When we bought the house, one of the upstairs closets was filled with bags of insulation. Bill and Rob decide to put it to good use by laying it beneath floorboards of unheated two rooms we're using for attic.
Rob Anderson, the contractor, specializes in "green" restorations that reuse materials that are already onsite. Here, he's turned a kitchen cold pantry into a mudroom/powder room using a sink retrieved from the basement. The sink had originally been used in the kitchen, but when the former owner redid the kitchen in 1972, he moved it into the basement for a dark room. Rob retrieved it and Mike the plumber removed years of photo chemical stains from the porcelain and rigged an artful copper drain below.
We shifted a door (and its molding) two feet to the right to provide better access to the hall bath on second floor.
Every week or so, we meet with the contractor to discuss how the project is coming along. In the master (tower) bedroom, Rob and Donald take a seat on the registers and discuss heating. Behind them, the tower bath is taped off because all the floorboards have been removed to make way for plumbing.
Roofs are still removed the old-fashioned way: with muscles and pitchforks. Matt and Rob peel off the house's second roof added in 1915 by Charles E. Rudd who renovated the house when he inherited it from his mother. The roof's era is indicated by hand-soddered tin squares over old hemlock roofer boards and hand-hewn chestnut beams. Happily, Rob noted, all beams proved intact.
Every few weeks or so, the team gets together to evaluate progress and discuss plans. Here, the owner, decorator, architect and contractor discuss progress on the roof, and proposed fixtures for the entrance.
The first roof we're replacing is over the garage which has been temporarily transformed into a carpentry shop. The garage isn't your ordinary drywall contruction, its walls are hand-hewn chestnut about 140 years old, built some time after the house was erected. Rob guesses it was originally a "mini-barn" used as storage for grain, and as shelter for horses and small livestock. The livestock were kept in stalls on the second floor. How'd they get them upstairs? They hauled them through a 4 x 4 trapdoor in the floor using a clever block and tackle system. Remnants of the system remain, including a hook with marks that mean it's hand forged. Rob also found an inscription by an attic philsopher: "We come and go." A tweet from 1934.
Just off the master bedroom is a small octagonal room, a part of the turret, with lake views and a (crumbling) Juliette balcony. We think of turning it into an office or study, then Frank the architect has a better idea: put a clawfoot tub in the center of the room and turn it into a quirky, luxurious place to bathe. Donald, whose favorite form of decompression is a hot bath, loves this idea. Rob, the contractor, worries about pipe runs and measurements, so Frank gets down on the floor, assuming "bathtub position" to demonstrate how the placement could work.
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.