After the first several weeks of feeling pulled in every direction when we got to the house, we started saying this to each other. No, We aren't really going to eat an elephant! This phrase kept going through my head. Funny, how absolutely true this is. Every single thing needs attention. We knew that...but getting in the house and really taking some time, it started to sink in, EVERYTHING! BTW, - it's one bite at a time.
Time to focus, and put our plan into action. What was the plan anyway? Oh yes, first clean up the rubble, so we can stand back and get a look at what the elephant really looks like, and get a glimpse into what this house can truly be. Over 40 kitty litter buckets later, (so old kitty litter buckers are great! Find someone, like we did, that has a bunch. The kind with handles and lids are awesome.) We have used them for years to store everything from animal feed, to shed stuff, and now plaster rubble to the dump, and water to flush the toilet.
Ok, so this elephant is really big! And there are, of course, even more issues than even we through careful inspection and lots of knowledge realized - but, we also expected that going in, so it wasn't a complete surprise. Now, it was time to organize and prioritize our reno plan, and schedule what "bite" to eat first.
What became the first priority? The box gutters were the culprit for at least the majority of the damage to the house, walls, plaster, floors, and windows. Box gutters are different than gutters on houses today. They are found on older homes from the 1800's to early 1900's. Box gutters were made from wood and integrated into the roof overhang, trimmed out with wood, and lined with anything from steel, to copper. When you look up at a house with a box gutter you can't see it, only a nice overhang, that blends into the architecture of the house. Our box gutters failed due to years of neglect. Holes in the metal lining caused the wood facia and trim to rot, which in turn shot the water not down through down spouts, but down into the walls. Repairing the gutters so that they function again will be a new challenge for Jeff. Once the lining is repaired, then the rotted wood trim can be replaced. The bottom side of our facia boards is beadboard. So Cool! Of course, someone came in and covered the entire box gutter in a plain sheet of aluminum siding, which hides so many beautiful trim features of the house. That will all eventually be restored, and brought back to its original character.
Check out Jeff's detailed video of the first "bite" into repairing the damage to our historic foursquare.
Thanks for joining us on our journey!