Our house is old. When I say old, I mean old, old. Like real old, old, old.
We’re not sure when it was built, or when the first part of it was built, but as restoration/renovation has progressed we’re fairly certain it started out as a two-room cabin, probably located somewhere else and moved to the hill upon which it now sits.
Those two rooms are perched on termite-welcoming blocks cut from ancient tree trunks. Replacement of those entails GI Joe type belly crawling. I’m working on it. Too much belly right now!
After the initial two rooms, we feel fairly sure that the third room was added across the breezeway making it still a two-room house, but a dogtrot style with the breezeway becoming open for the trot. I feel like the breezeway, or the smaller room of the first two rooms, was originally enclosed because the interior wall between it and the third room is one layer of vertical, wide virgin pine boards painted green (the old outside wall) overlaid with pine bead board that is now painted yellow and is our bedroom. Much of it was not painted before restoration.
At the time that room was added, there was a separate free-standing kitchen located to the back left. Later the kitchen was connected to the other part of the house by a third room that was never walled up completely inside, and still shows the dirt dauber markings of being a back porch. Probably a covered porch leading to the kitchen. That porch later served as a bedroom. Maybe they built as the babies were born, I don’t know for sure.
At some point, probably when the dining room was added, the dogtrot turned back into an enclosed area now the foyer with a bedroom off one side and a living area/bedroom off the other. That remains the same today except the living room is no longer also a bedroom. Unless, that is, we have too much company which hasn’t happened since pre-pandemic times. Actually no company since pre-pandemic times.
After the dining room was added a third bedroom was added leaving the small porch/bedroom and kitchen on one side of the dining room and the “new” bedroom on the other.
The final change came when indoor plumbing was introduced and part of the last bedroom and part of the dining room were taken in for a bath complete with water heater, tub/shower, toilet and sink.
It’s complicated, but I’ve spent enough time GI Joeing underneath, working on plumbing and leveling (which is never going to happen) to see the different floor patterns and brick verses tree trunk footings; been up in the attic enough before the new metal roof was put on trying to find leaks; and spent enough time widening and replacing doorways as well as rotted wood to come up with my theory.
Every room addition I’ve described is also made from a different kind of wood. The old porch/bedroom is vertical wide rough cut planks on what was the outside wall and unfinished heart of pine on the wall that now connects it to the kitchen. The dining room is painted pine boards and the last room is a combination of wood types, with a lower ceiling made of tongue and groove wood planks.
The bath is made out of...well I’m not sure what the bath is made out of. That’s another project.
The strangest part, if there is a strangest part of those strange parts, is that up in the attic it appears that the entire roof, at some point was taken off and rebuilt as one new piece covering the whole kit and kaboodle. That is if most, if not all, of my theory about the rest of the place is correct. Picture that!
I say strangest of strange, however, because there have been some strange things uncovered during restoration that leave me wondering how, why, what in the world?
One was that green wall inside that other wall that I found while cutting out a hole for a light switch. There is also a funky ladder flat against the wall used to access the attic, that you’d have to curl your toes around and hang on tight like a monkey to make work, but that’s always been there. The really weird reveal was a fishing rod I found inside the door facing of that last back bedroom.
Until last week!
Last week, just when I thought nothing stranger could happen, I was hanging a very dusty, old mirror bought at auction, on the wall in the porch/bedroom which now serves as a dressing room/laundry room/pantry.
After I hung the mirror I noticed that it was so dirty that there was no reflection at all, so I went and grabbed some paper towels and the Windex from the kitchen, and commenced to cleaning it up. As I wiped, and wiped, a face appeared of a very old man that looked somewhat like my grandfather. The man in the mirror was kind of spooky looking, so I looked away thinking it an apparition.
Come to find out there is no doubt that it was just that, because when my wife got home I told her what I had seen and she said when she looked into that very same mirror she saw a beautiful young woman.
Hmm, I suppose an old, old, old, house affects people in different ways. Never thought about it messing with the eyesight, though!