People in town who see me outside stop and ask questions about the renovation. This is unusual entertainment for a mile square NJ borough that hasn't seen a new house in at least five years. Everyone seemed to draw a sigh of relief when they saw the two foundations finally tied together at the sill plate with large beams. The new foundation had to be separate from the old one because the area around the old one is back fill and goes deeper because it is a true basement not just a crawlspace.
The architect stopped by this weekend and was so happy to see the design going up in person. It is one thing to see it on paper or a computer model and another to actually stand inside of the structure. He told me that I would go through cycles of feeling it was too small then too big and then too small as changes occur. I already have experienced that. The new foundation seemed so small, and now the inside structure seems so large.
Another visitor was the artist, Keith Ragone, who bought the 1910 large craftsman home and the remainder of the pigeon plant buildings from my parents. He uses the old cannery for his studio and recently remodeled the picking room as an office. They used to can squabs and vegetables in the cannery before the Great Depression. The picking room was used to remove the feathers from the squabs. It had to be completely done by hand because the birds skin was so thin, not at all like chicken skin where they use mechanical pickers to get rid of the feathers. I know that first hand because I used to be one of the pickers -- the slowest, of course.
Anyway, it feels good to know that all that wonderful open space in the cannery and the picking room has been re-purposed rather than torn down. Keith said they are planning a 100th birthday party for the house next year and I hope to attend. There may be a wonderful chestnut fireplace surround in this house, but all the trim and wainscot in the craftsman house is chestnut and beautiful. Whatever I do here is wonderful but will never approach the grace of that old house.