Level-footed

Level floors are in sight! Once the old flooring came out, the crew put a new sill on top of the concrete foundation wall. Then, after a couple of months of resting on temporary bridging, the back wall was brought back down to rest on the sill. Sigh of relief.

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With the new sill in place, floor joists went in quickly and a new, level floor system was born.

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Throughout the renovation process, this structure continues to surprise me with its ability to expand and contract. In the previous post, that dirt floor looked so small! It’s always so surprising when the house can seem like a different size from one day to the next. The joists look so long and spacious!

It’s difficult to walk on joists and film it all at once:

 

Next up is, you guessed it, more demolition.

 

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Jacked Up (one more time)

Now we’ve come to the day when the cottage became a funhouse with the ability to give vertigo to any who entered. The floor that went from the center of the house towards the river was very tilted. Not quite to the point where you felt like you’d fall off the back of the house, but it certainly wasn’t a reassuring slant. As with the front of the house, we had to jack up the back wall so that the floor system could be rebuilt, raised up, and restored to a comfortably walkable angle.

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Porch Demo

The proportions of the cottage are charming, but what makes the property special is its proximity to the river. Whenever we find ourselves questioning the intelligence of our decision to do this renovation, we always remind ourselves that we’d never be able to build on a site like this today. So, when it’s all said in done, we’ll be happy to have this view in the end.

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Before: The Exterior Edition

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The bones of the house may be solid, but her exterior is a little shabby. While the rustic, brown wood shingles may have been trendy in the 1800s, they’re looking a little scruffy today. Decades of exposure to New England weather have taken a toll and the shingles are slowly starting to transition from a dark brown to a weathered grey. The promise of clapboards peeks through in some places (perhaps due to someone getting a little over-excited with a crowbar), giving us a taste of what the home may look like when we’re done (obvi with new clapboards but you get the idea).

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Isn’t she a beauty?

Welcome to the River House!

Built in 1831, this charming home on the Connecticut River is our diamond in the rough, emphasis on very, very rough. Over the past few years, we’ve watched the vacant home fall into an increasingly sad state, so when the opportunity arose to purchase it, our family jumped at it. The thought of watching the place get torn down only to be replaced by some modern home that didn’t jive with the neighborhood was too sad. We had to save it ourselves.

Originally, my parents had planned to buy the home with the hope of renting it out, but as the plans evolved, Steve and I couldn’t resist the idea of living there ourselves. We’re going for it! Apparently, Steve had a hunch that it would work out this way all along, but it took some convincing and time for me to adjust to the idea of putting down adult roots in the neighborhood where I grew up. I’ve turned the corner though.

Now that the renovation is starting to happen and is actually feeling real, I’m getting increasingly excited. Guys, the river is legitimately right behind the house (in a safe, non-flooding kind of way), you can see eagles from the living room, there’s going to be a fireplace, and, not to sound too stereotypical, but I get to design the kitchen, and I’m pumped.

We hope you’ll follow along throughout this transformation with us!