Birch Log Cabin

Birch Log Cabin

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adirondack Style

There is a lot to do and see in Bridgton. On a recent Sunday we took a long walk through the woods and toured an adirondack style home on Highland Lake-with permission of the owner, of course. At the turn of the 20th century it was built as - and remains - a summer property.

We came upon the boat house first. It's steep green roof and deep eaves hovers on the water like it has just landed. Next up were the changing rooms. The whole structure is built from stacked birch logs - row after row. The doors completely disappear into the walls. We walked along the lake and came to front of the main house.

As one would expect, it was securely prepared for the winter months. The trim boards were simple and painted green. Large window openings with two-over-two sashes look out at the lake. The double entry door and double screen door - centered on the large porch is made of a narrow, vertical beadboard. On a side deck there was a sweet handrail made from timber posts and twigs.

As you walk down the sloped property to the back- the house gets taller and more complex. Multiple roof peaks and three large chimney's appear. The weathered shingles
mix with the newly replaced shingles in random a pattern. We were trying our best to figure out the interior room configuration. The interior tour will have to wait until summer.

Keep checking back for Adirondack Style- Part-two.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Everybody Loves Indie*

We have one very special kitty-cat. She travels with us everywhere. It started with to-and-from our studio. She has also been to The Ryan's for dinner; to Sunapee, NH for the annual cook-out; and to sleep-overs at my mom's condo.

She is particularly fond of The Little Brick House. Her eyes feast on birds, wild turkeys, skunks, and early-morning foxes. She made friends with a little spunky chipmunk and brought him into the house to introduce us-twice.

She loves chasing, catching, and sometimes eating, bugs. She is so fast, bugs really don't have a chance. Indie can bring down a fly in 30 seconds.

She is an indoor cat, but, we bring her outside, occasionally. Sometimes in the crate. Sometimes on a leash. Sometimes on our shoulders.

Indie has a new best friend at the studio. Greta Pannebaker is a sweet and gentle rescue dog who-like everyone we know-loves Indie. The first time they met, we could tell theirs was a special bond.

Indie was rescued by a good citizen in July 2010. She was about 8 weeks old and had a wound of unknown origin. She was quarantined for six months. My sister, Dr. Kathy, and others at the Park Place Veterinary Hospital** loved her big personality and knew she needed a fun and active home. Thanks, Kathy, we love Indie!

*Short for Independence...she was found on July 5th.
**in Keene, NH.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hello Barn

We finally said Buh-bye to our c.1998 Florida Room*. Bill dismantled it piece by piece in late August and our go-to guy, Gordon, carted it away with hopes to re-install it or re-sell it. This de-installation will give the interior of the future Family Room a much better view to the yard as well as additional natural light.

The west elevation of our house is rid of its unsuitable appendage...the vinyl siding is gone…and we can now see the barn. What a beautiful thing. After Bill stripped and prepared everything-and figured out how he wanted it to look, our neighbor, Ed Somers**, came back to help us.

Bill also cut away two-thirds of a very well-built deck...and saved one third of it for our future screen porch. This will be a very nice place for Indie the cat to sit and dream, and a very nice place for us, too.

The door opening will remain as is...and be replaced with a large window. The new siding is vertical barn board, made of pine. It has a finely textured surface. It will remain natural for now. Why decide now when we can decide later? The opening will remain, but, be a window rather than a door (because the furniture plan will work better this way). Trust me.

*We saw the Florida Room like the c. 1980 microwave we bought with the house-
not much of an asset.
**Check for Ed Somer's name in '09 archives.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Auction Block

In August, we experienced our first auction. It was held at a beautiful estate called White Farm. Bill and I visited the preview and met the auctioneer-he advised us to know the items we were interested in and what we want to spend on them-and everything will be fine...and not to get emotional-there is no crying at auctions. (I am paraphrasing here).

There were three auction “areas”; under the white tent (fine antiques and collector’s items; in the barn (small wares and accessories, mostly boxed); and along the left side of the driveway (larger household items and lawn and outdoor equipment).

We walked around an enormous barn and looked at over-filled boxes of stuff. I kept our shopping list for the Little Brick House in mind. I saw a couple of small, metal, decoupage lamps and an interesting teal blue crackle-glazed vase. Bill liked the box of old brass hooks, and another filled with miscellaneous copper wares.

The tent display was more refined, and had rows of folding wood chairs-some were reserved with the next day attendees. There was great artwork, beautiful furniture,
quilts and blankets, and, if you can believe it, a dismantled paneled staircase. We liked a shaker bench, a painted blue blanket chest; a wrought iron garden bench and a couple of pieces of art. We didn’t have a lot of hope of bringing any of it home.

I arrived back the next day at 730am and signed in to get a number. The barn sale began at 8am. I was very excited, but, tried not to show it. I didn’t want to look like a novice- just like gamblers at a casino, you don’t see many smiling faces at an auction. I bid on more items than I ever expected to, and thankfully, I was out-bid many times. I did take home a lot of great items including the lamps, the copper stuff, the brass hooks, and an unframed painting from the under the white tent.

Box of dirty old brass hooks- 25 dollars; two decoupage lamps- 5 dollars; unframed painting of a European street scene- 45 dollars; experiencing my first auction-priceless!

Second Life

We own two homes now. A weekday home and a weekend home. It is twice the work and double the fun.

Cooking, house-cleaning, laundry---those domestic tasks don't go away. Doing laundry is a weekly challenge. Our bags fill the VW to capacity and give Indie* a nice big cushion for the long car ride. Thank goodness for Squeaky Clean.**

Weekends exist for us to relax and unwind-but, who does that anyway? A change of scenery is good for the soul. Bridgton is a great place to be if you choose to renovate a home. We work a lot and relax a little. A late afternoon at the lake can't be beat after a do-it-yourself project.

Our home, much like our design work, is a work in progress. We like to create things in our minds. We like to make things with our hands. And we like the process of them coming together.
We anticipate the end, but, we are enjoying the work as we go.

*Our sparky cat, Independence.
**the local laundromat that accepts drop-offs

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Spring Thing

It was a long winter...but, I am still not quite ready for spring. There is so much pressure to have a good-looking, or at least respectable-looking yard. (I am not ready to use that 6-letter word, garden.) Please keep in mind that I am an "interior" designer.

Now that spring is here, our time is divided between indoors and outdoors. Not to mention, at the Kimball's...hiking...antiquing, and etc. We have decided that we are on the 5-yr plan...which means we have 2.5 years left to go!

Bill has made a lot of progress in the kitchen. Beams, floor, walls, trims...all ready for paint. I have contributed some---mostly lunch, the social calendar, and keeping Indie the cat occupied abnd out of the way. Summer is on the way. We are gearing up for a lot of weekends at the lake.

A Dedication

Life happens. I wish I could see into the future. I would have taken a few minutes to say three little words. I would like to dedicate this blog to Larry Malfy and Gerard Reilly, two family members who died too soon and are greatly missed.

Larry, a dedicated and loving husband to my cousin Patricia, passed away suddenly on January 26th. He was a thoughtful and caring man. The first to greet you at the door and to ask how everything was going. He loved home projects and naturally always asked us about "The Little Brick House." Larry loved being with family. He took care of everyone and everything. I would like to dedicate this page to Larry for his love of home and family.

Gerry, a very dear uncle with a great big heart, died at home on April 6th. He supported this old house venture in many ways, with a birdhouse for the yard, local restaurant cards for lunch, and all sorts of greeting cards to our PO Box in which he said, "I feel like I am really getting my money's worth by sending these all the way to Maine!". People were always laughing when Gerry was around. I would like to dedicate this page to my Uncle Gerry for the many gifts he gave to all of us.