I popped by the house the other day and was a little taken aback to see it as a shell (literally) of its former self. There it was, almost naked on a very cold, gray, New England winter day. The siding had been stripped away, revealing haphazardly placed darkened wood. Where there were once windows, there were now gaping holes that stared back at me like empty eye sockets. Partly because of the historic restrictions on changing the facade and partly because our contractor had suggested the windows would go in the previous week, I just hadn’t been expecting the bare bones that I came upon as I rounded the corner of our street and glanced the house for the first time in weeks. To give you a sense of the change, I quickly sent a photo of the house to my partner and it was so different that at first he didn’t even recognize it.
And yet, as I wandered around the site, squelching through mud and trampling the small crunchy mounds of snow, I felt a little excited. I think it’s because it felt like they had pared everything back to the basics, right down to the studs, and this meant that from here on out it will be all about construction. No more demolition and no more discoveries of idiosyncratic foundations and water drainage systems. From this week forth it’s all about building it back, and building it new; making a home for this city family out in the suburbs.
We returned the next day as a family and with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in tow. Everyone shared my astonishment at what the house had been reduced to, but we all had a good time walking around and gawking at the sight before us. The exciting thing for me was that even in 24 hours I could see a lot of progress. No longer were the exterior walls totally bare, they were being covered with plywood as we watched. And the gaping, empty window frames had been covered over to protect everything from the elements. As you can see in the photo below, objectively the house actually looked worse than the day before, but I couldn’t help but be excited by the obvious changes from one day to the next.
It was also such fun to watch Little L wander around and explore this new environment. He was tickled pink to see the area where his new bedroom will be, had a zillion questions about the new kitchen, and loved just watching the carpenters doing their thing. Here he is, enjoying the view from one of the new window frames:
I’m hoping to get back to the house in two to three weeks to see the windows in place. I wonder if there’ll be new siding at that point too? Fingers crossed!