continued from Crawl Space, Part 2

It was a holiday, Memorial Day.  No construction crews were due to work today on the nano-winery we were building below our house.  No alarm clocks were set for school or work.  But small children don’t usually need loud noises to wake up early and we are thanking our lucky stars (at least this once!) that this morning was no exception in our house. At 7:15 that morning our kids (then 7 and 5) came in our bedroom saying they heard noises in the wall.  There were ghosts in the wall, they said.  Like good parents we sent them away telling them it was a holiday; there’s no school, there are no ghosts, go back to sleep, we said.  They left us and let us go back to sleep, but they weren’t buying our parental half-hearted reassurances.  This time when they called to me from the living room I detected true fright in their voices.  We leapt to the living room and sure enough heard startlingly loud and frequent creaks.  Then we saw the cracks in the wall around the fireplace.  We ran outside around the side of the house near the chimney where construction was taking place and much to our horror saw our brick and mortar chimney pulling away from our house.  With each creak, the chimney separated a little farther.  One small piece of wood at the top was pretty much holding the chimney to our house.  

We really hated to bother our architect/contractor on a holiday but did.  He was at our house in no time, along with a fire truck, his work crew and evacuation orders for our next door neighbors.  After this, things get a little hazy.  I think I was in shock. We were told to quickly move any valuables away from the fireplace inside and pack some things in case our house became inhabitable.  


chimney bricks in the old basement, before


Chimney bricks, after


Thankfully, the crew managed to bring down the chimney in a controlled manner.  Nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged.  We did have to add a new fireplace, fireplace surround and chimney to our remodeling list.  And next time I may just speak up when something doesn’t look right.

In the end, our tiny, back-breaking crawl space was converted to this fabulous place to make wine with (full-size) friends and family…

no more chimney

brick chimney was where the window is now

bottling the 07 Merlot

at work in the new cellar bottling the 07 Merlot