Steve's House: An Introductory Tour

The Old House Web

Saturday, August 21, 1999

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The Fireplace

Main stairs


In the basement

Further Back in the Cellar

The Rear Porch

The Back Yard

Today I got to take a long walk around the property -- this time paying significantly more attention to flaws and detail. Here's a glimpse into what I found:

Ahh, the fireplace. Actually it's a double fireplace, backing at 90 degrees to another one with a common chimney. The flue is nonfunctional, and we're not looking to restore woodburning-ness to it, but rather put in propane, most likely. Replacement tiles for the facing are in the attic in a box.

The stairs start immediately to the right of the entrance door and go up three steps, then turn, up another seven, turn, then up another six. I'm hoping that translates into nine- or 10-foot ceilings above the existing drop ceilings.

The siding of the house is in marginal shape: lots of puckered paint and some evident rot, but not too bad otherwise.

The existing tenants assure me that there is positively no insulation in the house, as certain rooms are almost unlivable in a strong wind.

Down in the basement, there are some interesting pieces, which we plan (hope?) to use to restore the house.

There are some old mantles which were removed (possibly, we're not sure) from some upstairs fireplaces. Also, all the original shutters and a variety of original windows -- although they're in marginal to poor condition -- somewhat rotted and with badly broken panes. We're hoping to at least use them as replacement patterns.

In addition to some old furniture stored in the cellar, there appears to be substantial amounts of trim and shingles.

Oddly, some of the foundation in this section is bricked - perhaps evidence of prior problems or an attempt to convert the space to a livable location? I don't know. One interesting find was a patch of almost glowing white stuff that looked like mold. Nothing was over it in the ceiling, so it must have been growing or spilled on the floor.

Along the west wall of the house, there's evidence of a layer of parging applied to the rock and cement face, both around the rear exterior and on the central stonesupports. In several spots this is crumbling off, but I'm told this isn't a problem.

Along the west wall, under the part that sticks out towards the parking area, there's the oil heater and a storage area with the current paints, etc, used in the house. Here, too, is the ash drop for the upstairs fireplaces. Another interesting feature which leads me to believe that the basement was at one time inhabited or inhabitable is the obvious window area which has been closed up with newer stones.

Outside, we found what looked to be a small well hole, which is directly under the area where the rear porch is now located. My uneducated guess is that this is the old outhouse hole, but I could be wrong.

In any event, I think we'd want to fill this in and remove the potential hazard of losing something like a small child down it. Rocks dropped in indicate it's about eight feet deep. Lots and lots of work will be required in the back yard, as seen here from the end of the driveway. I'm hoping to use this natural crescent-shaped area for a brick patio, possibly with a low raised deck and walkway over a lake or fountain. Finances permitting.

Four full windows in the back of the house as well as several lower halves of windows have been removed and are mostly sitting with broken panes in the basement.

The only evidence of insect damage that my untrained eye could see was this single board immediately below the small curved window where we started today's tour.

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