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Blog Cabin

Apr 20

The Stone Foundation

If you’ve been following our home giveaway blogs for any amount of time, you know I’m a fan of old homes, particularly old stone homes. So the foundation of Blog Cabin 2012 intrigues me. According to the experts at Knickerbocker Group, the foundation comprises a collection of materials added over time: locally quarried granite cubes, fieldstones unearthed by the original owners as they farmed the property and poured concrete. Our home’s foundation proved solid as a rock (sorry for the pun), but there are occasions when a stacked stone foundation, though charming, can trigger headaches for the homeowner. Considering purchase of your own dreamy historic home? Then dig into our investigation of stone foundations to learn more about issues you may face.

In other news, I had the opportunity to chat last week with our interior decorator Victoria Lesser. You may remember her from Blog Cabin 2011. She’s back again and full of creative decorating ideas for our high-posted cape. Later next week I will share a special interview with this amazing lady (she used to be a fashion designer!) and learn more about her plans to “dress” Blog Cabin. And answers to your questions are coming. We are listening, read each and every comment and are working hard to deliver as much detail as we can. Stay tuned!

  • Posted at 8:11 am on April 4, 2012
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97 Comments

  1. As the first one to post a comment. I'm wondering if this means that they are leaving the basement as is? I do have to say that having Victoria doing this cabin will be a plus.

    Flashy on April 20, 2012 at 9:06 am
  2. Good morning! OOOOooooohhhhhh! Mary, since you bring up the topic of the stone foundation in the basement – - – I'm wondering if we will get a surprise??? Looks like an excellent place for some sort of cave.
    Let's say a wo-man cave. ***(:o

    CarlaB on April 20, 2012 at 9:26 am
  3. OMG! Too bad I didn't have this information a year ago! My son bought a home built in 1864 with a stone foundation here in VA.. Was the original farm home built buy a man who had returned to VA after the Civil war. Seemed like a great deal at the time! Nothing fancy, no outstanding architectural details, to speak of but ……livable. Parts of the stone foundation you could see thru the mortar joints, water would RUN-Flow like a stream during a storm across the floor. Fortunately the house was on the side of a hill and we could open the back door and let water flow across the floor and out the back. Needless to say RATS were a big problem. Heating was a major issue as you might guess. Sold the place after a year…..during a very dry summer! UGH! Appears that similar issues might be at work here with water flowing across the floor? That's why they were called CELLARS and not basements.

    Ashtabulannie on April 20, 2012 at 9:47 am
    • I thought about the rat situation when I saw this picture with the light showing though around the "door" to the basement, Ash. We have a crawl space under our house in which one can stand . We've needed to seal every crack and around the door to keep varmits out. When they die next to a heater vent coming into the house, the smell is awful! They also can squeeze through where pipes enter the house–yuk.

      Homelover on April 20, 2012 at 10:25 am
    • Totally understand! Those little field mice only need the size of your thumb to squeeze thru.Every time the weather changes in they come for a visit. Our current home is over 80 year old brick. I keep a few traps around the house of various sizes. RAT – large, Domestic house mouse-Med, and Field mouse-Small. Hate the sticky traps. Too Gross.I did try the poison. Theoretically they are "supposed" to leave the house to find water, but they always end up dead in the walls. Then….. we have an invasion of "Bot" flies flying everywhere. And….What a stench! Part of the charm of living in an OLD house.All my pantry goods are in tins.EVERYTHING is repackaged when I get home from the grocery store!!!
      Wonder if they installed a sump pump in the basement????

      Ashtabulannie on April 20, 2012 at 11:13 am
    • How about one (or two) 'all sizes' cats? Totaly green rodent control. ;)

      Just a little correction for you. They can't be 'Bot' flies as those never lay eggs on dead animals. Their larvae require living flesh. However, that doesn't lessen the grossness (is that a real word?) when you discover a dessicated corpse behind furniture or in the ducting. :x

      I would doubt that there's a sump pump if the basement is stone as there would be no weep tile unless it was laid after the house was built and that would have been very expensive.

      Clive on April 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm
    • HI Clive,that's the sound they made when they slammed into the windows when they tried to escape. BOT! BOT! Really sloooow moving flies. I used to pay the kids a penny a fly to catch them. Kept the kids busy for an afternoon and helped clean up the flies. Some kind of dead rat eating fly larvae? You'd think the poison in the rat flesh would do double duty and and kill the fly maggots too?

      Ashtabulannie on April 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm
    • So they were really 'Duh!' flies as in 'Duh, that hurt!'

      Rat poison is usually a version of 'warfarin' which is an anti-coagulant and maybe some othert things such as vitmin-D. None of which will harm blowfly maggots (which I'm sure these were) but they can harm pet dogs & cats.

      Clive on April 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm
    • They may have been cluster flies. We used to get those in our old house, which had an open, raised foundation. First time they formed a huge 3' X 2' blob on the living room wall. I usually stumbled out to get the paper at 5 AM. When I can back, I caught the seething movement behind the open glass paned door. I'm sure you could have heard the shreek a mile away. Poor husband came staggering out of the bedroom with his usual "What the — is going on?" We were killing those things for at least a week. They are common in Maine.

      FloridaDebbie on April 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm
    • OMG, guys! Your 'flies' talk is freaking me out! I'll never complain about mosquitoes again!

      MNLass on April 24, 2012 at 1:32 am
  4. We just got back from VIrginia (there, stack stone foundations are a dime a dozen!) and stayed in a farm house that dates back two hundred plus years. It is all about mortar! Some have been better maintained than others, apparently LOL! ;)

    Debra G. on April 20, 2012 at 10:07 am
  5. It's easy to see why they say the basement is going t to remain "as is". Looks like about $100,000 to make it liveable space. It sure gets wet and cold down there with the ill-fitting 1/2 door, green mold on the walls and water tracks from the dilapidated steps. :S A big DIY project for the winner just to seal it and make it weathertight if Knickerbocker does nothing to it at all.. I wonder it they really mean to do nothing with the basement? Hopefully, that's just a story to put us off the scent.

    AnniesOwn on April 20, 2012 at 10:57 am
    • How have you been, AnniesOwn ? You will recall the Matthews VA home was on the flood plain and had no basement because of the flood issues; the remodel of the home in Bethel, NY State ( BC 2010) had a large basement and a barn, and neither of those areas were touched. I expect that the basement in this home will be another "As Is " for the winner to deal with.

      LLColeman on April 21, 2012 at 2:40 am
  6. Hmmmmmm, maybe a great place for a wine cellar?

    memanbepa on April 20, 2012 at 11:47 am
    • Maybe, but only after it has been insulated and weatherproofed otherwise it will spoil wine very quickly with the massive temperature swings in such poorly climate controlled space.

      AnniesOwn on April 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm
  7. Now that they know the foundation is "solid as a rock" it looks like a designers dream to do a room like this! I'm guessing they will do this room and it'll be gorgeous. I'm glad the same designer is back, I loved her kitchen from last years blog cabin :D

    2Twitterpated on April 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm
  8. Well, looks like Mary didn't like our questions last post. She's banished us to the dungeon. I think the chain, and shackles are out of camera view.
    At least the floor is cemented, I bet it was originally dirt floor, as most old New England houses start out.
    Nothing charming here, perhaps storage for garden tools.

    AnneEliseSouth on April 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm
  9. Root Cellar?

    Clive on April 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm
    • Excellent idea.

      AnneEliseSouth on April 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm
  10. I like the stone foundation. I am concerned about the obvious green and possible black mold on the walls and floors though. Mold spores are very dangerous. Will this basement be cleaned and sealed? Will there be a sump pump installed? Since there is light streaming in through the door there, are there plans to replace the door? I'm concerned about rodents, weather conditions, and home security with such a poor quality door there. The steps don't look so safe either.
    This basement (as shown in this photo) appears to show a risk to both the homeowner and the home unless some work is down to improve a few safety issues.

    Peacefurpets on April 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm
    • Word correction to my previous blog above; I meant to say DONE, not 'down' in that last sentence.

      Peacefurpets on April 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm

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Blog Cabin is the groundbreaking multimedia experience based on a very simple idea: You Design It, We Build It, You Could Win It! This truly interactive series asks Internet users to vote on the design features for a real vacation getaway. Expert hosts from DIY Network series will be on hand to rebuild the 1920s lakeside house that will become a luxurious home for a lucky sweepstakes winner. Plus, a one-hour Blog Cabin special, hosted by tool expert Chris Grundy, will highlight the incredible transformation.
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