This past February while warm and balmy elsewhere in the country, was the coldest on record for Rochester. In addition to this we were denied our typical mid-season thaw, so I did not see my grass from early January until only a week ago. However, being relegated to inside did not keep us from working on the house (there are always things to do).
The ongoing saga of stripping the kitchen cabinetry continues with one pair of upper cabinet doors left to be done. We finally settled on restoring the cabinetry to a painted finish with a stained oak counter, however the original paint color of “canary yellow” will not be used. We have also been having an ongoing debate as to the material finish of the kitchen floor, from painted subfloor to ceramic tile, cork to hardwood. I have slowly convinced Kit that we should try to restore the floors original appearance of diamond checkerboard linoleum tile. There are still several companies that manufacture linoleum tire, one in particular, “Marmoleum” by Forbo is an environmentally conscious product that is very close to the composition of old linoleum tile (just without the asbestos).
As luck or fate would have it MPLMP had its fair share of additional water problems. As I mentioned above, we never got our mid-season thaw and because of that the snow that fell remained on the roof for months slowly but surely turning into massive ice dams (there is no/little insulation in the attic). The ice dams then began to cause every northeastern homeowner’s nightmare by pushing water – of the roof and underneath shingles. Long story short the freshly restored plaster in the vestibule closet became so saturated with water by the time I discovered it that you could wipe the plaster off the wall with your fingers as if it was freshly brushed paint. I quickly called Kurt at CSTM Corporation, and he was able to rush out a few men from his crew to my house the following morning. They made quick work of the large ice dam over the front door, and with a fan to circulate the interior air, everything was relatively dry after a week. I will still need to have Mike Dube come over again this summer to do some touch up work, as well as repairs elsewhere in the house, but I am grateful that it was not much, much worse. Needless to say this caused us to have a much-needed reassessment of repair/improvement priorities. We will now be insulating the attic floor in lieu of rebuilding the chimneys this year.
In addition to the ice damn, leaking valves were the name of the game during the early months of 2015. The deterioration of the hot water valve and connections on the kitchen faucet accelerated, motivating me to quicken the search for a more appropriate and high quality replacement faucet. We also decided to go all in and get a replacement for the odd and dripping bathroom faucet upstairs. The faucet manufacturer we settled on was Stromb Plumbing out of California. They make beautifully crafted historically appropriate faucets and plumbing accessories, which far out class the normal offerings seen in the big box home improvement stores. Historic Houseparts and their subsidiary Period Bath Supply were most helpful in custom ordering the necessary parts and finishes to nearly match the 1928 Standard Plumbing faucets that would have been in the house. I am so glad that Rochester has the privilege of having such dedicated and extensive old house part stores for preservation nuts like me. We have yet to install them, as there were a few delays with the custom ordering and they finally arrived just a few days ago.
We have been doing a fair amount of window shopping and antiquing. We just recently picked up a beautiful craftsman style chair that we suspect is an antique L&JG Stickley piece. Perhaps just as exciting (to me at least) was our discovery of a whole matching set of antique brass switch and plug plates as well as…an unpainted, unadulterated version of our bedroom light fixtures. I had attempted to strip the paint off of one of fixtures this summer and discovered the coppery undercoat. I cannot wait until we can restore all of our bedroom fixtures now that we have a reference to do so.
And last, but not least, MPLMP has officially been determined eligible as being individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. My draft nomination is being reviewed by staff at the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The only catch is that the vinyl siding needs to be removed from the front of the house, as an act of good faith, and documented before final submission to the National Parks Service in August. Stay tuned for the excitement and hard work that will ensue this later spring and summer!