Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Sport

Winter is upon us bringing short days and sustaining winds from the west. And while we are closed for the season, we engage in our favorite winter sport: RENOVATION!

Our current project is to renovate what probably was, in the original floor plans, the library. Should be simple--no plumbing, but a large room with two windows, three doors, one double pocket door, and a large walk-in closet which we'll make into a guest pantry, complete with a small refrigerator and microwave.

A blank slate, this big empty room, waiting for purpose. Make it a game or media room? Not quite in keeping with our "quiet country setting." Hire an Amish cabinet maker to construct bookcases covering the 9ft walls from floor to ceiling? Stunning, but not quite right. We waited to be inspired, and in the meantime refinished the floors, placed a few vintage chairs around a nice rug, hung a reprint of an old local town map on the wall knowing...hoping...that by and by an idea would strike us. A visit to the local printer was the inspiration we needed. Vintage maps! We visualize a quiet reading room with vintage maps of New York towns hung salon style from wooden picture rails, on walls painted the color'll get back to you on that! Choice can be torture.

We insulate, we hang drywall, and Kevin works diligently and tirelessly putting in switches and light boxes, and taping and mudding. Soon I'll be sporting my new Carhartt overalls (oh, goody!) and help with the sanding and painting.

As we peeled away layers of wallpaper, we exposed the trends and styles of long ago. The bottom layer is like a fresco, adhered to the crumbling horsehair plaster which, when removed, reveals square nails in the framing and lath so dry it crackles and spits when we burn it.

From behind the lath, plaster and small hickory nuts spill onto the floor, each nut hollowed out on both sides. I imagine the squirrels, who lived here when the house sat empty, scurrying through the walls, nesting, and stocking up for the cold winter.


  1. Ah, the joys of living in an old house. The maps sound like a lovely idea!

    We actually have a squirrel living between the first and second floor this winter. I can't imagine what future renovators will find...

  2. p.s. Thanks for linking to my blog! I just noticed that!

  3. Maybe it was gnomes who stashed those hickory nuts in the walls! They could be good luck charms.

  4. Michele,
    Nice. Welcome to the world of blogging.