Our Second Empire Mansard!

downeastwavesMay 28, 2007


Just thought I'd say hi and show you our "new" old house! We just bought it last week and it is a real fixer!

While wondering thru yesterday I noticed this hole in the plaster and it brings a whole new meaning to "stuff a sox in it!"

Hope you will have a chance to go see photos of the place on the web page I made for it...let me know what you think!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Fixer!

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WOW! That is the defintion of "this house has potential!" Other than the sill and it's problems, is the rest of the house stable? You are going to have a great project ahead of you. I've never seen dining room floors like yours - they are really neat.

I love your house and the neighborhood you are in looks great! What bay is in the distance? That's a gorgeous location.

Good luck, stay patient. You will definitely not be getting everything done quickly! What ever your budget is, add 30% more because you will find unplanned surprises. All of us old house lovers do!

Was someone living there up til you purchased?


    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Thank Patser!!! The house is rock solid except for that one corner and a giant piano set in the front room for years. The previous owner said the floor is a zebra floor made of oak.

Yes, the man was living there! Smoked several packs a day of unfiltereds.

That is the Passamaquoddy Bay just down the street! Below is a link for our tiny city and if you click on the page listed at the top--Flying with Randy--you can see it from the air! It really is a beautiful spot, only 2 traffic lights in the whole County! None in Eastport!

Thanks for looking!!!!


PS A former resident of Eastport stopped in where I work today and when I told him which house we bought, he commented that neighborhood was where the rich folks lived and the homes were well made! LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Eastport

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 11:30PM
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What a great house! How wonderful that you and your husband will be able to restore such a beauty. I recall you posting pics of your other cute little home in Eastport -- are you able to stay there while restoring the Mansard? (sorry, don't mean to be nosy, just curious!) Good luck and have lots of fun.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:33AM
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What an absolute treasure you have!!! I so love mansard roofs but they are few & far between out here *sniffle* So congratulations!! It¡¦s certainly going to be a labor of love but stunning when finished! WOW!!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 5:43AM
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Tina, yes we will be keeping our cottage in Eastport and live right here while working on the new place across town.

In the cottage, we've redone the kitchen and bath, updated the electric and plumbing, installed a dishwasher, replaced kitchen and bath floors, installed new exterior doors, made the attic usable for storage, put up a storage shed, set up raised garden beds, planted border plants, got a fence started, replaced the bad roof, replaced bad siding in places, had the sill replaced on the west side, replaced several interior doors to panel doors...phew! I'm sure there's more we did that I'm not recalling!!!


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 7:04AM
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Oh, the ability to go home to a non-construction area would be heaven! We had to work on projects as funds allowed, but it did give me the opportunity to notice different things about the house while I lived there and to let ideas percolate. However, there were many times I wished we could have redone the entire house before moving in. I feel like we moved the same furniture and stuff back and forth over and over again. After 11 years, we're just about done except for landscaping and retaining walls.

Your new home is going to be gorgeous when you're done. Would love to see pictures of your progress.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:23AM
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it is a great house. i just inherited a smoker's house. 40 plus years of nicotine on the woodwork. My DH sprayed with "Bleache White" (the stuff you clean your white wall tires with - after all its tar your cleaning)and the stuff just oozed off - wiped with clean wet cloth, took off enough goop with a few passes to be ready for painting. good luck.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 1:04PM
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We are fortunate to be able to keep both homes while the renos are going on it was real hard living here and having to do the repairs.

Here is a shot of the kitchen door that has not been used for years, it is right beside the door that is used but you have to go thru the barn. I did a little experiment on the panels, the big panel was with white vinegar, the small panel above it was baking soda and the nice whitish woodwork to the right was Greased Lightning. I'd say it was sorta like the Bleache White, the stuff just rolled off....

Here's part of the dining room wall that is one of the last photos on the Dust Bunny Art page....

Here is a link that might be useful: Dust Bunny Art!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 10:02PM
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Neat house.
That is soooo nasty dirty!
If you haven't ever used it, try some Castol Super Clean. It probably will work really good on that dirt! You can by it by the gallon jug and dilute it if you want, or just use it for strength. It is pretty cheap too.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 10:18PM
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That house is a great find. I can bet alot of people would have never touched it in the horrable condition you found it in, most buyers can not see past all that mess and defered maintance to see how wonderfull an old house like that can be. shame on that PO for letting such a beauty fall in to such disrepair. I hope that you post more as you clean up and restore the place. I would love to see what you are able to do with it.

did the grand piano come with the house?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 2:09PM
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the piano went with the previous owner to his new home.

We spend a few houses today cleaning. Made a good dent in it, got most of the downstairs windows done an more on the floors. I just can't believe how dirty it is.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:28PM
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We've been plugging away on our fixer...here are some updated pix if anyone is interested...there are several other pages listed at the top of this one.


Here is a link that might be useful: Upadte 6-14-07

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 7:45AM
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Just happened to stop by here and see your updated pictures. Wow! You are doing a ton of work cleaning and making a lot of progress. What a wonderful yard filled with all kinds of surprises. I think it's great you are just letting things come up and noting what is where. It looks like there were extensive gardens -- how cool is that? Thanks for posting more pics. I really enjoyed seeing them.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 5:26PM
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Leasa Thanks for posting these. It's like we get to explore the house with
you. What fun! But we don't have to clean! Your house is really great. I hope that you keep posting!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:57AM
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We were searching for info about the style of the house we're buying here in Michigan--it's a Second Empire too. How cool to find your postings!!!

Ours was built in 1900 and has been occupied most of the time so there's less work to do. Once we close the purchase, we'll post some pics. For now, here's a link to a pic of the exterior. It's a beauty!


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 11:51AM
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leasa, I'm curious about your "mystery area upstairs!" Have you not been up there? Do you know what to expect?

Let us know what you find!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 7:39PM
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Today is the first day all week we've had a chance to get over there. We spent much of the day scrubbing walls.

We attempted to get up inside the space without luck. It took me a while to clean out the bottom of the closet of wood scraps, bark, pebbles, general trash like 1986 newspaper scraps and 1989 catalog, plaster bits, insulation, unidentified cloth you get the picture? It was one oversized bag of trash.

Hubby hooked up a light so we could see in there, it sorta looks like where an old chimney went. We got me and the ladder in there--a tight fit, the ladder had to go with the bucket holder sticking out the door but I managed to climb up to the top of it and the boards I was hoping was a scuttle into the mystery space was nailed down from the top. I could see the toenails but could not push them up.
We went up stairs to see if we could figure out just where it connects to the upstairs but it is behind the closet wall so there is no way in from there either.

Not sure what we will do next. I think I will try and lift the floor to the closet just to see if part of it enters the closet below. What I should do is knock a whole in the back of the closet and see what I can see thru a hole! Maybe go to the attic and see if there is a way down from there.

The wall in the hall was has been there for a long time. I just do not get it....


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 7:55PM
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We just bought a small 2nd Empire house as well. I found this thread while researching the style. Ours has been occupied continuously, but it definitely needs some work! Thought I'd post a picture while I follow your rehab. Once we close the sale, I'll post our own efforts.

Here is a link that might be useful: MichMansard

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 2:07PM
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Leasa, I just loved seeing your house pictures. Thank you for sharing! I hope to find a second empire house someday.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 2:41AM
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Good for you to take this one on. (I keep thinking about the old question, "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time.")

It's got charm now, but it'll be beautiful later...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 7:51AM
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I just realized I have not taken photos of the outside now that it is painted and the shutters are put back up. It is raining here today so this is not the day for it.

We have moved in and most all of it is done. The center hall still needs work and so does the upstairs part of the winder stairway.

I'll link to the latest area done and you can take a peek at some of the progress from the links at the top of the page.

The key to doing such a big job is really just taking each room or project and just working on it. The amount of work you put in really determines when the project gets done. We've been since May 2007 on this one, and had lots of help from professionals for the electrical work, plumbing, heating, and much of the carpentry. Most all of the outside painting was done by a pro. ALL the inside cleaning, prepping priming and painting was done by me and hubby with a couple of days help from Mom and Sister-Dear, it really is just plugging away at it every day advancing a little bit.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pantry

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:29PM
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I am so amazed, I'm almost speechless. Hats off to you. This house is truly an inspiration and makes the work we are doing to our 1906 Craftsman era home pale in comparison. Thanks for the inspiration. That house deserves you.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 10:35PM
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Leasa- Congrats on that house!! There is nothing I like to see more than people like yourself willing to commit to such a large task. People like you rejuvenate area's and help save them from developers coming in and putting up boring lifeless subdivisions. You must keep all of us posted on your progress.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:00AM
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Leasa, when do we get to see pictures of the outside? I'm sooo impatient!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 8:11PM
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I love your website! I am waiting to have enough photos of ours to do the same - but our houses are SO similar! We bought an 1850s Mansard in Newport, RI. it's being totally gutted, actually the new interior walls are being framed as we speak. ;-) Here's our baby - with a freshly painted/repaired exterior.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Oh, and I should add that we were LOATHE to gut it = but it was pretty bad, needed all new electric, insulation, plumbing - plus the charming finishes had been either removed or ruined. We are saving what's salvageable - and getting reproductions or better of the rest. SUCH a huge project - Leasa I feel your pain and you must be so happy you're almost done! (are you almost done??)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 8:16PM
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Sorry! The weather has not been nice in a while. Here is a pix Sorry about the snow:

Street Side which is the North side of the house:

East side facing the Bay:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 10:29AM
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