Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Evidence of the Past

We have always heard that our historic home had been through a fire sometime in the 1930's or 40's, but we did not know any of the details. Yesterday, we found a few. When workers remodeling the oldest part of our house (built in the 1820's) pulled down some of the beadboard ceiling to put in insulation, they uncovered old, charred beams and rafters. I panicked! How in the world has this held up the roof for this long?!? I was concerned over the obvious safety issues; however, as I looked at my husband, I could see him mentally totaling up how much more this was going to cost him. :-)~ That's how we work. He worries about money - I worry about everything else. Needless to say, this little surprise has taken us both aback.

Obviously, we're going to have to get some reinforcement up there. We have left it for the workers to secure. We trust them because we have to do so. Neither of us has the knowledge to deal with this latest snag in our effort to refurbish this old house.

Anyway, upon taking a survey of the condition, I had to leave. That, along with the rotted floor boards around the old chimney gave me a headache.

I am going home tonight and rent the movie The Money Pit to make me feel better about our situation.

Oh, the woes of owning a historic home.

Wish us luck and say lots of prayers that we'll make it through this! :-)


365 Letters said...

I hope it works out OK and isn't too expensive!

Once, while up in our attic, my husband found some boards that looked like they had been burned. But, they weren't support beams or anything. Later, we found out that the original house on our property had burned, and the owners built this house themselves and used some of the old boards. Fortunately, it wasn't a problem for us, like it is for you.

Good luck!

Kim said...

Think of it this way..those old charred boards have held up for about 70 years or so, so they must be ok...
I know that they have to be replaced and in the end it always comes down to money and knowledge. It will all work out in the end. And Wow! Your house was built in th 1820's how fabulous. I must come for a visit some time. How lucky you are to have this piece of history. This is happening because of a piece of happiness that will come about soon. Things happen for a reason.. I can feel it! We'll be praying!

Karen said...

I think your house is so blessed that you 'found' it. I envy and admire those who take care of beautiful old homes.

Sandy said...


After renovating two historic houses I've learned one thing:

Don't spend money when you don't have to.

Those beams have held up this long, cover them back up!

Your house is drop dead gorgeous and in great shape.

Keep going!

Sandy Foster
My Shabby Streamside Studio

Cheryl Carey Bass said...

Oh! Silly me, I just read this post AFTER reading your latest one about the surprise chimney on the 2nd floor. Yes, the Money Pit it is! I just don't understand why people just covered up the old rotting beams and took away the chimney from the first floor and left it upstairs? I mean, what kind of person would DO that? Weird!

WW said...

Yes, you will make it through. It will take many years, and more money than you want to spend, but once it's done, it will be so beautiful.
I speak from a tiny bit of experience. I live in a Victorian 3-story house built sometime in the 1890's. My family moved into it in 1987, I was 3 years old at the time, so obviously don't remember what the house was like. I do know we have a picture on the wall (one of many different views of the house throughout the years), shortly after my parents bought it, of the front porch with trellis like things on both sides of the front stairs covered in vines, and my brother standing on the stairs, the house was white, and needed some love.
Now our house is painted in what my parents found to be some of the original colors, we have a wrap-around porch that looks like one of the pictures we have from when it was a fraternity (I live in a college town), the inside (at least on the 1st floor) is restored to a lot of the original looks with nice hardwood floors, the fireplace has tile with a beautiful mantle in original wood around it, we have some built-in cabinets, a gorgeous marble sink in the 2nd floor bathroom and a claw-foot bathtub.
When we bought the house, it was rented by the room, so we had to tear out walls and find our oval window in a closet, take out the bathroom where the french doors leading the hallway and staircase is now. And my parents just put a new roof on the house, which looks gorgeous, now that it's reddish brown instead of gray, it goes very well with the house colors.
Now, that I've rambled on long enough, I promise, you will get through it, and it will be worth it.