The BIG Project


If I seem to be a bit more dazed than usual around campus this is why.

At first glance from the road the house appears to be a cozy older farm house. The new blue siding and green lawn at first tell a tale of a home thats been keep up, even if the barn and garage have been let go.
Evidently the Real Estate agent toured many an excited couple through the home. Excited by the extremely low price, and clean appearance, most were ready to buy it without even seeing the inside.

They were all sadly disappointed, and turned their backs on the old homestead without even making an insultingly low offer. Well everyone except for one solitary sole. A sole who really needed the old barn on the property, and the extra space it would represent. 'You mean there's a house too?... GREAT!!' And so I was off to another great adventure.

Built in the 1870's its quite a unique house.
Lets go for a tour shall we?



I'll add some exterior shots later, but lets go indoors shall we?

Old Kitchen The first thing you notice (which the photos can not do justice) is the (VERY) bright colour scheme. Combine that with the methane stench that surrounds you, and the floor which bounces with each step you take, and you will quickly believe that you've been transported into a bad 60's movie.

Unfortunatly the previous tenants had been distressed at being evicted (So much so that they left their hidden pot growing street light in the attic poor fellows...) that they turned on all the water taps, and plugged the drains. You could actually see the hard water stains on the floor where the water flowed from the sink and accross the kitchen on its way to the door --- Hmm I think the floor might need to be replaced. What do you think? Turns out the sub floor was a T&G maple that could be reused. The floor joists were on 3' centres so we added an extra joist between each existing one to take the spring out of the floor.


Ahhh the pantry.
An ancient addition to the house, it covers an old cistern no longer in use.
Unfortunatly broken pipes at some point allowed the kitchen sink to drain freely into it.
This for some time added its own interesting scent to the home once the methane gas had cleared.
The Pantry


Old Kitchen Another shot of the kitchen. The kitchen was most likely the house's orginal wood shed.
The drywall appears to have been put up at some point just after 1946.
The structure of the kitchen is balloon framed, and the foundation is loose stone with dry sand mortor.
We cemented around the inside edge of the exposed foundation, (The floor was out anyway...) to seal it up against critters, and the wind.
Maybe someday I'll dig a basement and new foundation.
Some day in the far future anyway...


Woops... watch out for those stairs.
That brings us into the house proper(The orginal house), and the livingroom.
As can be partially seen in some of the later photos the house is framed like a barn on 6 posts. All the old timbers were mortised and tendened, and then pegged together. It's amazing whats under the skin of this rather ugly livingroom.

The master bedroom can be seen in the distance.
That door was the orginal front entrance to the home.

Also notice the plaster ceiling hiding my lovely timbers, and a horrible mass of loose insulation. It appeared to be the original ceiling.
The Old Livingroom


Old Livingroom A shot of the livingroom towards the kitchen.
The jackets are a requirement.

Did I mention the previous tenants dismantled the furnace?



The source of the methane poisioning.
When the water was shut off. (Circumventing further flood damage evidently) The bowl dried out allowing the nasty gas to rise from the septic system and fill the home.

Although no photos exist of the bathroom itself (afraid the camera flash would detonate the house) it did have a unique claw foot tub.
It was badly water stained, but might yet get reused.
For the sake of the reader I will not provide a full description of the room.

Notice the stairs to the second story.
Exceptionally well built, and original to the home, they also have a 10" rise.
Needless to say dispite their architectural curiosity, they are being replaced with something closer to code, and are being relegated to duty in the barn.
The Old Livingroom


Old Livingroom A shot of the bedroom next to the bathroom.
The wall seperating it from the livingroom had already been removed. (Possibly to make room for hydroponic equipment j/k)

Did I mention the previous tenants were successful in flooding the basement as well?

I'm a bit wore down but theres far more deconstruction to be done.

Notice the old lath hiding behind me and in the orginal bathroom walls. (Just drywalled over in the late 40's)


Here we are in the master bedroom.
This was added onto the front of the house later in its history.
Evidently it was also once the front porch, as the whole front sits on a concrete pad visible from the basement in the main house.

A special note, notice the ancient sony legal size monitor. I've never seen one in the real before. Notice the wierd aspect ratio, to display a simulated legal size document.

You know you've entered the 21st century when...

The attic above the kitchen was full of old garbage including this and other monitors, there was also an early Dell 200, and an old IBM 'all in one wonder' type machine yuck...
Even the parts of a classic XT were found amoung the refuse.
So much for finding real antiques...

Judgeing by the drywall, and original wallpaper (seen here in the closet) the building was likely put up in the late 40's or 50's.
Most likely about the same time the kitchen was 'finished.'
The Old Livingroom


Old Livingroom Here we have the front entryway into the house which is next to the master bedroom.
Actually it leads into the bedroom and then into the livingroom.

Does anyone else have a problem with this?

It would seem some over enthusiastic Leaf fan turned this into the bedroom from T.O...
A little too easy for the youngsters to sneek out if you as me...
Note the shelves where one of the house's orginal windows would have been. Another similiar opening was found on the master bedroom side (Just visible behind me in the above picture of the living/bath/bedroom), and in the kitchen (A lean-to exists on the side of the kitchen).



Well problem solved.

That ugly wall paper in the living room has been stripped away as well.
The Old Livingroom


Old Livingroom Umm... maybe we should strip all the old drywall out...

Various places exist in the house where fire damage from old wood burning stoves, and their stove pipes can be seen.

This lead to the chimney used for the oil furnace.
Although once covered by a metal plate, the plate must have fell off in the distant past leaving only drywall between it and the livingroom.
A similiar scene was discovered on the kitchen side of the chimney.
However at least they had the good sense to plug that hole with a few bricks and drywall compound...arg...

I'm guessing that they didn't get to many down drafts...
Mmmm I love the smell of burning pine... Wait a minute, I didn't know oil smells like pine?? Is that something new from Petro-Can?


Great progress has been made since I initially toured the house in September.
Look forward to more pictures of my progress, and what a really great house it has turned out to be!


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This page was last updated January 25th, 2002.