Friday Fun Fact

When we bought this house we also got a crate full of papers and blueprints that are the archives for our historic home.  I was surprised to find that most of the papers are old newspaper clippings about John North Willys. Although he wasn’t the longest owner of the house, he was the best known and the house is still referred to as the Willys mansion.  I though it might be fun to share some of these old clippings and tidbits.


Mr Willys was the first U. S. ambassador  to Poland.  The newspaper clipping does not say what paper it is from but I would guess it is the Toledo Blade.  It is dated March 1, 1930.

Two Steps Forward

All summer I felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back.  After five months in our house it finally feels like we are taking two steps forward and one back.  Not ideal but certainly an improvement.

Most of the plaster repairs had been finished.  The hole in the living room ceiling was patched, the music room was a room again and oldest daughters ceiling was sealed back up.

Side note:  Did I ever mention that in June we had a heavy rain storm during the night?  Water was pouring out of the ceiling fan/light fixture in oldest daughter’s room and a huge chunk of plaster from the ceiling fell during the night.  It woke me up but she slept through it.  Her room is on the second floor so the water coming in was a mystery since the third floor was dry.   Turned out the flat roof was leaking and we had it resealed.  Just another example of the unexpected in the house that feels like we take one step forward and two steps back.

Fall is upon us and we were ready to try to start the boilers to heat the second and third floors.  We filled the boiler and waited a few days to make sure the system was holding. We had done these twice before and found damaged pipes and radiators that needed replacing or removed from the closed loop system.  All seemed well until I found a puddle on the dining room floor. I was ready to blame both dogs since I wasn’t sure who the culprit was until I realized there was a trail of water that seemed to end on the other side of the fireplace.  As I wiped the floor I was hit on the head by dripping water.  Looking up, I saw the ceiling was very wet and dripping onto the wormy chestnut  onto the mantel.  We drained the boiler, opened the ceiling and called the plumber.  Turned out this was another leak from the master bath.  This time it was the tub.  We also discovered it was another spot in the house that had been leaking before.  Rather than repairing the pipes, the ceiling was patched.  Again.

I would love to know what prior owner thought this was a good idea!  The boiler was drained unnecessarily.  Another hole was in the ceiling.

dining room ceiling hole

This section of the ceiling is drywall not plaster. A sure sign there was trouble before.


Another opening in the ceiling.  Also more dust.

close up dining room ceiling hole

This has been a problem for a LONG time!

The plumber repaired the pipes.  It was a two day job.  He was shocked at how rusted and corroded the drain pipes were.  He recommended not plastering over the hole right away just to make sure the problem is solved.  That is fine but our house will be on the Christmas tour and a hole in the dining room ceiling isn’t a very good way to promote the neighborhood and the historic homes here!  We decided to put a temporary cover over the hole.  This worked in part because the dining room ceiling is coffered.


The dining room ceiling had a cloud motif that we left when we covered the murals.  I didn’t hate it and changing it will be a challenge.  We tried to match the clouds when we did the patch.  I think it came pretty close.


Hopefully we are on our way to two steps forward and one back.  Ideally no more backward steps would be great but I don’t see that in our future yet!