Wiscasset’s ‘Tiny House’ gets big facelift

Posted:  Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 5:00pm
Share: 
Pamela Logan holds an 1846 penny found under slate tiles in her “Tiny House” in Wiscasset. With her is fiance, Anthony Vitti. SUZI THAYER/Boothbay Register

There's a very cute little house being fixed up on Fort Hill Street in Wiscasset.

Pam Logan, a resident of New Jersey, bought the tiniest house in Wiscasset in May as a second home. Since then she and her fiance, Anthony Vitti, have spent much of their free time restoring it to its original charm.

Logan has the time to work on it thanks to her job as a freelance photographer. Vitti works two days a week in Boston as a professor at Berklee College of Music.

Built in 1790, the Tiny House, as it’s always been called, was originally home to a family of 10 – the Joneses – two parents and eight children. The children slept whereever there was a space large enough for a small person, including closets. It's hard to imagine even two people living in the small, if cute, space.

Until Logan bought 'her,' as she calls the house, it had been owned by members of the same family for all those years, being passed down from generation to generation.

While researching the lineage, she found the original hand-written deed. When she made the offer on the house she promised that she wouldn't change it much, if at all. “I'm not going to flip her,” she said. “I'm not going to add on to her. I'm going to bring her back.”

The previous owner lived in Florida and had rented the house for several years before Logan bought it. The first thing she and Vitti noticed after buying it was that the sill on the front was in “desperate need” of fixing. They had to jack the house up and build a new sill.

Since then, the couple has been working inside and out to make the house not only livable, but beautiful and comfortable. Logan said they have enjoyed getting their hands dirty throughout their task. “We did all the digging in the dirt when we had to replace the foundation, and we mixed and poured the cement. While the contractors were doing their jobs we were scraping and painting and priming.”

Other than a new 12-by-12-foot deck that will be added, but not attached, to the side of the house, there will be no additions, just upgrades and fixes. Permission for the new deck was granted by the Wiscasset Historic Preservation Commission.

The house was built on a ledge, and the basement has been spruced up some by Logan and Vitti. All the original beams are still down there, helping to hold the tiny house up. The basement walls have some remnants of wallpaper, used to prevent drafts, from the 1800s.

On the first and second floors, original 1800s pine floorboards will be replaced, where needed, and where the floorboards were originally painted red, they will be newly painted with the same color.

After pulling up carpet and plywood in the entryway, the couple found slate tiles, which were removed, and will be laid back in eventually. And somewhere in there was an 1846 penny.

Outside there was vinyl siding over the original clapboards. When that was torn off, the new owners were pleasantly surprised. “They were in good condition,” Vitti said. “We expected them to be rotten.” Some had to be replaced, but a good number are still original. Some are stamped with Portland’s Deering Lumber's name on the back, from around 1850.

Logan said she was thrilled to see the house hidden beneath the vinyl siding. “She was dirty,” Logan said. “But she looked gorgeous.”

A lot of layers of the old wallpaper have been removed, as the couple scrapes their way down to the bare walls. New period wallpaper will be applied.

Behind the house is an area Logan has been working on to bring back some of the wild plants that have been overgrown for too many years. “I wanted to clear part of the area but leave some of the wilder patches to see what was growing,” she said. “There's milkweed and lupine, wild flox, sweet pea, a honeysuckle tree full of birds, and black raspberries that we picked and made jam with.”

In the more tame area there are enormous oriental poppies and roses.

Vitti and Logan said they used to walk down the street at night and look at, and covet, the little house. “It was hidden behind bushes and weeds. You couldn't really even see what the front looked like, so people would just pass her by and never notice her.”

The couple is adamant about restoring the house to its original charm. “We love the house just the way it is,” Vitti said.

“It's been such a great experience doing this,” Logan said. “People in town who know us come over and ask to see the inside. We give tours every day. It's a good time to take a break.”

Logan said she plans to pass the house on to her daughter and hopes the tradition will continue, keeping it in the family.