Alrighty Mr. House Mover. My closing is set for next Thursday at 10am at mi casa. Money will be in our joint accout as of 5 days later. You said you wanted to do this job this summer... news flash! THIS is this summer. In fact, this is the last month of this summer, unless your summer extends until October. Or does it? Do I know my seasons? Should I go back to kindergarden and look at the seasons chart? When's the salsa? You know, the summer and winter salsa?

Maybe I'm excessive in calling September fall, but I just think of back to school, dropping temperatures, and early sunsets when I think of September. I am so eager to get this job done. It takes 5 weeks. During those 5 weeks I have to live with Mike's parents. It's not a bad thing... but his damn brother just pisses me off - and the dogs too. They stress out poor Kamikazee and he gets depressed and meows a lot.

Stylistic Pricess

I just took the HGTV, What's Your Design Style Quiz. Would you believe they hit it right on the money? Eccectic with a touch of: hip! That is so true. I have always described my style as modern, yet comfortable and always original. My friend Amanda, when we were younger, once told me that I could be an interior designer. Now, I have my chance!

So let me tell you about one of my room designs.
The Mudroom - first room you walk into entering the house. (Look at Kamikazee, contemplating the laundry... or maybe he's just thinking about pooping in the litter box below, who knows.) The inspiration for this room came from an episode of Debbie Travis's Painted House. (One of my favs, by the way - weekdays at 12:30pm. I watch it while I eat lunch.) On the episode, Debbie designed a bathroom using a soft green faux finish and clean white wainscott. Well, I just thought that soft look was perfect for a mudroom/laundry room. I mean, what's better than coming home from a 14 hour day and walking into a soft, relaxing space? Plus - laundry, soft - they just go together so nicely.

I picked out the most gorgeous stacking washer/dryer from LG - the first company to have a cool one, not like these wanna bees that are everywhere now by the way. It fits so nicely in this nice big laundry closet Mike was kind enough to build to my specifications. Now, I know it's hard to imagine now, but to the right of the washer/dryer will be white cabinets - upper and lower - with a countertop in between for folding and ironing. (Litter box will move to the soon-to-be-basement.) Now, imagine crisp white bi-fold six panel closet doors to close in the laundry area when I don't feel like displaying it.

The paint I chose for the room combines a darker and a lighter shade of blue. (The two shades are not so far off - they're right next to each other on the paint swatch thingie.) I did a base coat of the darker color and, after mixing the lighter with some glaze, sponged it on using a sponge roller, hand sponges, and a cut off kitchen sponge for the corners. It turned out beautiful! Just the soft look I was looking for. Then, Mike helped me add wainscott, chair rail height around the room. (Chair rail trim itself soon to come.) I painted the wainscott white and also kept the ceiling primer white.

Now, as I've worked on this room, I've thought about the scheme more and more - relaxing, soft, serene - and the colors - blues and whites - I am reminded of Cape Cod in and of itself. The white of the sand, the blue of the ocean. Blue shutters on a white cottage. Feeling blue when you're white in the middle of traffic...

And then I saw that the Christmas Tree Shop (discount junk for nick-nack junkies like myself - Don't you just loooooove a bargain! doot doot doo!) had interesting Cape Coddy signs such as "Route 6A" and Cottage for Rent and etc etc. (Hmmm, an "Etc etc" sign. I should market that.) So now, I'm going to combine a couple of those signs with some enlarged photos I took while on my boat and put those on one wall. (Close up on the waves of the wake, beautiful sunset clouds, and interesting, modern techie close ups of the boat gages and the compass that look oh so moderna.)

I'll combine those with a comfy big blue chair (from IKEA, yet to be bought) and a old timey woven rug with like colors. The chair will sit under a hanging tiffany lamp in the corner next to a table for reading. On the other side of the room, I'll have a mudroom type drop off station with a bench for taking off shoes and wet beach towels. Colorful plants will bring a touch of nature and add interest to an otherwise totally blue/white room. And, for contrast, and keeping with the eccesiast in me, there will be an old army locker in the corner, painted with black blackboard paint. This will jive with the planters, which... when I get them, will also be painted in blackboard paint.

HouseBlog-Log Stardate 7-26-2005

Final approval came down for the loan today. I was so excited. We're actually going to do this. Now I just have to wait for the house mover to mail me the contract... that is, of course, if he remembers my address. Sometimes I wonder if he has things organized on his end. I feel like I'm being a nuisance when I call, but I'm the type of person who needs to feel in control of things and know what's going on.

I picked up some 000 steel wool at the Home Depot this morning to sand the first coat of stain/varnish Mike and I put on the stair treads. Hopefully we'll do that tonight and get a second coat on there. Maybe, with a little luck, we'll be able to install them this weekend.

Everything is going so well... it's strange. But I still feel a little down because a client of mine just called to dispute an invoice. He thinks I charge waaaay too much, but I have researched my prices and feel they're more than reasonable. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Stuff like that just makes me so depressed because I'm a nice person and I like to keep everyone happy. I hate arguments.

That's just a little personal paragraph. I hope you houseblog fans don't mind too much. I just needed to vent to the world.

The Ups and Downs of Stairs

When we bought this house, the stairway was creepy creepy. The treads were short in length and the plaster walls on either side seemed to squish you. Especially since the left hand wall, as you went up, became slanted with the shape of the roof. Plus they were dark - no overhead lights, no lights from the front door foyer area below - only one blue glass light in the hallway upstairs.

To solve this - and this was one of my first brilliant ideas, was to eliminate the right hand wall. As you can see in the picture, the stairway empties into the frontdoor foyer/downstairs hallway area. (The downstairs hallway, by the way, used to be a long, useless closet. Can you imagine?) By eliminating a wall, the stairs feel more open and it gives the small area a much grander appearance.

On the upstairs side of things, we eliminated the dark stupid sketchy hallway, (as I think I've mentioned before) eliminated the hot, unventiated attic and created a cathedral ceiling, and made three rooms and a hallway into two large rooms with closets where no closets had previously existed.

Here's a picture of the shape of the right side of the upstairs office/den. Now, if you imagine that you're at this very moment visiting me and Mike - and we're very friendly to visitors and always have drinks and snacks on hand, please consider yourself welcome any time - anway. Mike and I are giving you a tour of the house and you are now standing in this very spot in the upstairs office/den.

Now, if you look to your right, you'll see my second brilliant idea regarding the stairs. To further that open feeling - and the cathedral ceiling certainly helps tall people because previously, the ceiling beat down so close to Mike's head, it was uncomfortable for him especially to walk up the stairs. To further further that open feeling though, I decided not to put up a right side wall in the office/den. Therefore, as you're coming up the stairs, you have open space on the bottom and the top. And, eventually, in the office/den, there will be a nice railing so you don't trip and fall to the first floor.

Ahhh, behold the splendor of the stairs!!! Now, at the top of this pic, you can just barely see that there is no wall in the upstairs, and obviously, on the bottom, the wall just follows the stairs. It doesn't go up and make you feel all claustrophobic as Mike and I give you the grand tour. And can you believe that hallway was a closet?! It was made to be a hallway! Previously, you had to walk through the downstairs bedroom to get upstairs. Pointless! (Downstairs bedroom is to the left of the front door.) We also eliminated the door from the living room, to the downstairs bedroom. Hello privacy!

Ok, those are the ups of stairs. Now for the downs. We discovered after taking all the walls down, that the stairs were not stable. They were barely being held up! So, if you look at the first pic in this post, you'll see Mike tacking the old treads on a new stair scaffolding. Of course, when we made a new stair scaffolding, taken in consideration with drywall, the old treads were not long enough. But, because at that time we had no new treads, Mike tacked on the old treads for temporary.... they've miraculously held up for 8 months now.

I made this sign to warn the electrician and, later, the drywallers - before I knew they were scum-bags who I would later wish bodily injury.

In the above pic, the drywall is up. However, we were royally screwed by our drywall guys and the drywall was not done correctly. The idiots broke the drywall that was supposed to form around the steps and it can't really be fixed. Grrrr! So this weekend Mike's been mudding and sanding away, trying to fix all the mistakes in the hallway/stairway. We've procrastinated this area of the house long enough - it's the only spot that hasn't been primed for paint!

We'd also been storing brand new treads in the downstairs closet... unfinished. So this weekend we grabbed some Varnish/Stain (it's all in one now, ooooo!) and began to stain. Those treads look gorgeous! I can't wait to get them on! When they're on I can start thinking about a nice railing! Of course, I need some new hardwood floors to match. I already picked out the ones I want from lumber liquidators, but the house has to be lifted first, I won't have new floors shifting around!

Mmmm.... kitty cat!

Meet Kamikazee - the cat who rules the roost. Several people have read my mention of him in my personal profile, but wondered, who is this mysterious cat? Well here he is. When you have a pet and you're doing renovations, you have to be especially careful of things like dust, chemicals, other hazardous conditions. We brought Kamikazee to the house on the same night that Mike and I moved in. Never feels like a home without your pet.

the waiting....

Still waiting... waiting for final approval from the loan peep-holes, waiting for the house mover to send us his contract, waiting to spend any money on anything else. Though there's still so much to do!

Here's a picture of Mike, hard at work on the stairway, taken nearly 6 months ago. I remember this night in particular because this is the night I finally managed to vacuum up the last remainders of the horsehair plaster that plagued us for the longest time after we tore it all off the walls. It lingered forever in piles that would not die. This night, all that remained was to vacuum in the crevacis between the wall and the floor.

It became difficult to work in late fall of 2004. The late evening sun of summer helped us through most of those after-work destruction sessions, but in fall, as the sun sank earlier and earlier, and the house, with little electricity and no lights, became overwhelmed with shadows and dark corners. We had one lamp left from the previous owners, which we plugged into the one outlet by the stairs there. For the upstairs, we had a drop light, which we could plug into the same one outlet and pass upstairs through the wall... or lack of wall as it were.

At this time I still had hope that the house would be completed enough to have my annual monster of a Halloween party.... turns out I was mistaken. I was barely in time for a Christmas party, but was so down about things at that point that I didn't have one. I didn't even have a tree. My first holiday season with Mike in our own house and no tree. No decor save for a couple candle lights in the downstairs windows and a wreath on the front door that nobody could see. It was a sad time, we were still riling from the dry wall fiasco and not getting along very well to boot. Hard to believe we're over half way through this year already. Maybe I should start planning for x-mas now...

Freak Out Central

All praise ELoan! Would you believe they don't even require an appraisal to give us the money we need for this foundation job? They looked up our home's value - can you believe it's already rated up to 280 from 235 just from market fluctuations? Told you my area was very up and coming! Imagine what it would be if we actually had an appraiser come in and look at all the amazing work we've done! (Which I'll have to do to get this darn PMI off my mortgage payment, which I'll have to do soon after the basement is in because that will make paying for my basement super easy!)

So - I have to get a few documents together and send them off to Eloan and within only 12 days, I'll have the dinero! So screw the list I made the other day. Now, all we have to do is get ready for the lifting -

I'm not sure if we have to pull the permit or not. I left a message for Bob Hayden this morning - hope he's not sick of me yet - told him we'd have the money, I just need an amount from him to make sure I'm taking out enough and asked if we needed to be doing anything else. If he pulls the permit, that would be awesome kay possum dudicator, but if not, we'll do it and then get to work on tearing up the concrete...

Did I mention the concrete? Well! Most of our house is just over dirt and rocks, so it can be lifted up easily. The mudroom, however, was once a porch and so sits on a concrete slab. When you lift a house, you can't lift a concrete slab, so what we have to do is go in there with a big 'ol jackhammer and break it up. Sounds messy - I'm not looking forward to cleaning up after it, but it needs to be done.

oooooooooooo! I'm so excited! I can't wait for the process to start!


I am a psychic - my dream came true! House Mover Bob Hayden called me yesterday and he is still committed to the job. He wants to lift my house this summer and he's going to give me a solid $ number soon. (Though he estimated $25-$30,000.) It's an easy job, he told me. Now I'm very excited, though there's so much to do!

We have to get the house ship shape for an inspection by an appraiser.

Appraisal Goals:
Wood Floors
Finish the stairway
Stupid small stuff like outlet faceplates
At least window trim
Second zone of heat installed upstairs. (I doubt this will happen.)

I'm hoping to get the house appraised for at least $300,000. Praying, actually. We bought the house originally for $220,000 and it was appraised at that time for $235,000. I'm pretty confident that we'll reach or even exceed my goal - homes on Cape Cod are muy expensivo, our area is very up and coming, we have a good amount of land and a garage, plus all the improvements to the house itself.

I can barely contain the excitement - I mean, just day-before-yesterday near all hope was lost. But when I got the call yesterday, my energy was renewed. I began cleaning the house and put in all the electrical outlets upstairs that I had been procrastinating. Tonights task: finish painting the office.

Sad 'n Toasty

I had a dream the other night that Bob Hayden (building mover) called me and told me it would only be $25,000 to lift my house and pour my basement. I woke up depressed with the realization that he still hadn't returned my call, so I left him another message yesterday. Still no reply as of yet. Boo hoo.

Meanwhile, I tried to update my film with a current soundbite. (ie, I talk to the camera and tell it what's been happening with the house - then I shoot everything I talked about so I can edit it all together later.) My intention was to talk about the exicting phase of painting and decorating... but as I tried, I found I couldn't muster the joy. I just looked around me at the lack of productivity, remembered the quick thrills of demolition and construction, and felt miserable.

Where was the trim, the crown moulding, the chair rail, the wood floors? Why hadn't I cleaned the place up? Where were the outlets, faceplates, ceiling fan, and recessed light trim? Why wasn't the dimmer working properly? Where was some proper furniture? Why was one half of one wall missing paint?

Demolition and initial construction phases went by so quickly - I mean, we were so psyched to hurry up, move in, and get on with our lives... and get out of Mike's parents' house. But now that we've been living in our house - nothing seems to get done. And I know I've painted a little and Mike's been digging in the backyard - but what about all this annoying finish work on the inside? It's taking way too long.

And what's more - I can't get Mike to do my bidding! Now that may be the biznich in me talking, but somebody's got to do the stuff I can't do! I admit it ladies, I can't do everything.

When a spider needs killing, call Mike.
When your truck needs an oil change... or an engine change... or a paint change, Call Mike!
When you're totally in the bag and your hair needs holding, call Mike.

But with this finish work on the house... It's just so frustrating

Mi Officina!

I was released from all work-related duties last night, so what did I do? Set myself to some housely tasks, of course! The above picture shows my upstairs office/den. It's an older, pre-primer picture, but you get the basic idea of what it looks like, the architecture.

Hard to believe it used to be the "yellow happy room," which wasn't in fact very happy because it was old, gross, badly lit, walls full of wasps nests, lead paint windows, tiny closet, stupid hallway, and 7ft celing. And did I mention the ONE ELECTRICAL OUTLET? Oh please! Now this has the most, a 6-some outlet on the back wall, and 5 onesies spaced around the rest of the room. Edit SWEET! (Post producer's humor.) Plus we got rid of the original closet, hallway, and the wall over the stairs, making a balcony instead of a slim jim stairwell that makes large people claustrophobic and they fall down the stairs and break the front door off and land in the yard and cars crash when they see it happen, which causes a huge traffic jam on the road and it backs up to the Cape Cod canal bridges and there's so many cars that the bridges collapse, releasing Cape Cod from the rest of Massachusetts and sending it across the ocean where it finally settles down as the new island continent of OldPeoplia!

Where was I? Oh yeah. We also got rid of the low ceiling and pointless attic to create a marvelous cathedral ceiling complete with recessed and dropped lighting fixtures and a ceiling fan. We built a new closet and also an lofty attic space you can access through that square hole in the wall. Verah nass!

The color I chose for this room is an icey pink, combined with one wall of this gorgeous red/majenta wine color and some color blocking with the red/majenta wine color. All that pink will be balanced with a lot of black and white, so don't freak out that it look's like Barbie's office, because it's actually muy chic and moderna.

The red/majenta wine color, as you can imagine is pretty dark. So, rather than apply 15,000 coats of paint, I first poured a little of the dark color into the white primer - making a really Barbie Peepy pink color that was god aweful and I painted the wall and the color blocks with it. Then, I only had to apply 3 coats of pure red/majenta wine to get it to the great bold color I wanted. (Learned that on HGTV - thanks, I watch you religiously... actually I'm more like a cult follower...)

The only thing that sux about the above described technique is that I'm painting that color on part of the cathedral ceiling. (Because if you paint the slanty part, it drives the eye up, making the ceiling look higher and the room look bigger, even with a dark color- GET COLOR - watch it on HGTV... shouldn't they pay me for that? Gosh durn it, just give me my own show would you?) Anyway - today is TANGENT DAY, isn't it? And I've had a couple wild ones in this blog alone... ANYWAY, back to the topic at hand. Yesterday - the sun was hot enough here on good 'ol Cape Cod to weld your frame back together - the one you busted 4wheeling in places you shouldn't have been. So there I was at the tippy top of the ladder, painting and sweating and drinking an Appletini - an evil combination which darn near sent me over the top of the ladder.

But I've got the one wall primed and single coated on the upperside, dual coated on the lower bottom... yeah, the lower bottom. VS what? The mid and upper bottom? Time for another Appletini, it would seem. Too bad I'm at work.

Can 'yal Dig It?

I have a backyard. You'd never know it from my front yard, but I do have one. It actually stretches across the road nearly an acre and a half. We own a little peice of land across the street, but the main part of the yard is in the back - currently a giant hole and two oddly positioned hills that squeeze the garage nearly to death.

Mike has been digging out from the rightern-most hill, the biggest, with his John Deere skid steer. (Which has car tires on it and a busted bucket, making the task a real pain in the ask, if you know what I mean.) Anyway, our plan is to flatten the hills and put the dirt in the hole. The hole is so huge that we'd never fill it per say, but we can graduate the cliff that now exists there and bury all the prickers and poison ivy and gross stuff. Once all that's been done, Mike's going to build a dirt bike/4wheeler track in accordance with his fantasies of riding without being chased by police, greenies, or helicopers. (Because Plymouth feels the need to waste thousands of tax dollars just to chase a few Sunday riders in a HELICOPTER. Why? Why? But that's a tangent for another time.)

As we dig all this dirt though, the interesting thing is that we find stuff. And when I say stuff, I mean trash. But not yucky gross nasty ew trash - old trash. I mean, first 'ol Herb Allen owns it in 1910, and soon after, a depression era couple that for sure buried all their trash in the back yard. (Which may have created the odd hills, you never know. I'm just waiting to dig up a shed or a car or a coffin or something.) So first off, there's 39 tires at the bottom of the hole. 39 tires!!!! Insane! Also, plenty of metal, glass bottles, old lawn chairs, buckets, wire fencing and garden stuff and tools. The other day, though, we began to find really really old and interesting stuff.

First came the sicle. (Is that how you spell it?) You know, the tool the Grim Reeper holds. (Not Reaper, Reeper - like reep reep reep. Private joke. DK understands.) Now the wooden handle had long ago rotted away, but the metal part was intact. Maybe this was from when 'ol Herb Allen and his dad there farmed their own farms in their backyards.

Then, we found the steering wheel. Wouldn't it be crazy if it was from the fated Ford? The metal of it is all rusted, but the vinyl or plastic or whatever it is is mostly intact. And somebody scratched letters into the vinyl! They don't spell out any words as far as I can tell. I'm still trying to figure it out. I may make it into a wreath for my door - a little auto-art, my favorite! I'll be sure to post a pic of it when I'm done.

The Un-Photoshopped Among Us

I realized I forgot to include an un-photoshopped picture of my house for you happy bloggers to compare with - Here it is! TA-DA!

Aren't you impressed? No? Well, you will be. I'd like to point out some features that Robert Thompson added to the house when he bought it. You see that little triangular addition on the right side of the house? That's our mud room. When we tore out the ugly 70's style wood wall panelling poo and the ugly gross never was in style linoleum and the weird probably asbestos ceiling tiles - we made an interesting discovery. This addition is actually a pre-fabricated shed that sombody just attached to the house! The slope of the original roof, shingles still attached was maintained and everything. So I had to go up there in an attic space we created (by cutting two square holes in the upstairs wall) and tear off all the old shingles. Sound easy? PSHAW! It was mid August and hotter than hades! (Hay-dees, is that how you spell it?) I nearly died.

Anyhoo - behind that little addition is the two car garage... with only one door. Not one big door like normal garages with one door - one little door. Why? WHY? I'd like to ask someone what the rationale behind that was. I wonder if 'ol Herb Allen would have wanted a garage for the fated Ford? Probably not.

Demolition Party - How to Get It Done

Looking for a way to destroy stuff without getting your own hands dirty? Call onesixty demolition crew! At least that's what I did...

Problem - You've got this crazay house built in 1910, redone in 1953. You've got horsehair plaster walls without any insulation underneath and they all have to come down so you can put drywall up. How do you do it quickly and easily?


I created this invitation in photoshop based on a real demolition permit I saw online. Then, I gave it out to all my psychotic friends. Deal was - we'll provide beer and BBQ, you provide the muscle. On the day of the party, everybody came over, put on their dust masks, and went to work with their destruction tool of choice. By the end of the day, the house was gutted.

Of course, we never imagined the giant mess it would make. After filling two giant dumpsters, we still had plaster, dust, and wooden slats everywhere... and it all lingered throughout the house for over six months.

Ahhh memories

I started logging house film footage into my computer last night. It's amazing to remember what it looked like a mere year ago! Especially since the "before" footage is only about 5 minutes long. Right after we bought the house, Mike and I had at it like hungry animals. Did I mention it's our first house? We started tearing apart walls and within a week the upstairs was bare - within two weeks, so was the downstairs.

This picture came during the electrifing phase of wiring. At the time, I was working my butt off, but refused to be left out of the electrical system design. So I wrote what I wanted on little slips of paper and nailed them where I wanted the switches/outlets/dimmers/lights/etc. Writing on the studs proved to be illegiable in most locations. Unlike new construction, the old studs are a dark brown/black color that doesn't show a sharpie very well.

Having Trouble Getting It Up?

This is a Cape Cod house - well, technically we're on the other side of the bridge, but Bourne carries over, so I still can say I live on Cape Cod. Anyway - this Cape Cod house has a Cape Cod basement.

What's a Cape Cod basement? You don't want one. A Cape Cod basement is an unfinished partial opening or crawl space under the house. And when I say unfinished, it's a nice way of saying, it's dirt and rocks. Some old Cape Cod homes sit up on cinder blocks, some older, like ours, sit on a bed of rocks. That's right, rocks. Some other Cape Cod homes sit right on the dirt. Makes you feel real stable and clean, doesn't it?

Why don't you want a Cape Cod basement? Well, even if you do like dirt, you don't like what it attracts into your house. Direct contact with soil can cause insect and termite problems as well as rot. If you've got a partial opening in your Cape Cod basement like we do, a place where you can actually stand and hang out... though why would you want to.... you've got a warm little critter house, situated nicely under yours. Our critter - the snake.

That's right - snakes. And because our walls and floors pass through right to the basement, these guys can slither their way right up into the living area. Though our snakes are harmless, they're not the most pleasant of house guests and they refuse to pay rent.

What's the Cape Cod basement solution? Lift the entire house and pour a proper foundation. Now some of your eyeballs may be popping out of your head right now. How can you lift an entire house? What happens to all the stuff inside? What if it falls? How high do they lift it? Can I still live in it while it's up in the air? All these issues ran through my head too when the idea was first suggested to me.

The Process: Here's what happens when you lift a house -
  • First, of course, you want to turn off, disconnect, and clamp off everything. What do I mean by everything? All electrical wires, all plumbing pipes, all everything tethering the house to the basement. (Mike and I have to do that, but that's ok cause we connected it all and we can do it again. You people in the blog world may have to hire someone if you're not too handy)
  • Then, they run some heavy duty beams under the house. A kind of scaffolding seat that the house will sit on as it goes up. This is a long process in itself, especially if you have a large home.
  • After that's all in place, the house starts going up - slowly! It's not like they're going to yank it right off its frame because that would cause all sorts of damage. It takes a long time, perhaps even an entire day, to lift the house up all the way - Just enough for the foundation guys to get underneath.
  • Then the foundation guys go in with the forms, basically the molds that will shape out your basement walls. We want to pour 9ft walls instead of standard 8ft walls because that would allow us to later finish off the basement, thus increasing our square footage. (A little more money, but well worth it.)
  • Next they pour it, it dries, and the house is placed neatly back on top. The floor of the basement can be poured later.
  • At the end of all that, you have to connect up everything you disconnected.
  • The whole process takes about a month and you can't live in the house while it's happening. And why would you because your water and stuff are all disconnected.
Sounds great, Jess, what's the trouble? Well, we had first planned on lifting the house when the interior was completely torn apart. Makes sense, doesn't it? Less chance of damage to walls when there are no walls! Famous Cape Cod house lifter Bob Hayden visited our house and told us $10,000 to lift it up and put it down again. Very reasonable. However, we couldn't get anyone to do the foundation. Our calls weren't returned, people who were supposed to visit the house did not, and finally we recieved an estimate that was so out of the ballpark that we figured he just didn't want or didn't have time to do the job. Damn independent contractors! Especially here on Cape Cod where millionaire 2 week vacation home owners on Nantucket get first priority while born and raised year round Cape Codders get squit.

That's my soapbox and I'm sticking to it. Anyway. Now the walls are up and we've been living in the house since Christmas time 2004. When we mentioned the above sob story to our carpenter friend, he suggested we call Hayden back and ask him to do the entire job start to finish. We'd never thought of that and called him right away about 4 months ago. Again he came out, listened to what we wanted, and gave us his impressions of what it might cost. $30-35,000 - expensive, you may think so. But just think of all that regained floor space and the convenience of a basement, plus the benefit of getting rid of the snakes and insects and blah blah blah described above. We measured around the house and sent him the measurements so he could give us a definitive number.

Well, it's been over a month since I sent that along and he still hasn't gotten back to us. I called him two weeks ago and he never returned my call. I'm going to call him tonight. I have his name written on my hand in fact! Without a definitive number, I can't go and get a loan, which I'd need of course. URG! How frustrating! I want this done and I'm not taking "No," or "I don't have time," or "It'll cost you $500,000" or non-returned correspondence anymore.

The Dream

Soon after purchasing the house, I took the real estate listing photo into Photoshop. The above picture is the result... and also my dream result after the completion of the renovation. Though I began this blog late in the game - after falling in love with www.houseblogs.net There's still penty to do before the house is going to look anything like this.

History Lesson

The year - 1910.
Herbert Allen along with his wife purchase a peice of land directly next to his father Frank's house in Bourndale, MA. There, they build a small, two story house that looked a lot like a barn.

Now Frank Allen was quite an interesting character. He, like most of the other residents of Bourndale, worked at the foundry, which was right down the street. However, he wasn't the most devoted employeer, preferring to hit the bottle a couple days a week instead of going to work. When drunk, Frank was quite the fighter and could have become a professional boxer save for his inability to take even a few hits. On one occassion, some of his friends tested his intoxicated deterity and challenged him to jump in and out of a barrel, thinking they'd get a laugh when he flipped on his face or sent the barrel barrelling down the road. But Frank had the last laugh when he effortlessly jumped up and into that barrel and out again without the use of his hands - pretty good for a drunk guy, huh?

Little Herb couldn't stand his father in this state. He preferred to hang out down the street at a neighbors house. (This house became the Bourndale General Store and then, within the last year, changed owners and became Picola's Pizzaria.) It's rather ironic that Herbert ended up building his own home right next to his father's after making such an effort to get away from him when he was younger.

Herbert was a thrifty sort of man and he and his wife argued frequently when she decided that it would be nice to have a car to drive into the adjacent towns of Wareham and Sandwich. There, they could make more money than they could at Bourndale's little foundry and ax factory. You have to remember of course, at this period in time, they were probably looking at Ford's Model T - the car you could have in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.

Though Herb put up quite a fight against getting the car, his wife's Scottish temper won the war. However, even after purchasing the vehicle, Herb did not like to drive or ride in it. Finally, on one 4th of July, his wife convinced him to drive with her to the parade in Wareham. He grungingly agreed, though when they got there, he continued to sulk in the car while she watched the parade. After a time, Herb decided that maybe he should just relax and enjoy himself as well, so he got out of the car. At just that moment, however, a crazed parade goer flailing his arms about, hitting Herb straight in the head. Herbert Allen later died from head injuries sustained from that hit.

His wife moved out of the house shortly after and rented it to several people before selling it in 1945. It was sold again in 1947 and then, again in 1953 to Robert Thompson. The house was badly in need of updating and repairs at this point, as you can imagine. Robert and his wife Myrtle made many improvments and additions to the house. Robert was quite a handy person and worked a lot with wood. He even made toys for the Palmer brothers who lived next door and still live there to this day. He also loved cats and was known to leave the doors to the house open so his cats could come and go as they pleased. The author of "Bourndale: The Forgotten Village" called the house under Robert Thompson's capable hands, "...an asset to the community..."

However, after they overhauled the house in the mid-fifties, the Thompsons made no further improvements. Being a depression era couple, they squarely believed if it aint broke, don't fix it. They lived in the house until their deaths in the late 90's, early 2000's.

Then, in May of 2004, the engaged couple Mike Banis and Jessica Ferguson bought the house, again in desparate need of updating and repair. This is where our story begins.

Jumping On

i'm on the band-wagon! yes, thank you very much and welcome to one sixty - the site about the film about the house about the people about the renovation about the history about my insanity and about the fact that i didn't think of this sooner.

i apologize. i'm an alien in blog world. forgive me as i try to do this the best i can.