You can’t unpack boxes without a place to put the stuff. Today, we finally finished some shelves – lots of shelves. Most of them are in the new pantry, which used to be a little room off the kitchen with a utility sink that wasn’t even hooked up.


Removing the drain was easy – cut the PVC and tighten a plug. Removing the hot and cold water lines not so much – but, since they weren’t actually hooked up to the utility sink, they’re still just dead-ended along the floor, waiting for the day when I have the water shut off to do real plumbing work.

After adding some insulation to the wall, that little room turned out to hold a lot of shelves.


The wired shelving is easy to install on plain drywall. This room wasn’t plain drywall. Somehow, those wooden slats in the first picture were running behind every place I wanted to put an anchor.

The ones behind the washing machine went in as advertised – much easier.


A shelf in the front entry closet for hats and gloves rounded out the day.

Maybe with a bigger car I wouldn’t have to cut drywall in the parking lot in order to get it home…


Week 1 – Leak 1

Time to catch up on a few previous improvements we’ve already made. Part of the reason to write these down is to capture our progress – it can seem like there is so much to do, and the list keeps getting longer – but we are moving forward.

The day we closed on the house I found 2 inches of water in the basement and a lot of spiders.


I burned out my little drill-mounted pump and resorted to buckets before I thought to take this picture. There had been a lot of rain, and there are some very large gaps through which the water can come in. The downspouts all just drained next to the foundation, so I added some diverters to push the water away. No small part, though was the constant leak from the boiler’s pressure relief valve.


The recommendation from the HVAC technician was to drain the expansion tank first and see if that relieved the pressure. A slow process, but fairly straight forward. It didn’t help.

Next was having them in to replace it. Should have done the zone pump I told them about at the same time, but they would have to come back a week later to replace that when it failed.

After running the dehumidifier for a week and some quality time with a broom, we had a basement!


Those stone pillars near the stairs? The neighbors across the street have something similar in their basement, and it’s part of a massive fireplace. Taking a closer look at the ceiling over those pillars did show a patch to the sub-floor, so it seems like a good possibility. Back in the day, they had radiant heat in the cobblestone section!

My take away? I needed to get a real mask for the next project.



Welcome to the Lake

Normally, a home on the lake has pictures of sailboats and beaches, but that “Welcome to the Lake” phrase was running through my mind the other morning as I was shoveling snow against a howling wind. It’s the lake. They call it Lake Effect Snow.


But, this post is not about the problems or challenges of the house. This one is about the two working fireplaces with their good (and now cleaned) liners. It’s about being inside as the wind whips down the street.


We’ll talk about frozen pipes another time. This post is about holidays and family, and our new home.


Merry Christmas.

Sarah LePlata Throop Miller

Reading more of the book I referenced in the last post, I found the following picture:


Accompanying text describes that house next door as having been built by “Washington Throop… in the early 1830s to provide his daughter, Sarah, with a clear sight of ships arriving and departing the busy port, a view of the lake John also appreciated. (Herman Melville described Lake Ontario befittingly as one of ‘those grand fresh-water seas of our,’ which ‘possess an ocean-like expansiveness, with many of the ocean’s noblest traits.’)”.

It’s a view we appreciate as well.

Emma Graepper

A name under the wallpaper.

Shortly after we closed on the house, Marj and Geri came over, because Geri finds joy in peeling off wallpaper… I don’t know why, but we have plenty of rooms to satisfy that compulsion. They started with the red paper in the master bedroom, revealing white plaster underneath that’ll do for now.


Apparently, one room wasn’t enough, so they want on to the dark wallpaper of Kendall’s room, which came off quickly.

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Under the wallpaper, were some notes from previous owners that had run the home as a bed and breakfast. This was “Emma’s Room”.


I did a search on Emma Graeper, but only found random listing for people across the country with that name. Searching for “Graeper Throop”, though, revealed a photo essay from Tom the Backwoods Traveller. Then, an entry for a book, The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life (By Karin Roffman, page 42), came up with the following diary entry from a summer in Pultneyville some time after 1942:

“…his fifteenth birthday party – which he had looked forward to celebrating at Emma Graeper’s “Woodshed at the Captain Throop House,” a charming tea shop she had recently opened in the rear of her home to make extra money…”.