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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Well House to Tool Shed | Exterior Before

Monday, March 16, 2020

Photos of my old rustic well house in the country may look romantic to those who love chippy paint, but the truth is the building needs repairs. And, I need a tool shed for garden tools, garden supplies, and garden equipment. 

Well house to tool shed before photos in the countryside during spring
This spring the well house has finally risen to the top of my list of repair projects. 'Before' photos from last spring, during bluebonnet season, show the old well house at its best. Spring green trees and wild flowers soften the views of badly damaged siding and a damaged flower trellis. 

W E L L   H O U S E   T O   T O O L   S H E D 

  E X T E R I O R   B E F O R E 

Well House to Tool Shed Exterior Damage and Blue Door
A view without leafy trees and bluebonnet flowers shows a more realistic view of the forlorn state of the well house. 

The joys of living in an unincorporated countryside do not include well water.  

When we first built our post and beam house in the countryside, we could not connect to the existing community water supply even though a main pipeline ran along a large utility easement on our property. Thus, we had to drill a well, and the well house was built to protect the well and the electrical lines needed to power the pump. 

A well deep enough to reach water in the aquifer below our land was cost prohibitive since it required drilling about 1000 feet to reach it. Instead, we drilled to the first water source closer to the surface which contains several  unpleasant-tasting minerals. We added a large water filter tank inside the well house to purify the water before it reached the house. The water was still unpleasant to taste. Plus, the water left mineral deposits in our lines, toilets, and sinks. 

We bought bottled water in 5-gallon glass bottles for drinking and cooking. A company delivered the bottled water to our house once a week. 

Well House to Tool Shed on Hillside of bluebonnets in spring
After two years, the community water board expanded its sources for water, began accepting new customers, and we were able to connect to the water system. 

The old well was by-passed with the new community water lines inside the well house. 

This was definitely a RED-LETTER day at our house! 

Well House to Tool Shed Existing Bird House
Here we are, over thirty years later, and the little well house is in desperate need of repairs. 

Well House to Tool Shed Plans call for replacing old wooden blue door with new door
A make-shift old blue wooden door leans against the door opening. Since the door does not quite cover the opening, rain water, dirt, and leaves all blow into the house. 

A blue clematis grows and blooms on an old damaged trellis. The plant does not receive supplementary watering or fertilizer, but manages to bloom at least once, and some years, twice. 

Well House to Tool Shed in backyard above retaining wall
When we replaced the old falling-down retainer wall with this new wall, the crew damaged the underground water line to the house. Even though the crew repaired the water pipe, there was still a leak. We decided to install a totally new water line that by-passed the old water lines inside the well house. 

The little old well house is no longer needed to protect a well or water lines. 

Well House to Tool Shed Under Spring Green Trees among Bluebonnets
As I look out from the dining room window at the old well house on the hillside, I realize the little old well house can have a new purpose. 

The well house can be converted to a tool shed! 

The conversion will not be a quick project, and will require several stages. Here is a broad outline of what will be done over the next few months as time, money, and workers allow. 

Well House to Tool Shed - Project Outline

1.  Remove old well parts and seal off well

2.  Reconfigure electrical lines inside building 

3.  Remove old water pipes 

4.  Add new water faucets inside and outside building

5.  Patch concrete holes and cracks in floor 

6.  Replace exterior siding and door 

7.  Lower ground level so building floor is above surrounding ground level 

8.  Landscape - the existing clematis will be saved 

S P R I N G ... 
a time for new beginnings, 
a time for cleaning, 
a time for day-dreaming, 

a time to convert an old well house into a tool shed! 

As we face difficult days ahead in the fight against the Corona Virus (COVID-19,) a little day-dreaming, a little planning for repurposing, can be a source for hope in the future. 

Moving forward, one day at a time, with hope.