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Wow, Mow, Now how (do we put this back together)?

So much has happened in the last two week (and by paradox, so little has happened too...we should be further along!).   Those of you who are following the DeJoux House page on Facebook will have seen some photos but not the story behind them.  The Facebook page is really just a realtime update of events as they happen.

I know it looks like a bomb site but we are doing the final removals before we start rebuilding.

Looks like a Bombsite - Jambless Hearth uncovered
All three of the chimneys have been removed (they were structurally unsound) and we have salvaged the old hand-made bricks to make the firebox of the new fireplace in the living room.   When we arrived at the house on Friday they had started the firebox with the bricks but when we saw it, Daniel nearly cried. Despite strict instructions to use thin grout/mortar of no more than 3/8 of an inch, the bricks were built with some of the mortar measuring 3/4 or even 1inch wide. It looked like a child's drawing of a brick wall.   Daniel called the contractor immediately and they came back and dismantled it immediately.

Salvaged bricks for the fireplace in the living room
Satisfied - thick mortar removed...to be rebuilt!
New living room fireplace

We've found some amazing salvaged earthenware 6.5 x 6.5 tiles that are unfinished and raw.  We got a sample of three of them and they look amazing.  We will have a small hearth of these in the living room and will rebuild the whole Jamless hearth in the dining room with them.  The hearth tile will be set in the traditional fashion with a dry mortar...essentially set in sand and with a light mortar....i can't wait.

Hearth tile
While talking about the hearth...we took up the floorboards that were laid over the hearth.  What's amazing is that underneath was a dirt bed, held up by that wonderful barrel vault structure in the basement.  You can really see where the Jambless hearth went all the way out to the huge beam.   We are going to restore this whole space in the center hall to the original Jambless hearth.   It will be the center hearth of our home!  Unfortunately we can only have a wood-burning stove on it, but that will be much more practical and much less smokey!

Complete Jambless hearth uncovered
The hole is where they shoved a flu for the old boiler 
View from the basement into dining room/hearth

Not only did we uncover the old hearth.  We also poked around the old mow door on the first floor (pronounced Mau  - like 'cow' not 'row').  We have seen that this was once a grain loft door in old photos and had wondered if any of the door frame was still there.   To our delight when we took out the window the fill frame was there - complete with original paint work.  There is a little rot at the bottom, where they filled it in, but overall in fantastic shape.   The south of the house looks wonderful with it's grain loft door (known as a Mow Door) restored.

Mow door frame and original paint
Mow Door revealed
Southern exposure restored
Guest bedroom will have full length glass window/door
Last of all, we've finally removed the ugly modern floor that was an addition in 1980's.   It looks a bit stark with the floor missing but Daniel assures me when we get the salvaged floorboards it will all go back together nicely...and then they can start framing out the upstairs...yippee....me, impatient....never!

Er, Daniel?  There's a whole in the floor

The hole got bigger...I can see the kitchen
Will this ever go back together...sort of cool like this!
And then this morning at 6.30am we drove past the house and the sun was shining straight at the front of the house.. The morning sun at the house will be amazing.    It looked so beautiful and I was reassured that all would be OK...
Morning sun touched gently on....

Comments

  1. So great that you are documenting! You will be glad you did. One day DeJoux House will all be done (hard to believe, I know) but it's easy to forget all the little triumphs, discoveries, bits and pieces. And you will look back through the pages and wonder how you ever did it!!

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DeJoux House to be published

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:

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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 rather …

The story of three Marias

For the first time in a long time I have had a few hours to spare to investigate the relationship between Maria Deyo, the story of the murders on Springtown Road in 1800, DeJoux House and the Deyo family -  especially now I have both the complete family tree and ownership of the house.   

My investigation started with the facts that we knew so far.

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