It is no secret that Blake Hill House is big. Really big. At over 4600 square feet, the size borders on ridiculous vs. functional. Over the past three years, we have made a lot of progress stabilizing, updating, and thoughtfully remodeling. Thanks in part to all of you who read this blog, we stay motivated to continue working through the joys and difficulties of owning a house that is over 130 years old.
Now that our progress is actually visible, invariably, people ask the question: Are you done? My answer of “no” almost always triggers these next questions: What percentage have you finished? How much is left?
In other words: How done are we?
My inability to answer these questions is wholly unsatisfying to the asker, but alas, I do not have a more specific answer. We all know that the upkeep of a house is ongoing, and no one ever hits 100%, dusts off their hands with dramatic flair, and declares that “There shall be no more work henceforth.” That said, I will attempt to shed a little light on what’s left and answer the question of, How done are we?
Roofs & Rot
In 2015, we paid for a new roof on the uppermost portion of BHH. Now, we still need a new roof on both porches and above the leaded glass window in the dining room.
(Photos from 2016)
Currently, I am still negotiating with a contractor for the roof rot, gutters, and flashing under the sleeping porch.
Also, there is that problem with the drainage. Unfortunately, I have zero status reports on the ditch. We will get new gutters before winter, and that will solve most of the problem. In fact, it is possible that we might not even need a ditch once we have gutters. Fingers crossed.
Finally, the chimney on the back of the house is still falling down at a rate of two brick chunks per winter. How’s that for a measurement?
Started, but not complete:
Untouched Rooms and Spaces:
- The upstairs halls
- The main bathroom
- One upstairs bedroom & adjoining bathroom
- The breakfast nook
- Most of the closets (9 total)
- The foyer & staircase
- The interior of the sleeping porch
- The interior of the front porch
- The master bedroom
Also, we still have a green carpet situation:
Even though we do not like the carpet even a little bit, it protects the stairs and the floors. Lastly, we still have painting to do everywhere, and when that is done, it will be time to start over.
- Remove acoustic tile ceiling from the guest room, laundry room, bedroom, and sun porch
- Window restoration (8-10 windows, at least)
- Fix cracked and broken balusters on the grand staircase
- Refinish the floors downstairs (About 1500 square feet)
- Rebuild the porch under the street side entrance
- Repair and paint the sagging ceiling of the main porch
Even though seeing these lists in full is exhausting, we really have come so far in just three years. Most importantly, BHH is now stable. She is not falling down on our watch. Also, we have managed to strike a pretty decent balance between projects we have to do vs. projects we want to do.
So, how done are we? Who knows? While there are many days that I wish I was only decorating instead of repairing or vice versa, BHH truly is a labor of love, and it is hard to put a percentage on that.