Archives for the month of: August, 2012

I live in the greatest little town on earth.

Yes I could live without the 2-hour commute to my office in Boston. Sure it’s tough to find a place to eat after 9:30 pm. Entertainment? Forget about it. And yes it would be nice if we weren’t the only gays in the village. (Little Britain reference. And for the record there are more of us.) But our village neighborhood and waterfront, in particular, are like few other places.

Walk the narrow streets where one car still needs to pull over to let another pass and you find houses, like our own, that have been here since the late 1700s, and secret gardens tucked behind picket fences. Or wander down to the town wharves on any night in the warmer months and see people sitting on large pieces of old Mattapoisett granite passing the time or watching boats come in and out of the landing. Or dare to join the group of regulars who show up most nights at dusk with their own folding chairs and take over part of one of the four wharves while they catch up on their day.

As we renovate our storefront (latest progress pic of the facade below), I decided to visit the Mattapoisett Historical Society Museum and meet with their archivist to look at photos of some of the old storefronts in town that resided both in our own house, as well as our neighbors’ here on Water Street and up and down the village’s side streets.

I’m not going to label every photo but here are a few storefronts and businesses that were once the mainstay of Mattapoisett life. Water Street and the village were certainly the commercial center of town life way back when. While much of that has moved up to Rte 6 today, hopefully our future shop will be a nod to Mattapoisett history.

Progress photo of our storefront:

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The new storefront calls for a good deal of trim work and recessed paneling.

My job this weekend was to prime all the trim.

I inhaled too much primer. I’m going to lay down…

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I know where we’ll be taking a drive to this weekend.

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Okay. Okay. I’ve been gone from my still new blog for about 3 months. Does such a young blogger even have the right to take 3 months off? Probably not. But what can I say? It’s the summer. Work has been busy. We took a 2 week vacation to Ptown. And progress on the shop had been slow…up until the last 2 weeks. (We’ve been waiting on windows and door…took 8 weeks!)

Now it’s time for me to get back into the groove.

So alot has happened in the shop. Things that most will never see. We worked on the sub floor and support beams for 3 weeks. Our engineering plans required that we drill into the masonry foundation in the basement on the north side, add steel/rebar, and then build concrete pilasters around the rebar against the stone foundation so that the future shear panels and hurricane tie down bolts won’t cause any damage to the foundation. I mean, come on? The house is a post and beam building built with enormous wooden beams and has been there for over 210 years; but in this new world of hurricane codes, and required architect and engineer stamped plans, these are the things that have to be done. I’ve just accepted it. I can only estimate right now this has probably added an incremental 30% cost to our renovation budget. Sigh.

Glenn the Carpenter has been working his butt off. Over the last two weeks he did all the framing in the shop. First a few old windows on the side of the house and then the entire front wall had to come out. Vince was texting me photos during his lunch break and this immediately caused me to break out in a panic sweat. While I know in a post and beam buidling the weight is on the outside walls and you can do things like remove the front wall and nothing will fall down, I literally had visions of our house falling down. But this is what it looked like.

Then before the front wall could be framed, the plate needed to be laid down and the drilling began. We had to drill two feet through the plate, the sill and into the stone foundation below. The dust needed to be sucked out. Super strong epoxy added. And then these rods needed to go into the stone foundation. This was not easy. It took two days of hard work.

We hired a local mason to help with all things steel and concrete for this renovation. His name is Joe. Here’s Joe sweating his butt off while he takes a break from drilling. It didn’t help that it was in the 90s and the humidity was the highest it had been all summer.

Installation of the header LVL (laminated) beam was hard. Just getting it level took hours. And installation of the share panels was even more of a pain. Glenn the Carpenter had never worked with them. Each one weighs 400 lbs and was tough to move. And once we had them secured in place getting the nuts onto the bolts at the plate required a re-threading of the bolt because the sledge hammer that pounded them into the foundation did some damage. (note to self: be more gentle next time). At the end of the framing, I am pretty confident this part of the house will hold up to almost anything. (knock on wood). Here’s a shot of the section with one of the shear panels.

As I left for work this morning, the house was prepped for the crew arriving to install the new windows and door, and who will then do all the exterior trim and recessed panel detail work.

And as I got home tonight, was happy to see that the front windows and door had been installed. Side windows tomorrow. But already loving the way it looks. And the view from the inside couldn’t be better.

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