When weather is inclement, the men move inside. Here's a shot through the porch window at Jason the painter working on a new sign to match the one that hung at the entrance for decades. Thanks to fortuitous similarity of surnames, the design needn't be altered.
The least senior guy on the crew draws the job of cleaning the attic. But he doesn't complain. The attic is a great design, he says. The corners are cantilevered and the chestnut beams are hand-hewn. "You can tell by the ax marks. Handhewn old beams go for about $30 a lineal foot. And you get them for free." Well, not free, exactly.
Matt cleans and fixes window sashes so that Jason can glaze panes. Windows are original, he can tell by the old paint. "All in all, these old windows are doing good. I only had to fix 2 out of 103."
Remember Tim and Toni Locke who felled the overgrown trees near the house? This week, they came back to take out the stumps. An opportunist tree salesman, catching a glimpse of this procedure from the road, thought to make a sale by swerving onto the property to inquire if we needed replacements for the trees being removed. (No.)
The sunken step to the kitchen has been lifted and plumbed to its proper height. We've kept the old steel plating which lids a cement block engraved with the date 1908.
During the renovation of 1860, rudimentary toilets were installed on the first floor in Holleywood. In 1915, the plumbing was updated. Ironic that this vintage commode in the front hall powder room works better than plenty of models made today.
Jason the painter was working on a ladder, glazing windows when the earthquake happened today. "Suddenly my ladder began to shake, glass was jiggling around--it felt like 5 or 6 of the guys were jumping up and down on the porch beneath me." Luckily no damage was incurred, not even a cracked pane.
There are 103 windows in Holleywood. Consisting of 1000 panes of wavy glass from the 1850s. About 50 of the panes are cracked or broken; the previous owner didn't want to replace them, knowing the value of 150 year old glass. There's only one new(ish) pane of glass in the house and the painter suspects it was broken by some carpenter who quickly replaced it so the owner wouldn't know it had broken.
This week, a serendipitous occurrence: one of the roofers is supplying us with old glass taken from his family's 1850's farmhouse being restored in Bantam, CT. They'd offered the glass to the local church; the church didn't want it. They brought it to the local glass seller who refused it, saying, "Old glass is a pain in the neck, I don't deal with that anymore." The roofer was about to throw the glass into a dumpster when Rob, our contractor, suggested he bring a pane over to Holleywood.
"It's an exact match," Rob said, shaking his head in disbelief. "The same waviness, the same ripples. One of the panes is exactly the size we need in the breakfast room." Then, the perfectionist in him amended, "Well, within a 16th."
who we are
We are a couple of Upper West Siders from NYC who never set out to buy an old mansion in Connecticut. But the moment we walked through its massive front door, we were smitten. The info on this site is earnestly cobbled from a variety of sources, including the web. Please let us know if we've gotten something wrong, or if there's a story about Holleywood you'd like to share.