The Story of a House: New Photos

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

The last few months have seen lots of changes at the house, spurred mainly by the summer hurricane and October 2011 storm. This storm tore up the house and yard pretty well. It revealed things I hadn’t been thinking a lot about.

The house was turning into an anthill. The wasps had taken to hoteling in the eaves, the shutters, and the shakes. In some places the old shakes ballooned out in response to the wasps’ persistent spirit of construction. The sun sides of the house were pealing badly. This was original, 1960’s cedar siding. Not a bad lifetime. After the storm we thought a lot about energy, as we were out of power for several days, like everyone else. We went around about solar but this, even with incentives, proved too expensive. And our anxiety about the property as a whole mounted.

We went instead with a new wood stove insert and a remodel of the exterior (to the chagrin of our flying and pollinating friends). This included new polymer shakes. We wanted to keep the look of the original despite the costs. Also, a sheathing of wood and insulation, a new “lifetime” roof, and a round of new giant gutters and guards for them. We hired Wiley Swain to do the job as he lives right across the street and Susan and I had studied him at work on his own house. His industry is a wonder to see.

He came with several experienced partners, who proved intense and all skilled artisans. The work started at 7AM everyday and ended at 5PM, weather permitting. Not one headache. And we appreciate the attention to detail. They worked fast, clean, and with superior professionalism, and had the whole job done within three weeks, give or take a few days of interrupting weather, which would had cut the time down further. The “gutter guy,” Mr. Higgins, had the spillers up in a day.

I’ve heard that 1k must go into a physical house every year for upkeep–on average. I don;t know who came up with that one. That’s a low ball, if one takes into account cutting the lawn. If true, one might spend half the net cost of a home by the time it’s paid off, more if the mort is a 30 year. We did it all in a month.

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