Skip to main content

Pulling down walls

Last weekend was lightweight in comparison to what we did this weekend.
We started out simply tidying up. Although the house was 'broom clean' there was still a lot of dirt/cobwebs, dust, etc so we started cleaning in the room with the beehive oven.

The fun started when we opened the old cast iron stove and found the remains of three squirrels and two birds that had obviously been there for some time. (Note to self, need to put a metal guard over the top of the chimney). It was like some weird recipe/concoction/spell which was very appropriate for the day which was Halloween. After cleaning out the stove I moved on to cleaning out the beehive oven which had a lot of old bricks that had fallen out. I kept the ones that I could that looked old and vacuumed up all the dirt and dust. It looked much better. Then Daniel and I brushed all the flaking paint and wall paper off onto the floor and swept. Just this effort made it look much better.

(Then in a break in the rain I went down to the pond to treat the willow trees with Beaver repellent. Which I know probably won't do a thing but it was the best first step I could think of).
While down at the pond I heard some loud banging from the house...When I got back I saw that Daniel had opened up the fireplace in the living room to see what we had behind it. Don't worry, the fireplace was clearly a new addition as it was concrete and ugly. The wall above the mantle was modern sheet-rock so Daniel felt fine bashing into it. Down in the basement below this fireplace is a huge stone hearth that is built up to this location in the living room. Because of this we felt there must have been something different here in the original house. But one mystery, revealed another.

Behind the wall was a very roughly built (obviously not original) red brick fire box that snaked up, rather inelegantly, to the flue above. Behind it, on the wall, was some old 'peacock' wallpaper that had a clear outline of a mantle against the wall on one side (but oddly not on the other side). So, we seem to have evidence of three different fireplaces in this one location. The original, corner jamless (we guess) as evidenced by the basement hearth, the wall mantle outline indicating an 'English Style' jammed fireplace at some point and the newer firebox and concrete stucco.

The same is true of the third hearth in the dining room. Daniel and I pulled out the 1940's cupboards and found a new (19th Century) flue is in a very poor shape. However, the old jamless chimney above (on first floor) is as solid as a rock. It looks like we might have to take that fireplace back to the original jamless state and think about how we re-create a fire place there too.

We are well and truly in our discovery phase right now. Ventured up into the attic this weekend to find the most wonderful old beams which are held together with pegs. You can see the hand hewn axe marks on all of them and despite being 269 years old they look as solid as anything.

Think it is time to get the Hudson Valley Vernacular Society in to tell us what we have.


Popular posts from this blog

Paradox farm

If you wander along Springtown Road, past DeJoux House, you will see our mailbox opposite the front door.  It's not especially distinguishable except it is rather large and sits on an old tree stump.  It's a rusty old thing but it seems to have survived the snow plows and drunk drivers of Springtown Road. It has always bothered me that on the side of the mail box you can see the vague outline of the words "Paradox Farm" which was clearly a name that DeJoux House was more recently referred to.  Occasionally when wondering the fields I would stumble across some incongruity and wonder if that was indeed the "paradox" that the farm was named after. Yesterday morning, for some unknown reason, I decided it was time to resolve the paradox.  I sent a quick email to the previous owner June Finer to see if she knew anything of the Paradox Farm ghost on the side of the mailbox. This was her reply: once upon a time we, (myself and russell gilmore---my ex), met a

Inspiration for the future look

Daniel has found some wonderful reference materials for keeping the history and character yet not making it a museum. I love the big kitchen table plan for the kitchen inspired by Lutyens and some "behind the scenes" pictures of victorian kitchens. He also showed me some country houses from Axel Vervoordt that I really love. Simple, authentic yet modern. We discussed putting a full length plate glass window in the old hay loft window on the end of the house. Wow. I can't wait.

DeJoux House to be published

Reclaimed Doorway  Our house has been watched over the years by a couple, Susan Daley and Steve Gross who create amazing books of old houses and Hudson Valley (each name below is a link to Amazon).  They knew the house and had been watching our progress. As we came close to finishing they reached out and asked if they could photograph the house for a book of cottages: Catskill Country Style Book , Old Houses , Farm House Revival , Homes With A Past , Gardens of Hudson Valley , Time Wearing Out Memory name but a few. All of these books are beautifully produced. I can't wait to see our home in one of them later in 2015/16. I won't reveal all of the amazing photographs that have been taken of our house, you'll have to buy the book to see them all....but here is a little taster. Summer patio Kitchen Stools Front Door Open