New Address!

After lots of hard work in the hottest summer we have had in a very long time, a land purchase that seemed like it was not going to happen, the purchase of a fixer-upper to live in during the rebuilding process and working the job that pays the bills, Rusty’s dream is closer to coming true.  The work continued and the system proved to work quite effectively.  Parts were marked and logged onto a master plan, then wrapped in tarps for protection from the elements.  Everything was set to be moved, and then we had a hiccup in the purchase of the land that we though was all set.  A new search was launched, all under a very tight timeline in relation to the date by which the original site had to be cleared so that development could begin.  Luckily, the land purchase came together, and closed VERY quickly thanks to the efficient work of all parties involved.  18.9 acres of beautiful land with an incredible view of Vroman’s Nose and spectacular sunsets are now ours.

Over the course of just two days, all of the house and carriage barn parts were moved.  These were stressful days for Rusty (to say the least) and adding to the commotion were the drive-bys by people who are trying to figure out what is going on.  Many wonderful plants were transplanted to the “new” house, and will eventually be the backbone of gardens at the big house.  We are also crossing our fingers that the DEC stream restoration project goes forward on the lower end of the property to assist with flood control in the village.  Beautiful plantings will accompany that project, so the views from the big house will be wonderful.  It is hard to describe the feeling when standing on the building site…we know it is the right spot for the house and barn.

The Doerge family is also photographing the project and sharing with family members who have moved away.  We have promised them that we will honor their home and their mom’s gardens.  That is very important to us, and is a vital part of every decision we make.




So Much to Do, So Little Time

The work has been going quickly, but the clock is always ticking on this project.  Development is supposed to begin in June, and the original deadline of having the house and the carriage barn down and moved by mid-June is still the plan.  Luckily, Rusty’s plan is working quite well, and there have been few delays.  Land has been found, trucking has been arranged, and we are only looking forward.

The floor layout has been determined, with only minor changes to take the house back to its original layout, reducing the bedroom count from 7 to 6, and planning plumbing for more efficient installation.  The stairs will be flipped back to their original direction, and that makes for a much-improved upstairs space.  I hope that there is a reading nook possibility for the upstairs hallway…but that is fairly low on the list of priorities right now!


Back without windows
Back of house
Big red bus
Contractor’s Big Red Bus and dump truck
Dumpster Number Tow Full and Telehandler
Second full dumpster and telehandler
Kitchen without windows
Looking into kitchen from driveway
Kitchen from driveway
No More Windows
Ready for a move
Schoharie side without windows
It is looking like a demo house
Windows are coming out
Living room looking toward bedroom
Windows ready to be crated
Ready to be secured for a move
Front without windows
Looks a bit different, and a bit sad!


It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and the normal work day starts before 8 and ends when it becomes too dark to work.  The gutting is complete, the doors and windows are all removed, and ready to be crated.  All of the “newer” windows and some other choice items went to the roadside so that they could go to good use on projects others have undertaken.

More friends, relatives and complete strangers are stopping by as the project shows more drastic changes.  The consistent theme has been one of thanks and appreciation for saving a great house.  Rusty is also hearing “Oh, you’re the guy…” more often.  He has not lived in Middleburgh for over 30 years, so although there are many old friends there, many new individuals have settled there.  I guess those who have known him for a long time are not the least bit surprised by this project!

The search continues for land, and the timeline for removing the carriage barn and other barn is being finalized.  Lots to do, and not a lot of time…


Progress and Karma

The past two weeks have been filled with progress and big decisions.  Choices had to be made about many parts of this project, and between late night calls, text messages and sharing of photos, it is going pretty well.  Amazing, considering I have spent a total of about 30 minutes in the house and about the same in the carriage barn, while Rusty knows every square inch of both buildings!

The house is almost ready to start being disassembled.  Through the help of DW Stinson & Sons (local contractors) original windows are coming out and being placed in crates designed just for their safekeeping.  All materials that are not original (bay windows, etc.) are being given to others who can use them.  That is where the Karma comes in…we don’t think that useful items should be trashed, they should be put to good use.  Hello HGTV and DIY…why is your first impulse to use a sledgehammer?  Our contractors feel the same way and are true preservationists.  They also were very active participants during the rebuilding of the region after Hurricane Irene flooded so many homes and businesses in the region.  They worked with S.A.L.T., a volunteer group that came together to rebuild and support long term recovery in the Schoharie Valley.  It is possible that some interested individuals may be joining to assist on the project.  Apparently there is a “BUZZ” starting in the area about the big house that is being preserved.  That, along with helping others out with materials that we do not need, is where the Karma comes in.

We appreciate Ernie and Kevin’s hard work, and enjoy reading everyone’s comments when a post is made.  Lots more to come, and we will do our best to keep you posted.  We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to save a wonderful house, and to have the support of family and friends.  Your words and your visits to the site (literally and figuratively) mean the world to us!

A large flagstone patio was discovered this past week, covered with mud from the flooding that was thanks to Irene, plants took over and once equipment moved in to clear brush and debris, cracks were heard.  Further examination revealed a large patio area.  Work stopped, and flagstones were relocated to a much safer place.


We Have a Birthday!

House PlaqueWe knew that our home was pre-Civil War, but not much more.  Not too many stories have presented themselves, and there has been no time to conduct research.  After a few weeks of hard, hard work (3600 square feet of home is now gutted), this gem revealed itself.  It was behind the cellar door, just waiting to be found.  I wish that I had been there to see the look on Rusty’s face.  This project is so near and dear to his heart, and he is working at this from early morning until dark, then working at/for his consulting business for a few more hours.  Add to that the fact that he will be away from home for months seeing this project through deconstruction and then restoration, and you get a picture of just how dedicated he is to fulfilling his dream.

Some people shake their heads and think he is crazy to tackle this project.  He is not, and we will have plenty of room for them to come visit and see that the proof will be in the pudding!  Room reservations anyone?  *You can go on the wait list,  nothing available quite yet…


Men and Machines

Big houses require big plans, and apparently, big machinery!  Say hello to Rusty’s new toy, the telehandler:


Once the roof comes off, the walls will be cut into paneled sections and this handy dandy piece of equipment will get them to the ground.  I’m sure that it has many other uses, I just hope that it does not need tires any time in the near future!


Taking it all apart…thoughtfully. It’s an important part of the master plan.

A lot of thought has to go into the process of dismantling a house when you are planning to use as much of the original as is possible.  With a tight timeline (3.5 months total for two buildings) to get the buildings down and “stored” offsite, you have to think about every single effort you undertake so that you don’t have to expend any extra time or movement since there is none of either to spare.

Dumpsters fill quickly, muscles tire quickly and your head spins at the thought of what you have undertaken.  “Did I bite off too much” was uttered on day two, but has not been said since.  Two weeks in, much progress has been made.  Here are some photos to prove it!

One room left to clear in the upstairs, the bathroom.  It is going to take a jack hammer since it is 2-4″ of concrete on wire  mesh as a base for ceramic tile.  No amount of sledge swinging even made a dent.  So far, a few major “what were they thinking” discoveries have been made.  One 2×6 had 8 nails attaching it to another board, while a 6×6 support beam was being held up by one 2×4.  Molding was attached with 4″ long nails, and the knob and tube wiring ran through the floors. The bright spot has been that there is so little insulation in the house that there is not as much of a mess that there could be.

This will be a week off, as work duties call.  That also gives a week to regain the mental and physical strength needed to go forward!

Thanks for following, and positive thoughts appreciated!


A Dream Comes True

For all the years since we met (that’s 30), Rusty has had a dream of saving old buildings.  Whether they are large, small or in-between, there is always a purpose that can be served by thinking restoration rather than demolition.

This blog will serve to document the dismantling and restoration of a wonderful, pre-Civil War home located in Middleburgh, NY…all 3,500 square feet of it…as well as the carriage barn of equal size.  These buildings have survived multiple floods, and were scheduled to be demolished for a business development.  Rusty’s plan will save both, and will serve to breath new life into them.

Since he’s relocated to the community where he grew up (Capital District) to do the actual work, I’ll be delivering the details of this evolving dream from our home (Western New York).  We hope that you will join us and follow along with his progress.  If you’re in the Middleburgh area, stop by and bring your hammer!

Until Next Time,


%d bloggers like this: