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Showing posts from January, 2012

Peeling back the years

There was a lot of activity at the house this week but very little of it you could actually see.  Geothermal units going in, plumbers doing pipes and electricians starting but not finishing their responsibilities.

We brought in a couple of extra guys this week to have a go at the ceilings.  Daniel and I did one small room but this work is tough on your shoulders.   They made great progress and the ceilings are looking amazing.  We were going to paint them but as you can see that would be such a travesty.

Because the beams were put in 'green' over the years these have split and twisted.  These splits had been filled in with plaster but it wasn't too difficult to pick out the plaster and reveal the cracking or "checking" of these massive beams.

If there are any historians out there, we have another mystery.  On the large beam in the living room ( the one we believe used to be the wall between the center hall and the living room) there are several holes drilled …

Good and Bad (or rather batt) insulation

Only a short post today.   The weekend at the house was dominated by insulation.  The spray foam insulation guys had been on Wednesday and filled ever nook and cranny with a creamy, white foam.  It was odd getting to the house with the seasons first 4 inches of light powdery snow and seeing the house with about the same thickness of insulation on the inside. 

We needed to make some room in the garage for the old (sic...it's less than 3 months old) geothermal unit.  This meant I also had to move the disgusting fiberglass BATT insulation up into the attic space in the garage...yes we have an attic there too.   It was hell.  My goggles kept steaming up because it was so cold out there.  I had a face mask that hardly let you breath and fed hot air straight into the goggles.  Every inch of my exposed skin, ears, wrists, neck etc itched for the rest of the day...and still do if I'm honest...That stuff is NASTY. 

Even with this weird wall covering you can really see the shapes of the …

The first semblance of walls

You know how when you get so used to something that has always been one way and then when it changes, even if you've wanted it to change more than anything in the world, you worry you've done the wrong thing.  Well, that's how progress feels.   Since we first pulled down the old fireplace to investigate the wall behind, the living room wall has had exposed mud and straw wall covering on show.  This historic wall covering has been visible for two years and we always knew it would have to be covered up.  All of a sudden, now the plasterers have been there the mud and straw is gone...I miss it but I love the new walls.  
The plasterers have rough coat plastered the library, the living room and sheet rock walls are slowly filling the house.
The sense of the physical space of the house is really coming together and this week we have the insulation guys in and finally all the walls can be closed up.  It will begin to feel like a house again.  
We've finally approved the exp…

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.

1) The document from the Library of congress that documents the murders and the names of the husband (Josiah) and the wife (Maria).   In this news DOCUMENT she is described as killing two children from a previous marriage. Also an infant daughter of 9 months old. (presumably the daughter of Josiah)

2)  The map of 1790 shows the only other Deyo owned house as being owned by C. Dojo

3)  The tax record of 1798  references a stone house, next door to David Deyo's house (Our house) that is "owned by"  Christian Deyo but was being occupied by "Josiah Deyo"  and is described as being "Between the main road and the mou…

It started with a bit of water and a paper napkin

Daniel and I were sat by the fire with a glass of wine (nothing newsworthy about that!)  We started discussing the furnishings and decoration of the living room and I questioning whether we should stick with the plan to whitewash the wood (as it had originally been decorated underneath the drop ceilings) or if we should strip the wood back to the raw wood.    I hypothesized that the old whitewash would clean off relatively easily...a hypothesis that needed to be tested.
I took the napkin and poured some water onto it and started rubbing the whitewash away.  It just  washed off, leaving fabulous clean, undamaged wood.     From this small spot in the living room I moved on to the patch of beam that had been where the old stair to the basement had been and therefore escaped the black paint.   Again the whitewash came off easily. 
Below the whitewash was a second wash wood/pine colored paint that was also water based and rubbed off easily too...I guess that this original yellowy/orangey …

Dating the house

We have accurate documentation of the ownership of the house from Christopher Deyo (Christoffel) through the generations and deeds for almost all of the purchase transaction through to the present day.   Christoffel was born in 1727 and married Deborah Van Vleit in 1756.  The house was built some time between those dates.  The records at the Tax office say1740 and this was also reiterated by the library in New Paltz but we have no idea where this date came from.  We also have no evidence that the kitchen was added in 1765, although that too has been told us from many sources.  
In the tax records of 1765 the house is listed as being owned by Christopher Deyo.  We are certain this is the house because the order in which houses are listed start from the bottom of Springtown Road and travel up to the place where we know there was a river crossing by Deitz farm and then go back into the center of New Paltz.  Christopher Deyo's house is listed exactly in the order of old stone houses o…