The 'backhouse' as the Maine
natives call it, or the "L" addition which connected the Maine cape
farmhouse with the barn, has a wonderful history. The local story
is that the backhouse was pulled down Back River road by oxen over a
hundred years ago. Earlier owners of the property were cousins of a
neighbor whose house was the original site of the backhouse. Why they
decided to share part of their house, I don't know.
It was a handsome building, as you can see from
this picture, and it worked just fine as a three season addition for the
former owners, who were both about five feet tall. However, when I stood
in the backhouse, which was unfinished and un-insulated, the roofing
nails combed my hair. If I had stood straight, they would have caused
So after discussing next steps with four different builders, it became
clear that the backhouse had to come down, to make way for something
that would fit my lifestyle (and 5'11" height!). I found a man who
specializes in what I call 'gentle demolition', Harold Dawson, and hired
him and his crew to take this building down, saving every scrap of wood
that might be used in a new addition, and honoring the old building in
the process. He did such great work, and we hit it off so well, that he
and his crew are 'regulars' around the site.
The blue 'bandaid' that the men
placed over the opening, to protect the main house, stayed in place
until the warmth of spring, when we planned the next steps with the lovely
old Cape house.