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AFter Before


This house was originally built in the early 1900s as a home for the owner of a shop at the corner of Arch and Green Streets, now Madeline Maries.  Over time, the prestige the house once held slowly eroded away as the neighborhood itself fell on hard times.  Eventually it ended up as a poorly managed rental.  The roof leaked, the box gutters were rotten and falling, spray foam bubbled from any and all crevices, and the original slate roof needed replaced.  The last tenants finally moved out when the back porch roof began separating from the house.  And then it sat.  It sat and sat until it turned cold.  Unbeknownst to the out of state owner, the water was still on but the heat was not. When the spring thaw hit Morgantown that year, the pipes burst and the house flooded.

I happened to be working across the street from this house when I heard the water gushing out of the second floor into the kitchen.  I managed to find an unlocked window and crawl into the poor abandoned place to shut the water off.  Water was everywhere.  I couldn’t be sure how long it had been running, but it was definitely several days.  The floors were heaved up and the basement had standing water.  There was a thick mildew smell to everything.  I thought to myself, “Well, this house just entered my price range.”  And so started my affair with the house.  After some haggling, I procured the sad home from the owner and began the long process of bringing it back.

On first inspection, my hired help went to check out the attic. All I heard was a little girl’s shriek and I went running up the stairs.  Apparently my male laborer was unnaturally afraid of a dead raccoon stuck in a trap.  This was just one remnant of the past maintenance man.  But the favorite remnant of prior repairs was definitely the spray foam.  I had no idea spray foam could be used for so many applications, though many times unsuccessfully: roof repair, draft repair, rodent repellant, plumbing repair and my personal favorite, termite repair.  The termite infestation in the house had been allowed to fester for so long that you could put your finger through the baseboards on the first floor.  Thankfully I was able to head them off before they reached the bedrooms upstairs.  It took almost 10 months, but the “Flood House” sold in July of 2020, completely remodeled and brought back to its former glory.

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