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Asbestos nightmare

Well, it had to happen. The first unexpected expense just doubled the cost of the demolition phase and made us have to remove all the ceilings upstairs. Previous owners of the house had put insulation in the attic. The insulation they chose is a flaky, powdery material, called Vermiculite, that is poured on top of the ceilings and blown into the wall cavities. Unfortunately in those days they knew nothing about asbestos. So, when we got the material tested and it turned out to be 2% asbestos, Frank the asbestos guy told us we had to remove it all. Although this stuff was primarily in the attic it had fallen down into the walls on the first floor and even made its way to the ground floor. There was only one solution to get rid of it. To remove all of the lath and plaster walls and take the first floor back to the studs.

Now, the good news is that this allowed us to really see all of the details and structures of the house. The plaster walls we had planned to keep had to be removed and this allowed us to see the original finishes of the second floor when it would have been used as a grain loft.

When we visited the house today we could see all the way from the bedrooms to the top of the roof. All of the wonderful hand hewn beams in their glory.

The knee wall was fully exposed the full length of the house, revealing a wonderful 14 inch base board (skirting board in English) from the original grain loft. This board did not continue into the 1765 kitchen so probably dated to 1740.

We also exposed the early plaster work and lintel above one of the windows on the North side of the house. Although the window itself is new the lintel is much wider than the modern window and the plaster looks like mud and straw.

Seeing the attic in daylight was also a delight. You could see the structure of the roof construction and the old shingle roofing tiles above (there is a new asphalt tile roof above the old roof that was put on 5 years ago. The modern roof was put on with ventilation between the two roofs to preserve the old roof in its original form).


  1. I got a shock of joy from stumbling upon your site. As a Deyo descendant, my mother is a Deyo, through the Hendricus line, Christoffel would be my upteenth uncle, his brother, Benjamin, having built a homestead on the east side of the Wallkill River on the old Tschirky property. I believe Benjamin's house still stands although I was unable to locate it 2 years ago. Are you aware of its location?
    Also, I'm enjoying following your restoration progress as I'm a contractor myself. Love to see those old boards exposed.
    Keep up the fine work and I look forward to your future updates.

    John B. Houghtaling
    Ossining, NY

  2. Thanks John,
    I am not really looking into the genealogy of Deyo family but as your rightly note it is interconnected with the history of the house. I do know where the Hendricus Deyo farm is (White Duck Lane) on the East Side of the Wallkill. This is on the map of 1790 and was written up by the HVVA in their newsletter #8. According to the book "The History of New Paltz and it's old families" link:

    Benjamin occupied the house this house. Also referenced in dutch houses before 1777 by Helen w Reynolds. (plate 72). Who says Hendricus was succeeded on his farm by Benjamin and it was either Hendricus or Benjamin who built this house.

  3. Many thanks for the location of the Hendricus/Benjamin Deyo home. I've got it on my list of things to check out. The Reynolds book I have but not the HVVA write-up. Great stuff.

    Of interest from Huguenot Historical Society:

    Christophel Deyo C-17 (1728-1792) married Debora Van Vliet (c. 1756) and had three children. He sold land at Bontecoe to Benjamin Deyo in 1761 and 1762. At New Paltz, he was elected Assessor (1772-1773), Fence Viewer (1780), and Overseer of Roads (1780, 1782, 1788). At the Reformed Dutch Church at New Paltz, he was appointed Deacon (1764-1765, 1769-1770) and Elder (1779-1780, 1788-1789).

    Benjamin also married a Van Vliet (Janneke). The 2 brothers seemed to have been close and presumably would have shared in the building of each others houses. It would be interesting to compare joinery for similarities.

    John B. Houghtaling


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