This Week's Podcast: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
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This week, I am my own guest, and thought I would catch you up with what I’ve been up to this spring and summer. As a few of you may know, I have been reviewing the last passes for a book that will be coming out in 2015.
My job, along with reviewing manuscripts, book dummies as well as writing captions for 500 photographs, has been as the construction worrywart. I’ve been building a house.
The house adventure began with a leak in the roof that we just couldn’t stop. We needed a new roof. But it turned out that the house couldn’t support the roof. The walls were spreading apart. The house, which I think might have been a mill store, was a post and beam building – perhaps built in the mid-nineteenth century.
It probably did not have a full second floor, but a loft with a ladder.
Over the years, many things happened. There was a fire in the 1950’s. Someone cut through the beams and put in some winding stairs. Dormers were built to make the second floor useable with bedrooms – again, cutting through the beams. All of these “improvements”, as well as the fire, compromised the structure. The roof started to sink.
I talked to a lot of “experts”. One architect, who was recommended as being experienced with old buildings, suggested constructing a steel frame inside the house to hold up a new roof. That would mean that there would be steel girders several feet away from the walls of the already small house.
Most people said we would have to at least remove the top floor, and that it would be less expensive to take the house down to the foundation, which is stone and in good shape. In any case, we would have to build on the footprint due to the proximity to the road.
Being close to the road meant heavy machinery could not be used for the demolition. But down the house came without damaging a single plant. (I wish that had been the case for future work, and the hungry deer that found their way onto the job site and the garden buffet).
It was a bit sad that we couldn’t save the old building, but we did manage to save some of the original beams and incorporated them into the new house – if only as decorative elements (see photo).