Wednesday, February 7, 2007
We got our trim fix off Route 66!
Not snow nor lack of electricity and zero heat (that was the temperature outside too!) could keep the Martineaus from their trek. Right after meeting with our architect and a potential contractor at the house, we headed out 33 past Marysville, west on 274 through tiny towns like Jackson Center (home of the Airstream) to Route 66! And just off this mythical byway was the little farmhouse from whence our legion of doors were rescued by a guy named Ben. It looked like it might be a picturesque venue in the daylight, with two adjacent barns and a pond, but it was hard to tell in the dark (we arrived at 7)! With demolition imminent (like, happening the next morning) we sought to remove any worthwhile remaining architectural details...primarily the trim. When we arrived our trusty guide, Ben, had already been working for an hour. He broke the bad news that with the demo (actually a burning) slated for the next day, not only was the electricity shut off to the house, but the owner had removed all of the windows as well. That made it an even colder undertaking! There were a ton of windows that were now just open cavities creating frigid crossbreezes throughout the house. A couple neighbors had apparently also wanted some trim and stripped the prime window casings and door crowns. We started in an upstairs bedroom and strategically placed our lanterns and flashlights to light our work area. Ben pulled a blanket from his car and tacked it over the window and the difference without the wind was remarkable. Upon arrival I speculated we'd last about an hour with the temperature, but once we started earnestly prying up the floor baseboard, we got the feeling back in our fingers! The routine went something like this: pop the quarter round off the base molding, wedge a screwdriver in behind the main piece for leverage, pound with hammer to create a space big enough for a prybar, work prybar down the row to get molding off wall, set piece aside and start on next wall. In each corner there were nifty little finish molding pieces that we saved a number of, especially from the closets at they were completely finished with floor molding too! So we hit the 3 rooms upstairs. Then Ben scavenged another door for us from the basement...which was a pretty good place to hang out (though a little sketchy getting down the rotting steps). Since it had no windows and was underground it felt remarkably "warm" by comparison, though I'm sure it was all of 30 degrees! I loaded all of the molding into the car while Eric finished the last room upstairs and Ben removed the basement door. Over the stairway to the 2nd floor, about 6 feet above the stairs, was an opening to the attic. Ben must have abnormally keen eyesight as he picked out the profile of a door in there twenty feet away with his flashlight. A plan was hatched to get Eric into the opening (it was 4-5 feet tall and 3-4 wide) via the "Ben Ladder." Ben braced himself on the stairway under the opening and Eric stepped onto his thigh then shoulder, then into the attic (pretty good teamwork for a guy we'd only briefly met through Craigslist - btw, did we mention he's a big guy?)! Eric carefully made his way along the beams toward the door Ben had spotted. On the way he found two more five-panel closet or cabinet doors for keeping that were passed out and down through the opening. Then a large five-panel interior door. There were also a number of glass windows, screens and a screen door frame that he looked at, but left. The whole "floor" was covered in 6" of foamy insulation (as was each door he saved). On his trek back, Eric spotted a door handle sticking out of the insulation. He went to collect it only to find it was still attached to a door...so out that came too (and that one has bee-yoo-tee-ful hardware!). We got Eric out of the attic and went to the remaining room on the first floor that needed the trim removed (and a hapless frozen-stiff sparrow). Thankfully (and inexplicably), the windows were still in that one, so it was "warmer"- until we took the door to the outside off. Its floor molding was slightly fancier, so maybe that had been a parlor. It also had a transom window that Ben rescued for me (the only one in the house). The first floor was significantly windier thus colder and about this time we decided we were "done." We loaded the trim from the 1st floor Ben had removed before our arrival into the van, wedged in the extra doors, paid the kind man (almost not as my pen was so frozen it wouldn't write a check), took a few pictures, removed the working outdoor thermometer as a souvenir and hit the road. It was 10 PM.