Thomas and Zilpah Ludlam House (ca. 1790)

Thomas and Zilpah Ludlam House (ca. 1790)
Thomas + Zilpah Ludlam House, ca. 1790

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Finished, finally.

We got our "certificate of occupancy" (CO) on Monday July 17th after the building inspector looked closely at the wiring, plumbing, and fixtures now that the walls are up and the addition is done.  We really thought we'd have our CO about a month ago, but in June when we had our 4-year old well tested (a requirement since we put in a new septic system) it tested positive for bacteria.  Not e-coli, thankfully, but ordinary everyday bacteria like that found in plants and animals which often suggests a problem with the well.  The well guys discovered that the wiring into the submersible pump had not been sealed, which caused the problem. We had to chlorinate our well to destroy the bacteria, the missing seal was put in place, and then the well tested negative.   Phew!

It is a dream come true to have so much new space to fill and then decorate.  I finally got to use so many of the things I had packed away in our storage unit waiting for this.

The full bath, with its copper bowl, faucets, and sconces, is a nice size and was so convenient to have when my cousin, her husband, and two children visited two weeks ago.  They enjoyed the enclosed corner shower stall, which I discovered--too late--that I'd forgotten to caulk, causing leaks on the bathroom floor!  It's fixed now, though.

The laundry room is a pleasure and why wouldn't it be after 3 years of using the laundromat??  It's got a folding table, lots of hooks for mops & brooms, a slop sink, and we took the hanging cabinet that Scott made out the old kitchen and hung it in there for more storage.  You just cannot have enough storage, particularly in an old house.

The screened-in back porch gets a lot of use.  Scott built it out of red cedar that resists rot and will never need to be painted.  I expect it will weather beautifully.  The ceiling fan provides much-needed air flow on hot days and the brick floor (laid with antique brick) is beautiful.  We eat every meal out there when the temperatures allow.

The kitchen is spacious, well-organized, and has lots of storage.  We bought an antique dough trough that we use like a kitchen island and it works well for that purpose.  Again, more storage!  The table, placed in front of the bay window, offers views of the patio with its container flowers and our many hummingbird feeders.

The wood chest below the painting hides our recycling bins for paper and plastic.  Scott made it from recycled pine boards that had weathered to perfection.

My husband, Scott, did a phenomenal job framing and finishing the stairs.  It took him almost a week.  I hung a small, Civil War era quilt on the large blank white wall at the landing and I'm really pleased with how it looks.  It's from my mom's side of the family.   At the top of the stairs, an early 19th-century milk bench (bought on Ebay) topped with a decoy, stands under the small window that lights the hallway here.

Of the two rooms upstairs, the larger (over the kitchen) is my attic and is filled with "stuff" like Christmas decorations and business files moved out of our storage unit a month ago.  The smaller room, 7' wide, is a spare bedroom.  We installed a small antique mantel for decoration, brought in a ca. 1850 bed that my mom had false grained back in the '70s, and purchased an antique chest of drawers along with an antique chest to complete the room.  I love it!

We turned the former kitchen into our dining room and filled it with family pieces that had languished in storage for three years.  A 2-piece hutch, cut down by my paternal grandmother in the 1930s to fit in her house, was built about 1860 by my great-grandfather Berkey who was a carpenter in western Pennsylvania.  A hanging cupboard and a side board were built by my dad William Berkey in the 1960s and painted and decorated by my mom Ruth Berkey, who was an Early American decorator.  These two pieces are very special.  We eat on a ca. 1850 cherry drop leaf, gate leg table that my maternal grandmother used in her basement as a laundry folding table before my mother discovered it and had it refinished.  For seating, we bought four hoop back Windsor chairs and bartered for two reproduction sack-back Windsors.

Over a very hot Memorial Day weekend, I planted a cottage garden that welcomes visitors to the addition.  Thanks to several friends who are avid gardeners willing to share their plants, I've got a stunning variety of perennials.  I added the impatients as quick fillers, knowing that my perennials will eventually spread in the years to come.  The clam shell path provides an interesting accent and leads to the garbage and recycling cans that we store on the back side of the addition.

Although I'm glad the project is done, I'm already missing the creativity that comes with painting and decorating a new space.  I think I'll write one more post--a retrospective one--that will share what we would do differently and what we did right.  That will be in a month two!