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The pictures barely begin to convey …

… the differences between Ye Olde Wreck, then and now.

The ground that sloped downward into the house, burying the foundation in forever-damp soil. The rot in that misbegotten extension. The shredded corner where some fool tore the exterior wall to its studs and attempted to prop up the failing structure with a single 4×4 post The soggy fiberboard. The plastic sheeting covering holes in the walls. The general dank, cobwebby, moldy, crumbing mess of it all.

And now the solid, leveled foundation of new treated 6 x6s. The ground graded flat. The hill held back by an attractive retaining wall. The new (and salvaged) siding. The glorious absence of decay. The delight of sitting in the new screen porch (as yet unscreened) as the summer sun filters through the trees.

Huge changes. Nearly a real house now. Still months to go on the finishing details, just on this back wing alone. Maybe years. But it’s strong and sturdy and beginning to develop a personality. No more scary wicked witch’s house, but a cozy cottage-to-be.

But no, the pictures don’t do the contrast justice at all.


  1. Joel
    Joel August 8, 2017 8:41 pm

    Yeah! Congratulations!

  2. Pat
    Pat August 8, 2017 9:53 pm

    Am still not sure where you found the guts to buy the house – and live in it – in the first place, but you’ve done a beautiful job. Take a bow.

  3. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran August 9, 2017 2:22 am

    Nice! Good work, Wandering Monk and Claire!

  4. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit August 9, 2017 3:05 am

    The pictures may not do justice to the improvement, but it sure looks amazing to me! Wonderful job!

  5. Kfk
    Kfk August 9, 2017 7:11 am

    Well done indeed!

  6. Benjamin
    Benjamin August 9, 2017 7:59 am

    You’ve worked hard to get it this far, what a difference!

  7. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas August 9, 2017 8:22 am

    Such an impressive project. On seeing this, no one gets to say “not possible.”

  8. Claire
    Claire August 9, 2017 9:54 am

    Thank you all! If I’d known what I know now, I might never have laid out that great big $10k to buy Ye Olde Wreck. But indeed after this experience, nobody gets to say “not possible.” (Even The Wandering Monk has mostly quit recommending taking a match to the place and I get to scoff at the contractors who told me to tear the place down.)

    The saving graces have been: generous donors, creative solutions, doing things over time, the Monk’s combination of smarts and low rates, and the fact that I can do most of the finishing work myself and serve as a moderately competent minion elsewhere.

    The fact that I didn’t actually have to live in that back wing, but spent the last four years mostly in the front of the house, was also a godsend. I’m figuring another 4-6 months before I move into the bedroom-to-be. You can bet, though, that I’ll be using the screen porch long before that.

  9. Comrade X
    Comrade X August 9, 2017 10:53 am


  10. MacGregor K Phillips
    MacGregor K Phillips August 9, 2017 11:28 am

    Very nice indeed!!! Well done.

  11. LibertyNews
    LibertyNews August 9, 2017 1:46 pm

    Wow! That’s quite a difference.

  12. jed
    jed August 9, 2017 1:53 pm

    I continue to be awed, amazed, appreciative, and even envious. And I do remember those pictures of the inside of the house, when you bought it.

  13. Claire
    Claire August 9, 2017 2:28 pm

    🙂 You think that’s a difference, wait ’til the west wall is a little closer to being finished and I drag out the photos of the evolution of that side of the house (where the infamous not-a-garage once was).

    So often to me it seems that everything is moving at the proverbial snail’s pace, and that ugly, broken things have been and will be ugly and broken forever. Often, too, I don’t have good photos of the transformations. But as I dug through all my house pix yesterday to find a before and after (well, before and during) for the north wall, I realized I had the whole history of the west wall. When that time comes, I’ll really show you something. 🙂

  14. larryarnold
    larryarnold August 9, 2017 10:12 pm

    Well done.

    Construction almost always takes more time than you think it will, and for renovation, double that.

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