Restoring Portsmouth home takes craft and vision
On Beam Day, family and friends of Dave Adams got together to hoist into place the two new 400-pound beams the crew had been preparing for weeks. Left, Jim Russo and Brendon Garrett are on the staging; Jeff Wheeler is standing inside the Portsmouth house on the first floor while Eric Heitmann adds more braces to the staging. (Mike Lockhardt Sr. Photo)
Dave and Debby Adams spent more than 25 years restoring their home at 210 Gates St. in Portsmouth before a fire ripped through the building in late 2012. Now, the home is undergoing a second restoration; the project has been filmed by local documentarian Mike Lockhardt Sr. (COURTESY OF MIKE LOCKHARDT SR.)
It wasn't much to look at, and friends recall that many thought it should have been torn down. But Adams saw beneath the layers of paint and bad remodeling jobs to the solid roots of the circa 1742-43 home built by Daniel Jones.
The sills were rotted, there was asbestos siding on one gable end and asphalt siding over most of the rest of the house. Two or three additions had been made to the front of the house, he said. The windows had been replaced in the early 1900s and were in deplorable condition.
Then, in late 2012, Adams watched from the street as firefighters fought to save his home from a devastating fire. Adams' first concern was his cat, Tiki Bear, who had suffered from smoke inhalation, but she was revived by firefighters at the scene with oxygen. She has since made a full recovery, despite her mature age.
Roy died in December, but his work is evident throughout the re-restoration, Adams said.
"I'm shooting footage of the house and everything and every so often I would pan over to Dave and he'd be looking at stuff and put his hand up to his mouth and turn away from the camera and it got real quiet. Dave's not like that, and in retrospect, it was really, really hard for him and I didn't understand. Then Steve pulled me aside and said, 'This is Dave's house,' and I was like, 'You've got to be kidding,'" Lockhardt said.
Lockhardt said it takes a certain kind of person to own a house like the one at 210 Gates St.
The re-restoration began in February 2013. Adams expects to have it largely wrapped up in about three months.
He said the show will also serve as an education to those wondering about the roots of their home, or how to respectfully restore an aging property. He said having representations on how people lived in the past informs the future.
More information about the project and "The Craftsmen's Journal" is available on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/The.Craftsmens.Journal
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