Sunday, July 31, 2011

Founding Fathers and Foundations

July 2011 has been 'all quiet on the blog front' thus far, but that changes today! We have finally emerged from a pile of house rubble and rotten beams, just in time to make an update or two before the month of July disappears into the ether. The good news is, we haven't had time for typing because we've been too busy demoing, and finally building things back up! This month we've spent nearly two weeks in total working away on a variety of issues up there. The main focus is, and continues to be, our dreaded foundation. We kicked off the month by spending our 4th of July holiday weekend up at the house, tag-teaming a handful of to-dos. Here's a little recap of what we accomplished...

Red, white and blue... and green!

For 4th of July weekend, we felt it was only appropriate to remember our country's fight for freedom by waging war ourselves. For three days, Dallaryan/Merkel forces attacked the farmhouse on all fronts, taking down rotten support beams, crumbling brick walls, and hideous green window trim, bringing the house a little closer to a fresh start. The outcome of this battle? Farmhouse - 1, thirty years of neglect - 0. We're winning the war on house restoration!

The main 'to-do' of the weekend continues to be our least favorite word... foundation. After three days of crow bar wielding, Tony and I had not left one shaky brick standing. We knocked down four separate brick walls and placed wood supports to fit throughout the entire area. This fun-filled process involved digging out a few feet of earth from each wall, prying the wall apart brick and brick, and hauling and restacking bricks in piles throughout the basement. Needless to say, by the end of each night we were pretty beat. Perhaps mason work is best left in the hands of masons.

It's like jenga, but with bigger consequences

Once all of the walls were successfully knocked down and the house was securely supported on a few brave wood beams, we set about cutting out the rotten house supports. It seemed like this should be an easy process, since you could basically tap the beam with your hand and pieces would begin to fall, but unfortunately that was not the case. Rotten though they may be, each beam is securely in place with massive century-old cast iron nails. Prying teeth would probably be easier than prying a 7-inch wide piece of wood away from these walls. In the end, after hours and hours or work, we only managed to get a piece of one support beam off of the house. With 5 or so beams to go, the future was looking a bit scary...

In other news for the weekend, Mrs. Dallaryan and a visiting weekend warrior named Sergio set about completing a handful of cosmetic tasks, including sanding down the window trim in the front and finally painting over that terrifying green color with a white primer. They also began the cleaning up process of a massive growth of trees and bushes in the front yard. While Tony and I only managed to tear things apart downstairs, Mrs. D and co were making things slightly prettier in the world above. Seeing visible improvements to the house, small though they may be, gave us a much-needed morale boost!

4th of July weekend was just the beginning of a really successful month of work at the house. In the coming days we'll put up a new post with plenty of captivating photos and mesmerizing stories from our July renovations. I'm sure you are sitting there, thinking to yourself ... 'Did they get all of the support beams replaced?'... 'Is the foundation finished?!'... 'Have they finally settled on a house color?!'... but unfortunately you will have to wait a few days to have these questions and more answered :)

Stay tuned for our July recap, and thanks for reading!
- Melissa

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