Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A sigh of relief

The 30-yard dumpster was picked up yesterday (Monday) morning, nearly full. All five of us, who LABORED to fill it, can rest easier. The biggest sigh of relief, though, comes from the house itself -- being liberated from literal tons of plaster and badly hung drywall. Its gratitude was palpable to both Alicia and I on our last day of gutting. Woo-woo sounding but true...
In all of the houses and buildings I have worked on in the past, there have ALWAYS been numerous evidences of the past: nearly infinite layers of paint and wallpaper, ancient homemade recipes of varnish on trimwork. But I didn't really see the age of this house in its demolition/excavation (still to relatively small degree) until we got to the second floor bedroom level. Old, old stained walls covered up. Tiny traces of varnished trims older than elsewhere in the house. I could NOT, however, find a single hint of wallpapers, except for the visible patterns painted over so many times. Finally, I wondered aloud to Alicia how it was possible to NOT find any beautiful old paper samples.

Not ten minutes later, while tearing apart the master bedroom closet, the house granted my wish. Almost eerily covered up by wood constructions of wainscot and trim, like an intimate secret timidly shared, the entire closet was random treasures of oh-so-delicate, oh-so-beautiful wallpapers -- the oldest I've ever seen. Despite their fragility, I managed to save some larger scraps that I want to frame as artifacts from our beloved old house. I am feeling quite tenderly towards it these days, and cherishing the new life that we are breathing into it.

I have lost all suspense in the telling of my wallpaper tale, but please do contemplate that this house is 142 years old and only in the last corner of the last room to gut (out of nearly 3,000 square feet of house) was it revealed! Amazing to me.

My body finally succumbed to what we have exposed in this structure. Although we carefully constructed plastic walls and ceiling for our temporary bedroom, my allergies (or a cold) have taken hold these last few days. I am feeling better today. I love my ShopVac as much as I love my full-face respirator (which I am actually quite tired of by now).

Hilary has become a master screw- and nail-puller. She is a bull-dog of a worker. I cannot express the bliss of working along side Alicia on our house after so many weeks of solitary labor here. She works so hard! We work seamlessly together in perfect complement.
We have found both a wonderful stair and metal artist and a fine architect. It has been a good week! Mary will return as our cabinetmaker, furniture maker, fine woodworker -- her true milieu.

Things are coming along...


Hard to explain house camping to a dog.

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