Roof Re: finished

the story

So, i needed to seal over the rubber repairs with an aluminum coating because with all of the previous work- it still found a way to leak.  We used a whopping 3 buckets of fibered aluminum roof coating. The gutters were cleaned, and it was stressed how important of a yearly ritual that is… because water had started to drip behind the gutter and destroy the brick. Amazing how powerful a drip of water can be… andy way… more tuck pointing and stabilizing bricks to come… then these back windows will get reframed to keep water from seeping into the paths it has created.






so i noticed water has been leaking and draining in this room, removed drywall, (which is the only place i have seen drywall-which lets me know that this has been an issue recently). removed the wall, cleaned and ventilated the space. tuck pointing the brick from inside.

Revisiting the Foundation

the story
photos by Shanna Merola

We found a few issues in the basement when we began the plumbing that required immediate attention.

First, we reinforced the existing pillars with 6×6’s and found there was some leaking and worked to fill those holes with steel wool, as well as clean the area and apply a mold killer and circulate air the in the basement.
Next we went outside, and began to go inch by inch around the perimeter removing plants, roots, debris; digging a trench that will be filled with cement and crushed glass after point tucking is completed. We filled with salt to stop plant growth next to the house.


the story

Today we found the body of a bat.  I asked my son who has been helping me to remove it. Instead he gave me an awesome lesson. Thank you.


He said, “you know mom, the proper thing to do is to offer a prayer and bury him.” Before he picked him up and wrapped him in a brown paper bag, he said, “We give thanks for this life and every life, as well have purpose. May my empathy and compassion grow with this act.”  Ase.

Three Birds, One Stone (or more!!)

the story

So today was awesome… i was pretty tired, but had commitments from folks to come and help out.  i had also scheduled a meeting to discuss some business with a friend (i also work with an org called Center for Community Based Enterprise, which helps co-operative and community based business form and be sustaining) … and he said, “lets work on the house together while we discuss my business.”


“Awesome sauce!”  this is the first time i have held an intentional business meeting while actively working on another project, while everyone accrued timebank credits for all activity! So many great ideas were shared…


and since we’ve gotten faster with mudding (patching wall holes) …  my new bestie from Detroit Hardware, a drill attachment, helped us move quick!


and we got electricity!

we got sooooo much done!


home sweet back door!

Off the Wall

the story

It seemed logical to me to work on the walls, since the roof has been repaired, continuing the theme of keeping the water out.  Many older homes were constructed with brick and mortar, wood, and plaster.  These materials are heavy and durable, however require repair here and there…  Also many of the windows had super-heavy counter-weights, which are often the first items salvaged and recycled when a home sits vacant.


behold… the coveted counterweight

Our space has 32 windows, which leaves me a most perfect number of 64 holes to repair, from where each window weight was removed. Let’s get to work!

A neighbor, who happens to be a master builder and electrician, has offered me home repair lessons. I, in turn, will create short videos as well as host workdays where the information will flow to more neighbors and friends.  Below is a how-to video on using drywall compound to repair holes in the wall.

step 1. working from the outside in- fill the hole and let it dry.

step 2. continue filling until level with wall.

step 3. using a drying thin-coat and spray bottle work until even with surrounding wall.

and when an arm gets tired from holding the mud… there is always scraping to be done.

Below is a how-to video on point tucking (filling in mortar between bricks)…more on this later

Up on the Roof

the story

So, after the clean-out we noticed, there was some water damage on the top floor ceiling in a couple spots… so for me the logical place to start next was the roof.  When working within a shoe-string budget **thanks everyone for the love donations who made this possible** prioritization of tasks is extremely important. Its also a blessing to know that you are abstaining from being frivolous and wasteful… anyways..

Its been raining ALOT this year, and every time there would be another thunderstorm, i would cringe thinking of the potential decay it could be causing…so for me- roof was next.  Going back into the house with the roofer was a surprise… nothing new had fallen from the ceiling since we cleaned out 2 weeks before the rainy season!! … so it made me think that its a slow leak, and NOT directly above where we see the damage.

Rick (of R&D Roofing), who came highly recommended by a neighbor and has done rooves in the neighborhood for 35 years, agreed. He said the roof was pretty good, however, as a rubber roof it had a few cracks that could be patched and the rubber seals had worn off over the tile covering the walls, so we agreed he repaired the roof, hung new downspouts, and cleaned the gutters…

Clean Sweep

the story

With a few friends and some elbow grease it is amazing how much can be accomplished in short denominations of time. love teamwork! below are some shots of the last few days (2 hours per visit) of clean out.





A word about gifts…


i am always appreciative of everyone’s gifts of time, energy, and information… so much can be learned by doing things together… and sometimes people will see the effort and leave things on your porch… one lovely neighbor left these for us- cleaning items, lights, and an antique fan.

old-house-couch  old-house-window

…and some things can be chosen to be viewed as gifts…this couch was rescued from the back staircase… i kind of love it… i am thinking to strip it down to the frame, bleach heavily, and ask a friend to teach me to reupholster… some friends think this is gross… but i am counting my blessings… just like each and every window i find in tact… and of course, each and every beautiful day.