Monday, September 14, 2009

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Progress Report

Momentum is building on our house project on several levels. This weekend was my first week to see our house without the sun blocked out by the house behind us. The level of light in the back rooms and back yard, which had always been dark is like "night and day". Once teh scrub trees are removed the south side of the house should be nice and sunny.
Part of the 'destruction' of the House behind us has led to another round of Urban Archeology! our neighbor found this along the property line. I wasn't sure just what this was at first, but it appears to be a circular whetstone that was probably handheld and used to polish the stone. It has a smother side and slightly rougher side.
The other Major find was another piece of Antone Nagele, (the stone cutter who owned our house), handiwork. This was face down in the dirt and I assumed it was just another piece of stone, like we have found all over the grounds of the house. However, when I flipped it over we saw the lettering. Based on the lettering designs of the times it would appear to be the last two letters "AN", no doubt just a fragment of a much larger stone. At first I thought tombstone but this is too thin to be a tombstone and in fact I am betting it was a name of a building, maybe an apartment or commercial building that would have had a corner stone with the name in it. When we remove the foundation for the old summer kitchen and carriage building we are going to do some serious archaeological digging. We continue to find stuff like this all the time and it is significant to the history of the house and Antone Nagele.
Now that we can see the back room we decided it was time to begin demo. Based on the what we know and dating by materials we know that back room remodel dates to around 1900-1910. All the soil pipes are cast iron and the walls that make up the rear bathroom on the first floor are plaster of a style and consistency that indicates early 1900's.

Apparently the summer kitchen was in use for quite some time as there are pipes leading from the main house out to the summer kitchen foundation and there is a drain pipe leading from the footprint of that building into the rear of our house. It has of course been cut off so we know that use of the summer kitchen continued for some time and it was later that this room became the kitchen. There had obviously been a couple of remodels of this bathroom the last likely occurring in the 1960's based on the design of the medicine chest. This rear room must be completely taken back to the studs and floor joists. A big project but things should go pretty quickly and we already made some good progress over the weekend.
With the house behind us gone I put a good coat of the tinted primer of the south wall of the house, This will be followed by one coat of paint. Because of window and door configuration changes on this elevation, which will connect to the new conservatory, we will re-side this elevation from top to bottom in Hardi Plank in the future so for the moment this is more for the benefit of our neighbors who can now actually see the back of our house.
Overall it really was a busy weekend and we got a lot done in a very limited time. I am looking forward to the deconstruction of the later side porch soon so we can move on to the next plase of the project.


Marilyn said...

That's quite a collection of windows you've got there. Is there a plan?

Paul Wilham said...

I assume you are talking about the east side or "window wall" as I call it? That entire east facade changes totally. We are adding a second empire tower to the house, a double gallery porch. The roofline goes up over the back 2/3 of the house for a new 3rd floor master suite. A new two story second empire roofline carriage house is added in the side yard with a rooftop deck, In short everything you see on that side changes. The goal will be to add to the house in such a way that it will be seemless and the additions added will look like the natural progression of the house over the years.