Friday, February 12, 2010

Before Before

This story begins in July of 2008 when my husband and I decided to buy a 100 year old home near the Maine coast. We knew the house would need some major work, but we thought the plot size and location were perfect; we saw major potential.

But really, the story begins back around 1901 when our home was first built.

According to our local historical society, our home was built as the home of a resort owner here on the Maine coast. Or perhaps it was the home of the caretaker. We have not verified which, but either way our home was built in the middle of a subdivision called "Mountain View Park" even though there were few mountains to be seen and it was only steps to the ocean.

Above is the earliest photo we have of our home. Our house is the one in the center; the natural shingle color appears whitish in this photo, and the roof black. This was taken around 1902-4. It appears as if our home is not fully attached to the foundation in this photo, and it is also not at the same angle to the water as it is today.

We found this later photo, actually a post card, which shows our home in its current location and appearing fully installed on its foundation. (our home is the one on the far right of this photo, white-ish with black roof)

We believe that in that time period, homes were sometimes moved from one location to another. The two homes in the foreground are also still standing today.

We discovered some of the history of the home shortly after moving in. This may have something to do with our slowly growing appreciation of the home and all its original elements: almost every door, window and wall is original.

One of our first instincts on moving in with two small children was to rip out any potential lead hazards. We did some research and realized the windows were best dealt with by sealing them in paint so as not to disrupt lead dust with the friction of opening and closing them. Same with the doors.

We're so thankful now that we didn't tear anything out - after a year in the house, it is precisely those old doors, hinges, windows and doorknobs that make this house so incredible.

I also hated, HATED, the roofline originally. It has what is called "kicked eaves" which I considered flimsy and cheap at first. I'm embarrassed to say I even asked the architects if they could do something about it.

Fortunately the architects educated us a bit in a kind way and we have grown to appreciate the unique nature of the roof - and in fact we want to mirror this element in other areas in our renovation.

Which brings us to today. February 2010. We now have completed mechanical drawings, have chosen a builder and after some soul searching and even a tour of another potential home -- we are moving forward with a large scale renovation and addition project.

We hope to break ground by the end of March. The project is estimated to take eight to ten months. Please join us on our adventure!

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