The Writing’s on the Wall

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog. Life has been pretty crazy here lately.

This time of year is Jake’s busiest at work, with festivals, fairs, and haunted attractions. He’s been doing live broadcasts almost every weekend since the middle of September.

We’ve just had to put the house on the back burner for a while.

We did manage to squeeze in a weekend of work a few weeks ago. We were really wanting to work on the front porch, but it POURED the entire weekend. The good news, is that even though we couldn’t work on the porch, we still had plenty of indoor work to keep us busy, so we decided to pull paneling down in one of the bedrooms upstairs.

What we ended up finding under the paneling was the original ship lap–along with a lot of writing. Some walls were entire conversations between two people. It was like Christmas, ripping and tearing the walls open to see what had been written. We spent most of the night standing in a pile of debris, just reading.

We have been very fortunate to get to know the family that owned this home for 95 years, and they filled us in on what the writing is all about.

As it turns out, there was a boarder who lived with them at one time who helped fix up the house after the fire. He was a deaf mute, and he communicated by writing on the walls.

This was really interesting to find out at the time, but all of this writing has become so much more important to me. Not long after we found this writing and the story behind it, we found out that there is a great possibility that our 3 year old son is hearing impaired.

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In an even stranger twist of fate, this is the room that we had chosen to be his bedroom.

Here are some of the messages we found. Some weren’t so legible, but most of it was. Scroll down to see all of our findings.42324457_10156753763238270_7553408844303433728_n42338170_10156753762308270_1800326114388738048_n42340549_10156753762823270_3820606287213756416_n42341866_10156753763028270_7835078215528873984_n42344871_10156753762688270_3710249370285768704_n42345139_10156753762603270_1180465640977203200_n42346129_10156753763308270_6540215029701017600_n42350834_10156753762548270_5225040028702343168_n42362307_10156753763168270_7482848205281951744_n42363078_10156753762898270_966404505304301568_n42366783_10156753762838270_6615374681048350720_n42381540_10156753763248270_3808446745172508672_n42407536_10156753762458270_8085776075071684608_n42421708_10156753762293270_1261518219382882304_n42424441_10156753762913270_9076871806194810880_n42449513_10156753762653270_8193561006669037568_n42465679_10156753762733270_1740019190095413248_n42481548_10156753762413270_3381396446124179456_n42494983_10156753762718270_7254968562089984000_n42500488_10156753763023270_6698435873924448256_n

And that’s it for now! We finally have a Saturday with perfect weather, so we’re going to be jumping back into the porch project today and tomorrow. I’m hopeful that we will make a lot of progress this weekend.

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Paint Colors, Backhoes, and Sewer Problems.

So we’ve owned the house for a few months now, and I figured it was time to update everyone on what we have going on.

Our main focus has been the exterior of the house. We decided that cleaning up the yard and tightening the exterior this summer would be the best use of our time. The lot was a jungle when we bought this house, and the house was not safe from animals. In fact, a squirrel had chewed through one of the upstairs windows at one point. We also had a major sewer problem that needed to be addressed as well. It was a no brainer–the outside needed to come first.

As much fun as it is to focus on sewer problems, I couldn’t help but obsess over what colors we should use on the outside of the house. This house was always white, and while it certainly looked beautiful at one time, I just need some color in my life. I went through so many different color schemes. Reds, blues, yellows, and even a purple (I know. I was snapped back to sanity when I did a test swatch) After many trips to the paint swatch rack at the hardware store we finally settled on a dark green for the body, a creamy tan for the trim, and a burgundy for the windows.

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It’s earthy, yet dramatic. I love it!

I’ve been working on scraping, priming and reglazing windows. Hopefully we’ll be able to put some color on the house soon!

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Ok, back to the sewer problem. When we bought this house, the city sewer was backing up into the cellar. Yuck. The city was having a difficult time figuring out what was causing it, so we finally decided to call someone in to dig up the backyard to see what was going on. The culprit? The neighbor’s house across the street had been tied into our line many, many years ago. And at some point over the years the line developed a clog. This resulted in waste backing up into our plumbing, which resulted in a burst pipe in the cellar, which resulted in a very disgusting situation for us. But, the good news is, is that we finally got the issue fixed, and everyone’s toilets in the neighborhood should now be functioning as they should, and not filling up our basement.

37529685_10156595827388270_4876493764660559872_nThis was a beautiful sight after MONTHS of issues.

While the crew was here digging up the sewer line we had them rip out the sidewalks out front and regrade the lot so the the house wouldn’t get bombarded with water on the front elevation.

They did an excellent job.

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Now that this house is free from it’s water problems and overgrowth, we can really get started on making it pretty again.

Up next-painting.

How Did We Get Here?

So, after seeing a lot of interest in what we’re doing, I decided to start a blog!

To kick it off we’ll start at the beginning and answer the question that many have asked–How did you come to buy this place?

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It started about a year ago….

After Henry was born, we realized pretty quick that our current home wasn’t going to cut it for a family. Jake and I bought it right after we got married and it was the perfect starter home. We’ve done a lot of work on our little cottage and have loved it over the past six years. We always thought that we would stay here, but alas, we started a family, and suddenly we started to notice a couple of negatives with our house.

First, it’s SMALL. It’s a whopping 970 square feet. It was perfect when it was just the two of us and a dog, but adding a baby and all of the things that a baby needs, makes for some closed quarters.

Second, it’s on a very busy street. This was actually one of the things that appealed to me when we bought our house. I loved the idea of being on one of the main streets in town. Now with a toddler and no fence, that busy street has become one of the biggest sources of stress in my life.

It’s just not practical for us anymore.

So…

A little over a year ago my sister brought up a house that seemed abandoned. She knew we were trying to find another old house and she has a knack for noticing every old house in this town.

She convinced me to take a walk last summer check out the property. I had seen this house many times before, but I don’t think I truly saw it. It just never jumped out at me. Honestly that could have been caused by the overgrowth that was hiding it. The more I walked around the outside, the more it started to appeal to me.

The next day Christy was on it. She called the courthouse and got a phone number. She ended up getting in touch with the owner. They said they would sell it eventually, but had personal matters to take care of before they could think about selling.

Weeks went by. Then months went by. And I kept thinking about it. Anytime I was out running errands I made a point to drive by. I wanted to see more.

I decided to call the owner that my sister had spoken to, just to introduce myself. I understood that they weren’t quite ready to sell, but I wanted to let them know that I was seriously interested when they were ready. I got an answering machine, left what I’m sure was a very awkward sounding voicemail, and waited some more.

A few weeks later I got a phone call from the sister of the person I had called. I was afraid that I was going to hear “We’re not interested in selling.” but it was quite the opposite.

I found out that this was her and her sister’s (along with 7 other siblings) parent’s house. They all grew up in it, and it had been in the family since 1924. We spent close to an hour on the phone. She told me about the layout, and shared a few stories of her childhood there. I even found out that they played with my uncles when they were all kids, because my great grandmothers house used to stand right behind theirs. She ended the call by saying that she lived out of the area and would call me when they made their next trip to town to let me see the inside.

A few weeks later I got the call.

 

The inside was in rough shape. In addition to the grittiness of being uninhabited for so long it had cloth wiring, bad plumbing, an animal infestation (Fun fact–Jake chased a cat out the day we closed), and some of the floors were caving¬† downstairs. But looking past all of it’s flaws, it was gorgeous and it needed our help. We fell in love.

We looked at the house in the fall, right before the holiday season, so Jake and I decided it was best to wait until after the first of the year to move forward. It made for a long two months, but 2018 finally came. I contacted them again and we started to work on an agreement. After another few months of negotiations and processing, we finally bought it, and we couldn’t be happier!

Are we crazy? Probably. But I think the crazies have more fun! I’ll be updating this blog as we go, so keep an eye out for new posts to see all of this insanity unfold.

 

side note–if you want to see a video tour of the house check out Jake’s Youtube channel. He’ll be keeping a video log of the restoration!