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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 1999
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    12,025

    Default I love my old house -- BUT

    Parts of my house date back to the 1860's. It's crooked, and the floors slant. The doorways are not standard width, they're however wide the builders chose to make them. Nothing is standard, everything is unique to the house. I get frustrated sometimes.

    Today is one of those days. I had a new washer and dryer delivered. Or, I was supposed to. They got here and the doorway into the little room that they're supposed to go into is too small. There is one of those accordion pleated doors there. It takes up too much of the doorway for the machines to go through. The old washer and dryer fit through, but these are just that much wider and deeper. The whole thing has to come off, frame and all.

    The guys that delivered were nice enough to try to get it off, but with all of the screws off, it just won't budge. So, they had to go away and will try again when I get that door off. I'm not handy. I have ten thumbs and no mechanical sense. I certainly am not going to be able to do it, even if I had the correct tools.

    So, I called a handyman that a friend uses and he's coming over shortly to take a look at it. Hopefully he'll be able to get the job done. Then, I'll have to schedule the delivery again and, when that is done, reschedule the handyman to come back and reinstall the door.

    It's not that it's such a big deal. It's just that everything takes twice as long and is twice as hard and something unexpected pops up every single time. Whine, whine, whine.

    Plus, one more additional small whine. The little room where the washer and dryer are is where I feed Leon, the cat with a bottomless pit for an appetite. He has to eat separately or else he finishes up his food and then pushes the other cats away from their dishes and eats theirs too. So, what am I going to do about Leon while the door is off? Maybe I can get him upstairs and into one of the bedrooms.

    A first world problem, I know, but, hey, it's my problem and I'll whine if I want to.

    Edited to add:

    And, the handyman just left. He was able to get one side off, but he said that, when the door was installed, they glued the one side to the frame of the doorway and, to get it off, you would have to take the frame with it. In an old house, with plaster walls, that has the possibility of being a real disaster. The washer is 28 inches wide. The doorway as it stands now is 27 3/4 inches wide. So, I have a call into the dealer to see if there is a manufacturer who might make a stackable washer and dryer set that is just a little narrower.
    Last edited by Louise; Feb. 7, 2013 at 03:56 PM.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
    Location
    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
    Posts
    11,369

    Default

    I think your frustration is perfectly legitimate!!!!

    DH and I lived in a similar home for 7 years when we were first married; ours was built in the 1890s. In the beginning, I loved how charming it was - the wide board floors, the hand carved hinges on the doors, the woodwork and the old fashioned porch. People who came to visit would ooh and ahh over it constantly.

    I found living in an older house like that to be very challenging. The pretty staircase was too narrow to get most furniture upstairs into the bedrooms. There were no closets. The doorways were just like the one you describe.

    We did a substantial amount of renovation on that house before coming to the conclusion that it just didn't work for us. Luckily the work we'd done on it made it relatively easy to sell... but as pretty as it was, I couldn't get out of there fast enough and don't miss it!

    I hope your handyman is able to make the process of getting the door off and back on for you relatively painless. I know what a pain it is to have to jump through so many hoops just to get something simple done like having an appliance delivered!!!
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    7,427

    Default

    I would take a saws all (or however it's spelled-it's the hand held saw with a blade like a swordfish), and cut the end of the door loose from the door frame. Then after the washer and dryer are in, the handyman can either put a regular door, or figure something else out. I definitely wouldn't touch the plaster walls either.


    Don't think you're alone with strange doorways and such. My parents had a house for years that was built right after World War II, and everything was crooked, non-standard, the layout was strange, and every time they did any improvements had to do a lot of renovation to electrical and plumbing.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 1999
    Location
    Rosehill, TX
    Posts
    6,922

    Default

    my house is circa 1933 - at least the original part
    love that walls, ceiling, roof.....all solid boards
    and are so old and hard that you cannot put a nail in them, any wall hangings require drills/screws

    it's the '60s/'70s era additions/changes that are my problem
    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
    Original Poster
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 1999
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    Default

    I have a wonderful next door neighbor. I called him and asked if he could just take a look at it and give me some advice. He looked, asked if I had a hammer and a chisel and went to work. That inner frame wasn't glued on, it was nailed on. He got it off in nothing flat.

    Now I have to cross my fingers and hope. With everything off, the door opening is exactly 28 inches. The specs say that the washer and dryer are each 27 inches wide. The guys who attempted delivery said that they were 28 inches wide. Which is it? One will fit, one will not. The delivery manager is calling me later tonight and we'll talk this through. Meanwhile, I'm going on an internet search to see if there are any washers and dryers that are speced out at a little less width.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2000
    Location
    Brantford, Ontario
    Posts
    3,018

    Default

    The main part of our house dates back to 1810, and I absolutely adore it! The workmanship is incredible, the house is so unique, and I figure if it has stood up this long, with a little TLC it should have many, many years left in it still.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2007
    Posts
    439

    Default

    My house was built in 1995 and I still have those problems :P Hope you get your washer and dryer in without too much hassle!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2002
    Location
    canada
    Posts
    358

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    I have a wonderful next door neighbor. I called him and asked if he could just take a look at it and give me some advice. He looked, asked if I had a hammer and a chisel and went to work. That inner frame wasn't glued on, it was nailed on. He got it off in nothing flat.

    Now I have to cross my fingers and hope. With everything off, the door opening is exactly 28 inches. The specs say that the washer and dryer are each 27 inches wide. The guys who attempted delivery said that they were 28 inches wide. Which is it? One will fit, one will not. The delivery manager is calling me later tonight and we'll talk this through. Meanwhile, I'm going on an internet search to see if there are any washers and dryers that are speced out at a little less width.
    Can, you open the box they are in and measure them yourself. Either that go on the internet and you can find specs of them. If the store you bought them from has a web site, go there, all the dimensions should be there.
    www.tayvalleyfarm.com
    My other home.



  9. #9
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Washer and dryer are, indeed, 27 inches, so we're good to go. Delivery rescheduled for Wednesday. Now watch, they won't be able to get it in the outside door.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2005
    Posts
    3,152

    Default

    Measure the outside door before they come!

    We have a 1960s house that has small doors. Fortunately, we also have a huge door at the back of the house. If you are going to stay in the house, you may need to have one big door.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2010
    Location
    yonder a bit, GA
    Posts
    3,085

    Default

    My parents have an 1810s house that sounds similar! They're always fixing something, and finding many surprises along the way! I know moving furniture in was hair raising for my mom, those plaster walls, the tiny doorway, the turn at the top of the stairs....
    but they also get some awesome gems as well, like repairing a leak and finding the original Robins egg blue wall color, or replacing the stone patio area and finding porcelain pottery in the ground, and old documents stating that their house was once a "coffee shop" during the prohibition :-) It's those stories that keep my mom upbeat!
    Surely you've got some great history in those walls, too?
    MrB's attempt at talking like a horse person, "We'll be entering in the amateur hunter-gatherer division...."



  12. #12
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
    Original Poster
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Default

    That outside door is 31", so we're OK there.

    And, bits619, yes, there is history in this house. Some of you may remember some of this, but I'll tell it again. My Grandfather bought this house in 1925. His older son was married and gone by that time, but my Dad was still single and so, as was common in those days, he moved in with the family. Dad didn't get married until he was 40 and, by that time Grandfather had passed. So, Dad brought his bride home to this house because Grandmother couldn't afford to live on her own. The house became his and my parents spent their entire married life here. I grew up in this house.

    Following good Irish tradition, I never married. I lived away for about five years, but Dad had reached the point where he couldn't maintain the house and the yard by himself, either physically or monetarily, so I moved back home to help out. I never left. The house eventually became mine, and, someday, I really hope that I am carried foot first out of it.

    I look around this place and I see my family. I know who planted every tree and the story behind the fact that the first "non-family" interior painter that we had come in raved about the quality of the paint job that he was covering up and expressed his doubts that he would be able to match it (that's a whole 'nother family story.) I see improvements that were made to the house, and remember that when Dad was making them, I wasn't allowed anywhere near because he was not handy and could be counted on to turn the air blue with cuss words while struggling to get the job done.

    So, I crab and complain about how hard everything is to do, compared to a more modern, more standard house. But, in reality, it will take a lot to pry me out of here. It's too much a part of me.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
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    At the back of the line
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    4,006

    Default

    Whenever any one says they have an old house I always think of this My college RM married an older man from England, he would listen to a story about some house from the 1860s or whatever and then say in that lovely English butler accent that he grew up in a house built in the

    12th century.

    Im guessing he was telling the truth but hes dead now so I cant ask. Wonder if anything was out of line in that place?
    Last edited by JohnDeere; Feb. 8, 2013 at 08:32 PM.
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
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    Probably the biggest upheaval in my life was when my parents sold the house I grew up in. I was only 12 at the time, but my 3 older siblings had all graduated and had lots of parties which I couldn't wait to grow up and emulate. I had a great time running around the nearby countryside, and it was there I was exposed to beautiful horse drawn carriages commanded by the country gentleman who drove down our road. And it was close enough for me to ride my bike down to the local riding stable. Our house was built in 1820, and the entire area is very historical - learned to appreciate all the older homes here.

    Since we didn't need the space anymore, and the sibs ran up college and wedding costs, we moved into town and my parents rented the rest of their lives. We moved 6 times between 6th grade and when I graduated. My goal since then has been to stay in one place for good at some point, but I haven't done well in identifying that ideal in a partner since. I've been a real estate broker, and can honestly be enthusiastic about the historical and older houses here - except those that have been bastardized to be turned into B&Bs for the onslaught of tourism which has boomed the past 20 years.

    Thought I might be given the opportunity of a lifetime meeting my last fellow, who has an old cottage in an outstanding location on the Maine coast. But... it's a mess, and he won't repair a thing unless it's about to explode, has already died, or falls on the floor - and even then it might lay there. I was all ready to call up This Old House, and had even looked up the web site for the possibilities. And I've rehabbed and restored previous places owned by me and the ex - which have then had to be left behind as we moved on to the next location/job/life situation.

    I really tried to do the right thing for the house in Maine. Really I did. It has been in best fellow's family for generations. I did dig up his mother's horribly overgrown flower garden. The fresh soil and small new plants I put in were shoved aside by the beautiful lupine and others that were revived when I cleared out all the 5' burdocks. It was heaven pulling weeds by the sea.

    I came up with ideas for the awful shed addition that housed the kitchen behind and bathroom above. You could tell it must have at one time been the barn attachment, as it had a huge rear window below a jutting peak - the hay mow? And the puzzle for that crooked bathroom was that among the cruddy orange polyester curtains and harvest gold/avocado green floor was a beautiful old dresser that was too large to fit through any doors, and too wide to be wheeled down the skinny upstairs hallway. It must have been hauled up through that window, and then closed in when they stopped using the out house and built the bathroom. Clearly bathroom improvements would have to be done around it. But the toilet had been running for 2 years when I left there - obviously not much was about to change.

    The incessant front enclosed porch leak also could not be resolved. Was obvious to me when it leaked worse when storms came from the north, that the leak was somewhere underneath the vinyl siding on that side. But fellow was adamant he needed to replace the east facing windows on the front. He had cheap vinyl windows installed in the upstairs window seat (miss that most of all! ). Of course the leak was never addressed right..But he loved to paint! - would redo the ceilings and boastfully show what he had accomplished. And then the ceilings would crumble and bulge once again. A very smart, smart fellow - but no common sense, and couldn't use a hammer or even a lawnmower...and even when he painted, the paint brushes would end up in the kitchen sink.

    But what was finally it for me (also forgot to mention this house was perhaps only about 1200 sq ft - probably 300 of which was the awful kitchen and bath - and another 300 for the front porch he had hijacked for his mounds of paperwork) was the sloping floors in the front master bedroom- right above the porch leak. Every time I returned to this location, it would take me several days to once again become accustomed to getting my balance when I stepped out of bed - it was that bad. I'd get nauseous. Just couldn't see myself living there for the rest of my life - living with all the quirks, the running toilet, the popped up boards, the winter breezes from the lower kitchen cupboards, the huge granite front step leaning towards the foundation - which created a little stream in the dirt floor basement every spring.

    And even though I'll miss my little Daddy Longleg friends (I had named the one in the bathroom Charlie instead of Charlotte), and, of course, the lovely sea views and sailboats and ships that passed by... when I stand up in my 1980's funky/former-sporting-goods-store/downhill-cross-country-ski-course/home-with-all-the-knotty-pine-trim, I stand up straight on my nice solid floors, with my nice solid walls, and I am as warm as toast.

    ...but where was I before coming over here this evening? On Realtor.com - admiring lovely old homes of course.
    Last edited by CVPeg; Feb. 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Upstate New York
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    Louise - what a great neighbor!!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
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    Canada
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    Love these 'old house' stories because up here in BC there is not tht much that is old. Our house will be 100 years old in 2 years' time, but there is not much left of the original after a lot of botched renovations. Was part of the old Hundsons Bay farm.

    My friend in Hampshire lives in Court House which Henry VII took from the Glastonbury Abbots when he abolished Catholicism and gave to his wife Catherine Parr. It is an ecclesiastical looking building with stairs up to the cloisters so worn they have curves inthem from the footsteps of the monks.
    There is still no central heating in it - they just are a tough lot those farmers.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2007
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    3,142

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    Love hearingthe stories of everybody's old houses!! I'd love to hear more about the one you're talking about, Foxtrot! I also have a love affair with old stone houses....I spent four years in Kitchener-Waterloo, and would just over all the ones I'd see on farms.
    Our house dates to 1876....its configuration makes bringing in big things a challenge, because it's front door - mid hall door - dining room ; so little wiggle room. We were lucky our washer made it in the back door with a fraction of an inch; we had a love seat we had to take out in pieces as somehow we got it in, but no way it was going back out.
    Our most recent adventure was a king-sized mattress and box spring. I had always wanted a sleigh bed, and found one in beautiful condition at a yard sale....the elderly couple wanted to go back to twin beds. This was a bed that probably easily retailed for $3K (higher end manufacturer), so I snapped it up for $150. Well, mattress sale time came, so out went the queen (which had been a bit of fun to get up the stairs - and no way would the single box spring fit). Our stairs to upstairs take a 90 degree turn at the landing, you see.
    Salesperson had assured us that the mattress had a flex point to make it more maneuverable - um...not so much.
    We got it into the turn over the midpoint banister, and...we were STUCK. I ended up supporting the weight of the entire mattress (yes, one of those nice, heavy, thick gel-topped ones) while my DSO tried various strategies from above to wiggle it around. By this point we had taken all ofthe pictures off the walls, all of the nails that heldthem....the only solution was for me to wrap my arms around the newel post and push with every ounce of my size and strength (and I am a very curvy girl!) Have never been so delighted as when we got it to slide up!
    Now, I need some ideas while we are talking about furniture and old houses....got our sofa set from a company that sells store returns for Sears...the sofa we got comes in sections....the sitting part is one, and then the back rests sit on posts - if you can picture the way a headrest is on truck, that's what we've got. With the big comfy sofas that are sold now, how the heck do you get them in?! Down the road this is going to be a real question!
    D>
    Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
    Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
    http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    Western NY
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    1,591

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    I remember watching an episode of House Hunters International a few years ago from Italy. Some people bought a house
    (I know - they always do) and were planning on some remodeling, but when they went to work on the basement or lower floor they found a ROMAN mosaic - Thar's an OLD house. In the follow up at the end the couple was deciding how to proceeed.

    Christa

    Who did live in a house dating from the early 1800s at one point.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Small Change View Post
    The main part of our house dates back to 1810, and I absolutely adore it! The workmanship is incredible, the house is so unique, and I figure if it has stood up this long, with a little TLC it should have many, many years left in it still.
    Your house is beautiful Small Change, I love it.
    We had an old house before this one, and I loved it too. The oldest part of it was built in 1860, the newer part was 1876.
    None of the floors were level, the doorways were narrow, the stairs to the upstairs impossible to get large furniture up, no closets etc.. but I loved it. We were only the 3rd family to live there in its life.
    I thought I would live there forever.
    We had to move to somewhere larger,to accomodate my husband's parents, and I cannot bear to drive past our old house now.

    Our house now is big, comfortable, 1970s and ugly.
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
    CSHA Brickenden Stallion Award Winner - for Performance offspring.
    Please visit A Fine Romance on FB!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
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    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
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    Wonderful story, Louise.


    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    That outside door is 31", so we're OK there.

    And, bits619, yes, there is history in this house. Some of you may remember some of this, but I'll tell it again. My Grandfather bought this house in 1925. His older son was married and gone by that time, but my Dad was still single and so, as was common in those days, he moved in with the family. Dad didn't get married until he was 40 and, by that time Grandfather had passed. So, Dad brought his bride home to this house because Grandmother couldn't afford to live on her own. The house became his and my parents spent their entire married life here. I grew up in this house.

    Following good Irish tradition, I never married. I lived away for about five years, but Dad had reached the point where he couldn't maintain the house and the yard by himself, either physically or monetarily, so I moved back home to help out. I never left. The house eventually became mine, and, someday, I really hope that I am carried foot first out of it.

    I look around this place and I see my family. I know who planted every tree and the story behind the fact that the first "non-family" interior painter that we had come in raved about the quality of the paint job that he was covering up and expressed his doubts that he would be able to match it (that's a whole 'nother family story.) I see improvements that were made to the house, and remember that when Dad was making them, I wasn't allowed anywhere near because he was not handy and could be counted on to turn the air blue with cuss words while struggling to get the job done.

    So, I crab and complain about how hard everything is to do, compared to a more modern, more standard house. But, in reality, it will take a lot to pry me out of here. It's too much a part of me.
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
    CSHA Brickenden Stallion Award Winner - for Performance offspring.
    Please visit A Fine Romance on FB!



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