Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Petherbridge is Falling Down

I made a brief visit to Maryland about a week ago. During that time, Peter and I walked through the house together. He was trying to point out to me many of the major areas that need work even before we can afford a remodel. It seems that the ceiling plaster is falling in places and many of the walls don’t seem to have adequate support in the foundation. And the foundation itself is a study in styles. We know that part of the house is built on a slab, part is over a simple lumber framework that used to be a breezeway, part is over a foundation of rock, and part is over a foundation of timber. We also have sections of the crawl space that we haven’t yet been able to access. All this is to say that the house is settling at different rates in different places. As such, the floors and the walls are struggling to stick together.

If you’ve been following the verbal saga over the years, then you are aware that we replaced the roof in 2007 because we found areas that contained up to five layers of roofing. No homes are built to hold that kind of weight, and a 130 year old house is no exception! The walls have already shown signs of caving in under the pressure. We believe the new roof has alleviated that concern, but we have been unable to straighten out those walls.

Peter explained the different ways he intends to shore up the walls and ceilings so that the house will be able to hold the additional furniture that we will be moving from Bellevue. Our first container will be arriving in Maryland in June. It will have the large table saw and all the other power tools to allow Peter to add support. The other items only include furniture that will be used on the first floor.

I haven’t even mentioned how we have little insulation in the house. We may pull down some inside walls to add insulation before next winter. The living room would be easy to do since the walls are made of paneling. And then there’s the old electric system and the old plumbing and the old furnace and heating and ….

A part of me prefers that we “do it right” the first time, but that isn’t practical for us. With Erin going to college and Allison close on her heels, we simply can’t do it that way right now. Instead, our focus is to prevent any further deterioration until we can afford to actually improve what’s there.


  1. PS. Petherbridge is the original name given to the house.

  2. I know part of the appeal of the house is it's historical-ness, but have you priced the cost of a tear-down and rebuild vs. everything you need to do to make Petherbridge right?

    Just sayin'.... Please don't hate me....

  3. Edited to add - R.L. is me, Hope. I have no idea where "R.L." came from. Just know RL is me.

  4. You certainly aren't the first to ask! We have looked at it and will probably consider it again when the funds reappear. We have also considered building another structure next to it before tearing down the existing structure. The key is that we have to maintain the wine lab throughout it all.