Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Progress, Few Burns

Saturday was a pretty successful day on 62nd Street.
  • All of the overhead lights in the house are now working again.  (There is still no light in the kitchen pantry, but there never was a light in there.)
  • The kitchen sink drain is now hooked up and operable.  This includes fixing the drain pipe in the backyard that had a hole in it (Tom once again demonstrating his skill with a SawzAll).  
  • There is a toilet paper dispenser and a towel rack in the bathroom.
  • Elliott's room is set up: he has a bed, a desk, a place for his clothes.  (We're picking up more furniture soon from Miriam and Ben, who are donating, among other things, a dresser.)
  • We hooked up the stove, and got Elliott some rudimentary cooking supplies.
One of the tasks we also accomplished was mowing most of the lawn.  The lot around the Delaney House was thick with onion grass, and now one can walk out in the backyard and wonder around without having to slog through it.  

Andus also brought his "Building Beneath" class by today to see the house.  The Owner Builder Center offers classes to DIY-ers, and this is the second one to happen at 62nd Street.  

I do kind of enjoy watching people walking up the rickety front steps and into the house, taking it all in.  They haven't read this blog or seen the house before, so all they can see if the work left to do.  Most people look at the floors and see they need refinishing (but don't see the wide planks of redwood). The walls all need the three P's - patching, priming and painting (but all the wallpaper is gone, except in the back bedroom).  

Andus drew up a streetscape view of 62nd Street, showing what the block will look like when the Cheney House arrives.  As he showed it to the people in the class, I could see some of them shaking their heads, thinking, "These guys are nuts!"  (Craig Chiu, who is the engineer who did the engineering on the third floor addition on Fulton Street, was at the class, and he said "Wow, you guys have become serious home restorers!")

But soon, the exterior work will begin in earnest.  We'll start prepping the Delaney House for paint, and it will lose its bland white facade and return to its former luster.  The Cheney House will arrive, and the restoration of it will begin.   Eventually, landscaping will be done, and both houses will settle in to their new foundations and their new lives, housing people on 62nd Street.

What I've noticed about Tom and I is that we have selective vision: we can only see the end result.  When we restored the MaGahey house, we didn't see the rats, the cat piss soaked woodwork, the powderpost beetles.  What we saw was how the house ultimately would look, and what a gem it would be for the neighborhood.  Now that Noah and Galienne are living there, that vision has come to reality.

It's the same on 62nd Street.  I guess other people only see the cracked plaster and dirty floors, and they imagine all the work that will go into bringing the house back.  All Tom and I can see is what the house is, a diamond in the rough, and how our work will bring back its luster.

Tomorrow (or rather, today) we'll do the final hook up of the kitchen sink, and install the cabinets and counters in the kitchen.  And hopefully, we'll take some time off.  Yesterday we worked from 9 30 until 6:30, and we're pretty tired. 

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