So, we know a guy. And he's renovating a 1902 house on Schiller Park in German Village. And he's retained all of the historic character of the place, and re-arranged some parts and restored others back to their glorious past. And the place is looking fabulous so far. And when it was all said and done, he had various and sundry pieces and parts left over. A couple doors here, a stack of window crowns there, and framing and molding and lintels and such. And this darling man offered to let us pick through them and see what we could take for use in our own house. And this evening after work we did just that. Jim led us down to the basement where his contractors had neatly stacked all of the leftover trim and doors and told us to "have at it." We were permitted to load anything into the VW van that we thought we could use.
We started with the doors. We thought we'd start easy with a little (thinner than the others) 6-panel door. It is THE heaviest door I have ever carried. Jim delighted in informing us "That's because it's quartersawn old growth red oak!!!" (This was the first, but not the last time we would hear that accolade throughout the venture! In fact, it was intoned any time he thought we were wavering about taking a piece "but it's quartersawn old growth red oak! You can't find that anymore! Your trim guy will figure out something to do with it!) It took Eric and I carefully maneuvering it up the stairs and around corners to the car moving VERY slowly and extra cautiously to avoid dinging Jim's newly stained trim. Two more six-panel doors and a french door were all (of the doors) we could fit. We are happy to report that no trim was damaged during the door transplanting.
Next, our eyes fell upon a stack of window crowns and LIT UP! Every window crown in our house was looonnnggg gone. We know that they were there once upon a time because their imprint was left on the old wallpaper and plaster. We gleefully loaded them all into the van and noted that they were perfect for our place as our home is the same era (1903ish) as Jim's. Next up was piece upon piece of framing for the windows and doors. At this moment Jim had the brilliant idea to open the basement window and feed the trim out of it and straight to the car....perfect. Halfway down the pile we discovered two very long, perfect crown pieces..."What were these for?" I inquire...figuring they were so awesome that we'd figure out SOMETHING to do with them..."Those were over the pocket door, silly!" says Jim...WOO-HOO!!! (Yes, that deserved three exclamation points!) Assuming they fit, we've got original crowns for the ones we uncovered! And the casing for the pocket doors was there too (was)...and many door frames (ciao)...and baseboard trim (sayonara)...and a large pile of lintels (gone). And the marvelous James donned jeans and a t-shirt and spent over an hour helping us load it all into the van (we think he was sneaking extra stuff in there he wanted rid of too). Tis good to have friends. THANKS JIM!
"I'm giving you a two minute head start and then I'm calling the police and tell them you were raiding my house!" (They never caught up to us so we assume he was kidding or he forgot!)
We headed straight for the house and unloaded it all into the living room. And this night visions of lovely historic old growth quartersawn red oak trimming our windows and doors will dance in our heads.