We have tenants! And what nice tenants indeed. Long story short is that my cousin saw a posting on the Mount Holly newsflash, an e-bulletin board of some sort-I have never visited it, but perhaps I should start, and sent it to me. I called the number given and had a pleasant chat with Nice Young Man who explained that he and his wife were looking for a place. Turns out he is a native Mainah and once did some work for a good friend of mine. I saw my friend on Thursday and she immediately said, “Oh, he cleaned out my basement. He’s a Nice Young Man.” Good enough for me. I sent off some pictures of the place along with the address for this blog figuring that if Nice Young Couple were still interested once they saw the good, the bad, and the ugly, it would be a gift from heaven. Turns out they liked what they saw and we made arrangements for a hasty trip to Vermont to show the place. Nice Young Couple ended up taking the place for a year and we couldn’t be happier.
We are now moved over to the other side of the house feeling very much like we have stepped back a year into semi-camping mode again. It’s all progress and the view from the room we are using for a bedroom/living room now is the best in the house. Who could ask for more?
I ran across this lovely photo this morning while I was searching for something else. The date on the back is July 5, 1996. Compare this to a photo taken from a similar vantage point this summer and you’ll see that things at the farm continue to evolve.
The other day Patti brought over a quart of milk from their new Guernsey milk cow. If you have never had whole, raw milk before, you have missed one of life’s simple pleasures. When milk is not homogenized (not to mention pasteurized, flavorized, vitaminized, standardized, atomized, sanforized, vulcanized, and pulverized) the cream sits in a thick, yellow layer on top of the milk just begging to be poured directly into coffee or over cereal. Once you have the cream you want, then you must shake the bottle to mix in the remaining cream before pouring out what you want. Nothing better!
I had intended to post pictures yesterday, but I woke up sick and ended up spending the day in bed. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say it was not a fun day….. Today I woke up feeling great so you will be treated to pics.
After church, we had our own treat-a nice long visit with U Donald who was in fine story-telling form. He talked quite a bit about his father. This was extra special for me as my grandfather died when my father was still a young teenager so naturally I did not know him. Hearing U Donald tell stories was like being given a glimpse into the past. A precious treat indeed. On to the promised pictures.
As of about three hours ago, the kitchen ell of the house is done. The kitchen is set up as a living room/dining room. The dining room is set up as a second bedroom, and the pantry is set up as a kitchen. This is all for the short-term, of course. Down the road a few years, these rooms will regain their original identities, but for the time being they are pulling duty as emergency apartment quarters. This gives us something we can try to rent to the skiers and a comfortable place to stay ourselves. We did it!
Pictures at the end, but let me leave you with four little words. Red. Sox. World. Series!
Kitchen dressed up as Living room/dining room.
Desk area in the kitchen where the phone used to be.
Refiinished kitchen stairs
Pantry outfitted as kitchen
Dining room as bedroom…or dorm room!
A nice place to read in the dining room. I have a copy of my great grandmother reading by this window when it was a bay window.
Take a look at the beautiful refinished floors. These boards are late 18th century pine from a house in Arundel, Maine.
Ken arrived a couple of days ago, I pulled in around 7:45 last night, and it has been work, work, work for both of us ever since. Lots of progress, though. I could hardly wait to get in the house and see the refinished floors. What a difference! The wood is really interesting with lots of variations of tone and color which make the floors just beautiful. Ken says that in all his years of owning and operating a general contracting business, these are the most difficult floors to refinish that he has ever run across. They did not come out perfect, but Floor Guy did a fine job and they look great. Ken asked if he was going to keep on doing floors and he did not show a great deal of enthusiasm for tackling something like this anytime soon!
We spent today painting the baseboards all around, the stair risers, and doing general paint touch-up work. I believe I opened every paint we have used with the exception of the pantry shelves.
The new fridge and microwave were delivered this afternoon and we have the fridge set up and running. A better cast-off stove from customers came our way and we brought that out with us for the pantry/kitchen. I cleaned it this afternoon and Ken has it installed and running. If he doesn’t run out of steam soon, he plans to install the new over-the-range microwave this evening. First things first, however. Right now he is setting up the TV!
And now the teaser for tomorrow. We set up the furniture in the living/dining area this afternoon and it all looks fabulous! I am so pleased with the way my yard sale/ junktique shop finds have pulled together. Tomorrow we plan to set up the second bedroom in the dining room space. Photos of all tomorrow!
Ken made a trip out and back on Saturday to check the progress of the floor sanding. Our
Kitchen floor sanded
floor guy requested that he come and give the thumbs up on the sanding before he proceeded with applying finish. The sanding more than met with Ken’s approval so our floor guy is pressing on.
The first morning of sanding was rather discouraging as we understand it. He started in a tough spot, which is not a bad strategy-get the worst of it over right away, but it was harder going than anticipated and so initially it looked like these floors might require quite a bit more time to sand than we had hoped. He called at noon on Monday to give us this cheery news. Ugh. At the end of the day, Floor Guy called again in much better spirits which meant that our mood improved as well. After a rough start, things improved a great deal and the sanding has gone quite well overall.
Pantry floor sanded. See the little dark spot in the upper corner next to the wall on the left side of the photo? That’s the area of rot. You can also see the taped off threshold. I might actually cry if that was ruined so I’m glad to see that Floor Guy understood and took precautions.
After sanding through five or more layers of paint, Floor Guy discovered an area of rot in the pantry floor which he asked Ken to inspect. This turns out to be right in front of the little fold down work table that was in this spot after the pantry was made smaller in the late 1940’s. Our guess is that Gramma regularly spilled milk or whatever in this spot and that gave the rot a toe hold. Ken worked on the area enough to remove the rot, but there will be a divot in the floor to remember Gramma Tarbell by. Her other pantry legacy is the worn threshold which Floor Guy carefully taped off first thing to avoid any damage.
The floor finish goes down this week. Can hardly wait to see the floors done!
Looking down the stairs to the kitchen
We were so energized by the success of the porch make over that we decided to keep going with exterior painting. The other projects we had wanted to get done this trip went well so we decided to pour it on and see what we could get done. This meant scraping, filling, repairing and working generally long hours, but the effort has paid off. Take a look at the photos below and I think you will agree!
Original porch light repaired and reinstalled
We spent one day scraping and making repairs on the gable end on the kitchen ell
New flag in place in the old holder.
Completed porch and gable end.
Making railings for the kitchen door.
View from the road.
Back of the house with pussywillow gray up as high as the tops of the first floor windows
Pretty new back foyer entrance
Cute dining room cupboard with door that now latches.
This morning I gave my screwdriver a good workout. I fixed the narrow cupboard door in the dining room that would not close by loosening the hinges and slipping shims underneath. Next, I reinstalled the lock and escutcheon on the bathroom door and fixed the loose doorknob. This door was Uncle Donald’s bedroom door in its previous life. The key is in the lock and the deadbolt still works just fine although there is no strikeplate. I don’t know if that means that he wore it out from locking his door so much or what. Of course the one on my father’s door doesn’t work at all so perhaps that tells an even bigger story. We should be able to find a new strikeplate at the architectural salvage place in Portland where we have had good luck finding other odds and ends that we need here.
Yup, that’s me on a stepladder on the staging.
This afternoon I got my scraper out again and went to work on the southwest gable end. This side takes a lot of weather abuse, but even so, the paint is not as bad as you might think. That’s the power of good old lead-based paint. It takes a licking and keeps on sticking. With any luck, tomorrow there will be some good progress pictures.
Speaking of progress, Ken has replaced all of the damaged clapboards on the gable, back, and front of the house. No more tar paper patches! (Well, maybe just one-under the roof dingle of the old bay window. He says repairing that is a two-day job.) He reproduced the lovely pediments found on the original windows on the new kitchen windows. You can get a good look at one of those in the picture above. He also spent about three hours rebuilding the water table on the gable end, also seen in the photo above-the one with me painting. The water table is that eave return just over the corner posts. As the name suggests, these are excellent spots for water to pool and do its thing and Ken will need to rebuild several of them before we are done. He made the new one from a vinyl product that will last just about forever.
Sunset this evening really highlighted the maples by the road and my perch on a stepladder on top of staging gave me an excellent view. The leaves have turned quite a bit in the week that we have been here. I don’t want to think about what comes next. In the meantime, we do take time to enjoy the place and the surroundings are lovely wherever we look. We took a little jaunt on Sunday with our four grandsons who were here with their parents and uncle for the afternoon. We went up to inspect Kevin and Patti’s turkeys and then took a rest on an old fallen tree just above the house. Like I said, its pretty wherever we wander.
What a rewarding two days! After the big decision to paint the house gray, I was eager to
Yours truly scraping away on the porch.
try it out and what better place than the kitchen porch. Most of the exterior doesn’t look too bad (if you don’t count the front door) and the paint is in reasonable shape. The exception to this was the porch. There are three windows on the porch and the trim paint on all was in rough shape after we removed the combination storm windows . The door was in dire need of paint, the repaired plaster ceiling needed painting, and the clapboards and floor were soiled from the phoebes. I happen to like phoebes, by the way. They are happy birds with huge personalities and a cute little song, but they have atrocious housekeeping habits.
I got to work yesterday morning scraping all the trim plus the clapboards on the porch. I am a trained professional scraper at this point. Experience doesn’t make the job less onerous, but at least I am faster at it now. By late morning, I was painting the ceiling and by days’ end I had all the trimwork done. You practically need sunglasses now to look at the ceiling!
We went to Sherwin Williams last night and picked out our gray housepaint, a nice shade called pussywillow. We can’t go to Rutland without a stop at Home Depot and this time I picked up some spray paint for the wicker chairs on the porch and a new American flag. Uncle Francis displayed a flag from the porch and I want to also. There is a holder on the porch post that is easily the sturdiest flagpole bracket I have ever seen.
Long story short, I painted the clapboards, took the flagpole holder off and cleaned and repainted it, cleaned and painted the door hinges, and even cleaned and repainted this huge metal hook that has been on the porch post for as long as I can remember. Do any of my relatives know what it is for? If so, could you let me know? I also washed the windows and painted the wicker chairs a deep red. I just love color!
I tried to put up the American flag, but ran into problems. The directions said to attach the flag to the pole by hooking into the grommets on the flag. Oops-no grommets. Will have to exchange it-and I will definitely make sure the replacement has everything it is supposed to have!
So…drum roll please. Here are some before and after photos. I like it!
Unless I wake up tomorrow morning with a change of heart, I made a huge decision this afternoon regarding the color of the house. Ken was in favor of considering a new exterior color for the house, but I have not been open to the suggestion until today. “The house is Greek Revival,” I said. “The only color they were painted is white as they were imitating all those marble temples. White, white white.” Well, this afternoon I went outside for a little break from my interior painting tasks to see how Ken was coming along with clapboard repair on the back of the house and I had a color epiphany. He is using preprimed clapboards in a light gray and the entire kitchen end of the house is now clad in these new clapboards. I stepped back away from the house to see how it looked and bam! The house looks absolutely gorgeous with light gray clapboards and gleaming white trim! The trimwork on the house is really lovely. There is lots of detail in the pediments on the windows and doors, the cornerboards, and the eaves, frieze and eave returns. With the body of the house gray, that trimwork just pops. Take a look at the photo and you’ll see what I mean. You can easily see the difference as the clapboards to the right of the covered entryway are primed gray while those to the left and above are white.
Worried that I might be veering towards a huge mistake, I called Dave Rogers, an architect friend of ours in Maine, and asked his opinion. He immediately told me that there are lots of Greek Revivals up the coast in Maine that have been painted either gray or yellow and that as long as I keep the shade light, the house will look “right.” So that settles it. The house will become gray one side at a time over the next few years.
While this transformation was taking place outside, I was busy inside checking off tasks on my painting punch list. There were odds and ends all over that had to be taken care of. I must have opened a can of nearly every color we have used so far. That’s a lot of brush cleaning, by the way.
I also spent considerable time stripping door hardware-hinges, locks, keys, screws, and so forth. Nearly all of the door hardware in the house has been painted over and in order to make it look its best, I must remove it and strip it. Its worth the effort as it looks so sharp when it goes back on!
I’ll leave you with a parting shot of the mountains at sunset. I never tire of looking at the surroundings.