Old House

I am sitting on my bed.  I have just hung a picture.  I stand back to look at it after hanging it and realize the top on this small picture is flush to the wall  and the bottom is about 1/2″ away from the wall.  I wondered how could anyone build something so badly. Was the idea just to provide shelter and who gives a darn about level or plum or what?

The whole house is built this way, but it’s not like you go around with a level when you buy a house to see if everything is square.  Old houses shift, settle, slide especially on a slope as we are.  Unfortunately,  you sometimes don’t discover the issues until you have lived  in the house a while.

Judging by the architecture in the main living area, the house was built in the 20’s sometime.  It was a small one room cabin with a sleeping porch at the back. Then there is an addition at the back side that is 2 stories.  The main post holding it up appears to be an old telephone pole.  The concrete has a scrawled inscription with a date of 1944.  The original listing for the house says built in 1944, but that would be wrong. That’s only that addition that was built then, and then of course there were subsequent additions added on to either side of the little one room cabin to accommodate a kitchen, a bathroom  and a living room.  These parts are the really bad construction.

The windows are all old 60’s  single pane aluminum windows. You know, the kind that rattle when you walk by.  When the wind blows sometimes, I worry about them getting broken.  They just rattle even louder.  Downstairs in the house are sliders.  The ceilings are extraordinarily low in some places only slightly over 6 feet.  The sliding glass doors which are peculiarly, also not standard height are installed inside out and consequently water drains into the frame when it rains.

As I sit and look around at the poor workmanship, poor plaster patches where maybe a door was or around the windows, I wonder why anyone would build something so badly. Was it just to provide shelter for a growing family with no means to hire professional workers, was all the material salvaged from something else? I suspect it was. I am picturing the home owner slowly adding on as the family grew  taking his time using what he could find or barter.

When we initially wanted to replace the roof, I went to get a permit at the county offices. The woman at the desk told me she would issue the permit, but that I need to go see the planning department, because there was no record of a house on the lot.  That about told me all I needed to know.