I'm sure you wonder why I wanted to take off all that beautiful "simulated" brick siding especially when it meant regular paint jobs for the rest of MY life. Actually, I'm sure you DON'T wonder.  The plastic on the left rear corner of the house covers some work being done.  After a snowstorm the towns sidewalk plow smashed into my front steps and "did a number".  The mail carriers refused to deliver mail saying that the steps weren't safe so I removed them and put a mailbox around the side. For years afterwards no one came to the house on Halloween.  They couldn't figure out what to do. 

 

I would use the no front steps as a way to give directions to first time visitors.  "Look for the house with no front steps."  Then a house down the street was being restored and had its steps removed and I had to say  "I'm one of two houses on the street with no front steps."  I was without front steps for almost 10 years. The house down the street got new granite steps.  I  then felt  it was time to do something about my stepless front.  You can imagine the comments my friends used to make  "Watch out for that first step in leaving....it's a killer." "Don't let him show you out the front door. " etc. etc.  The front steps went in but I still don't get many trick-or-treaters. 

The driveway and back of the house got attention before the south side and the front.  In fact there was a several year break between the back and the front during which I concentrated on the inside and the chimney, after all, I LIVED on the inside NOT the outside of the house.

 

On Memorial Day, 1988, a friend came and we spent the day removing the brick siding from the back of the house.  I have NEVER been one to refuse assistance tearing things down!

 

 

(northwest corner and driveway,  summer 1988)

At some time the driveway first floor outside wall had been studded out but no clapboard had been put on. This would have been against where the store had been.  In pulling off the asphalt siding on the back evidence that at least part of it had been shingled.  Perhaps the whole back had originally been shingled and then a part of it clapboarded over.

 

 

 

 

 

(driveway,  summer1988)

(painting, summer, 1992)

(back, 1988)

If you think the yard was cluttered during this process,  just take a look at the driveway and garage!

 

But when you're "deconstructing" and then reconstructing I guess you make a mess.

 

People inquire if I have good insulation.  I ask, "WHAT INSULATION?' On the exterior there's the clapboarding which is nailed onto vertical sheathing and on the inside wood lathe is nailed to the same vertical sheathing......  the plaster is applied onto that.  So the answer is that there's no space to insulate.

 

 

I seem to have steps problems.  These were temporary steps that were built in 1988.

 

 

An upstairs bedroom window frame had rotted so had to be replaced.

 

Before work started on the front the foundation needed attention. At some point the field stone had been covered with cement and had to come off.

 

(cement covering the field stone foundation)

 I chiseled  that.  Then the mason came in the summer of 1992 and rebuilt the foundation.  

 

It is RATHER unnerving to see the corner foundation of your house fall apart when that corner is jacked up a bit.

I wasn't sure the stones would ever go back.. or if there would be enough.

  I knew that the street had been graded lower in the 19th century and this was confirmed when the foundation revealed where the old street level had been. You could tell at what level the builders were simply laying stone and when they started laying it more carefully because it would be seen from the street.

The bottom rectangles of dressed stone begin the original above ground foundation.

 

The mason worked his way around the front tearing down and rebuilding.

 

The foundation rebuilding  was complete and I could check another project off the "to do" list.

 

(That first step out the front door was still a "killer".)

I had been working on stripping the door so my carpenter could put it back together.

And he did.

 

Now that there was a rebuilt foundation, it was time to attend to side door sill and corner of the house.

 

For several days the only way into the house was by using a step stool. Here I asked Chris, my carpenter, to "please smile nicely" for the camera.  We were lucky while Chris was working.  For a night I didn't have any kind of door. Since it's a safe neighborhood,  I was more worried about the skunks, which sometimes come into the yard, deciding to investigate the proceedings than about not having a locking door. The weather cooperated by not raining so my natural air conditioning proved no problem.    

 

 Along with a new door, frame and corner,  I got a new set of  temporary steps, ones I still use.

 

 

The final phase of the exterior work was clapboard replacement, painting and front steps.  The back got all new clapboards but other places they were replaced ONLY where needed. Finally,  the outside looked presentable. Of course, there were still windows to replace and the NEVER ENDING prospect of maintaining it all.

 

To prove that house maintenance is never ending,  about 4 years after that first paint job it began to fail.  It seems  where the paint had fallen off  was fine but where the new paint job had been applied over existing paint THAT paint began to peel.  The ONLY solution?  Strip ...and paint again--- so....I hired a friend to strip the front and repaint.  He does beautiful work and the front has held up well since then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest exterior work, 2002-2003.  is a new window on the south side and a new front door.  I'll be posting those pictures soon.