The film crew's tent at the end of Daryl's driveway- they were here today to film the floor being laid in the Basement Level "Stone Room"
The Daryl Hall project is moving along nicely now, I was there just a few days ago to check on progress. The first site that greeted my eyes was the film crew’s tent at the end of the driveway- they are filming for “Daryl’s Restoration Over Hall”, the ongoing series on the D.I.Y. network. The crew was there to film the mason laying an reproduction antique brick in a herringbone pattern on the floor of the Basement Room we call the “Stone Room”. You can catch the filmed version of this process in an upcoming episode later this summer. Check the D.I.Y. Network’s website for airing time in your location. The idea with the show for season 1 (there will most likely be a season 2, coming in 2015) is to document the design and construction of the addition you’ll see in the following photos.
DARYL'S RESTORATION OVER-HALL
The long-awaited D.I.Y. Network's documentation of my project with Daryl Hall airs its first episode on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 10 PM. The whole program is comprised of nine episodes, and will follow the project through the completion of the addition. Check out the progress photos in the architectural archive section of my blog for reference. If the audience response is positive enough, the rest of the project will be covered next season in a second installment. The second phase of the job will involve the renovation of the existing house, which includes a large gable addition to the rear of the house and a substantial reworking of the interior. Please tune in and let me know what you think!
All that remains of a post-civil war rural cabin up behind my house in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Every since I arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2004, I’ve spent a great deal of time exploring the back roads, searching out places on my motorcycle that are new to me, and that are often accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles or motorcycles like mine. I have a few BMW “Dual Sport” bikes that are built to handle off road conditions, but that also do just fine on the pavement. I’ll probably never exhaust the seemingly endless quantity of fire roads, logging trails, dirt, and partially paved roads that have etched their way across the mountains and through the valleys a day’s ride from Charlottesville, which is just to the east of the Blue Ridge Mountain in west central Virginia. A long day ride west takes me across the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah Valley out into the Allegheny Mountains and home again. This part of the western edge of Virginia and into West Virginia is the very heart of what is known as Appalachia. Here time seems to have stood still, and the architectural ghosts of Virginia and West Virginia abound.
There are small towns and villages that have their structures, and these can be quite beautiful, unusual, and intriguing, but I’m particularly attracted to the buildings living and deceased that appear in the most remote, lonely, and inhospitable places imaginable out beyond the town limits. These are the hardscrabble places, where life must have been almost unbearable at times, but also sublimely beautiful. It’s a heartbreaking balance. The places I find appear today much as they would have in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, and that makes the experience of discovery even richer. There is very little to bring the modern visitor into the present.
In this part of my Architectural Blog, I’ll share with you some of what I find, and let you know how you can find these places should you choose to go exploring yourself. You can always contact me for more exacting directions, I’m happy to oblige. But don’t wait too long. Much of what I’ll show here won’t last much longer. These places are deteriorating as I write this. Wood and brick dissolve relatively slowly, but as every year passes, there is less to see of the buildings, and the trees and undergrowth will soon engulf them completely, making them even harder to locate. Luckily, the remains of the old roads usually pass close by these places; to live further out would have been suicidal for the early inhabitants.
Read on for an introduction to Architectural Ghost #1:
This project for Daryl Hall continues toward completion, at least for this phase. Phase #1 includes the addition to the east side of the existing house, itself an addition to the original 1787 house in western Connecticut. Phase #2 includes a redo of the interior of the existing house, the creation of a new gable on the south side of the house that will match the existing gable to the left when viewing that elevation from the outside, and a new two-story porch also on the south side.
The last set of progress photos were taken back on February 17, 2014, and show the addition and a few interior framing shots. These most recent images were taken on April 27, 2014, and show how the addition is progressing. The foundation base has been set up to take veneer stone that will match that of the original house and its addition. The stone is being reclaimed from one of many stonewalls on the property; there are a number of them in various states of repair, and we’ll take our material from the most deteriorated of the walls found in the woods at the rear of the property.
The windows have been installed, and were fabricated by the Benson Window division of Connor Homes in Middlebury, Vermont; from reclaimed chestnut wood supplied by Daryl from his treasure trove of old house parts. Connor Homes fabricated the addition frame in their factory in Vermont, general contractor Steve Wilson and his crew put it all together, and will do all the finishing work and oversee the subcontracted trade functions.
You can view the accompanying “before” photos for several of the views of the addition in the “In Progress” section of my website under “Projects”. Stay tuned as Daryl’s project progresses.
PROGRESS SHOTS FROM APRIL 27, 2014
North Elevation from the street
I had a repairman at my place yesterday to look at my ailing dishwasher; the thing had completely shut down and was gushing water through the door seal. It seemed hard to believe that a three-year-old device could be failing already. The repairman’s analysis was that it was cheaper to replace the machine than to repair it, and “cheap” became the operative word of the morning. “Durable goods” like kitchen appliances are now so poorly made that the expectation is that they are essentially throwaway items that have a very short life span and will need to be replaced every few years. “Yeah, the older machines were better” the repairman said. “Even ten years ago the stuff was better, and machines older than that still give me something to work with. The materials were better, the guts were simpler, and they were made to run for decades rather than a few years”. And what does all this remind me of? Yep. Houses.