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Where's the Cannonball?

Piffin's picture

That's the big question everyione keeps asking me.

This is my latest big project, rebuilding a colonial cape from 1800. During the war of 1812, it had the dubious distinction of being hit by grapeshot from a British battleship out in the bay. Nobody is sure whether it was errant ordinance durting a battle with John Paul Jones off of Castine, or whether it was good old boys have fun.

This place will look considerably diferent when I'm finished with it. ( It actually looks pretty different already with out the foundation under it)

I'm adding two wing additions and restoring the main structure.

I'll have a job controling water. In footings a photo, you can see the unique soil bed. The base in a hard clay that is nearly impervious to water with about three feet of gravel over it. Water runs off the hill behind through the gravel to the top of the clay and runs right out like an open faucet.

I'm using Certanteed's Formadrain along with about 24 yards of stone.

Andy C - you oughta enjoy this old beast too. I'll sort through some other photos for a couple interior shots later.

Excellence is its own reward!


Edited 11/1/2003 9:50:05 PM ET by piffin

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #1 of 35)

The old place has had the fireplaces rebuilt at least once, back in 1973. I found at least seven different kinds of brick in tearing them down.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

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(post #128261, reply #2 of 35)

Cool pif!


I SEE SOME OF THE GRAPE-SHOT!!!


It is in the footings h pic!


Right where the cord runs over the gravel, mixed in with the stones!!!


Mr T


Do not try this at home!


I am an Experienced Professional!

. .

(post #128261, reply #3 of 35)

Hi Pifin,

Looks like a nice project. Where is it?

Apologies in advance for being nit-picky, but ca. 1800 makes it Federal period, not colonial (which would be pre-1776). That second mantle picture is pretty typical vernacular Federal. The white fireplace mantle looks goofy. Does it seem original to you? how are the floors? kind of hard to tell from the pix. Looks like wide pine in the blue room, but it kind of looks like something else has been layered on top in the white room.

Steve

(post #128261, reply #5 of 35)

There is a hint from local history that the place was redone in about 1830 by the second generation of the family. There are some details that are Greek Revival. As with much vernacular housing, it is a commbination all things that appealed at the time. Add all the likely changes down through time and you have a mish mash.

The owners had an expert historical restoration archy do a study of it and he refered to it as Colonial Cape which is why I took that designation. The floorplan layout is definitely cape and some trim details are Revival. The shed dormner is a miscarriage from 1973 which destroyed the roof structure. Luck is all that is holding it up. A couple of interior walls were forced to act as load bearing walls though they were never designed to function as such. The only one of the three that has a timber under it is unfortunately one of the rotted timbers. Trying to jack it up from below turned it into powder.

It has a pantry that appears to have been a borning room.

The larger fireplace ( one of five in the house) would have been a cooking unit before it't's shown configuration. It was definitely a rebuild because the mortar was portland based and some brick in it made this century.

The floors are wide white pine which was local and native back then. It haad once been painted with some sort of yellow pigmented paint. That is what shows somewhat in one room where a braided oval rug had been tacked in the cenyter of the room and refinished around it once apon a time. Floor timbers are tamarack and 70% of them still in good condition though close to ground. You can see where we replaced one main sill beam with Doug Fir already.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #7 of 35)

Hi Piffin,

Thanks for the details. Sleuthing the changes in a house over time is always very interesting to me. It looks like it could be a pre-revolutionary cape by the basic form. Did the restoration architect pin a construction date on it?

I admit to being overly sensitive about the term "colonial," as it is so roundly misused by realtors. To them anything that is two stories that isn't victorian is colonial, even if built last year.

I get equally annoyed with "Victorian" being used to refer to early 20th century houses which are by no means Victorian, either in time period or in style. A pet peave of mine I guess. It probably goes back to when I was shopping for my first house and I wanted a victorian and the realtor kept dragging me out to see 20th-century foursquares that she called victorian. I finally caved and bought the foursquare that my now ex-wife wanted. Now I am rid of the the house and the wife, and for the better on both counts. Now I have a beautiful Greek Revival and a marvelous gal.

I just think that people who make a career out of describing houses ought to try to get it right. Oh well.

So do you work mostly in Maine? I've never been, but mean to get there someday. Our neck of the woods (central NY) is loaded with greek revivals and italiantes, with a sprinkling of early 1800's federals. We have no real colonial era houses that I know of.

Steve

(post #128261, reply #8 of 35)

I grew up in WNY a little hamlet called Java Center - barely on the map.

I did historical research on it to find that it was built in 1800 exactly. A newspaper article ( No - I don't believe everything I read) from the restoration of 1973 reported that when they removed the "original hand hewn clapboards they found sailclothe underneath for insulation" AHA! the originator of tyvek! ;)

The archy only dated it based on the style he observed in comparison to others he has dealt with. His firm has been involved with Mount Vernon so he has some credentials. The design we are going forward with is mine, however. The owners elected to proceded with my philosophy of making it more practical and liveable but with period details without being purists from a true restoration standpoint. "This will never be a museum" is one comment I remember. It will be instead a comfortable home.

One way this will apply is in the ceiling height upstairs. because of heat and insulation methods back then, the ceilings were only 74" which feels very low and cramped. The redo will raise those ceilings in the upper bedrooms a few inches. In restructuring the roof we will replace the major timbers on this side and put in twin gable dormers instead of that shed dormer cutting the heart out of it. Maybe I should be posting drawings of the floorplan before and proposed. I am still working up the detail drawings.

The floorplan of the main structure is definitely cape. colonial is a style name. The island here runs about thirty years behind the times still today so it may have been architecturally so back then too, I don't know. I understand what you mean about misnaming styles but so many times, we untrained designers are less purist in following conventions, now as well as then. I doubt this one had an architect involved as it was built by a farmer for his wife and family. I picture her saying, "I want one just like Mrs Farrow has over on Stilson Point, except that my kitchen should be bigger than hers"

The lathe for plaster in this is 3/4" thick of split wythe sawn lumber, the thickest I have ever seen, but the plaster is a hard coat and not the old horsehair I have removed from other old places here of similar vintage.

Here's a front entry view with windows for your style comments. The entry is plain and bold like colonial but has a little bit of dentil mold added at top like Federal.

The windows are not original sashes but I have found in attic two very old ones with a different muntin profile but still same layout.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #9 of 35)

Piffin,

I'ld have to dig out my books, which are all boxed up in the attic from my move back to NY, but I think the colonial era is divided into periods, refered to sometimes as "first period" and "second period". The first period encompasing the really early (1600's) garrison style houses with tiny tiny windows and center chimney capes, again with really small windows.

I think the second period is more typical of the house you are working on. The 12/9 windows are common to colonial and federal period houses. And as you say, the doorway is blocky like a pre-federal house. 1800 is technically the federal period, but the federal period saw many styles, including laggard styles from the colonial period. And vernacular house were often slower to pick up the new fashions.

My house was built as a late federal (1826), was greeked in 1863 which is late for greek, and the inside is more italianate than greek, and it was done at the same time the exterior was greeked.

I suspect your project was built in a "retarded" style for the date, yet picked up some of the then-fashionable federal details on a very spartan level, hence the federal mantle. The exterior doesn't really say federal to me though. No rake overhangs, minimal eave overhangs, no cornice returns, no real entablature over the doorway. I too would call it colonial in style I guess. Though I'm going to have to dig up the books tomorrow and have a look to satify my curiosity. Without the references in front of me I'm pretty much talking through my arse...Have you got a closer shot of the doorway? Or some details of the interior trim backbands and mantles and such?

Steve

(post #128261, reply #10 of 35)

42 closes in on a mantle, which does seem more detailed like a Federal but may have been updated with the Greeking.

40 is a touch of the window treatment. The wainscot is wide pine board run horizontally on the studs. chair rai marries the window sills. The banding on the casing seems non-original to me.

Most of the original baseboards are about 9" high with a bead on top edge.

37 shows most doors are 1-1/8" thick except for the exterior ones which are 2-1/4". Some are six panel and some are four panel christian doors.

13 shows the old sash muntin detail. it is a smaller version of same detail in the casing of 59 This casing detail is similar to other homes in the neighborhood built in the 1830s and is the one we will be replicating.

48 and 51 show opposite sides of the old pantry. With exception of the soffit created in '73 to hide plumbing runs, this is all hand planed pine with hand applied beading to edges. The shelves have plate rail tracks dadoed in crudely. This is an area I need to preserve and replace the missing door to match. It definitely feels colonial here.

Thanks for your feedback, it has value. I'm afraid of overloading Prospero with anymore photos for now and need to be off to bed.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

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(post #128261, reply #4 of 35)

Is that plastic draped over the Form-A-Drain or just a distortion of light in the picture?


Tell me you used form nails through the stakes and not drywall screws :)


I used d/w screws inside the forms staggered about every 2' when I poured mine. The forms still want to pull off of the footers a little when I wrecked out the stakes and keyway. Also found that you need to be carefull to not step on the forms afterwords, they will pull away from the footing.


Looks like the weather is cool enough that you don't need to worry about the forms growing from heat. I had to allow about a half inch at each joint coupling to keep them from looking like a snake durring hot weather.


Post lots of pics of your progress.


Dave

(post #128261, reply #6 of 35)

Temps been running around 35 to 55°F.

Thanks for the tips. I ran the stakes on outside of forms and used lots of hot dipped glavanized piffin screws. With the stone bracketing it all and soil/stome packed under edges, I don't expect it to move much. The fabric is landscape fabric to keep the fines out of the forms so they don't clog. I reason that by doing the fabric and stone before the crete is poured, I am less likely to mess up the Formadrain with grout or to knock it off placement. this is my first one with the product.

Sombody else aasked where iot is. This is on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot Bay, Maine. It was mostly a community of farmers and fishermen with a few ship captains with a fleet of five going the great circle trading route until it was discovered and developed as a summer colony for the wealthy back in about 1896. industrialists of that golden age spent money to build 'cottages' here similar to those in Bar Harbour on Mt Desert Island where today a lot of tourists go to Acadia National Park ( I think it is the most visited Natl Park in the country.) I believe this picture, viewed from the lot I am working on, is of cadilac mountain over there. Of course, the water in between would be where the ship sat that did the infamous deed to give this house it's name.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #11 of 35)

Love that first pose of yours, you have that, "Yeah I'm a bad asz and I know it" smirk on ;)


so you picked up the house and moved it to the side to put the footings in?


 

(post #128261, reply #12 of 35)

Sorry, Piffin, most visited park is Blue Ridge Parkway, Va.-N.C., so, no cigar, your park doesn't even break into the top ten - you'll just have to do a bit more boostering to boost the numbers...


http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004743.html

(post #128261, reply #15 of 35)

Thanks, that'll teach me to go repeating everything I read in the local newspaper.

;)


.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #16 of 35)

Piffin,

The detail shots are very interesting. I couldn't really tell what the muntins were shaped like on the old window, but I think they look like the one I'm attaching a picture of. The sides on yours are flat?--no ovolo or ogee? I've also seen a variant of this one where the sides are flat and at about a 22 degree bevel, but they break back to perpendicular to the glass for a tiny bit before they come to the "point".

I see a lot of both of these variants, mostly in greek revival houses here, and in some italianates. Pre-Greek windows are more likely to have an ogee or an ovolo shaped muntin.

The casing backband you show that's from houses in the 1830's in your area are what I would consider Greek Revival in nature. The casings that you show on the windows in the house look to me like they could be federal, but they are maybe a bit beefier than I would expect in a vernacular federal.

Take everything I say with a grain of salt, as I'm sure you do without my prodding. Traditions can vary widely from region to region, indeed around here they vary from village to village, depending on what the local sash millwork shop was milling in any given town.

Steve

PS: So what did it cost you to shuffle the house off to the side? I've got a house I'm working on now that's got a really bad foundation under half of it, and expect to have to replace it in the spring.

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(post #128261, reply #17 of 35)

Steve, it's similar to what you picture but with a flat before ending out. It is really a mini version scaled down of that same bevel you see in the Greek band on casing I posted. I have seen yours in new windows here from a local custom shop.

The ovolos here are common on windows from a hundred years ago or so. We don't have too many Italianettes, Thank God, they are too "busy" for my taste.

I suspect the place was built to a bare minimum originally and with much loacl methodology and milling. Then his son had the bucks to be able to update to Greek detailing, which over-rides much of what I see. The archy who did the historical consult mentioned heavy Greek detailing with a few hints of Federal too.

Thanks, Look for an e-mail too.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #18 of 35)

Piffin,

This a colonial cape. Colonial as well as all of the other style monikers are general in time. Most rural areas were way behind the urban areas where the styles would develop. Are you going with 12 over 8 layout in the new windows? The sash that was in the garret, is it a 6 lite or 8? Are the HL hinges on the cupboards screwed or nailed on? I saw cast iron butts on the white doors and would not expect to see wrought HL hinges on the cupboards.

Looks like a fun project. Good luck.

Curly


Hand Hewn Restorations Inc.

Restoring the past for the future.

Hand Hewn Restorations Inc. Restoring the past for the future.

(post #128261, reply #19 of 35)

Thanks for those comments. The old hidden sash is an eight lite. I will be repeating with 12/8. Lens size is about 7x9.

I will have to look closer and double check all those hinge details. I believe the cab hinge is screwed on. Some of the upstairs doors are similar hinges. several different types of thumb latches, mostly hand hammered but a couple more modern replacements. Also a couple of doors are replacesments too, showing slightly diff patterning and mortising style.

One issue I will be dealing with in additions is whether to make doors to repeat style and find hardware to match or to use 1-3/8" doors with modern locksets. This may be a lifestyle choice for the residents to make.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #20 of 35)

Got things kinda-sorta finished on the outside and the plaster gang took oveer the interior so I stepped back to take a look....

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

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(post #128261, reply #21 of 35)

That's a very nice looking project. Are you happy with the overall feel of it?

I really envy the owners that fireplace, which I assume you rebuilt.

I found the pic of that monster lath particularly interesting. It really does look formidable. My instinct tells me that you probably got rid of it on the exterior walls to make way for modern isulation, but maybe that's wrong. I seem to remember your mentioning that the house had some terrific settling. Did you somehow straighten out the studs behind the lath? I've had a hard time, in past projects, laying new board over lath, particularly where the framing underneath has bowed or twisted over the years. I'd be interested in hearing more about how you handled leaving the lath in place.

In any case, congratulations on your progress. It looks great.

--Olsh

(post #128261, reply #22 of 35)

Actually, in the three oldest rooms, we left the slated lathe in place for several reasons. One was that the studs were more or less equivalent to 3x6 or 3x8 @ about 38"OC. That made the lathe a structural element to some degree, holding the studs aligned.

The same lathe melded into the window trim in a funny way that I chose to keep rather than work around rebuilding. Had I tried to replace the lathe, I may have just as well burned the place to the ground to start over since everything was so integral and unique.

As you can see in that one photo. the wainscoting was hand beaded horizontal up to the chairrail which was just six feet down from the ceiling. That made it efficiebnt to hang rock vertically in those three rooms. I have an antigue hand plane for replicating the beaded board that needs replacing in parts of the house. I hope to keep from losing this thread as we go forward and keep a few shots of the progress up to date.

The thread on Williams and Hussey molders has a few shots of that machine that I will use to replicate casings and band mioldings etc. working in the basement while the plasterers are above.

The house does have a good feel to it. The owners do too.

That largest fireplace is a modified Rumfords, downsized enough to fit the scale of the room. It has the bake oven adjacent with a wood/kindling hollow below. Pot crane and door for bake oven have yet to be installed. The two other main rooms on this floor each have their own fireplace as does the guest bedroom on the second floor. We saved enough of the oldest brick to rebuild that second floor one from originals. The chimney and masonry had een redone and repaired so many times in history that I lost count of just how many different kinds of brick were in it. There are now six flues.

The newest kitchen wing will have hard maple flooring and maple cabs in Shaker style with Maple Butcher block tops.

Some of the punkin pine flooring was salvaged to go as far as possible. The rest will be replaced with wide white pine stained to match.

The setting is nice, overlooking Castine and Cape Rossier in Penobscot Bay, where John Paul Jones had a bit of a runaround with some British troops/ warships that lent the name to the house here.

Now where is that picture of the view....

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #23 of 35)

Piffin


The house looks great, you've came a long ways since the last pic I seen(I believe you were standing out front of the new footings, if memory serves me)


I think rebuilding an old place is more rewarding than building a new one, the pride of saving something that tetered on the brink of ruin.


Nice work, and keep the pics comming, gotta see to it that your keeping busy!


Doug


Piffin, just went back through the whole thread, I hadnt seen any of the pic posted previously, dont know how I missed them, this is the house that you were putting a new foundation under right?


Edited 6/20/2004 9:52 pm ET by Doug@es

(post #128261, reply #24 of 35)

Same one. I've intersperede a few photos into other threads with certain subjuect matter relevant along the way this winter.

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #25 of 35)

Time to finish this thread out. I have posted photos here and there in other threads, but thought I ought get the finished ones all grouped here.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #26 of 35)

some more.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

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(post #128261, reply #27 of 35)

Hey, who says it ain't worth dragging up old threads!





sobriety is the root cause of dementia.   

 

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(post #128261, reply #28 of 35)

Yeah, I've enjoyed this, too.  I think I was just starting to get involved here when this originally appeared.


I wonder what happened to mmoogie who chimed in with some knowledgeable comments?  He's practically a neighbor of mine, with similar interests and livelihood.


Allen

(post #128261, reply #30 of 35)

Looks like he still stops by now and then seeing the May14 last visit date.


It's threads like this and yours that help make BT so rewarding.  




sobriety is the root cause of dementia.   

 

(post #128261, reply #33 of 35)

It was WNTguy's recent thread and the catalouging of photo threads that got me thinking back to this job and thread

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #31 of 35)

Try emailing him through the site here - just click on his name to bring up his profile and one choice there is to email him on the side

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #128261, reply #29 of 35)

Whew!


Thought maybe you were talking about this one:




sobriety is the root cause of dementia.   

 

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