"A Ruin with a View"
That sad phrase would have been a factual description of the Mountain House when it went up for sale in 2002. Years of deterioration had done so much damage that neighbors feared the farmhouse might be torn down, if it didn't catch fire first. The roof was peeling away. The eaves were a lacework of holes with barnswallows nesting inside. Decades of bat guano filled the attic.
With one bathroom for nine bedrooms and a drafty, dank interior, the useful living space in the house had shrunk to a small downstairs enclave. In some places rot was so bad that the beams crumbled on contact.
Tumbledown sheds, stables, workshops, and storage spaces created a semi-circle of blight around the house. And junk was knee-deep, inside and out: heaps of engine blocks, piles of hubcaps, dozens of painters’ ladders and the like.
Having fallen in love, we bought the place as is. Minus the stuff, which was either auctioned off or carted away in a series of dumpsters. And at that point two years of restoration began.