Eleven HouseThe "Eleven" : The Fixer Upper 

Eleven House: Lovely New Meters and Lights!

Eleven House moves forward! I have been neglecting you lately, readers! But I’m still here, juggling away.

As you know, I have a childcare position before and after school. This week, school ended for the year, so I am focused on the summer’s activities with some upcoming family events, Eleven House and my own writing and voiceover business.



Progress slowed down a bit on Eleven House – but we are still moving forward! The electrician came in to install new meters and panels, and the power company put in a new 400 amp cable to the house. That means that when moving in actually happens, we can rest assured that everything will run without blowing any circuits. Goodbye, knob and tube!

Eleven House meters

Jan Ruta, owner of Jan Ruta Electric in Montpelier, led the installation along with colleague Laura Cadmus. Inside, a new panel went in, and later on Ruta will return to install the smaller panel in the studio apartment at the back. It felt good to have this large but very important project behind us. We wired lights in the basement first so we could work more safely.

It’s Draining

The dirt basement had remained wet during the spring, and once the lights were on we could see why. A gutter runs down the center of the house from the roof like the one depicted here. The pipe had cracked near the bottom, so when the roof had rain or snowmelt runoff, it drained into the basement.

For a quick and temporary solution, we cut the pipe at eye level and diverted it out the basement window:

Eleven House basement drain Eleven House basement drain

Not pretty, but it worked. The basement is now dry, and just in time for the summer deluge!

Lights! And less Action.

You can see the new light fixture in one of the pictures. The simplest of  things, like a light source in a dark basement, can change the course of things!

Then… the work slowed down.

The electric work took a chunk out of the budget (the total to date was around $4000). I also underestimated the budget for demolition and removal. After the waste removal company pulled that big dumpster out of the driveway and weighed the debris, I received a bill for the overage. In total, I spent $1100 for waste removal, and I’m not finished.  So, I had to focus on building up my reserves before moving on. Slow and steady wins the race, though.

Future Plans

Next up? We have to remove the chimneys and cover the openings in the roof. Another dumpster needs to be scheduled, and the interior walls have to be framed so the plumber can come in and rough out the bathrooms and kitchens. Then we can pour some much-needed footings in the basement and repair the rubble foundation. It is ironic that we had to correct water in the basement, and now we need water to repair the basement!

You might be thinking that this project seems insurmountable, and you could never handle something like this. But really, if you remember that it is a lot of little projects, follow the trail back to the first domino of problems, and work toward the end result, you can do this! Do the repairs you can handle – challenge yourself to learn more about the anatomy of your house. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If you aren’t comfortable with a project, don’t be ashamed to ask for help or hire a professional to get you back on track. These old houses are worth saving if at all possible.

Hammer on!

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2 Thoughts to “Eleven House: Lovely New Meters and Lights!”

  1. Sam

    “The anatomy of your house.” I like that analogy. Glad to see you are reporting progress again. That basement is something else!

    1. Thanks, Sam! After slogging through water for a few months, the dirt floor seems like heaven! But every time I visit Eleven House, it seems to breathe more deeply, and I fall in love with it all over again. Old houses like these have their own special vibration.

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