Back of the house and what about the yard?  

Posted by Lietta Ruger

Before; what the back looked like when we bought the house, Nov 2002.

We did take photos of the house when we first bought it, on digital camera, stored in our computer, which crashed and since we didn't 'save' or back up, regrettably lost those pics. There are a hand few left from online activities. This pic is one my mother took of the back side of our house, shortly after we moved into it. I place it here to show the add-on structures that have altered the original salt box structure.

Since I've found and begun this blog, I've been seeing our house through slightly new eyes. It occurs to me then, that when Mr. Bochau made the first modifications, perhaps he added three bay windows; two on side of the house and one in the back where kitchen area exists. Perhaps not. Perhaps the later owners added the bay window area to the kitchen. We do know that the previous owner, John Joseph, who did much of the improvements and upgrades to this house, added onto the kitchen. He met with us and gave us a run-down of the work he'd done to the house over the 26 yrs his family lived in the house.

The added on kitchen sports an unusual style 'bay window' which is literally panes of glass glued together in some kind of super duper window glue. Scary, huh? Well I thought so, knowing to expect Pacific maritime wind and rain storms. But in this area where we live, this same glass glueing project to create bay window effect has been used in one of the historic buildings in nearby town (small town but it actually has a grocery store and some other stores that qualify it as more than a village or a hamlet, I guess). We've been in the house now since Nov 2002, weathered 4 winters of rain and windstorms and that kitchen window is virtually im-moveable so it must be some great glue holding the panes together.

Asthetically, it's not attractive as it is, in fact, a bead of glue running vertically along the panes, which bugs me when I'm looking out the window at the kitchen sink. An interim solution is to cover the two seams with two fabric curtains so that it looks like I'm right there on the cutting edge of designer use of curtains and fabric. I don't want traditional curtains at the window as it detracts from the idea of the all glass bay window Mr Jospeh installed. I tried a couple of different curtained ideas at that window and decided it was counter productive to why those windows were there in the first place.

Outside, you can see the over-mature shrubs and lilac tree. We didn't do much with cutting anything back the first year, and were cautious in the second year, and last year we took the plunge and generously pruned back all the mature shrubs and trees.

More pics coming of the back side of the house, primarily in the changing yard. Structurally, we are unlikely to be changing anything about the house except to add front porch and re-work the back enclosed porch. I'm not sure about the original property lines for this house, but the lot now has a small front yard, a larger back yard, no side yards on either side. Since the 'back yard' runs parallel to the street, it really seems more like a side yard, than a back yard to me.

Notice the mature lilac tree; fullness of the camelia bush and wild fushia bush. They pretty much dominate this upper section of the yard.



Seriously cutting back the camelia opened up the yard. It also revealed the bay window in the basement level of the house. Gave me area for flower bed and I plan to continue to work that into a showpiece flower bed. I cut back the wild fushia bush somewhat but not knowing the nature of how it grows, and it is the primary home to hummingbirds who lived here before we did, I pruned cautiously to perserve the numerous fuschia blooms for the hummingbirds.

We did light pruning to the Lilac bush (now tree size), which had four mature trunks. Two of the trunks leaned so far to the ground in the 2005 winter storms, we pulled them out, and actually preferred how much that opened up the yard. A new shoot is coming up between the two trunks, and has hardened now to become the newest trunk of the lilac. I'm relieved because if we lose the last two mature trunks, we would have lost the lilac tree.

entry by Lietta Ruger - the woman of the house

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 10:26 AM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Crawling around under the house and looking at the beam supporting exterior walls will sometimes reveal what was added on. It really explained a lot for me.

7:24 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion Greg, and we'll take a 'fresh eye' look under the house. I'm guessing this bay window addition was not part of original house as beneath it is enclosed 'shed' type space where wood burning furnace was installed. It is definitely an add on from main house structure. I now believe this set of bay windows was a Mr. Bochau addition back in early 1900's.

Thanks for stopping by Greg, and I enjoyed looking at your blog and house - Petch House. You had an ugly add-on to your house to dismantle and deconstruct; interesting to follow that progress.

9:07 AM
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