Sunday, February 10, 2013

easier with lincoln logs?

Since the layout of these big old houses isn't necessarily obvious or easy to describe, I spent yesterday working on my old school paint skills to make up a couple of simple diagrams of the first floor.
You can see our hall of mirrors in the middle of the image, the bane of all who came to visit in the early days. That vestibule section was what was ripped off in the pictures in the last post. Although we do what we can ourselves, the cantilevered staircase that we built to replace it was an engineering feat - and after doing all the demo, salvaging materials from condemned houses (legally!) and rerouting electrical, we were happy to turn this over to our architect/builder, leaving us with:

Determining how the staircase was supposed to run was the most mind-boggling part of the project. It was clear that the floorplan had been changed dramatically, but no one was quite sure how. Before finding the early photo, I spent days examining the exterior brick and mortar for holes, shadows and patches indicating where the porch was supposed to be, and many hours climbing through the secret holes and rooms that had been walled off because of the changes - the spelunking was just as exciting as it sounds . . . . Luckily this house wants to be restored badly enough that she's told us what to do; through more shadow lines, bits of woodwork and wallpaper fragments we have the stair layout close to what it would have originally been (we think). Sadly, in all those walled off spaces no one bothered to stash the missing stair parts, not even the newels . . . Here's where we are as of today on the stair bay (nothing like getting a few square feet painted to make you want to drop everything and PAINT)!

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