Today the house regained more of its dignity! Jim has been rehabilitating two of the beautiful — but very decrepit — porch supports off-site, and they have now recovered fully. It was time to bring them back!

As you last remember, the house was looking quite sad without its finery. Today Jim re-installed the porch supports he has been nurturing!

The porch roof is here supported by a 2×4 bearing on a hydraulic car jack — raising it just enough to insert the newly-reparied corner porch support.

The center post goes in!

And the brackets are returned to their original locations!

Jim has built one of his infamous impromptu scaffolds to start work on the water-damaged roof rafters. As you can see, there is no trace of the former dip which once marred the roofline of the porch; Jim has straightened it out!

Jim whittled down some short lengths of 2x4s and attached them to the non-decayed portion of the original rafters (a process known as sistering). These new sections will allow the new fascia and soffit to be attached. Jim will later add antique molding (identical to the original) to the tops of the plinths (the blocky bases below the porch supports).

Around the corner I have relieved the bay window of the aluminum which wrapped the moldings above the fascia, the window casings and the sills. This piece still covering a sill was the last to go. A semi-circular bare spot shows where hardware once existed to secure window screens (a few of which remain in the basement).

Scraping the cornice is a slow-going process. It doesn’t help that I have to look at every chunk of paint for tantalizing clues about original colors! The biggest discovery I made today was to determine that the soffit was NOT originally dark green as I had thought… there is a layer of dark brown below the green! I am very OK with that as brown was my first choice for a trim color.

Another important discovery is less happy; the brackets seen above appear to have originally painted the same color as the background they are attached to… a kind of Sage Green. I like the Sage, but wish the brackets had been emphasized more. When I get all of the colors and their locations nailed down, I’ll do a conjectural sketch with colored pencils. I will be interested in your feedback!

I have saved numerous chunks of paint which retain original colors on the back side and obsessively labeled their locations. They are currently stored in the built-in china cabinet for reference.

I just can’t stay out of the basement… it’s fascinating! Here an earthen wall remains much as it was when carved out of the ground in 1885. A chimney is set into the wall; the bricks begin on a foundation of limestone. Above the earthen wall, a foundation wall of limestone appears to have been built directly on the ground without any sort of footing. This type of basement and foundation was fairly common in the area early on; a former house of mine which was built in 1873 had a nearly identical basement. But this house has one interesting detail that the other one did not…

Detail of limestone foundation wall built atop grade. Look! There is still grass visible between the rock and the dirt. That grass was alive and growing 134 years ago… and it’s still here! I love stuff like that!

%d bloggers like this: