Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 9-18-16

It was sprinkling a bit when I went out yesterday and had just finished raining when I went out today, so everything was pretty wet, but progress is being made!

252 N. Bayview Street

Outside, the entrance porch has been bricked (though the floor is still a temporary sheet of plywood).

Inside, an opening has been cut above the fireplace. This seems to have become the de rigueur location for a flatscreen TV (though I don’t understand the vogue, which puts the screen well above eye level for a seated or even standing viewer), so perhaps one is going to be flush-mounted?

Most of the salvaged cabinets have been installed in the laundry room, which I guess will double as a butler’s pantry.

These shots from the laundry room into the kitchen and vice versa show the relationship of the two rooms. The door to the right in the first photo is to the basement stairs.

With the cabinets cleared out, the back room is mostly empty (except for doors), but this sink has joined the dishwasher. It appears to be in pretty good shape (with several puzzling special features, not to mention disposer and Powerade) ; perhaps it will be reused in the laundry room?

The southeast back bedroom is now the repository of fans, light fixtures, lavatories, and other fixtures removed from other rooms.

352 N. Summit Street

I got just one quick snap in the rain yesterday before Vance McCown came over from 351, eager to show me the latest developments there (see below). Looks like I might have gotten some drops of rain on my lens, too!

Although the photo above shows that the house has been roofed (with plywood), it was far from “dried in,” and this morning’s rain had left swirling pools all over the foundation.

The stairs were in place, and I managed to wade over to them and check out the second floor, but as yet I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, except to say that it has several large rooms and smaller areas that I assume will be closets and baths. It is not quite what my husband calls an “intriguing floor plan,” but it was a little puzzling.

351 N. Summit Street

As noted, Vance wanted to show me the progress that had been made in paving, including this parking court. Grass will be planted in the openings (now filled with sand) and eventually will cover the entire area. Paving is incomplete at this point because the masons ran out of bricks.

Masons had just started work on the front entrance porch.

Today that porch was finished.

Similarly, work was proceeding in the breezeway, which was completed today.

As surmised, the “extra” door has been installed in the garage entrance.

Vance previewed the work to come: as soon as paving is completed, landscaping can proceed. The house will be power washed one more time, and the siding on the first floor will get a second coat of paint. Garage doors will be delivered Wednesday. Inside, work on flooring will begin this week.

Vance took me inside to show off the paneling in the dining room/library. Previous photos had shown different paneling, which was not satisfactory. This new paneling was salvaged from a 200-year old building. Vance says the rings visible at the board ends indicate the wood was harvested from 300-year old trees, so he reckons it is at least 500 years old.

Because the paneling is not tongue-in-groove and there are many knotholes, the wall behind the paneling was painted black so that there would be no white showing between boards and through the holes. The result is quite attractive. He explained that a “pickled” finish will be applied.

One of the interesting features of this room is the secret compartments between the dining room and living room. I commented on these in my July 2 post, with the photo below (showing the old paneling).

Vance said that his wife had requested “hidden doors,” and he had accommodated her with these two shallow cupboards on either side of the doorway. The “doors” are currently just propped in place (in the photo below, the level is leaning against one), not yet hinged, but they will have “push to open” pressure latches.

As can be seen from these photos, there was a lot of standing water from this morning’s rain. As I was completing a circuit of the outside of the house today, Vance showed up, and I commented that the landscapers would have some grading to do to eliminate these puddles. Oh, no, he explained, the drainage of the site has been carefully planned through grading and using French drains. The standing water we saw would drain off quickly, he promised, and would never rise higher than the brick edging.

As can be seen in the photo below, the fence has been painted.

We went inside again today, and Vance showed me the wormy chestnut he plans to use for paneling in the kitchen. He said he had bought a quantity of it years ago for $1 a board foot and had used it in several houses; now it costs $10 a board foot (and unfortunately he will need to buy more to finish this project).

The house will incorporate a number of salvaged items in addition to lumber and used brick. The deadlock on the door through which we entered had been salvaged from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he said—an especially fine lock (in which one of the workers had unfortunately broken off a key). And he showed me this brass doorbell that had been on his parents’ home. The plate is engraved with the name McCown—almost invisible now, so he says he will probably have it reengraved.

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