Friday, October 10, 2014

A Frog On Stilts

Wednesday was a very good day.  A most excellent day, in fact, because this happened:


Marion built half the spandrel and put it up.  

I was over on the east side of the house painting when Mare walked around the corner of the house with a huge grin on his face.  "Come look," he said.  I had my usual reaction to the front porch, which is to say breathlessly, "Ohmigosh...it's beautiful..." and then get all teary-eyed and blame it on corn dust in the air.  So I was having my little emotional moment and I said to Mare, "It looks sooo beautiful.  Even better than I imagined.  That spandrel makes all the difference."

And Mare replied, "Sure does.  Without it, the porch looked like a frog on stilts."

Trust Marion to snap me right out of my mini-meltdown.

Here's a much closer look at the spandrel:


For those of you interested in such things, that's a 1x6 on the top covering the gap between the header joists, the top and bottom rail of the spandrel are 1x4s, and the bottom is a 2x4 set on edge.  Mare added a piece of cove moulding to the top of the spandrel and a piece of base cap moulding to the bottom to pretty it up.  There's also a little piece of flat moulding at the very top to cover the seam between the spandrel and the header joists, and he'll continue that little piece of trim across the seam where the porch posts meet the header joists too.  

Here's a better photo of the porch, taken at the end of the day after I'd primed half the spandrel.


Four things of note in this photo:

See that icky unpainted bit just below the dark gray soffit and just above the spandrel?  That will be filled in with a piece of crown moulding next time Mare comes back.

There's another icky bit just under the bottom edge of the roof. It shows up as a white line, if you look really close. That's a piece of roof edge (or something) that's metal and it, too, will be covered up with moulding.  That piece of moulding will most likely get painted teal.

Check out the corner posts with the spindle in between them.  That makes my heart go pitter-pat. Mare and I talked about doing that but hadn't made a definite decision before I had to run to the lumberyard for something; when I got back, it was done.  I love it.  It's just the kind of little detail that the porch would have had originally.  (So are those little pieces of moulding he added, for that matter.)

And lastly, note that there is no spandrel down the side of the porch.  Alas, our math skills fail us again.  I got confused when trying to figure out in my head how many spindles I needed and so I asked for help from my favorite math teacher at Wentworth.  She gave me an equation (which still baffled me) and eventually told me that I needed 75 spindles, which would give me a few left over in case of breakage or eventual repair.  Seventy-five spindles seemed like a whole lot.  Mare looked at the 1947 photo of the porch and counted ten spindles in between each post, so I ordered 40 spindles. After building the front two sections of spandrel, we had 6 spindles left. He used 34 spindles.  Um. Ahem. Candy Daniel, you were right. What we failed to consider (but Candy thought of) is that these spindles are much narrower than the original ones must have been. She was calculating using actual dimensions of both the porch and the spindles; we were calculating using kindergarten math. 

And now the rain has moved in again and shows no signs of leaving us for the next several days, so we can't get any outside work done. Frustrating.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Eleventy Billion

This is the last big part of the house that still needs to be scraped and painted.


(I'm asking myself again why, WHY, did I leave this huge part for last??)  

I think about a lot of things while I'm out there scraping paint:  baseball (Royals in the postseason for the first time since 1985!), what's for supper, trying to remember whether Louis Cat is inside or outside...but lately I've been thinking about how many times I've run the scraper along the clapboards of this house.  I don't mean how many days I've done it; I mean, how many times have I made that scythe motion back and forth, back and forth?


Eleventy billion, I reckon.  More or less.  Almost there.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Message In A Bottle

We were putting up the porch ceiling a couple of days ago when Marion said, "We should put a time capsule in there."  He does this with all his restorations, and I've always thought it was a great idea.

I got an old Mason jar with a zinc lid out of the box of a dozen I bought at an auction several years ago (really cheap because some of them are Kerr jars with Ball lids!) and assembled the time capsule.

I put in the junky photo of the house in 1906

and the photo of Mr. and Mrs. Kenney from 1947

and the photo of the house in 2006, a week or so after I bought it.

I labeled all the photos so that whoever finds it would understand the evolution of the house, threw in a shiny 2014 penny, and wrote them a letter:

"To Whomever Finds This:
Firstly, I hope you're finding this because you're making repairs to the front porch and not because you're removing it completely or, Heaven forbid, tearing down the house.
This house was built about 1887 by James Crawford Kelly, and some member of his family lived in it until the mid-1950s.  Trails Regional Library (if it still exists when you find this) has a copy of the Kelly Family History, should you want to know more about them.  I bought the house in 2006 after it had stood vacant for several years.  The seller, Marijoe Cameron, told me that she finally decided to sell the house to me because I loved it so much.  I hope that you reading this love the house as much as I do.  She's a lovely old girl.  Please take good care of her.
Jayne Elizabeth Neville
September 24, 2014"

Then I asked Marion if he wanted to write a note as well.  He declined, but suggested that I add a line to my own note saying that I would come back from my grave and haunt anyone who ruined the house.  I thought that was a bit dramatic (although it's true) so I left the note as it was and screwed the lid on the jar tightly.  Marion set the jar in the ceiling just above the front door.

Song of the Day:  Charlie Robison, Photograph