Friday, May 04, 2012

Another Really Sad Reno Story

I was really *REALLY* bummed to see that this particular house ended up getting butchered.

This photo was taken just as they were starting to ruin it. You can still see the original windows/siding/door. Unfortunately they never did this street on Google Maps, so this is pretty much the only photo I have of it "before".

This was a rather unmolested original house in very good shape, just a block away from my place. I pass by it every day on my way to work. It had nice original windows, wood floors, nice arches inside (between the dining/living room), nice trim, etc.

Sadly, the house recently sold to some new owners (for around 117,000$), and the new owners started to completely ruin it.

They decided to board-up a few of the back windows (which you can see in the photo above), and install new siding on top of some already decent older siding (in perfectly good shape). This was when I started to feel really sad about the house. I didn't think it would get too much worst.

I was wrong.

A few days ago I noticed that they ripped out all the original windows and storm windows and replaced them with cheap Farley (Vinyl) windows from Home Depot.

But today was the most tragic butchery so far. They ripped out the beautiful old front door, as well as the door jamb (which they sawed in half).

The front door was especially nice since it was unpainted wood on the outside. Very few houses have unpainted doors.

Luckily, though, they had just propped-up the door in front of the large dumpster in the driveway, and when I came back from work it was still there. I grabbed it and brought it home. That bastard is INSANELY HEAVY. Like probably close to 50-60 lbs.

Of course what ended up replacing it was a cheapo metal clad door (which I think looks incredibly tacky/awful). I'll photograph the house again later so you can see for yourself.

Looking in the dumpster was even more sad. Rather than install insert windows (which just fit in the window openings - like I did), they must have bought the other type, so they ripped out all the original window mouldings, which were all in the dumpster. I decided to grab a few that were on top since these are SOLID FIR mouldings ($$$$$) and I can use the wood for my built-ins. I can only assume that they will be replaced with super thin, modern MDF cheapo ones.

I also saved 2 windows (most were smashed to pieces), and this coat-hook board:

One of the only window panes I could grab that wasn't broken.

I'm kind of curious to know what kind of lifting mechanism that these windows used to have, since they had these unusual slots in the sides.

I was very lucky to find the other parts that went with the door in the dumpster (right on top), such as the other half of the hinges, the door strike plate, and even the other half of the antique Yale lock (which sell for a pretty penny on eBay/Etsy). I absolutely LOVE the old lock. The only parts I'm missing are the two pins that hold the hinges together, but they were probably pitched in the dumpster with everything else (so I won't find them).

The interior side of the door is painted white, but I'll probably strip the entire thing (both sides) before I decide what finish(es) will go on it. The unpainted side is a bit rough, but definitely salvageable. Also, not visible in the photos, but the glass is old and wavy!

Here is the wonderful old lock. It was hard to photograph (low lighting) so it's a bit blurry, but the knob says YALE, and the locking "slider" is still there and works. I was VERY VERY happy to find the other half that attaches to the door frame. I will strip it and clean it, and it will be GORGEOUS. I can also get it re-keyed pretty easily.


  1. We found one of those Yale locks on one of the doors in the shack that collapsed at our place. It was broken, though, and I didn't realize it was something neat - otherwise I would have kept it and tried to fix it! Oh well.

  2. On the bright side, you are getting some truly amazing scores!! Maybe you could talk to them and get them to save stuff for you so you don't have to dumpster dive.

  3. Yeah, great score on the door and the chipped hooks coat rack! The lifting mechanism, my first thought it was away to open the window on a slant ... but I dont know much about these things.

  4. That is a seriously beautiful door. I'm glad you picked that up!

  5. To answer your question about the lifting mechanisms of that window sash, it appears to be your typical weighted pully. The hole at the end of the slot is for a knot of rope or something, and then the slot is for the line to go up, loop over the pully, and go back into the casing of the window where the rope is.

    1. Thanks for the info about the window, BTW. I am used to seeing unweighted sash windows, so this would be the first one I see (out of the window frame).

  6. Congratulations on your new door, JC — it's beautiful, and I know you'll put it to good use! I think Thomas Regnier is correct about the pulley and rope — I remember using windows that had ropes in those slots. Amazing that they held up!

  7. The jump off of what Thomas said, the larger slots at the top is to allow the sash to go all of the way up and fit over the protruding pulley. I've seen wider pulley wheels or decorative iron/brass that requires this wider slot.

    Well done on the door. We've got a couple in the basement that found their way into our home from a neighbor's house during construction, as well as a few that are actually hung and functional. It feels so nice to rescue them.

    1. Makes sense. It's actually a really nice feature that modern windows can't match (my windows will only go up so far, and leave at least 5" between the top and the sash).

      And yes, it definitely felt nice to save that wonderful old door but my sore arms, however, might disagree. I am currently planning to use that door as my back door (kitchen/garage), since I have the nicer blue one for the front door.