the all-seeingeyeMcAllaster House-Second Floor Renovation

Original corner post construction

The framed opening to the left will become a built-in dresser.

Framing for closet

Skylight opening.

Remains of original siding in west attic space.

January 2, 2007

It's good to get back to my job-so I can catch up on my rest. I spent the holiday week working twelve hour days on the house. The framing is finished, wiring roughed in, and insulation begun.

It's not often I get to examine the "bones" of the original house. This project gave me an opportunity to study its construction and shed some light on the order in which it was built. There has been a long-standing controversy over whether or not the wings were built at the same time as the central part of the house. There are folks in town who are quite invested in the idea that the wings were added later. I once received a dressing down for having the audacity to disagree.

It's apparent from some old photos, paint shadows, and the framing of the knee walls that the wings no longer have their original roof lines. Whether the wings were hip or gable roofed will never be known-though a hip roof is far more likely for a Greek Revival house. While I had the attic spaces open, I stuck a camera into them, and discovered some of original siding was still in place. The angle of this siding is evidence of a roof line that drops to the level of the eaves just behind the chimney. From this it appears that the side wings were part of the original construction, but were only about half as deep as previously thought. This would explain the commonly held belief that the wings were added later. Rather than being added later, they were extended.

I've known for some time that the only way to finally settle the question will be to get into the crawl spaces and dig down to see how the footings interlock. As a claustrophobe, I really don't want to be sticking myself into those eighteen inch spaces. But I know I'll have to eventually. There is some plumbing I want to replace down there, and I'd really like to lay down a moisture barrier and insulate the perimeter of the footings some day.

The story continues . . .