Thursday, August 27, 2009

A new view from the Window

The view from the Windows on Wentworth has suddenly become a lot clearer. As part of our upgrade of porches, we also decided to upgrade our windows. This old house's windows have been in place for 114 years. They are large double hung wooden single pane windows, many of which had broken ropes on their counter weights. These last few years I just hadn't gotten around to replacing those ropes, and consequently many of them required Herculean efforts to raise them and then a prop to hold them up. We did have aluminum storm windows on the outside, but over the years some of them have also separated at the corners and become leaky or even not usable.

In the winter on a windy day, we usually had a nice cool breeze blowing in when sitting by a window. The other problem is that since the aluminum storm window frames were attached to the house by wood screws, I never took them off when I repainted the house, and thus the outsides of these old wooden windows were looking absolutely terrible. So the windows are being replaced, all of them except for the ones with stained glass in them.

These old windows were heavy and consequently required large counter weights and pulleys to allow you to raise and lower them without straining yourself.

As they take out these old iron counter weights, they reflect a technology that is as old as the buggy whip and about as useful today. I'll probably save some of these counterweights, just to have them, and who knows, I may actually think of a new application for them. Consider it the greening of double hung counter weights.

I must admit, although they were drafty, I really did like these old windows with their unique locks and decorative shoulders. You just can't get windows with that kind of character in something that is energy efficient, at least without paying an arm and a leg for them. So they will be going away with both a certain amount of sadness and a certain amount of relief.

So the Window on Wentworth will have a new look, one that will be displayed in a future post. Because in addition to the construction and the windows, the outside of the house is now being painted. The white that it has been since I bought it 22+ years ago will be covered with a new color, but you will have to wait until the job is completed to see it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This construction project on our house has been going on since January. But this last week we finally finished the last of the real construction project. The new windows still need to be installed, but those will just replace these old drafty windows that were original in the house 114 years ago. This last construction phase was the replacement of our back porch. Below are pictures of this porch prior to the start of construction.
So, the porch was removed along with most of the brick patio that extended beyond the porch.

One additional problem we ran into was the old cistern that sat just behind and under the current kitchen. Unfortunately, one of the piers for the new porch needed to be placed in a place above this cistern. Consequently, 30 cubic yards of a mixture of cement and sand had to be pumped into this hole before we could proceed. At last we were able to pour the piers and place the foundation beams for the porch. This took a while and the entire porch was removed only after the piers for completed. Poor Brutus was used to charging out the back door and thus the first time he did this without warning the porch was gone, he fell the four feet and landed on his head. It didn't seem to hurt him too much, but he has been a bit more cautious in going out since then.

As the porch went up, Max and I started dreaming of actually getting it done. Below Max is sitting on our porch in progress, enjoying a glass of wine and imagining the finished product.

With good weather the porch continued up and showing us what we were hoping to see.

Day by day it looked more and more like the view our two dimensional blue prints.

The new brick work was put in place so the final steps could be put on

And the final wrap around steps were completed putting this phase behind us.

The final stage of our project is to get this old house painted. We've picked the colors and the painters start this week. It will be nice to get this old house looking its best again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A big hug all around

Well, I held this post up for over a week hoping Max would have time to chime in, but she has been pretty busy finishing up her work and getting ready to leave for a week at piano camp. She flew out this a.m. so I am posting without her.

These last two weeks were pretty trying to say the least, but last weekend provided a big dose of family, something that always brings a real sense of belonging and security. With Sarah, Deseree and Anthony safely at our house, we also welcomed Kelly and Pat's crew from Bluffton and visits from Mary, Kevin, Taylor and Samantha as well as Michael and Liz. It was a house full, but well worth every minute of it. Kelly arrived for dinner on Friday and stayed until Sunday afternoon. It was so nice to have everyone at the house spending time catching up, eating, drinking, resting, and just being there.
Saturday morning Darby provided assistance in making our pancake breakfast. My previous helper, Bailey, has become a full fledged teenager much more interested in sleeping in than flipping pancakes with her uncle Don. But Darby has grown into the job and did a most excellent job at that. She is growing up into what is sure to become a beautiful young lady, just like her sisters.

Darby also demonstrated how grown up she really is by helping with the fruit salad. Little did Max know that Darby is rarely allowed to even approach a butter knife, much less one of our sharp paring knives. But once again she was up to the task and came away with all of her fingers intact and the strawberries nicely cut up.

A good bit of time was spent just sitting around with the children, making new and renewing old connections.

And Max got to put her new double rocker to the test. She insisted that we really needed this rocker so she could rock grandchildren in it it.

It proved to be just perfect for those evening occasions

And our new "Sun Room" or "Side Porch" was put to great use providing plenty of room for everyone to sit or to gather to eat. Of particular popularity was the corner over stuffed chair, my personal favorite place in the whole room. Kelly and Lucas seemed to appreciate it just as much as I do.

But the best part was just being there with everyone else, enjoying a glass of wine or just enjoying being with each other.

Even we old folks enjoyed trying out our new family room "double overstuffed chair with room for two.

And occasionally room for three.

or even a comfy place to lie down for only one.

The real hit of the weekend was the tool bench and tools that Kelly and Pat brought. Anthony, Taylor, and even Lucas enjoyed using the array of tools provided.