Thursday, April 22, 2010


Trevor's cousin Chris has been at our house all week, helping Trevor do the dirty work on the Division Street home. Trevor's been so glad to spend the time with his buddy, and I've been so pleased to spend our evenings with Chris, who is genuinely interested in the house. They've found some treasures so far, and Chris even snapped a few pics for us while he was there today.

The entire attic was filled with the oddest assortment of ancient belongings: Beds, teensy, tiny dressers (for grown-ups), metal high chairs, fencing swords, steamer trunks filled with hundred-year-old clothes and shoes. The furniture drawers contain letters, photos and pages from books, and the family name is plated on the back of the dressers, cabinets and vanities. In the basement they found boxes and boxes of French and Chinese china, beer steins, curb feelers for white-walled car tires from the 1950s, antique glass bottles (like, ketchup bottles), and what seemed to be an original Pat the Bunny book. There's even a toilet in the basement, cemented into the floor with a detached tank that hangs on the wall. The inside of the porcelain bowl is painted and carved in intricate detail.

Per our agreement with the seller, all of the belongings need to go into storage so she can look through them and decide what to do with it all. Oh, I wish I could be with her when she discovers each piece and remembers its history.

I may have mentioned before about the little faux panel in the entryway, which looks as if it's part of the woodwork but actually pushes back to reveal a box-like space that'd be perfect for hiding a small child. The guys learned that there used to be one of those elevator chairs up the back staircase, and today Chris pulled away the plastic lining the kitchen walls and revealed a strange rectangular window (see photo) in the wall. It's against the current powder room, which used to be the coat closet. So why the window? Any votes on what it was? We'll be taking that part of the wall out entirely so we'll get a peek into what's above and below it. 

On the roof they found the original shingles, which were red with flecks of blue in a very classic Colonial scheme. They found wood under the kitchen floor and today Chris uncovered part of the upstairs bathroom linoleum and found layers of wood on top of tile that was backed with what looked like tightly woven threads -- like burlap, he said. 

There's the marble sink in one bedroom that is very old -- the seller said she used to watch her grandfather shave there, and it's of the two-fauceted variety, so you have to fill the basin with hot and cold water to make warm. We can't figure out why it'd be in a bedroom upstairs, and the seller didn't know.

Just inside the basement door are two bells -- kind of like old school bells, which have sort of a hammer that clangs against a round bell. Trevor assumed they were old fire alarms, but Chris wondered, after checking out the wires connected to them, if they weren't bells to call the maid. There's also an old laundry chute just outside of the maid's bedroom upstairs that's been boarded and dry-walled over. 

It doesn't seem that the electricity was put in with the house (though the guys did find a few ancient lightbulbs in the basement), because when Chris was pulling the plastic off the walls in the kitchen he noticed that the electric lines were really choppy and wavy and carved into the plaster. The tiles on the front of the fireplace are, according to the guys, several inches thick. They think there used to be another two-way swinging door from the kitchen into the butler's pantry (there is currently one from the butler's pantry to the dining room), and the existing door has a neat foot plate for hands-free opening. 

Four days of treasure hunting. 
So... what's with the window to the back of the closet? Anyone?

1 comment:

Lori said...

Sweet finds! What treasured. I love reading about it. I feel like an HGTV show has come to life. Please post more.