Good evening fine folks!
Oh my Lord….what a fast summer! It has been jam packed with so many projects, I hardly know where to start to share with everyone. But, I am going to do my best to recap the summer in a way that actually makes sense…lots of things were overlapping and are still being wrapped up, so this could get sketchy! Hang in there!
With so much going on, let’s just remind ourselves of this fact, the work in a 160 year old home is never done.
So, this photo was taken June 7th. At this very moment, I was preparing to unveil what could be the worst nightmare of my life. But as it turns out, it was only a minor nightmare.
Under the 3 layers of plywood and rubber mats, this was my storm cellar entrance. Definitely not what I had hoped for. I felt pretty defeated at this moment, because I had no clue how exactly to fix it. But I did know that it was going to be a grueling amount of hard work.
So, I called in a favor to a friend of my dad’s. He was the only person I could think of who would have ANY idea on how to fix this.
Introduce to the play, Mr. T.
What a character!
If I were writing a script, I don’t think I could have imagined a person like Mr. T. The best way to describe him is as follows…
He is a true force of nature, with perseverance, intellect, culture and loyalty…all mixed together to form 71 years of more experiences and stories of a fully lived life than any person I have ever met.
All of this put together just means that every work day was awesome…and fun!
Without boring you with all of the minor details, I am going to share with you some of the cooler pictures of this process. It involved cutting and shaping both old and new stones, lots of physics and crushed limestone, all coming together to put the jigsaw puzzle back together.
On Day 2, we started to disassemble the other wall and cleaning out the bottom of the pit. It was also the first time we had the basement door open.
The mass cleaning of the basement has started…but that might have to be another post of it’s own! lol!
Mr. T invented this super cool contraption out of an Adjusta-Post and a jack from an old VW. “Big Bertha” as we fondly named her, played a vital roll in pushing specific stones set lower in the well back into place. This was kind of tricky because when the house was built, the foundation walls, the storm cellar walls and steps were all dove-tailed and integrated together as they built it. So, naturally, if you start messing with one piece of the puzzle…other pieces are bound to move!
So, very slowly…we reconstructed the walls.
One of the coolest finds in this process was finding this top piece. Over the years, it is what started the collapse of the wall. It fell into the well first and broke in the process. However, we were able to piece it back together based on this amazing detail on the back of it. Notice that the original craftsman finished the face of the stone in two different textures. The bulkier texture was designed to be underground and never seen, helping to anchor the stone into place. The finer detail was meant to show off a little and can be found on the rest of the foundation stones.
Now, because it’s getting late and I fear I could bore you….and another episode of Grey’s just ended on Netflix…I will end Phase 1 here! No worries…Phase 2 and 3 are right around the corner. Next scheduled work date for the storm cellar is August 5th, so no worries…you won’t have to wait long!
Peace out peeps.