Friday, May 29, 2015

Abandoned Beauty

This Abandoned Beauty in Wisconsin is soon to be reincarnated in Minnesota! 
 I have recently had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my sister-in-law. She invited me to help her salvage this house that has been abandoned for decades and is falling down.   I am guessing the house was built in the 1850's or 1860's and the porch was added much, much later.  With the roof caving in and the brick falling from the sides I don't anticipate it will last much longer, but at least some of it's beauty will live on for years to come!
This fabulous house had arched brick work above every window and the windows facing the front and main parlor side of the house had beautiful carved pediments!
The same pediments were above the doors and windows hidden by the unsightly porch, though painted a more creamy color.
  In addition to the pediments, the bay window had the cutest little corbels above them. 

 I didn't notice until I lined them up for photos but the pediments were a little different in that the center on these had more of a floral round, versus the star round on the rest of the house.                  

Remember the arched attic window?
That was an arduous adventure!  We put the extension ladder in the bed of the pick up and backed up to the house.  It reached perfectly! I got the trim off, but...the window was resting up against the brick from the inside.  I REALLY wanted that window so I vowed to crawl up in the attic, after we finished everything else.  It came out pretty turned out the window was actually just a square window like all the rest.  But with the rounded brickwork and some added wood, it looked arched from the outside. I will have to do some thinking on how to reuse it in its current state because the trim goes around the white outline, not on it.

While I was in the attic I found this sweet Valentine card

 Now for the inside of this clearly had been a rental home in it's final days, and someone with kids just took off and left EVERYTHING behind.  Garbage bag after garbage bag of stuffed animals, toys, photos, boxes of Christmas decorations and personal belongings...much of it soaked with moisture from the collapsed and leaking roof.  It broke my heart to imagine the scene, and the thought of some kids out there losing all they had known and loved.
Back to the salvaging...obviously someone had already been in and done the salvaging of the doorway and window woodwork in the parlor to the left of the stairs, but it was intact in the right parlor...though disgustingly wet and moldy.  Did that stop us?  Nope!
The trim in this room was very ornate and fluted with rosette corner blocks. Due to the moisture the paint was nearly all flaked off revealing the beauty of the wood underneath.
(Watch for future posts to see the woodwork restored and reused!) 
My sister-in-law and her husband had done a little work before I got involved in the process so I didn't get action photos of the deconstruction. 
They removed a 3 footed clawfoot tub propped up on bricks,
2 old sinks...
Several doors. 
Check out these doors close up!  Wood mortise and tenon construction, rim locks (on the other side of the door...will try to get a photo added here), incredible hinges
porcelain knobs and ornate locks plates
HUGE square nails held everything together.  See below photo for the comparison of the old square finish nail versus current finish and framing nails.
Continuing with the arched motif, the newel post and stair railing from upstairs...the staircase itself was enclosed...darn.


Every closet had several acorn schoolhouse coat hooks and wire hooks.
Bead board wainscot and arched heat registers round off the last of the salvage.

I am always drawn to and feel such love for historic homes and the days of old.  I think I must have been an architect or carpenter in a previous lifetime.  I can't get enough of old architecture and architectural elements. Stay tuned to see how some of these beauties transform my plain, tiny 1940's house into a home with character!


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