Meanwhile we were lucky enough to have a retired neighbor, Mr. Osso, sanding, painting, fixing, and stripping, stripping, stripping. I didn't mind hard work either, so he and I developed a great working arrangement. He did most of the stripping while I pushed, pulled, dug, scrubbed, crawled, and said goodbye to my fingernails. I may have found my prince, but I still felt like Cinderella, always down on my knees working while everyone else got to go to the ball.

Mr. Osso and I made wonderful discoveries together. Under the '60s gold wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room, and under the tile in the library, we found 300-year-old, wide-plank floors. So we ripped up the carpet and nails, tile and tar, and when we reached black paint, we gave up and called in a professional floor sander. Our knees were red and sore for weeks. Mine turned black and blue. Mr. Osso kneeled on foam rubber padding from then on.

Mr. Osso also helped us finish the  kitchen. First we stripped the wainscoting of its many years of paint. Parts of the woodwork had been scorched by a fire in the 1950s, and though we managed to sand off some of the charring we had to leave some of it visible. When people first came to the house I was worried they would notice it; but no one seemed to see it, and I realized it just played a part in the history of this old house and actually added character.

The kitchen had a Formica countertop and linoleum on the floor…poor house, so humiliated, so misunderstood. I took measurements for a new sink. I went to auctions every week. It took a couple of months to find a scrubbed-pine sideboard just the right size to convert. We took off its wood top, selected tiles for the surface, bought a stainless steel sink. Voila! Our piece de resistance.

Back to Digging Deeper         Continue to Hard Work

Join Marion's Mailing List

Enter your email address below:


About  |  History  |  Restoration  |  Gallery  |  Press  |  Souvenirs

Disclaimer for images on the website: We ask that if you use an image from our website that you please give credit to us and link back to

Last Updated March 19, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Michael M Smith.