Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Den...all buttoned up

Hello again!  We left you with our den in pieces.  It got a little worse, and then much better after that.  Over the course of about a week, Jason (with a little help from Garreth to wrestle timbers into place) gave us back a beautiful room that is now significantly more structurally sound.  But before we got to that point, the other half of the wall had to come out...

The original wall from the outside, with crooked sashes and siding.

The original wall from inside, with horribly fitting window and botched-together bracing.

All new picture window!

New timber going in...
And new siding!

Notice the mix of old and newly-milled siding...

Garreth got up bright and early to put primer on the new wood.

Wood trim going back in along with new insulation.

New drywall...

Fresh primer...

And finally getting to move back in!
Jason even replaced the worst sections of the rotten flooring and evened out the baseboard that looked like it had been reshaped with a hatchet.

Repaired flooring.
 A couple of days later, while having breakfast, we found a little bonus gift on our kitchen mantle.  Last spring, a good friend of ours, talented photographer and fellow old-house owner, Watson Brown, gave us this lovely portrait he took of our house.  While demolishing our den, Jason somehow had time to custom-make a frame for it using original siding from the house that he wasn't able to reuse as siding and even sunk some of the rose-head nails into the wood for a decorative flourish.  I literally teared up a little bit.

Finally, we'll leave you with this, on this gorgeous spring day!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Some Changes to the Den

Greetings!  We can't believe it has been almost a year since we last posted an update from Greenwreath - the time has flown!  Between work, the house, the pets, and a myriad of other excuses, there never seems to be a moment to sit down and write a post.  We promise we will try to do better, starting with the den...

The den has probably been the most lived-in room since we moved in, and after a year of staring at bowing walls, water-stained floors and windows so crooked they looked like they were scowling at us, we decided it was finally time to tackle whatever nightmare was lying in wait beneath.

The den before we started

Rotten floors

The mantle, no longer attached to the wall

I happened to go away for the weekend to visit my parents, so naturally, as soon as I left, Garreth called Jason over to start this little project.  This is what I came home to...

I was only gone for 4 days.
We found a weird, botched-together assortment of timbers, rotten siding, evidence of a fire, destruction caused by our pesky little friend, the termite, and we even learned that the windows we now have were not original.  The way the present framing cuts into the cross-pieces, it appears the original windows were much smaller.  The three ghost marks running up the chimney face are the outlines of studs that used to hold the drywall in place over the brick.  What was left of them fell out when the drywall came down.

What is going on in here?

Burned sill
Jason returned in the fall, after he milled new siding, to finish gutting and replacing the walls...

Lola, always helpful

Starting to re-frame.

Olive the Cat and Lucy T. Basset Hound inspecting the new work

New siding!

The end of the work day...
Jason re-uses everything he can save, so the siding going back onto the house consists of a mix of newly-milled and salvageable original.  You might also have noticed that some of the timber remaining in the wall is not exactly structural or necessary.  It is always an excellent idea when replacing so much of the original structure, to leave remnants of the old so that anyone in the future can hopefully tell what exactly the house has been through.  We wouldn't want to erase all that history of change.  Check back to see how it turns out in the next installation!