Winter is over at Suzanne’s House

And the house is still standing!

Well, here it is April 2018 and we are still alive.  No, we haven’t frozen to death. Let’s just call it a “near death” experience. The old furnace still keeps rolling along. (it actually sounds like it’s rolling sometimes)

Today, April 11th and the place is sunny and a warm 34 degrees. Suzanne has taken to raking the lawn (or where it would be) to clean up  winter’s offerings. We have these big wind events and  all the garbage in Medina ends up in our yard.  It seems that way anyhow. We only lost a piece of siding from the back of the house. I hope its not the piece holding up the back of the house.

This winter I cleaned up the stairs  and added  a little bit of railing and woodwork at the top floor. There wasn’t any railing when we moved in.

I’m not much of a carpenter and at last I have the chance to prove it.

man with more dollars than sense

We added a door on the downstairs bedroom so  guests don’t have to walk through our bedroom to come downstairs.

We added lighter paint in the kitchen and some subway tile for looks.

We also added a little bead board  and paint in the white bedroom. The upstairs looks pretty nice for 1890.

“Putty and paint, makes it what it ain’t”
White room

Someday we’ll even have the bedroom doors close with handles and everything.

Oh, did I mention that, because we’ve grown so comfortable with freezing to death, we are leaving for a week in ICELAND! It’s funny really. The temperature has actually been higher there than here this winter. So it will feel like a caribbean vacation.!


August 2017 Update

At Last the kitchen is looking finished. Today, the last day in August, I finished the subway tile. By the way, tomorrow’s high is only in the 60’s~~~  




I didn’t get the porch done before Scott and his family arrived, but I have completed it while they are here. That’s close enough. Check out the old picture of the house from 60 years ago compared to the house now.

The house as seen in the 50’s

Check out how much different the front looks with a porch.

It’s done…


July Update

The porch is going up!

I know you’re checking out my legs. It’s Ok    ( the porch is NOT crooked. It’s the camera)


I can still walk and work , so we are continuing to have fun. Yes Sir!

First things first. The porch and steps are not crooked. It seems that Suzanne’s camera makes look that way. Yes, I do have a level.

Suzanne has been busy painting and cleaning the 2nd floor. The work evidently never ends.

Here are some pictures for all of our many viewers. (I think we’re up to 3 now)

We bought a table set and refinished it this month. it matches the house perfectly.

don’t look too close to the finish. I got a little carried away sanding.

The 2nd floor is shaping up. The back bedroom has been decorated and and painted. It also has a window A/C so, we’ll have to charge more for the room. ( kidding)

check out the original wallpaper.
on second thought….

The front bedroom still needs lots of work. (so I’m told) but it looks good to me. Suzanne can make anything look good. I ought to know.

It has original plaster holes. You can’t buy them anymore.

The bathroom turned out pretty good thanks to Suzanne. I would have probably just painted the old toilet and seat.

A room to rest in.

August is coming soon. hopefully we’ll have the porch semi-done before family arrives.

Oh yeah, We also painted our makeshift master bedroom. It’s really a living room. Perhaps it will be again someday.

no stairs needed.



Building a Porch

It’s  the second week in June and it’s the porch building season in western New York. The expression is “knee high by the 4th of July.” I know what it means. But I’m not raising corn, I’m raising a porch.

deck without railings or posts

Up until now the house had no porch.

Inspection of the foundation at the front reveals that it had one at one time, but that was long before anyone around here can remember.

I started by getting the permit. Always the best way to go.

I decided on a 6′ deep porch.  The porch will need 5- 42″ deep holes for the posts along the front. The house side of the porch will be attached to the original house foundation with a treated -wood ledger board.

Original 8×8″ foundation underneath the 2″ plank siding

This board is a 2×8 and is connected to an 8×8″ foundation beam with “ledger-Lok” screws. These are specially designed to put together large wood joints. The ones I used were 8″ long.

8″ screws

The screws have to be long enough to go through 3″ of double ledger board, 2″ of original plank siding  and at least 3″ into the foundation beam.

Then I set the 6×6″ posts into the holes being careful to keep them in a straight line. ( but not straight enough it turned out)


I set the posts with concrete on a poured concrete bottom after OK from the inspector.

Next I built the front beam on top of  the posts. These were 2×8’s screwed together from both sides. The joints in the wood  always land on the posts.

After  building the framework I covered the porch in TREX. Trex is a pvc wood-like product that looks just like wood. the benefit is that it is impervious to water. So, there will be no degradation of the wood due to freezing. (that’s what the ad said) I finished the porch bottom and trim on July 3rd. Tomorrow is the 4th and we’re going to Lyndonville for the parade and celebration.

The porch is definitely “knee high.”

It needs some bushes…


if you squint enough you can almost imagine a porch



We finally have a 2nd floor bathroom

I was beginning to think the house was whipping me. This  bath  renovation project has definitely eaten my lunch.

This little bathroom has taken so long. But we  have finally gotten to the point where we can see it done. (the bath…not the house)

To start with, from one end to the other the floor goes downhill 3″. That’s in only 7 feet! so we had no recourse but to build up the floor to make it level. This means we have a 3″ step into the room. Because of the low existing headroom, we had to  cut the door down to begin with and now, with the additional 3″ we have a 6′-3″ door. It feels a little like Mr. Baggin’s Hobbit house. But . . . . it works!

Now we are on to the 2nd floor bedrooms.

the existing plumbing is a nightmare.
just a whole bunch of “crazy”




finally, a kitchen

Kitchen Before

Well, it’s been ten weeks with NO kitchen and now it’s just about done.

I spent two of the most frustrating days of my life trying to install the “snap together” flooring from Home depot.  Eventually I realized that I would never be happy with the floor so, I took it all out and returned it to the store. They were very nice and gave us a full refund.  Then we had a local company come and install beautiful vinyl for the SAME PRICE! (live and learn)

We waited for 4 weeks for a piece of counter top for the sink area and when it arrived it was the wrong color. So, to keep my poor wife from a complete melt down I bought some from Home Depot and made do.

Kitchen after

It turned out OK.

We love the new sink. It’s 9″ deep, double compartment stainless. We could wash two babies at a time in the sink, except its about forty years too late. ( they no longer fit)

All that’s left now is some subway tile backsplash and  a little trim.


sink before
Sink after

Now it’s on to the second floor bathroom.!

The Living Room

The living room is still a work in progress. the window trim is not yet finished, but the picture is looking better. In the picture you can’t see the big screen TV. But don’t worry, I can see it fine from our new Lazy Boy couch. (it’s motorized, for truly lazy people like me)

living room before Suzanne’s touch
great place to sit and retire

Moving into our new digs


Unloading in Medina

The movers came on Tuesday and spent 6 hours loading everything we everything we had into the big truck. Juan, the driver, said it would all be in Medina on March 9th. He was right on time.



After the movers left we cleaned the house and hopped into our cars. Only then, as we drove west toward Winston-Salem did it really sink in. WE WERE REALLY DOING THIS!

We stopped in Winston- Salem for the night and rested up for the next day. Good thing we did.

On Wednesday, March 1st, we drove north toward West Virginia and ran into the worst fog I ever saw on an interstate. We couldn’t see 100 feet. As the trucks flew by, we just hung on and prayed. We hardly had time to get over that when we ran into a fast moving front that hit us with 50 mph sideways rain. It was a hair-raising adventure, even for a guy with no hair.

Our little home
It’s a little better now

We stopped in Washington, Pennsylvania for the night and rewarded our persistence with a big steak at Longhorn steakhouse.  The next day the weather was cold and snowy all the way to New York.  (Pennsylvania drivers are even worse than Florida). We arrived in Medina in the afternoon and immediately went to the house to see if our little abode was even liveable. It wasn’t.

So, we stayed  with Suzanne’s brother  for four days then moved into a bed and breakfast just up the street from SuzannesHouse. After  ten days of re-piping the water, building a laundry, building a makeshift kitchen and a long list of other items we moved in on March 13th.

$4.99 at Rudy’s
This is the best!

We have one working bathroom, a laundry room and a bedroom with no door. But we do have a new Lazy Boy couch. So things are looking up!

We installed new carpet, some paint and a little flooring.

I’ve changed my goal from “restoring” the house to just keeping it from “falling down.”

The real credit goes to Suzanne. She has the ability to take any place and make it a home. she is working constantly to make it more beautiful. It’s amazing –she’s amazing.