Progress at the Keys House has been slow recently, and the things that have been accomplished have been primarily of a maintenance-oriented nature. Boring stuff which itself necessitates further work to mitigate the damage done in the process of fixing other stuff. During the winter months both sides of the corner lot were excavated by the city to facilitate the replacement of aging water mains. While this needed to happen, it created more work in that we’ll have to establish new grass in a good chunk of the yard. Ordinarily this would not be so bad but we’re in a drought right now which shows no sign of going away in the foreseeable future. It’s a semi-arid climate to begin with and this doesn’t help.
On the upside, however, the new work created the perfect opportunity for us to replace the aging water supply line from the main to the house itself. This required a third trench from the street to the house and more disruption to the lawn. Not that it was a great lawn previously, but at least the weeds and marginal grass kept the dirt from blowing away! This new trench required removal of a section of fence (it was ugly anyway; no big loss) which might or might not be replaced with something else.
Most of the winter was spent working on projects other than the Keys House. Understandably, Jim wanted to spend his time finishing up our new “outhouse” more than driving to town to work in a house with no functioning plumbing. Now that the weather is better, we’ll both pick up where we left off on the exterior (in addition to doing something about all the dirt in the yard). After more than a year on the tree trimmer’s waiting list, we were happy to get some potentially dangerous branches removed. One was a threat to a neighboring house while another was a problem waiting to happen for our house. The roof cresting is now complete! And the house gained an old pump organ…
Don’t forget to replace that modern wall phone with a period one.
We will definitely do that! The wiring for the phone is very old and we are confident that this location was where the first phone in the house was installed. Careful wallpaper removal will hopefully reveal the size of that first wall phone…
Where is this house located?
What time period is the house?
I’m a retired telephone man. If you need any assistance with phone wiring or anything phone related, let me know.
Thanks for that very kind offer; we might very well take you up on that! The house is in northwestern Kansas and was was built in 1886. We think that the dining room, where the phone is located, may have been added a year or two later. If we can find a “ghost” of the original wall phone it will help us to find one similar to what was there originally. It is already possible to see the outline of the mid-century rotary wall phone which was in place the last time the room was wallpapered!
I can answer most phone questions. If the original phone was a wall phone, I agree there may be a ghost where it hung on the wall. It’s also quite possible that the phone could have been a candlestick desk phone with a small oak bell box that mounted near the baseboard.
Unfortunately, I am in southeast Virginia. I would love to see this house. As I stated in a previous posting, we are remodeling our 1921 Plaza bungalow.
You said there would be a post later in the month, and you delivered, thanks! I liked the wider views of the property showing some of the surrounding area. Could be neat to see views looking away from the house in each direction.
Here’s a link to Street View… unfortunately the only images are from 2008 and are not of the best quality. But it will still allow you a better sense of context for the house and its community. Happy exploring!
Thanks for that, looks like it is in a nice neighborhood. That town has an issue with sidewalk consistency though.
LOL! Sidewalks are just the tip of the iceberg…
Glad to see another update! The “boring” work is just as important.
Thanks, Seth! You’re right; it’s all important (but some of it is a lot more fun). Now if only I could convince Jim that it is of vital importance to remove the carport. Sometimes aesthetics take priority over practicality, and this is one of those times. Now that the exterior of the house is starting to shape up, the carport’s continued presence is really starting to get on my nerves! It will go away eventually, but for now he finds it “useful”. Same for the oddly-shaped driveway… it is similarly ugly and similarly “useful”.
Do you (or will you) otherwise have a garage or other outbuilding? Perhaps you’ve described this in the past and I’ve simply forgotten.
I have learned that having a covered work area (ideally enclosed and secure, like a garage or shed) makes exterior work more efficient, as you don’t waste so much time hauling tools in and out of the house. I made the mistake of putting off the garage restoration at our old house until after I’d done half the house (the garage was barely more weather protection than outdoors at the time). Once I did the garage, it was amazing how much more work I got done being able to set up my tools and leave them out, rather than pack them up and haul them into the basement every evening.
Sadly, there is no garage or similar structure. Back in the 1880’s the house had a big chunk of ground with it including a barn, outbuildings and a windmill. The land was cut into small lots in the 1950’s (which is why it is surrounded by newer houses) leaving the Keys House with very little in the way of a back yard or side yard.
It is nice to have a dedicated work space where tools and projects can be left out. Most of the interior of the house serves as a workshop. Currently the carport is housing a space-hogging project, an old carriage. Jim has done work on it, but not regularly, so it makes the space difficult to use for anything else. I think that I will probably end up painting the carport to make it less obtrusive; the bright white paint bothers me more than anything. Realistically the carport won’t go away for several more years (or even 5 or 6!) so I will just tone it down as a compromise for now. We’re both used to parking outside as our garage at home houses salvaged lumber and a lawn mower!
Ah, yes, there are a number of early homes in our neighborhood with later houses plopped in their side yards. There are a few with the original carriage houses with hay lofts left, though.
Our current circa 1926 house has an original matching detached 2-car garage (22’x24′), which is quite the luxury compared to most!