Wednesday, May 8, 2013

You Wanna See Something Really Scary?

The very first home I ever owned was a small brick building that sat next to the railroad tracks. It was once used to house the railroad workers. It was a bargain at $15,000. Needless to say it was in rough shape. In fact, there were holes in the side of the building you could stick a shotgun barrel through and I really don't think it was actually intended to be that way. I don't recall the exact age of the building but if I had to wager a guess I'd say it was built about the same time as the one I currently reside in. There are many similarities.

My current home has its own set of issues.  While there are no holes that you can spy through, it certainly has some cosmetic issues. The chimney tops the list of problems. I'm told this is called spalling. Water had seeped down through the chimney behind the brick and has caused the bricks to spall.

Then there is the host of cracks within the mortar.

And the porches are having a hard time holding themselves together.

Oh, and then there's the foundation.

Scary right? Nope. Not really. You see this old building is three bricks thick. All of these issues are just scratches on the surface. Knowing this and having spent the last twenty five years working on old houses, we were crazy enough to look past the wrinkles and see the old girl for what she really is - a perfectly sturdy and structurally sound home that is probably in better shape than most modern buildings. We knew the first time we saw this property we were going to buy it and give the old girl a face lift.  Today her cosmetologists arrived and the scaffolding is going up. They are starting on her south side since the constant sun exposure has caused so many issues.

We applied for a facade grant through the local historic preservation society. We've not heard back from them yet, and frankly we're not holding our breath. It is time. She deserves a chance to be beautiful again.  It will be a loud, dirty process, but it will be worth it. I simply cannot wait to show some after photos.


Jaayimee said...

I have been waiting for a post like this. Can't wait to see the afters of this home.

Karen Anne said...

Looking at the first and the last picture, I'm confused about the narrow vertical things. Are they decorative items with nearby problems, or oddly consistent failures?

Christine said...

They are decorative. Both chimneys have them. Interesting, huh?

Rachy said...

What a beautiful house!
I can't wait to see the after pictures.

Good luck and I hope it all goes smoothly x

Gone Country said...

How exciting!

I love seeing these wonderful old homes being restored to their original beauty and being so well taken care of.

Looking forward to the during and after pictures!

Tombstone Livestock said...

Will be looking for frequent progress pictures.

Unknown said...

So glad to see that there are others out there saving history. My husband and I are in the process of restoring an old 158 yr old flour mill into our home. We recently restored our old railroad depot into our home for now. We have also restored an old farmhouse which everyone thought we should of burnt the old gal and start over, goofy people. We turned that farmhouse into a beautiful bed and breakfast. Look forward to seeing your progress. How exciting! If you would like to follow our renovations my blog is

thecrazysheeplady said...

I'm glad your house has you!

Tammy said...

Good for you all! It's a beautiful old home and will look glorious after the restoration. I've learned something new today--spalling. I live in a brick home (old school--but only about 50 years old) and have had some issues around/under the windows with this. Now I can sound so knowledgeable when I say 'see this spalling' over here? ;-)


Jayne said...

She's already beautiful, but she's gonna be GORGEOUS after the cosmetologist gets through with her!

Unknown said...

Your house is sound, there's no doubt about it. I don't even recall a creaking floor when I walked through. Stealing a line from the movie "The War" , "all this house needs is a little lipstick and rouge."