Issue 16 T.O.C. – Joshua A. Klein – “House By Hand”

This post is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Sixteen. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is to come. 

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Joshua A. Klein – “House By Hand”
Back in 2015, in a small town on the coast of Maine, a derelict 200-year-old Cape house was slated for demolition. At the same time, M&T editor and author Joshua Klein and his family were in search of a home to restore. In a whirlwind of activity that summer, the house was carefully documented, disassembled, and stored away in a trailer, awaiting the day when it would be raised again.

Fast forward nearly eight years. With a house site cleared and a new granite-block foundation in place, it was time to put the 1821 Cape back together. But first, there were repairs to take care of. In Issue Sixteen, Klein details both the minor modifications and the “heroic repairs” that the disassembled timber frame required before it could be put back together. Where modern materials such as epoxy and lag screws were called for, they were utilized in a way that made them completely invisible from the interior of the frame. But this was easier said than done. There were many hurdles to overcome, but at last, on a dreary June morning, the house was ready to rise again.

Friends and family gathered to lend a hand to the effort, and soon the timbers were finding themselves once more lofted into their old positions. Without fanfare or the roar of machines, many hands made for light work and the house frame once again stood ready for the centuries. As Klein notes, “Who needs a crane when you have 30 friends you want to party with?”

But the frame raising was just the beginning of the effort. There are fireplaces to rebuild, modernizations to incorporate, and historic elements to carefully preserve. Much work remains, but every challenge can be overcome. All in all, the resurrection of this house is a lesson in pursuing important ideals: slowing down, working with friends, and making something that will endure.
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