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  • Writer's pictureLaura Rodgers

A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams. Ralph Waldo Emerson

What can I say, we are still waiting for the house to be completed. Although, much has been done these past few weeks, it feels like so much more is yet to go. I cannot imagine it all being completed by September; worker shortages, backordered items and the ever threat of sickness seemingly is to be with us for the entirety of this project. But…..Miracles do happen, and of course Rome wasn’t built in a day. This month Jim and I got into the habit of visiting the house every evening. We have decided that isn’t good for mental stability, so have cut it back a bit. Walking in to see just one or two things done was starting to get to us. So, we go up every few days and are enlightened by what has taken place. As I have said before, it is all in the expectation. What has been done has given us hope for a beautiful home.

The kitchen saw some additions this month. Some of the cabinets have been put in place giving it a much better look. We debated over whether to use faux beams or to go with real hand-hewn/rough sawn beams on the ceilings.

Faux beams of course are lighter in weight than their authentic counterparts and therefore easier to install. In trying to keep as much time-period features as possible in this historic home, however, we decided to go with the authentic beams.

These hand-hewn/rough-sawn beams have come from a variety of old barns across the state of Michigan. From as far as Traverse City to right here in Oakland County, Michigan and from our own home, they are beautiful beams that come with a history of their own. Hand-hewn beams display unmistakable marks which occur when the log’s rounded edges are removed by hand. The marks that are left behind occur only when hand axes are utilized, not hewn by machinery. These beams were also hand-sawn meaning that they were sawn by hand and not in a mill. They will take their place on the wood clad kitchen ceilings now that they have been restored and preserved. Trying to decide whether to stain these beams or not became yet another research project. I love the natural look of these beams. They are wonderful on their own and I really didn’t want to mess with that. However, I also wanted them restored to their original color as some had grayed from weather. After much research and discussion with multiple carpenters, contractors and restoration experts, the decision was made to use boiled linseed oil. Linseed oil was determined to be best for protecting our antique beams while still retaining the gorgeous surfaces that are typical of reclaimed lumber. We were fortunate to find a carpenter that utilizes a powered steel brush-like tool to restore the natural beauty of the beam while also, retaining those sawed surfaces that make hand-hewned beams so beautiful. Yesterday our restored beams were delivered for installation.

They really are perfect, and I am so thankful for Dave Gronzo and Gronzo design for these lovely works of art. They are exactly what I was hoping for. Today the kitchen ceiling will be painted, and the beams will be installed tomorrow….at least that is the plan.

Next week restoration will begin on the outside of the house, no small task there for sure. It will be wonderful to see our sweet house brought back to the beauty it deserves.

As summer in Michigan begins to turn toward early fall, the cool evenings have returned and one can just smell the ending of summer in the air. It is always bittersweet, this time of year. I hate to see the long summer days shortening but am always ready for the cool beautiful days of fall. Once the beams are placed, I am told that “things” will move along much quicker. I am hopeful that maybe, just maybe we will eek out a bit of fall on the lake.

Stay well,


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