In February 2016, we had our first walk through of the house with Pink House Advisor and volunteer, Bill Barrett, a local, trusted and very experienced HIC/CSL licensed builder. From the tip of the cupola roof to her basement floor, we were pleasantly surprised to find The Pink House envelope was in great shape. There were no leaks from the roof, no cracks in the foundation, all the windows were completely aligned and she was not riddled with mold or asbestos as rumored.
However, the windows, broken by time or pranksters while uninhabited, needed to be properly sealed, not just partially boarded up, and the basement had a low opening or two where animals could get in. We appealed to the Refuge Manager, Bill Peterson, to take care of these most basic things, and he did.
That was how our work to secure the house while we looked for a solution began. Since then, regular walk throughs have taken place. Each time a little more gets done, and each winter The Pink House weathers the storms.
In the Spring of 2017 we asked that as soon as the first greening came, that the scrub within about 3 ft of the house be cut away, to allow the house to breathe, and for the sun to warm formerly covered places. With windows sealed, a house does need doors to be open and shut from time to time. The Pink House has USF&W Security and other personnel going in and out of her enough that we hope that aspect is somewhat offset. We know clearing brush made the house's need of new paint more evident, but it was determined it was healthier for her.
Remember the 3 Nor'Easters we had in a row earlier this year? The ones that came during a full moon, unusually high astronomical tides and with one storm moving so slowly that the tides did not have a chance to recede for three cycles while it poured? The entire PI Pike flooded over -- and as the Beachcoma's heavy trash bins floated toward the PI Grille and water lapped at every structures' foundation from PITA Hall to the dozen or so houses across from the Pink House in Plum Bush Downs, we wondered how much of the Pink House's basement may have filled up. Bill Barrett went in to check after the water cleared and was happy to find only a water mark of only another inch or so on the wall above the normally damp basement floor.
We write at high tide's peak and today's Nor Easter whips at 60 mph (and yes, the moon was nearly full last night..), yet we have confidence that things will endure this storm and the coming winter, as she has in each of the last 90 some years. Why? Because after our meeting in mid-September, the Refuge is kindly doing more extensive preventative work, which includes:
- preventing mold by washing down specific area walls with Concrobium or something similar.
- sealing floor grates with plastic to prevent any damp basement air infiltration into living area
- installing a soffit vent in the boarded up basement window by the front porch doorway for basement ventilation
- filling any holes around the building base to reasonably discourage small animals from entering the structure
- has patched porch skirting holes with white hardboard - which you can now see, and does look patchy (see photo below). We're hoping can be painted so it looks more uniform.
- also in the name of cosmetics - to fully open or remove the front porch blinds to make window appearance consistent