11 December 2006

The Backstory

I bought my house in August of 1994. A week later I got married for the first time at age 41. Things went well for a while, new hubby seemed interested in working on the house, we got the roof on, the furnace in, the suspended ceilings and shag carpenting out, and stripped the front door. I had been "into" restoration for a long time--ever since the early '70's when The Old House Journal came out and I was volunteering at a historic house in my hometown, restoring the original stencilling. I also was an avid reader of home improvement books and restoration how-tos, so had a good idea what I wanted and what would and wouldn't work. I also knew about the Secretary's Standards...

Long story short--twelve years later, hubby gone, house still not done. We did manage to get it listed as an Historic District in our city, and last month I got a Most Improved House award from the neighborhood association. I had the outside second and third floors painted again this spring and built new bulkhead doors.
Halfway through this project my table saw motor died and I had to buy a new table saw. Buying a replacement motor was as much as the cheapest Craftsman model, so I got a new saw with the retractable legs and a sawdust bag. Two problems. One--the sawdust doesn't go in the bag much, and Two--the saw is too wide for me to maneuver into the house alone, so it has to winter in the garage. I don't like that idea, but putting it in the basement would be just as damp. This was my Christmas present to myself this year.

I also purchased three of these old factory lights from an antique store and polished and lacquered and rewired them and had an electrician put them up on the garage and back of the house for me. Normally I do all of this myself, but this time I wanted someone else to do it for a change because he could do it faster and I wanted to start building a relationship with this electrician because I have lots of more difficult things coming up I will need help on. Also, he moonlights when he does this and isn't a stickler for "code" which is important when restoring an old house for those of you who have run into trades who won't install old pushbutton switches or insist on other modern materials.

Here's a "before" shot of the garage. (I designed and mostly built the doors.)

This garage was built about 40 years ago from lumber taken from the old two storey barn that was on this site, but to the right and turned 90 degrees from the present garage. I wish it was still there! Here is what I put on the remaining cement pad of the old barn.

That's an old cement sink sitting in front of a porcelain toilet with Lamb's Ears in it. I haven't quite figured what to do with the sink yet. It would make a nice water garden, but I don't have any outside electricity for a pump.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Ah! Now I know what the track in front of the garage door is for.

I'm unclear - if the doors are both on the same track - then only one bay can really be open at a time, right?

Marilyn said...

There are two tracks on the rail. Both sides can be open half-way or one side open the whole way. One door slides in front of the other.