Turning the Page

Invariably, there are those times when (un)expected surprises create more work than originally anticipated. Our most recent opportunity for this phenomenon was under one of the windows in the Kitchen Annex.

Water leaking in the window had swollen and rotted the plaster below one corner. The bad plaster was excised and all looked well for a small repair (see “Back to the Future” for a photo).

But, while working on the window sill, it was apparent that the water had been coming thru a gap between the sill and stool. (Window geek speak here.) After removing the apron and stool, we could tell that the cause of the water leakage was that the sill had not been angled correctly.  Normally, the sill in a window will be tilted 5-10 degrees to shed water to the outside of the window.

We raised the back of the sill and screwed a ledger to the frame for support. But, much of the lath under the window was loose and there was more plaster damage revealed.

Window frame repair and much larger plaster hole

The remainder of the window restoration is pretty much going according to plan. The frame has been completely scraped, sanded and primed. The glass has been removed from the sashes. And the sashes scraped and sanded.

Window sash before restoration


Removing paint from window sash

Christmas Escape, 2006

For the Christmas holidays, Carole wanted to get out of town so we went to Charleston. A surprising number of other people, most from out of state or other countries, made the same choice.

We stayed at one of the small inns in the old section of downtown. The inn was 2 blocks from the Market and about 5 blocks from the harbor. On Christmas�day, we�visited Patriot’s Point and Fort Moultrie. Although both parks were closed, a good bit was still available for sightseeing.

DeShawn relaxing on Christmas morning

Carole looking out the window from our room

The weather was balmy, windy and drizzling…my favorite weather for the beach. Thus, the best picture from 3 days:

DeShawn at Fort Moultrie beach, high tide on Christmas day

For a slideshow of all our pictures, click here. For a higher resolution version, click here.

Back to the Future

As we close in on Christmas at 118 Henry Street, we are also closing in on the 1920’s in the kitchen annex. With the walls and wood trim sanded back to the original finishes and the windows being restored, the only obstacle to circa 1921 is the linoleum covering the wood floor. Likely, we will let it lie to protect the pine boards until the room is nearly complete.

Sanding the walls is a big chore but it does several positive things for the restoration. First, and foremost, it cleans the walls of all loose paint, grease, dirt, and other remnants of occupant history intermediate to the first owners and ourselves. Secondly, it smooths out the finish, eliminating all the paint droplets, smoothing nail holes, gouges, etc. Lastly, using a coarse 60 grit on the wall creates a tooth to which the� plaster skim coat can adhere.

Kitchen Annex with sanded walls and trim

Way big, old fashioned windows are one of my primary attractions to old houses. Natural light, available at all times of the day and all seasons of the year, is hard to come by in most newer houses. Consequently, window restoration was one of the first techniqes I acquired after moving to Henry Street. John Leeke’s HistoricHomeWorks.com was, and is, invaluable for anyone concerned with restoration and preservation of old houses.

My old fashioned, double sash windows can be completely disassembled, repaired and re-installed in about 8 hours each. Here is a picture of the disassembled window frame and a shot of the sash weights normally hidden inside the wall cavity.

Window on the mend

Old fashioned sash weights

After the holiday, we have a few days off from work that should finish the windows.

For now, hope you have a good holiday!