Dream House

I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford to build myself a new house (well...perhaps myself and the bank). Having been to several 3rd world countries and knowing that there are lots of people in the world who don't even have housing, I felt a few pangs of guilt about this. I had a decision to make: rehab the old or build new. The cost to rehab my old house was going to be substantial. It was October of 2009. My husband had passed away in August from liver cancer. I was in the depths of grief and sorrow. I needed a project. I decided that if I had to plunk down a lot of money anyway, it was better to build new. I also decided that if I was going to build new, I was going to build green. My new house will be both beautiful and "green". I will share the journey and the adventure with you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good Bye Old House: Part Two: Tear Down

     D-Day (destruction day) for the old house was February 15, 2010. Mother nature produced weather that  was befitting of saying good bye. It was gloomy, foggy, and it was snowing. Caroline was able to be with me (Colleen was busy with Vet school in Madison). We shed some tears as we took a final walk through the house...now missing windows doors, piping, sinks, and furniture. There were large holes in the walls. The remains of the blinds on the windows that were left were hanging askew. Snow had drifted through the open windows and onto the floors. We rescued a cherished poetry book of Rory's called the Vagabound's House that somehow got left behind. So many memories, so many stories those walls held.   
    Our good friend and neighbor, Mary Wrasse, was there too. Mary was the first neighbor to come over when we first moved in, casserole in hand, and with a big  smile on her face. She acted as a grandmotherly figure to Caroline and Colleen as they grew up. They often went over there after school where she would have cookies ready for them.  Eventually, her daughter and son in law, Katie and Pat Grasley,  purchased her house, tore it down and rebuilt a beautiful home. When we needed to warm up during the tear down process, we went over to the Grasley home.         
     As we waited for things to happen, Mary laughingly told stories of the original owner of our house. The bay our house was situated on is named after the owner. It is called Streich's Bay. The Streich brothers lived out on the point of the land sticking out from the bay, until one winter, after an argument, Chuck Streich got mad and moved his house across the ice  to its present location.  It started out as a small cottage, and grew as the years went by. There are the remains of old wooden wagon wheels lining the south side of our property. This was the business of the Streich family. They made wagon wheels. Chuck Streich used them to mark the property line. After the Streich family, a a couple of other families, in their turn,  moved in. One of them  added the large garage and grew worms in there...worms that were sent to places like UW Madison that used them in experiments.  We moved into the property during August of 1990. We had moved from the Chicago area. We had rented a house there, unable to find a property that we could afford. We considered it a near miracle to be able to buy a home on a lake on 3/4 of acre for about $94,000. We did a lot of work to the old house, too, while we were there, but I was ready for a transformation.                                                                             
      With the Grasley's home as an example of what can be done when you build new, Caroline and I said good bye to the old house.  Jamey and his crew did their final preparations. This included Jamey's making a hole in the roof and pulling out an old trough, probably close to 100 years old. He said it looked like the roof had been flat at one time and they used the trough to collect rain water. When it came time to add the current roof, for some reason they just build over the trough rather than remove it. This is what we had seen when we would peek up into our attic--we were never quite sure what it was, but now it came out into the daylight, the first time in many, many years. I plan to save the trough, and will probably use it to collect rainwater again. I also made them save some of the foundation stone and will use it in some landscaping.

Old wagon wheel along the property line from the original ownersof the property, the Streich family

Jamey is up on the roof, taking the old trough out of of the attic after sawing a hole in the roof

The landfill sorts out anything that can be recycled. All the wood gets chipped.

Back to square one

1 comment:

  1. I never heard about the trough, I love that!
    and I'm enjoying your blog, Kristin, and all the photos. Great job!