Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Old House Restorer

Things are moving along on 62nd Street, but not as rapidly as we had thought.

One of the issues that we're just starting to recognize is that we're older than we think. Tom is now 56 and I'm 53, and though many of our friends think that makes us spring chickens, the reality is that this work is harder this time than it was before. My vision is worse than it was, Tom's allergies are worse. Let's face it: we're geezers. Old coots on ladders.

Of course, except for the Old Magahey Place (otherwise known as "Cat Piss Acres"), no house we've taken on has needed quite as much as the Cheney Cottage. The process of cutting it in half, to say nothing of having it sit out in two pieces for a full year, has taken a toll on the old place, and everything needs to be done. There's not a part of the house that we won't touch and work on to bring it back to its 1902 glory.

So today was fairly typical: we replaced the broken glass in one of the kitchen windows; took out the shelves and late-addition cabinets in both the kitchen and pantry; filled in the trench where the new gas pipe has been run; cleaned up piles of plaster and broken glass. And we find that tonight, we're really tired. It's all hard work: we're making progress, but we're just not as young as we used to be.

And we're applying for a construction loan, so we can get some help with this. We've decided that we definitely don't want to do the roof or the painting ourselves, and we may get some assistance installing the rough plumbing and refinishing the floors. We also need to get the retaining wall framed and poured, so we can bring in dirt and do some landscaping and build the walkways.

We still enjoy it, and get excited by it. Today, for example, we discovered that the original tile backsplash in the kitchen was milky-white subway tile with a blue border. We're saving pieces so we can try and match it, and replicate the old backsplash in the new kitchen. We still get excited when we find out something new about our house. We still love it.

We're still planning on doing all the wiring, installing the heating system, installing the new kitchen, and repairing all the plaster. We're still stripping all the woodwork in the living room and front hall. So we'll still be there, constantly, until it's done. But maybe this time, for the first time, we'll sub out more of the work.

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