Most of you are aware by now that we bought a church in our town and are now in the process of renovating it, and and I know many of you are curious about how that renovation is coming along. So, here’s a brief update: It’s coming along pretty well! Let me walk you through three of the biggest things currently under renovation.
First, and perhaps most significantly, the church now has a whole new roof. The previous roof was not a disaster, but it needed to be replaced, as there was some leakage and other issues that ultimately would have presented long-term problems if left unaddressed. The new roof is, I am told by my wife, whose professional experience is directly relevant to this information, a 50 year-colonial slate dimensional shingle, which basically means that this roof will almost certainly outlive me. There are flat surfaces on the roof which have been resealed, and masonry work which has been updated. This was all not inexpensive. On the other hand, now that it’s done, I probably don’t have to think about it again, and if I do, it’s very likely our insurer’s problem. Which is great.
Second, we are redoing the balconies of the church. The previous balconies were multi-level, to accommodate tiered rows of seating, and also, thanks to a cantilevered overhang, not exactly structurally sound; when we got the church, the (too-low) railing of the balconies were peeling away from the wall. We are making the balconies all one level, removed the cantilevered part and are going to be putting on a taller, rather more secured railing. The balcony areas are going to be my combination library and chill out area, and are going to be pretty awesome when they’re done. I’m really looking forward to this area being completed.
Third, we are redoing the concrete retaining walls that surrounded the church property, elevating it up from the street — here you can see, by way of a retaining wall that’s already been removed, how far up from the street the church is (Krissy, five foot ten, presented for scale). The retaining walls were as old as the church and were not designed to let water drain out, so over the decades they degraded and tilted. The new retaining walls will have seep holes and better general design, and will again last for decades.
(You may notice that the area where new wall will go through also appears to go on the property of the house next door to the church. That is the old parsonage for the church, and we also bought that when we bought the church. Why? Among other reasons, so that we wouldn’t have to ask anyone else’s permission to, say, tear up a crumbling retaining wall and replace it something more structurally sound. No, you can’t come live in the parsonage; the previous owners were already renting it out and we kept the tenants. They’re lovely.)
There’s more going in inside the church, particularly in the basement area where we’re revamping the kitchen and putting in another bathroom, but that’s for another update. For now, a lot of big things are getting done, and the church will be better than ever because of it. I’ll be happy when it’s all done.