Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Uh oh. I just put the Halloween candy out and it's only 3 o'clock. Why, oh why did I do that? I was quite proud of myself for not having sampled any treats prior to Halloween... I bought a large box of goodies & didn't open it. Until now. Here's how I'm feeling:

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Not Quite Before & After Photos

Here are a few photos to illustrate our progress so far. The picture below was taken just before we bought the tiny house in Atlin, BC.

LBH, June 2012
The second picture was taken shortly after we bought the Little Blue House in July 2012. Other than a little brush-clearing, we hadn't done any work on the place at that point. The house, built during the Gold Rush of 1898, was settling back into the ground. The foundation was in need of a complete overhaul.

LBH, July 2012

Lastly, I took the last photo in late September, 2013, after the house was jacked up to a level position. People walking or driving past the LBH almost always slow down or stop to check out its progress. The other day, I overheard a woman driving say to her passenger, "Wow! That must cost a fortune!" Well, yes it does.

We are impatient for the foundation work to be completed before the snow flies, which will be any day now. Our contractor assures me that they will finish up this phase of the project this week. We'll see about that! But for now, when I look at these pictures, I feel that we've saved the place from falling down.
LBH, September 2013

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

All Closed In, Well Sort Of

A couple of things have happened during the past 2 weeks. Firstly, I broke my right thumb playing hockey (no, I wasn't fighting). Secondly, our contractor got the Little Blue House closed up!

My thumb hurts like hell, so I can't type very quickly or very much. Ouch! 

We're thrilled that the major ingress routes for mice have been plugged up. That said, there are a myriad of other ways that our pesky and unwelcome rodent visitors may access the LBH. It's that time of year, too. I have an intense dislike of mice. I am trying not to use the word hate, since it's really too strong a word for this situation...

The subfloor in the bedroom is in, and the wall has been repaired, where it was rotten. This is an achievement! The house is closed up. The next step, this week, will be concrete footings and a pony wall. My kids say, "Pony wall?? Mummy, where are the ponies?"

Bedroom Wall Repair, Oct 2013

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Something's Gotta Give!

Wow, I haven't written in a really long time. I'm sorry! Will you forgive me?

The Little Blue House is standing up straight, probably for the first time in a hundred years! We are thrilled. I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago, and in fact, more work has been completed since that time. I will fill you in during the coming weeks...

Our contractor has done an amazing job so far. It is, of course, taking a bit longer than we would like, but that is one of the infallible truths of renovating: it always takes longer than planned, and it always costs more than planned.

Using a laser to check to angles of the LBH, the contractor finally settled on raising the front of the house a full 6 inches! That's a lot. I walked in and noticed immediately that I wasn't leaning to one side. Also, when I sat at the kitchen table (lower right window in picture below) I pulled a marble out of my pocket. I don't always carry marbles around, believe me, but our youngest child gave it to me a while back. I placed the marble on the table and it just sat there, not moving. This is incredible! Every mealtime has been fraught with runaway radishes, pesky peas and other escaping edibles. Now things will be different.

That said, something's gotta give, right?

The Little Blue House, Standing Up Straight

We are extremely fortunate that our original, leaded glass windows did not shatter during the raising of the house. But when you move one part, other parts are bound to move, too. The first bit to break was the floor where the addition attaches to the back of the house, where the original back door used to be, in the kitchen. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but you can see straight through to the ground below through this crack.
Floor Crack #1 in Kitchen

The second bit that gave way was where the kitchen joins the parlour, and it turns out that this, too, was an addition. My husband figured it out first, and our contractor confirmed his suspicion. The original building (probably as it existed in Discovery, before the building was moved to Atlin) was only two rooms, the bedroom and the parlour. The kitchen was a separate building, possibly from Discovery also, that was added on later, maybe when the house was moved to its current location. I don't think we will ever know if the original two parts came from the same place.

Here are the clues:
  1. The door from the parlour to the kitchen, which has always been jammed open due to the crookedness of the house, is an exterior door.
  2. The wall between the kitchen and parlour is very thick, clearly not an interior wall.
  3. The joists & beams underneath the 2 structures run at 90 degrees to each other.
  4. The ceilings don't match up, indicating two previous roof structures, joined at angles.
The crack below is where the house finally gave in to the pressure of being moved. You can clearly see daylight in this picture. The LBH had settled, slowly and comfortably, over decades... She wasn't going to be jostled into a perfectly level position without some sort of protest.
Floor Crack #2 in Kitchen