Setting Things Straight

Downstairs renovations are in full swing yet again here, and as often happens when the house is under construction, I’ve become an emotional, moody, unpredictable, insane bitch (which is apparently not that different from my day-to-day vibe lately!).

There’s something about tearing the walls of my house open that both causes my soul to spill over with joy at the promise of ACTUALLY living in my dream home some day, and simultaneously consumes it with hatred when I discover 100 years of sub-par f#@%ups hidden between sheetrock and joists and subfloors, all demanding a fix.

This morning was a typical “construction morning.” Dudes showed up at 8:00 AM. I recapped their previous day’s work with them in my bathrobe, standing in my walk-in master closet barefoot in a fine dust of pulverized drywall. We were examining the SHOCKING SLOPE in the ceiling, which Trent and I always knew was “off,” but now appeared to be a horrible, noticeable, 4 inches off, and clearly visible below the top of the new pocket door.

Um. Seriously – how can I not be bothered by that?

Um. Seriously – how can I not be bothered by that?

“It’s old – you just leave it,” said Bat.

Okay. But it was REALLY off. And it REALLY bothered me. Seriously. Horribly.

I let it bother me all day. I even considered googling “how much does it cost to fix sloping floor joists” while stuck in Bay Bridge traffic. I might have googled “how much does it cost to fix sloping floor joists” while stuck in Bay Bridge traffic. I obsessed, which I have a tendency to do in times of construction.

Until Trent and I got home tonight, and while rehashing it and all the ridiculous things about our 100-year-old house that exhaust us and make us wonder why we live here, it dawned on me!

There is a reason the ceiling is so sloped in just our little cave of a walk-in closet. A real reason:

Our house originally had a wrap-around front porch; we learned this from the structural engineer we brought in to inspect it during the purchase. Some time many years ago – possibly the 1940s – the west side of the porch was closed in to make the main level bigger. That area is now our entryway, and our modern porch entrance is turned to the side, facing our driveway.

The front/side of our house on Google street view. What you're looking at all used to be porch.

The front/side of our house on Google street view. What you’re looking at all used to be porch.

Our master walk-in closet, located on the lower level, is exactly under this original section of porch and, like the section that still remains, it is sloped at an identical 4″ to allow water to run off. The door between our bedroom and our closet is, in essence, right below the original 1919 front door to our house.

And just like that, my hatred of our weird little cave-like closet melted away. I don’t even hate that line dipping below the doorway now.

Well, maybe it still needs to be minimized just a little.

But it’s not the result of shoddy workmanship, or an earthquake, or weary old timbers. It’s a part of the house’s story. The person who built 3675 might very well have sat on that porch drinking a whiskey or a lemonade or whatever when he was all done, and never would have imagined that two DINKs would be keeping their collection of $400 Frye boots in a walk-in closet below his feet some day and bitching about making everything JUST. PERFECT.


Anyway, I love filling in the history of this Museum of Us. Way to go house; your crooked ceiling rocks.

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2 thoughts on “Setting Things Straight

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    My compliments for putting things in perspective and realizing that the little (and big) imperfections are what makes life interesting and truly livable. If you can’t see it, who cares? And if you can, well, it makes for great cocktail party conversation. And the guy drinking the lemonade would be laughing his ass off at you right now. Not me. I am just smiling and enjoying the fact that you have turned your home renovation into a story that all of us can enjoy. So, enjoy!

  2. […] removing one closet, building another, putting a pocket door in my master walk-in even though the ceiling slopes four inches, and replacing all the downstairs […]

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