In this episode, Stacy and Ashley from The Gold Hive discuss oddball additions to historic structures. Later, Stacy welcomes Lindsay Jones from Blind Eye Restoration, a woman-owned architectural conservation company in Columbus, Ohio. Lindsay...
In this episode, Stacy and Ashley from The Gold Hive discuss oddball additions to historic structures.
Later, Stacy welcomes Lindsay Jones from Blind Eye Restoration, a woman-owned architectural conservation company in Columbus, Ohio. Lindsay shares about preservation from a construction perspective.
This episode is sponsored byPlunjr.Download the app for iPhone or Android, open it, and tap the “talk to a plumber now” button to get help and guidance for your DIY plumbing project. The first call is free.Mention True Tales From Old Houses and receive 10% off your parts order.
Stacy begins the episode by talking about a TV show that she has been enjoying. It is called Project Restoration, and it is available on Amazon Prime. After announcements, Stacy welcomes Ashley from The Gold Hive to answer a listener question.
(4:26) The listener question is: "How do you feel about regulations for historic buildings that require additions to look completely different than the original structure?" Ashley and Stacy understand the reasoning behind the regulations, but both are conflicted about how modified historic buildings look with incongruous additions.
(12:56) Stacy reminds listeners to use the microphone button at the bottom right-hand corner of the website to answer the question: “What is the weirdest or most surprising thing you’ve ever found in your old house?”
(14:59) Today's guest is Lindsay Jones, owner of Blind Eye Restoration in Columbus, Ohio.
(15:12) Lindsay talks about how she started her company and the education and work experience that led her to her construction and historic restoration specialty.
(20:36) Lindsay discusses how Blind Eye Restoration has grown and the end goal of becoming a team of six people.
(23:07) Stacy asks Lindsay to elaborate on the statement that "preservation is the truest form of green building."
(23:22) Linsday reminds us that the building that is using no energy at all is actually the greenest structure. Old houses and buildings were built with different methods to maximize air-flow, mold-reduction, etc... While there are ways to make old buildings more energy-efficient, we should not expect them to function like modern structures.
(27:13) Stacy mentions that when we add a modern efficiency update, it is a process of give-and-take. We may get a short-term fix for comfort, but our choices can affect the structure's overall health and longevity. Lindsay agrees.
(27:25) Lindsay touches on the high volume of construction waste that remodeling and updates create.
(29:35) Stacy asks Lindsay if replacing windows compromises the structural integrity of a building. Lindsay says that it is a terrible idea cosmetically, but replacing windows does not destroy the structure itself as long as the headers remain in place.
(31:37) Stacy asks Lindsay to clarify how LEED certification applies to old buildings. It does not. Lindsay wishes there were commercials about window restoration services, but unfortunately, only larger companies have the budget to advertise.
(33:50) Lindsay and Stacy discuss starting preservation education and language in elementary school instead of waiting until high school. Lindsay talks about some of the current curriculum choices and how she would like to see those improved to create a sense of pride in local buildings and historical events.
(38:23) Lindsay laments that although girls are often told they can grow up to do anything, they also receive messages that they cannot do simple maintenance tasks. They are simply not taught basic hands-on skills.
Stacy agrees. Her experience shows that people who live alone do not always have adequate skills to complete simple tasks.
(41:46) Stacy switches gears and asks Lindsay to talk about using modern products in old houses. Lindsay believes that modern products are not necessarily bad, but they can be incompatible with old buildings, especially when used incorrectly.
Stacy and Lindsay spend some time talking about how Dap 33 has a bad reputation in the window restoration trades, but perhaps that dislike is misplaced.
(48:34) Stacy and Linsday have an in-depth discussion about how today's building practices with architects at the top of the hierarchy can undermine the contractor's authority and force them into a subservient role. Contractors are the "boots on the ground," dealing with the day-to-day implementation of the architect's specifications, and they do not always translate well. Also, choosing the lowest bidder as a rule often eliminates more highly-qualified people and could encourage unsafe or illegal business practices. Stacy talked about the importance of looking at bids with a critical eye to make sure each company is bidding the project close to the same ways--in other words, comparing "apples to apples."
(53:43) Stacy and Lindsay wrap up the episode by telling listeners where they can find Lindsay on the internet and Instagram as well as the organizations and groups he belongs to, locally and regionally.
Thank you for listening to True Tales From Old Houses.
Until next time,
Stacy Grinsfelder 0:02
I'm Stacy Grinsfelder from Blake Hill House and I am the host of True Tales From Old Houses.
Hello from the very snowy north. Right now some of you may already be happily sorting flower and vegetable seeds and writing your spring to do lists, but in my neck of the woods, we're still kicking the tires on the snowblower and piling on the extra quilts at bedtime. I'll be honest, the drafts in Blake Hill House do feel a little bit colder and breezier in February. February is the shortest month but it feels like the cruelest month too. How do you get through the hardest part of winter? For me, it's about daily outdoor exercise. I'm an avid runner, couldn't live without it. And a little bit of binge watching TV too. Lately, I've been sucked into a show out of the UK called Project Restoration. People there buy dilapidated historic structures and then mostly preserve and restore them using old methods. There is a little bit of rehab for modern life built in too--I mean, we're talking about you know, castles from the 1700s. It's not like they had indoor plumbing. And naturally there is some contrived drama because it is formulaic TV, after all. However, it's also a really fun look at repairing old old buildings, thatching roofs, and repairing plaster cornice--all things that they really aren't a part of American TV. So if you're into that kind of thing, Project Restoration is on Amazon Prime. After the roof thatching episode, I went down a giant YouTube and Instagram rabbit hole of roof thatching videos, convinced that maybe I could do it too. I was I was really into it. I'll post some links on the show notes for you. And maybe you'll be into it too. And we can talk about starting that roof batching business together. I do have a great show for you today and I don't intend to spend all of it telling you about my favorite television programs. However, before we get into it, I need to tell you that today's episode is sponsored by Plunjr. That's P L U N J R. If you have a plumbing problem, download the Plunjr app for iPhone or Android. Open it up and push the talk to a plumber now button. It's that easy. In less than a minute you'll be connected with a professional plumber who will help you diagnose your problem and come up with a do it yourself plan to fix it. The first call is free. After that, if you opt to move forward, you'll schedule a paid follow up call to complete your plumbing project with as much or as little hand holding as you need from a licensed plumber from Plunjr. I used the Plunjr app to swap out our broken kitchen faucet and garbage disposal. Now my husband Andy and I, we tried to pass that project off to one another for six months. And I'm not kidding, it was six months. I don't know why we did that we spent more time avoiding the problem than it took to fix it with Plunjr. I ordered all the parts from them, which you can do to or provide your own-- your choice. Aaron from Plunjr talked me through the installation process. And in about 90 minutes I was running water through our new faucet and garbage disposal. You can read all about my experience at BlakeHillHouse.com. And I'll link the article in the show notes too. Again, download the app, open it and press talk to a plumber now. That's it. The first call is free, and if you mention True Tales From Old Houses, you'll get 10% off your parts order from Plunjr. That's P L U N J R--the Plunjr app.
Announcements announcements. All right. I just have one for you today and it is a save the date. The Window Preservation Standards Collaborative is hosting its fifth annual window preservation summit at the Pine Mountain settlement school in Bledsoe, Kentucky on September 20, through October 1 2021. Will we be traveling by September? Hmm, I hope so. But for now, just save the date. And I will post the link to the summit on the show notes and you can refer back to it for more details. Now if you're listening and you're part of a nonprofit organization that's hosting an event that is relevant to our listeners, please do reach out to me through the True Tales From Old Houses website, and I would be happy to announce it on an upcoming episode. All right, it's time for Q & A. Now, as I mentioned last episode, this season, there's a little change to the format of this segment. And I've invited a few past guests to come back on the show and do Q & A with me. So let's see who's here today.
Stacy Grinsfelder 4:27
It's Ashley Goldman from the gold hi Ashley.
Hi, how are you Stacy?
Stacy Grinsfelder 4:32
Good how are things going there in sunny San Diego.
Good it's it is indeed sunny, despite the winter. I'm so sorry. I know you have it's very cold where you are-- not here.
Stacy Grinsfelder 4:42
Yeah, it is, it is. We sort of manage with a cold because we know it's not going to go away, so as soon as you can stop complaining about it. Things get really-- er not you but me, as soon as I can stop complaining about it. It gets much better.
That's a good way of looking at it.
Stacy Grinsfelder 4:56
Anyway, Ashley, I have asked you here to help answer a question from one of our listeners, you want to help me out?
I will try.
Stacy Grinsfelder 5:04
Okay, great. The question is--I'm going to ask the question, and then you answer first, because then I'll answer after you will see, maybe your answers will be similar.
I'm in the hot seat.
Stacy Grinsfelder 5:13
You're in the hot seat. okay. So the question is, How do you feel about regulations for historic buildings that require additions to look completely different than the original structure?
This is a tough one. Um, I'm kind of torn because I both hate it and I understand it. I mostly don't like it if I have to, like pick it, if I have to pick an opinion. But I can understand it in the sense that historic buildings, the historic board, or the community or whatever was like overseeing party doesn't want it to look like you fakedan addition. And so they're trying to say "we'll make it look a little different so we can still appreciate what's original." And there's something kind of nice about saying, like, let's appreciate what's really, truly old, but they look horrible. I hate them. And I've seen them done so ridiculously. Like it's a craftsman with wood siding, and you know, detailed cedar shingles and then on top of it is a big stucco, 1990s box. And it looks really, really, really bad, but it's what the historic department said to do. So I hate seeing that. And I would much rather see someone try and make it look old, rather than 20 years down the line notice that it looks really 90s because that's always gonna look dated in a different way. So it's definitely an opinion, but that's how I feel about it.
Stacy Grinsfelder 6:38
Yeah, no, that's okay. That was we were asked for our opinion. So we can give it Yeah, yeah, you know, it's funny, I actually found out or began noticing this, I think after we talked on your interview a couple of seasons ago, I never really put much thought into either maybe what I was seeing, or maybe it just isn't done as much here. I'm out east, you're west. You're in California; I'm in New York. And what do we see a lot here is somebody will buy a big house, and then apparently, they have lots of money. So they'll just build a second house on the back of it. You know, basically, they double the size of their home. And their addition will be maybe, I guess, best case, it'll be almost a mirror image of what they have. But it'll definitely have different exterior. So maybe their house is brick and the addition will be siding instead. Or maybe they'll have a stucco house and it'll be siding or something, there's always something that offsets it and makes it look completely different. So that's one really common addition here where I live and that one is okay, because a lot of times they do it on the back.
Stacy Grinsfelder 7:48
So usually, you know, you're looking at the house straight on, it's not so clear. Another thing we get here a lot is the pop the top of things. We, and I think that's pretty common everywhere-- where they will take, you know, they'll have one, the ceiling will have a roof line, and then they'll just pop out the dormers and make it taller. And so sometimes you get some really weird--we call those "remuddles," when you have a remodel that's very strange, like you can see where it's something's really different.
Stacy Grinsfelder 8:20
We don't. I don't know if we don't have those regulations where our additions need to be completely different or maybe that's-- I couldn't tell you, I probably should have looked that up before we had our conversation today.
Stacy Grinsfelder 8:32
But I see sometimes it'll be matched siding, but you can tell where they must have put a bathroom there because there's no windows anywhere, you know. They, it's just really, really strange. So, in keeping with the spirit of the question, How do I feel about additions that are completely different? I think at first, when I first heard about it, I thought, Oh, that's terrible. That's, you know, that's horrible. Why would they do that? And then I, the more I thought about it, I think I'm kind of in line with your thinking to where I can see why they do that. They want people to know, which was the original structure, what is the more modern aspect of it. I think where the problem arises is like you were saying. when when we just have a period of time where we just have bad architecture.
Stacy Grinsfelder 9:20
And then we're gonna, you know, put that into our homes and keep it forever it would almost I'd almost rather see something super old and then have some more standards for how that's completely different addition would look, rather than just--but I also get budgets and things like that. We're not all made of money so we don't
Right, if only.
Stacy Grinsfelder 9:44
call in the-- Yeah, exactly. Some some people are calling an architect just because they have to, but their
Stacy Grinsfelder 9:51
you know, in certain places in the United States that's not even required. People are just doing their thing.
Yeah, it's it's definitely tricky. We encountered it when we remodel on the back of our house. We redid our kitchen, and we just wanted to make a change of adding French doors to extend our kitchen to the outside. And we were met with some of those challenges of we don't want to see you do anything that looks new. And I'm-- I fully appreciate that and respect that. And I was like, yeah, I'm on your guys's team historic board, like, we're cut from the same cloth. Of course, I'm going to get windows that have, you know, grills that will be somewhat indicative of this style and things like that. But one of the details that they came down to was, I'm trying remember, but I think the trim on the exterior of my house was like six and a half inches. And they said that they wanted it to be four inches around the new window to differentiate-- or the new door I'm sorry-- to differentiate old and original from new, and I'm like, that just seems silly. So yeah, it's it's sometimes can be really frustrating to be someone that is an advocate of restoring historic homes and making them modern and making them fit our current day, and then having someone require that change that all it really does is make it look like I didn't know how to measure, or I couldn't hunt down the right lumber to make it reflect what is supposed to be there. So I can imagine how frustrating that is, especially for homeowners that are trying to add on and you'll see it from the street and to be like, Oh, my goodness, I just want the siding to be the same, you know, the same spacing, but they're making me do a slightly different spacing. So yeah,
Stacy Grinsfelder 11:26
Yeah, that would be strange. In regards to your door, that sounds a lot like splitting hairs, really.
Stacy Grinsfelder 11:32
And it's in the back of your house. So nobody's going to be seen at any way except for you.
Exactly. Yeah. I there, there were some challenges with the back of house and front of house regulations. And from what I had understood previously, the back of the house didn't really matter. It was only an anything that was visible from the street, which I understood and completely respect, and get. So I was really surprised to be met with that kind of splitting of hairs on the back. The one last thing that I can think of is, and this is kind of goes away from requiring additions to look completely different, but it's in the same addition realm. There's a lot of people in the old home community that want the old homes to say exactly like old homes, and sometimes I am in that camp. I'm like 98% of the time, I'm in that camp, but and when I live in an area where a lot of our homes are maybe 1000 square feet or something like that, and I see so many of them get torn down for a larger house. Any other day, or any day of the week, I will always choose put a somewhat ugly addition on that old house and keep it rather than tear it down and build like a huge three storey something something,
Stacy Grinsfelder 12:40
Sure Absolutely. I agree
It's a give and take.
Stacy Grinsfelder 12:43
Yeah, I could see that for sure. Yeah. All right. Well, I don't really have any additional thoughts about that question. But thank you so much for coming on today and answering it with me. It was fun. Yeah. Always good to see you again.
Stacy Grinsfelder 12:56
Ashley, and I answered your question. And now it's your turn this season. I have a question for listeners, and it is, "What is the weirdest or most surprising thing you ever found in your old house?" I got my first answer this week. So let's listen:
Hi, Stacy, it's Ron here from Gothic Home. The most exciting thing we found is a pair of old shoes built in between the walls of the front threshold to protect our house from evil spirits. Might be a nice subject for a show down the line. Talk to you later. Bye.
Stacy Grinsfelder 13:29
Now we did touch on the subject of rituals and charms in the very first episode of True Tales From Old Houses about ash dump archaeology, but it is a topic worth revisiting, and so I've put it back on my list. Now if Ron sounds familiar, that's because he was our guest during Season Two and his episode was titled Ron's Retirement Project Isn't Golfing, and he is working on an old house in Canada. Now I heard Ron's answer, but I want to hear more. So please visit the True Tales From Old Houses website and on the bottom right-hand side you'll see a microphone icon. Click on that microphone and you can leave a voicemail answer which I might share on an upcoming episode of the show. Please answer in a complete sentence and don't be shy. You can leave that voicemail using your phone or even your computer as long as it has a microphone. Your privacy is important, so rest assured, that any messages you leave will not be shared without your permission. Thank you, Ron for taking time to answer the question about the weirdest or most surprising thing you've ever found in your old house, and it was so nice to hear your voice again.
Today's guest began working for her dad's construction company when she was about 12 years old. That early introduction to building along with an impressive education which spanned topics ranging from construction management, historic preservation and art conservation, led her full circle back home to Ohio, and I'll let her tell you what happened next. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Lindsay Jones.
Hi, I'm Lindsay Jones, I am the owner of Blind Eye Restoration an architectural conservation company in Columbus, Ohio.
Stacy Grinsfelder 15:07
Welcome, Lindsay. Thank you for being here today.
Thank you. Glad to be here.
Stacy Grinsfelder 15:11
It's so nice to see you. Yeah, meet you in face to face. We're on zoom today so we can see each other. When I sent the form out to you and ask you what you wanted to talk about, you had so many good ideas, and so I really want to talk about all of them, which means I guess we should probably get started. But primarily, I wanted to know first, how did you start? or how did your company Blind Eye Restoration get its start?
Yeah, so we are just a small little company still, I started off just myself, honestly, because it got to a point where I really just wanted to do this, and there wasn't anything around. My background is in construction and historic preservation, and I had the great opportunity to work with people doing this type of work in the past, but when I moved home, it just wasn't here. So I just decided to make it for myself, and it's just kept growing. I'm really happy.
Stacy Grinsfelder 16:17
What type of construction were you doing before you were doing preservation and conservation?
Well, I've been doing it since I was probably 12. So kind of a little bit of everything. I've you know, everything from pouring foundations to shingling roofs, and refinishing all of the things. But I started going to work with my dad-- he had a small home repair business when I was growing up, and by the time I was too old for latchkey, I just was ended up going to work with him in the summers. He did a little bit of everything, jack of all trades, got that engineering brain where he can just fix anything. And then I didn't really think I wanted to go into construction. So I went to school for art and art history and architecture. And in the end just figured out I didn't like school, so I graduated in three years as fast as I could and went to work for Habitat for Humanity as an AmeriCorps, and it was really cool opportunity because it made me realize that I'm already really good at this. And I kind of know all of this stuff. And I recognize all the tools and I know how to keep everything organized and sort of teach people the little things. And, and I liked doing that. But there was a guy who started working as an unpaid intern underneath me, you know, I was at least training him and all the different things. And then when he graduated from construction management school at OSU, they hired him as my boss. So I went and decided, Okay, well, then yes, I'm going to do construction, but in the construction management program, as much as I was still flying through the classes-- definitely know what I'm doing here--on't feel weird at all amongst all the guys like this is totally my, happ.. not my happy place. That sounds weird. But like, I feel comfortable doing all these things. I still wasn't super jazzed about new construction. It was kind of bland, everything's, I don't know, not flimsy, but the materials just weren't exciting, the projects weren't exciting. And I eventually learned about Historic Preservation. Pretty much I was in this other undergraduate program like thinking about getting an entirely second undergraduate degree in something that I wasn't totally loving, when I very first heard of historic preservation, and decided to go to grad school for it, move to Oregon. Did all of that and ended up starting to do more of the project management for historic renovation kind of thing. So going like all the way up and doing the whole project management thing. multimillion dollar development projects, all of that. And so I've kind of gone the whole spectrum. And eventually, eventually, at one point, I was working in San Francisco for an architecture firm that had a sort of construction management conservation sub-company. And in that capacity, where I was doing construction management, I was also brought on because somebody realized that I had hand skills. And I was an apprentice to the art conservator there. And so I spent a couple of years with her and we were good friends, and we still talk, and so from just hands-on basic jack-of-all-trades, kind of repairs, all the way up to construction management, in regular commercial and development, to historic preservation to art conservation. And it kind of all rolls up into I've just had the simple observation of you just need to understand what materials you're working with.
Stacy Grinsfelder 19:59
Right Hmm, that's Interesting. So you've had a ton of both academic and hands-on experience, you're kind of the total, full package, just the right person to start your own.
Just a little too much education. Yeah.
Stacy Grinsfelder 20:11
Is there such a thing? If it's interesting to you, and you can absorb it and use it later, I think it's all--well, even if you can't use it later, if it's interesting to you, and then go for it,
A very well rounded education ainone specific thing. Yeah, I've got a little bit of everything. I've finally decided where I belong.
Stacy Grinsfelder 20:30
That's wonderful. So how long has Blind Eye Restoration been going? I mean, how long? When did you start that?
I started it in late in 2016. So we just had our four year anniversary. And I started, I started off totally on my own, with the idea that I had a potential like, very large scale project that was going to be able to tide me over because I knew architects and developers, and there's projects that I could do on a large scale by myself, even when I wasn't well known as a small company. So something that, in my mind, like this is a good business plan. I can get out and do this one thing, right? And it turned out that like, yeah, that doing it by yourself is not a thing. So I've definitely grown since then and have employees. Morgan started stalking me in late 2017. She moved to Columbus with her boyfriend, he had a really great job. And she had a promise of a job that they kind of like drug her along and said she was going to start soon, and it just didn't work out. And she was just like, Is there anything I can do to help you I really love to do the stuff you're doing. And so I hesitantly brought her on, because I wasn't-- I'd watched my dad with his home repair company, and it was really hard. And the fact that I was doing it in the first place seemed incredible, and bringing employees on was scary.
Stacy Grinsfelder 21:58
That's a big step. And when you move to that step of adding employees, I've been there, it adds a new layer of sometimes headache. I mean, it's always nice to have those people, but as far as from an administrative point of view, there's always more to do.
Oh, my gosh, yes. bringing her on. It was fantastic. Because it was just like, oh, you can make twice as much money with twice as many people. It's funny how that works, right?
Stacy Grinsfelder 22:23
Make Money--spend money to make money, right? It's true.
Unknown Speaker 22:26
Yeah, it is. And then just the two of us working, getting more jobs and more jobs. And it just keeps happening where we started to get too much work. And well, I have other employees, Nicole, started as an intern with us. And I've had a couple of different people in between there. Everybody's been women until our most recent hire Mac. And then there's a couple more women that we're looking at to hire in like a staggered process. So ultimately, the goal is, we're probably going to be about a crew of six, which doesn't seem like huge, and still definitely on the small-scale construction side, but considering we just hit the four year anniversary, I'm pretty pumped about it.
Stacy Grinsfelder 23:07
Absolutely. 100%. That's great. All right. Well, you have said that preservation is the truest form of green building, and I sometimes hear that, but not really, as often as you would think. So I wondered if you could explain more about what that means to you?
Yeah. Well, when people talk about green buildings, we're always talking about the energy efficiency and and even in historic preservation, everybody's argument for saving these historic windows is we can make them energy efficient. And if we want to talk about what energy efficiency is, a mothballed, empty, unheated building is really the most energy efficient, efficient building, there is, The pre-existing building that's using no energy. So if we want to make any building energy efficient, we can't just expect the building to withstand all of our expectations of interior environmental comfort. We need to actually think about how we're living in these places, and not try to heat it to 80 degrees when it's a building that has, you know, pathways for air so that you don't get mold and different things going. They were built in such a way so that they didn't fall down and deteriorate or create sicknesses for you. But so energy efficiency, when we think about that, there are ways to make our older buildings more energy efficient, that do not require that we take-- we buy new materials to fix it and make it airtight. The more new materials we buy, things that we take out of the environment to build all of these new structures that are energy efficient, is not energy efficient, really,
Stacy Grinsfelder 24:39
When, in reality, we can make our interior comforts better by opening windows or making our historic windows functional. We can have ceiling fans, you know things for the summertime and in the wintertime., you wear sweaters and blankets and socks in the house. Not everybody's favorite But..
Stacy Grinsfelder 25:00
No, I was just gonna say that's always the thing. You know my kids say, "I'm cold. Well, you could wear more clothes."
Yeah, exactly my thing. Yes. It is like you're cold put on some socks. Why are you not wearing socks right now? Like, put on socks, duh.
Stacy Grinsfelder 25:14
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And everybody knew this, but it's just like become this modern expectation that if you can't walk around in your underpants in the middle of winter, and
Stacy Grinsfelder 25:28
be comfy cozy in your house that like there's something wrong with your house. Yeah. And, and sometimes, yes, the energy bills are higher in these old houses, but there are things you can do to help improve that without tearing it down or throwing up an entirely new wall inside of the house or replacing all the windows, little things like fixing some air leaks.
Stacy Grinsfelder 25:51
And that's something that's, you know, depends on how the house is heated too. So you know, heating oil is more expensive than natural gas. And so there are kind of fixed costs that you can't change. Hmm.
But there are, but you can be mindful of what the energy used for the houses or like my, my electricity bills get really high. I put in a gas stove. Gas is considerably cheaper, and not everybody has the option for both, but it helps lower my electricity bill, and it actually heats the house pretty well. Having that gas stove in there. And, yeah, it--having an old house, I think requires more creativity living in it. You have to be mindful of how it wants to function and how it best works with you and your lifestyle. And not expecting it to be something that it's not.
Stacy Grinsfelder 26:46
Right. Well, when we add something that's modern, we're always trading for something else. I always think of like insulation. So you know, you add insulation--great, it's warmer, but guess what, now you have an environment for mold. Or now you you know something always-- when you change that ecosystem of the old house, your're --it's a give and take. And I think you have to know what that take is going to be, you know.
Stacy Grinsfelder 27:13
Know that next step. You know, this is a short-term, this might feel short-term, fantastic. But in the long run, maybe it means something detrimental to your house or the building that you're in.
And speaking of the, the stat or the-- maybe maybe I'm thinking something you said earlier sparked my brain, but the people moving into old houses and wanting them to look a certain way. I think we-- the existing house, if we can accept the way they look and make more minor changes--the construction industry creates so much waste every year, every time a remodel is happens. The amount of trash that comes out of there, just dumpsters and dumpsters worth of waste that goes directly to a landfill does not get recycled, because it's c&d construction demolition. But I'm thinking about that too, when we do regular remodels or, and I know some people, we like to talk about windows a lot, and how windows really aren't that long-lasting. Vinyl windows, though, you know, by the time you pay them off, they're not functioning correctly anymore. And I think a lot of people, I mean, we move into our own personal home, and I'm not going to be a preservation stickler, but we all want to make a space right for us. And we don't think about the fact that maybe we're only going to be there for five years, and the next person who comes along is going to want to do the same thing and just repeating over and over, and thinking about how much waste that creates. Every everybody remodels, and that's not even considering when people do full demolitions and how much that goes into the landfills when we say, Oh, we're gonna get rid of this old house and build something efficient. And it's the new materials we're using. It's material that goes into the landfill. And all of that wrapped up with like, what is the actual energy expenditure of the building itself if you're not fussing with it, you know? Leave it as it is. And think about that innate energy usage, versus what we're throwing at the new building industry. LEED doesn't count historic, anything. They they are the industry standard for green building, but they don't they don't count anything for historic buildings. And it's it's sad that we don't talk about that more and make it more of a widespread conversation amongst all of the the building community.
Stacy Grinsfelder 29:35
Right. That's a good point. Now I have a question, something I heard about windows. That makes sense to me, but maybe you can confirm this or deny it. I'll give you the opportunity to do either. But what I have understood is that when a house is built with this original with wood windows, the framing for those windows is also part of the structure of the house. It all works together to basically in general terms hold up the sides of the house, keep everything kind of square and level. And then when you take those out to add a vinyl window or replacement window, then you can compromise that structure. And that's actually hard on your house. So if you do that over time, then you're continually kind of chipping away at the you know, basics of your house. So,
Yeah, no, Anybody who takes a window out, if they're really taking the full framing of the window out should know that the framing needs to go back in there's usually a header over the window, nobody's really going to likely take the header out of the window when they're taking out the wood sashes, even if they take the surrounding jamb. The the header over that should still be in place in the general framing of the house. So as long as they're filling in wherever, if the window is smaller or largely So,
Stacy Grinsfelder 30:55
Yeah, it should be fine. As long as the the surrounding real, like studs and header are still in place. The window itself, it it is built as part of the wall, usually like it--when you take them apart, the jamb really goes into the framing and the the window pockets are right next step to the studs of the wall, but the pieces when you pull them out for replacement window, it doesn't actually make the house less structurally sound. It maybe makes you a dingus. But it doesn't make that.
Stacy Grinsfelder 31:29
Okay, still a bad decision,
A very bad decision not gonna support it. No, I refuse. But no, it doesn't. It doesn't affect the framing.
Stacy Grinsfelder 31:37
Right? Well, let's go back to talking about LEED certified, and you were talking about, we should be paying, what did you say, less attention to LEED in old buildings? And could you rephrase that, let's go back and get into that just a little bit more
No, the the LEED Green standards for new construction, if we're trying to meet a standard for construction, and LEED generally only refers to new construction,
Stacy Grinsfelder 32:06
I've just heard a lot of people referring to the fact that green green standards don't talk about old buildings, like I kind of just like ignore the fact that it exists. And that it's an issue that we need to deal with. The new building industry would like you to believe that old buildings, all old buildings, or anything pre-existing is inefficient and bad, because it's not good for the profit margins. The advertising money that goes into these things-- there's a reason that you don't see advertisements on the TV, or radio or wherever we see advertisements anymore, Hulu? for wood window restoration. And we should because there's so many people who would absolutely be into it and could really appreciate the beauty of them, but all they've ever been told is that this is old and gross, and you'll be happy when it's new and pretty. And the fact I
Stacy Grinsfelder 32:55
and no maintenance.
Stacy Grinsfelder 32:57
Is that big thing people try to get talked into all the time.
Yep, no maintenance really just means it can't be repaired. And it's going to be garbage in five years, or, you know, whatever the lifecycle of it is that the point is you're adding something into the house that once it goes bad, everything's bad, and you have no recourse but to replace and trash and add more stuff to the landfill.
Stacy Grinsfelder 33:16
All right, let me switch gears just a little bit because during our preliminary communication, you mentioned that you wanted to talk about maybe encouraging a wider spectrum of preservation education opportunities, such as art, construction, agriculture and public planning in school. So I'm familiar with that on a high school level. But you mentioned that you were interested in seeing it as young as Elementary. And I wondered what that would look like in elementary school, if you thought about it.
Yeah, absolutely. So if you've ever had kids, obviously,
Stacy Grinsfelder 33:50
Yeah. Anybody but the the curriculum, it starts including public history, or focused on public history currently where I am in third grade. And part of that is looking at public figures who have made a difference in the community via politics or what have you. But something that we can do is start reaching out to the schools at that age and showing them, these buildings in your town are significant because, and showing them the just visual significance like these are a --they enhance the integrity, historic integrity of our spaces. The spaces wouldn't be the same if that building was gone, if you can imagine that. Or imagining how the materials were made and the people that made them adding that to their their history and understanding of the people in their community and how they've benefited from those people in the past and what they did. And also just generally how we talk about the the national register and any house or building that goes on that listing that is significant to your community because of a person, a moment in history, that architectural significance, all of those things are things that we can actually talk to little kids about. And that can be really interesting and fun. And you can involve it in field trips and hands-on activities. We've done coloring books that we've provided for local school kids that are, specifically have endangered buildings from our community, or buildings that have been saved in our community that they should grow up recognizing, and not just drive past and have somebody tell then, oh it's just some old building-- a small building. If we pointed out to kids, they'll recognize it, they'll grow up knowing that is a historic, significant building. This happened there. Such and such built it. And we won't have to fight everybody when it gets to the point of demolition. People will appreciate them and maintain them over time, and we won't be constantly talking about do we demolish, or do we spend all of the money we possibly can to save it? Because those dire situations are where we get into trouble with these old buildings and creating that appreciation and kids is a lot easier when everybody's still moldable. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a an old building savior position the way I guess I'm I feel like I'm kind of phrasing it. But yeah, that that public education factor in third grade is already there. And why not get in on that when the curriculum is already basically asking for it?
Stacy Grinsfelder 36:28
Right, right. And there's probably some preliminary or little hands-on things that these kids can do that might lead into more hands on work at the high school level in vocational education. I think you and I've talked about this before, with things like just even sewing or like little woodworking projects that kind of thing.
Yeah, so my friend Sarah is a preservation heritage consultant. Heritage Preservation--I screwed it up. But she does a lot of really great storytelling, and hands-on craft workshops, where she has the tiny Jane Jacobs dolls that are like a little sewing project and lots of people will buy her kits and do them at home with their kids. And explain the story of who Jane Jacobs is and how she defeated Moses in New York and all that type of stuff. And she does these little banners. And she was actually the president of our Young Ohio Preservationist group. So she was kind of in charge of doing the coloring book situation. So she's got all these really great ideas and things that you can do with kids. I've also heard of this program, I think it's called Girls Garage, where they train grade school girls, to do all of the trades, training things that we all might have just ever thought of maybe doing in shop class, if anybody still has shop class, right? There's great images of these girls learning to weld on Instagram. I hope I got that name, right, I have to double check it out.
Stacy Grinsfelder 38:04
You know, I'll look up all these things--the Jane Jacobs doll, this women or young women's group for trades, and I will link them in the show notes. I'll see what I can find to make sure it gets into the show notes. We can also, you know, when this was over, we can catch up and make sure we get all our stuffright to put in the show notes.
Should have done that beforehand. But yeah, I love that teaching kids at, you know, when your kids-- I grew up working in my dad's working with my dad, but you know, in even the before times, or just being at home, being in the garage of the basement with him as he's doing stuff and building my own little things. There's a great hand eye dexterity that comes with swinging a hammer and hitting a nail and just like a silly old two by four and putting two pieces together. And you're not necessarily making anything functionally useful. But it's fun. And I think it's good. It's a good thing to do as a kid in incredibly builds up confidence, especially as girls where you're told that you can do literally anything the same as anybody else. And it doesn't seem so--I feel like there's just like this innate, I can't do that. I'm a girl attitude with a lot of women, older women, women, my age younger women. And if you're not taught that you can do these things and just shown, they're not that hard. They're not that scary. It's just something that you need to be taught, then it makes a big difference in people's confidence level, just in general. Regardless if you want to go into the trades or not.
Stacy Grinsfelder 39:34
Right. I don't see I don't run into that much on Instagram. But in my past life before I moved here, one of my one of my former lives, I was always a little shocked about people who would say, you know, oh, I have these pictures, but I haven't hung them up yet because I don't know how, you know, it's a picture and they would ask me like, do you have any advice for hanging up these pictures? And I remember thinking well, you're you know, it was drywall. So what do you have to lose? With drywall, right? Not very much. And I, but you're right, there was just a confidence thing. there that was that was missing. And it could be as simple as you know, I don't know how to hang this picture or even my toilets running. And it would be a really simple fix. But I don't understand how it works. I don't think I'm capable of doing this, this needs a plumber. I just, it was just a different way I, I had a lot of instruction to I'm one of two girls, and no brothers. And, you know, we learned a lot from my dad. And I'm kind of have a generation where it could have gone either way.
I don't think anybody means to make it a lack of competence thing anymore. But we definitely need to be mindful of increasing that. Because Yeah, fixing a toilet hanging a picture. It's nobody's fault, if they don't know how, but it's maybe somebody could have done better and encouraging them to figure it out. Because I think all of these things. I mean, we have YouTube now, right? You can do anything, anybody can do anything if they want to learn.
Stacy Grinsfelder 41:06
Sure. And so many people now are alone, you know, either by choice or just life circumstances have led them to be living alone. And so we have to learn to take care of-- I'm not talking just about women, either. I'm talking about all the you know, men, women, just, you know, newly adults, newly minted adults, ending up on their own and we all just need to be able to feel empowered to at least learn if we don't know it. Now we have to know that, okay, we can find the answer. We can do this. We can be self-sufficient. For sure.
Stacy Grinsfelder 41:37
Well, another topic. I guess we're we're going all over the place. We're gonna solve all the world's problems.
Stacy Grinsfelder 41:43
Just so you know. Yeah. We're just running through...
I'm all about it.
Stacy Grinsfelder 41:46
Same. All right. Well, old house owners, they're faced with a lot of decisions about which which products to use. And, of course, we're all a pretty passionate bunch, and and I wondered as a professional if you could weigh in on some modern products, and why they're not always compatible with old buildings.
Yeah, so I try to argue that there's never a bad product more so an inappropriate use of said products. So for instance, Dap 33. Lots of people in the window community want to kind of hate on Dap 33. But it is the most accessible window glazing products. You can find it in all the big box stores, little hardware stores everywhere. And it works as glazing in that, when you put it over glass on a sash, it helps wick water away. It may not last as long as products like Sarco. It may not be as strong against water and kind of acts like plaster and like dissolves and gets gross. And, you know, there's lots of reasons you may not like using Dap, but it works. There's also, you know, different caulks there's a good use of caulk, like interior painting when you're trying to seal between surfaces. But putting it on the outside, just because there's a spot where water has gotten in and things are rotted and you just really want to fill up the hole and paint over it and ignore the fact that it's there. Not a good use of that.
Stacy Grinsfelder 43:20
Paint will-- a good paint job may last, you know five to 10 years on an exterior surface in your average environment, I guess. But as soon as it starts failing water will get behind it. And if you have things like caulk and other kinds of like plastic sealants, bondo, different types of epoxy, there's a chance that water will get in there and get trapped behind that and create more rot and then it just won't be visible. Sure. So in that way, there are definitely inappropriate products for different applications. But it's, I think, the responsibility of whoever is using them to really know what is this? Why am I using it here? Is this the best application of this product? Is there something that I could do in place of this that is more appropriate to what we're working on currently. There's like--you can put drywall mud-- like buckets spackle, you can put that over plaster. It's not going to hurt the plaster, but it may not last. It doesn't make it a bad product. It doesn't make drywall an inferior system entirely. I actually really love doing drywall. I think it's really satisfying to get a super smooth wall, and it goes up so fast.
Stacy Grinsfelder 44:43
and I can do a ceiling without-- I mean, drywall plaster whatever it's going to be a mess, but I redid my mother-in-law's ceiling almost entirely by myself. I needed some help with like studs and putting sheets up but getting the whole thing up and it was so smooth in regards to she had like a drop ceiling previously that had falling in plaster above it. And it looks great now and it was like kind of fun to just whoop, and it's up and it's smooth and it looks great.
Stacy Grinsfelder 45:10
Well, I've been guilty of using it--well I'm not gonna say guilty, I'm never gonna feel guilty about it, I have done some skim coating, in certain circumstances, knowing full well what I was agreeing to when I used that product instead of doing plaster.
Stacy Grinsfelder 45:24
And I think that's where we get into as passionate old house owners. Sometimes it's really easy to look at what somebody else did and and maybe judge that or think about it differently. And, and I asked you, as a professional and you are a professional, I appreciate your accessibility, because going back to that Dap 33. And I've said plenty about Dap 33. And mostly, it's just because I don't enjoy working with it.
Stacy Grinsfelder 45:48
but a lot of times we do hear from those window restoration professional professionals, this is the brand to use, and with--Sarco is the brand to use usually is what they're saying, but coming at it from their perspective, you know, they're professionals, they never want to go, they don't want to return to the project, again, to make repairs, to come back. So they are looking at something that's going to last forever, because they have no intention of having to go back and do it again. and rightfully so. They shouldn't create a situation in which they have to continue to do maintenance or, or redo windows. So I can see their point of view, but as just a homeowner who's doing a few projects here and there. You're right, and I-- You called me out on that which I fully fully,
I didn't mean to call you I just..
Stacy Grinsfelder 46:34
I didn't see that as a negative. I thought it was a very, I thought it was great. I'm glad that you mentioned something because you're right. Sometimes you have to use the product that's available to you and you can't get mired in the, you know, perfection aspect of it, or what somebody else will think if they see you use a different product.
Yeah. And the window restoration thing too. We, as a window restorer, we really try to-- we make the basics, the sash, the glazing everything, so that we're not getting called back to fix that. When it comes to Dap, it will function just as long as Sarco as long as it's maintained with good paint. So when we use Sarco, we're expecting that whoever the homeowner is, who maybe let it get this far, maybe doesn't always have the ability to repaint every couple of years. And so we're giving them a little bit of leeway by using sarco. And something that's going to last a little bit longer and have a little bit more durability against water infiltration. But if you're a homeowner and you're like, I can go back and dab up, you know, touch up this paint periodically, not a big deal. dhap would work just fine. But yeah, it's it's that mentality of the contractor trying not to go back and do touch ups to a project. because somebody's not doing any kind of maintenance to it. But within a year warranty kind of thing. You wouldn't have that issue anyway. So it's a good quality contractor who's using Sarco versus caulk or Dap, whatever. But yeah, if you're there, and you just like, I need to make sure this glass doesn't fall out, and I'm going to be good about touching up the paint and maintaining it, then yeah, it's it's all about really maintenance. Old houses are just very needy for maintenance, and you could use whatever product you want, as long as you maintain that top coat of paint or your mortar beds, or, you know, all of those type of things that are the integral feature to keeping moisture out from settling in the bones and that type of thing.
Stacy Grinsfelder 48:34
Well, I'm going to wrap up with one last question today, and this one's kind of-- I'm just so interested in hearing what you have to say about this. But you made kind of a provocative statement during our preliminary communication and you said we need to get away from the "lowest bidder and architect-as-god mentalities if we ever hope to see the construction industry improve itself." I was curious, what do you mean by that?
Yeah, So I, it's, it's sort of an obnoxious pet peeve I have. But the the construction industry gets a bad rap for being a bunch of like, dumb thugs who can't do anything else with their jobs. Like, that's why we all landed here, because we can't do anything else. So we couldn't stick it out in school or something. And architects are the, you know, the all all-knowing, educated, they have to know all the building codes, all of the specs, they create the designs for the building on top of making sure that we're using specific materials or that we're, you know, following the proper attachment designs for new things that they're spec-ing what whatever. The industry itself is fairly modern. It's a post-industrial job, really, because before that, your architect was the contractor who had worked their entire lives in the field, from the ground up and just got to a point where, you know, lifting heavy blocks is a little too much anymore. And they're so experienced, they can train everybody else. And they can be in charge of the whole project because they've seen everybody. Contractors tended to work together with the trades, they each knew where everybody's job started and end, but they, they knew there was also some overlap, and that everybody kind of had to work together. Now, the architect has taken all of that responsibility out of the contractors hands, even though we're still the ones on the ground, actually working with the materials that they're spec-ing. And a lot of these materials are new things that are not always time-tested. And so the contractor has to be the one to say, you know, it did or didn't work, it was hard to use, it's had to be modified from its original purpose to fit this particular use in the design. And we have to listen to them, because you can't just say just use it and like, throw it at them and expect everything to work perfectly or blame them if something goes wrong, because they because something, you know, didn't happen, but we weren't talking to them. And there's so much untapped resource there that we don't offer the dignity of just listening to and like offering them a seat at the table to talk about these designs and spaces. And I think, once we really accept that the contractor is such an integral part. And people really do love this work. I mean, there's always going to be somebody who gets here, because that's just where they landed, but a lot of people in the industry are really excited about their jobs, they really love going to work and seeing something materialize the end of the day, and having that, you know, real thing to show for all their blood, sweat and tears, and we're proud of it. And I think, especially in the historic preservation community, we love the story that is behind all of these work. And the fact that you know, our grandfathers worked on these types of things. And we're making sure that those things are maintained and replicated and you know, allowed to live into the future. And the the low bidder system in the United States, where we get three bids, we take the cheapest guy, we're already we're undermining the education and the knowledge of these contractors right there right from the get-go before they've even started the job. You're saying, I don't want the experience person, I want the guy who's gonna get it done fast as if we're all perfectly equal. And sometimes the cheapest guy is just brand new business, and they have to be cheaper or, you know, whatever. But when we put our money where our mouth is, I think we're respecting the industry and the experience of the people who work in it. And that's always going to be worked out for everybody. Right?
Stacy Grinsfelder 52:46
I'm going to bring this up with bids, I talk about it a lot. I feel like I've said, I've said it a lot. So maybe everyone will hear it more this season than once. But you know, a bid when you're looking at two, even three bids for sometimes you're not comparing apples to apples. So make sure and look at that bid and see what they what the actual project looks like to that person who's bidding on it because they could be cheaping out on materials. They could be taking shortcuts. Like you said, they could just be new, there could be perfectly valid reasons for a very low bid. But take a peek and try to get line by line and make sure you're comparing apples to apples with your bids.
And sometimes it has something to do with how they pay their people. And thinking about the type of company that you want to support as well and somebody who, you know, pays their taxes and gives benefits and a living wage to their workers.
Stacy Grinsfelder 53:43
That makes a lot of sense. Okay, well, let me quickly tell people where or tell our listeners where they can find you. They can find you at blindeyerestoration.com and also @blindeyerestoration on Instagram, and you are affiliated with some organizations locally. Is that correct?
Yeah. If anybody's interested in learning more about historic buildings and materials or advocacy for historic buildings and materials, I am on the board for APT Association of preservation technology Eastern Great Lakes, which is the Northern Ohio and Eastern Michigan kind of area. We also are-- I also work with Young Ohio Preservationist in Central Ohio. We work with Heritage Ohio and Columbus Landmarks a lot of times-- a couple of great local nonprofits that do educational workshops periodically. And we are the Young Ohio Preservationists are also part of a larger group called the Rust Belt Coalition, which is a group of young preservationists from all across the United States who gather and during non-pandemic times, we'll do little town takeovers where we have these great gatherings of free tours and like this whole weekend set up of events where we all just geek out together, and just great like weird adults sleepaway camp where we get to just learn lots of stuff and do a mini vacation.
Stacy Grinsfelder 55:09
Sounds like a lot of fun. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here today. Lindsay, it was great to talk to you more, learn more about your company and so much interesting information. We live within a day's drive of each other. So hopefully, maybe someday we can meet face to face.
Stacy Grinsfelder 55:24
That'd be a lot of fun, because I feel like we have so much more to talk about than just this today.
Of course, yeah.
Stacy Grinsfelder 55:30
All right. Well, thanks for being here, Lindsay.
Yeah, great having me, I mean thanks for having me.
Stacy Grinsfelder 55:35
I understood. Thank you for listening to today's episode. Be sure to follow True Tales From Old Houses and Blake Hill House on Facebook and Instagram, and for more information about this episode, including show notes, transcripts, merchandise and to sign up for the monthly newsletter visit TrueTalesFromOldHouses.com. Until next time,