesting!!! Not bad to be so old!!!! Thanks

Elaine said...

What a beautiful home!! The fireplace tiles are fantastic. Many happy years discovering each other there!!

Muffy's Marks said...

You have a lot of work ahead of you, oh, but the fun!! Your home is truly a diamond in the rough. The banister and fireplace are gorgeous!!

Anne@Kitschy Vintage said...

Fascinating! I loved all the secrets my first house, now 110 years old, revealed as we lived there (including a secret hiding place in the crawlspace wall that held a gold engagement ring).

I love the hidden wallpaper (wish I had a few rolls of that...) and the beautiful banister!

Stitches said...

I loved your header picture and now I love your house!! It is so beautiful and I hope you will keep putting more pictures on as you decorate, furnish and update it. It's just lovely...