old woman who lived in a shoe.


Do you remember the book, “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe?”  As a kid, I loved this book, and now, as an adult, I suspect that I know why.  It was the drawing that shows the section through the shoe/ house.  I’ve always liked drawings that depict housing sections. Usually they show “real life” situations: someone showering upstairs, someone baking in the kitchen, and someone else building a birdhouse in the basement.  Drawings like this one:

So– you want to see a section through my house?

Kind of depressing, but also kind of cool.  Instead of seeing Joe baking and Suzie showering, you see our brick chimney trying to hold itself together on the second floor, a new door waiting to be installed (first floor, far left), a vacuum wishing it would be used more often, some lath barely hanging on to the side of the staircase, a pile of fiberglass insulation waiting to be freecycled (upstairs, right), and a retractable lifeline hoping to be taken to a job site (upstairs, far left). There’s also an white, empty box (upstairs, left) that is the original packaging for our new-ish (and fabulous) chop saw.  If you look really carefully at the rafters on the far left, you can see the copper line coming down from the solar collectors in the roof, feeding heat through the basement and into the house (it is covered in black pipe insulation).

This section through my house is brought to you by the letter “D”.  “D” is for demolition– demolition of the former east wall of the oldest portion of the house.

Above, you can see the old shingles, and the ratty 100+ year old windows.  When we bought this place, these items were outside. Now they are inside. You can sort of see the diagonal lines where the old kitchen roof used to be. It ended just below the windows. Below the shingles, in the area where I’m pulling nails, you can see a hodge-podge of poor decisions, such as horizontal clapboard siding, which was unceremoniously sawed through (using a drill!) to insert a scary exhaust vent that was attached to a truly frightening wall heater that was probably responsible for a few minor carbon monoxide poisonings. (Is there such a thing as a minor carbon dioxide poisoning?)  Below that is some faux-wood paneling, and quite a few studs (not visible) that haven’t reached the floor in at least 50 years.  (We suspect that the house’s previous occupants were probably freezing to death, so they started chopping away at parts of the structure to get some firewood.)

Here, the shingles have been removed, and you can see the diagonal sheathing beneath.  It is rough-cut 1x boards, the widest of which is at least 24 inches wide.  Amazing, old-growth lumber, which we can’t bear to burn (even though our supply of firewood is getting a little thin these days).  We’re hoping we can make a table-top or something out of it at some point. Unfortunately, as a result of the former owner’s propensity to hack out everything historic or nice, there isn’t a lot of the really wide boards that are still intact.

The wall is being dismantled.  Including a couple of  old rough-cut 2x4s that are well over 20 feet long!

It was sort of sad to see the historic old wall go, but it is giving way to a somewhat more modern, open floor plan.  And it was in deplorable condition. We saved the historic front of the house, where it is more significant (and more intact), but here it is nice to see the space opening up, and taking shape.

P.S. Thanks to my husband, who just made me dinner so that I could write this. So actually, this post is brought to you, not by the letter “D”, but by the Luke.


3 Responses to “old woman who lived in a shoe.”

  1. Wow! I love the “section” photo. Looks like serious progress to me.

  2. 2 Sarah Dutton

    Though hard work for you and Luke, I am loving the journey of watching your home come to life…. Amazing how much the old timbers look like ours

  3. 3 Becky Sears

    Wow! Super cool! Looks like a ton of work though! Good luck!

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