My small building project began at the end of the summer. I had moved out of my Brooklyn loft rather suddenly on September 1st. Couch-surfing and apartment hunting became the norm for a few weeks when I had the good fortune to spend a typically beautiful day in my good friend’s backyard.
This particular yard has a number of remarkable things going for it, but the run-down locksmith’s shop next to the fire pit made the top of the list across the board. The occupants of the main house had always nursed day-dreams of fixing up the dilapidated shack, possibly even moving in some day, yet never crossed the dream/reality threshold.
So we were sitting and looking and enjoying life when this perennial day-dream popped into conversation. There and then I was given blessing to live there provided I could pull it off, so that’s what I did.
The first step was cleaning out all the debris, there was a lot of it. Mostly rotting wood and tar from the collapsed ceiling, the house was full of lovely junk. I pulled down what remained of the roof, pulled out the rest of the “floor”, laid down a water barrier, foam sheet and plywood for a floor. I hung the rafters, put up the roof, covered the big holes in plastic, installed a stove and moved in. It took about 5 weeks before move-in day, and this will be my third week living there. Building was great and difficult, as I have a full-time day job as well.
There is still much to do. The place needs some serious winterizing, but every day it gets a little warmer and the weather gets colder. I love living there. It is very nice just to spend time sitting on the rug.
I don’t have plumbing and no plans to install any. The proper house bathroom is available, as is the kitchen. There is an extension cord that provides my power needs, but eventually this will be replaced with my own line from the basement (there is an old conduit running out that will be replaced). As I settle more, the need to use the main house will diminish a great deal.
Thank you for your interest. Your blog is inspiring. I hope your readers take some whimsy and inspiration from my story and follow the house’s progress over the coming months. There are so many amazing plans, who knows what this home will become? This time next year, perhaps mine will be the coolest house in Brooklyn, if not bestowed an equally ridiculous title. That’s a tall order, but you don’t kill lions aiming at mice.
–Weston Ulfig, artist, craftsman.
Brooklyn, New York
Be sure and follow Wes’s project at his blog Wes’s House.