The Lurking Menace is my Californian rabbit, Merri. Woe betide me should I leave projects unprotected! As she lies demurely under my worktable, you’d never guess she’s reduced a Mini Mundus desk to rubbish, rendered a HOM Queen Anne wardrobe a hopeless splintered mass, and devoured my Newport instruction booklet nearly whole. Her nickname is The Great White Whale, and like Moby Dick, she is unrelenting and remorseless! And can drag heavy objects off low-lying tables to boot. Beware!!
Despite the threat looming over it, construction has begun on the Cape Cod (style) house which I’ve chosen for my project. Very successful dry fit.
I discovered that the kit has an interesting floor plan – centered partition designs which leave parts of the interior front tucked away from view. I wasn’t sure I liked this, as it seemed “wasted space” but as I began to muddle with it, I began to warm to the idea of peeking around corners or peering through windows or the front door to see these hidden places. This will necessitate getting it right before the ceiling goes on, because there will be no turning back!
I had decided that unlike my previous efforts, I wasn’t going to just slap this house together in a crazy, half-assed sort of way, consequences be damned, just because I want to SEE something done. Nope. Cool, calm, collected PLANNING is the order of the day. And that’s where the trouble began. Researching genuine antique Capes on the internet (like this cute little 18th century job below) revealed that they are designed around a central chimney. I want this house to be like a REAL Cape, so nothing would do but I had to have a central chimney. Even in a house with no cluster of partitions, this can present a problem. Putting in a chimney from floor to roof eats up a lot of prime real estate!
My husband suggested just putting a chimney on the roof and “pretending” the rest of the chimney exists out of sight somewhere. I couldn’t even dignify that with an answer. Then he suggested I put the chimney on one end of the house. Horrors! I’m building a Cape, not a tarpaper shack! A little Googleing can turn you into a right architectural snob. He rolled his eyes, but diplomatically didn’t press the issue. I spent an ENTIRE Saturday fudging the partitions around, dodging hubby’s helpful suggestions, trying to figure out what to do with the flippin’ chimney!
My rabbits boys, Pooh and Koko, wisely remained silent, letting Mommy think. Finally, the dim bulb over my head flickered weakly – put the chimney in a pantry in the kitchen! That’s it! When the old place was remodeled, they smushed in a little niche around the chimney to keep stuff in. Genius! And on the second floor – an exposed chimney with a small closet squeezed in next to it. The idea is that this house is a nice getaway place, but old and small. Cramped quarters, if you will! So the idea is that space will have to be utilized to best advantage while preserving the old historic bits. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Once I got the chimney question sorted out, it was time to remove all the tape and add windows and a back door. As I may have mentioned, I can’t use a ruler. My husband says, “Measure twice, cut once.” But for me, it’s more like, measure five times, cut once and it’s still wrong. I let him do the measuring AND the cutting, as power saws make me plug my ears and run screaming from the room. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I needed 9 more windows and a door! He doesn’t know the half of it yet.
More windows!! And an “oooops!” Decided I didn’t want this window after all and had to plug it up. I’ll stick some spackle in the chinks. It’ll be fine!
And so the first floor is glued together, using my trusty clamps and one of my 5-pound hand weights. Notice the nibbled end. Merri strikes again! And there’s the chimney. I know it looks gigantic, but once it’s covered in egg carton bricks, and the second floor and the roof is added, it won’t look like a massive blank totem pole about to topple and crush the clueless tiny inhabitants.
So far, so good. Early days…!