With so much going on lately — having new baby, Sal going back to a pharma job while still running auctions, then leaving that job to do auctions full-time — we’ve been slow to move on house projects.
We moved into the Chumney House last spring. That’s right. We’re those crazy people who move all their stuff in before finishing things up. This means we’ll have to move furniture out of rooms just to get floors refinished and there might be a few days that we use our friendly neighbor’s showers or kitchens if/when we remodel those areas. But going ahead and moving in meant we could rent our house in Midlothian and make that an income producer. We probably make enough each month to cover annual upkeep and property taxes.
Most acute on our to-do list is addressing the large chimney on the north side of the house. It was previously repaired with what looks like Portland cement (not uncommon with old chimneys but not really a good idea). Why? Because we’ve got us some old bricks, ya hear? And you can’t just use a mortar that is stronger than your bricks or they’ll crack. Remember when we first bought the house how Sal used some weed killer and a water gun to kill the branch growing out of the hip of the big chimney? You don’t? It was a laugh, but successful in killing what we referred to as our “chimney tree.”
Anyway, this photo of that chimney was taken back when we were having the house painted. Now that the paint is all pretty, it’s even more of an eyesore. See how crumbly it looks? We’re a little nervous. And so are the people who inspected the house for our homeowner’s insurance. So… we took a few samples of the mortar to Riverside Brick. They are helping us match our samples to a Mix and Go product made by Virginia Lime Works, which is trusted by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (it’s a lime mortar good for working with pre-1940s brick structures) and should therefore be approved after our mason does a test patch of joint repair and we submit photos. The guy we’re working with has ordered two samples to do a little comparison as to which one most closely matches. Why go through the trouble? Remember, we’re following the Department of the Interior’s standards so we can get tax credits.
The plan is to stabilize this bad boy before the bricks give out. Those that are most compromised will be replaced with similar bricks. Perhaps my favorite part of this project is that Sal frequently pronounces “masonry” as “masontry.” I don’t know why but I get a good chuckle out of that. You could say it cracks me up. Sorry. Couldn’t stop myself.