Game Room v1.0
When we bought Roslyn at 2006, the icehouse was on its last legs. The inspector advised us to abandon it (or rebuild it from scratch). Although the actual written document he submitted once the inspection was complete offered a less terminal outlook for the then-century old outbuilding, our in person dialogue on the morning of our inspection was anything but encouraging. So when I told my bride that I wanted to convert the icehouse into the “men’s club”, she smiled and agreed that the proposed use — as a party barn — seemed appropriate (but the moniker would not be adopted). I envisioned a rustic open interior which could serve as a game room with pool table, dartboard, etc. And it could double as my writing retreat. I felt more confident than the inspector that we would be able to salvage the structure, prevent the roof from caving in, and stabilize the north and south walls from further corn-cribbing.
From structural intervention to “weathering-in” the structure, I envisioned a leisurely rolling year-to-year DIY project.
In the fall of 2006 we gutted the structure, removing the interior wall paneling, emptied out many loads of sawdust (originally used for insulating the icehouse), and removed the ceiling / loft floor, and the interior walls separating the main ice storage room from the anteroom and “refrigerated” pantry. Here’s a glimpse into initial phase of progress.
We were relieved to discover that the structural rot was in fact considerably less severe than originally anticipated. Our spirits soared. I could imagine friends gathered around a fireplace rehashing the sail, cross-country ski, or hike we’d just enjoyed. And I could imagine books and papers stacked over a pool table, poem drafts strewn across the floor, sketches pinned to the wall,… Frankly it was pretty easy to conjure up a perfect outbuilding retreat to house some of the best parts of our new Essex life.
This daydream resurfaced often in those early months. A mental getaway from the elegant domesticity of the house we were in the thralls of rehabilitating. I’m not sure why the term “game room” popped up initially, nor why it stuck. In reality, the vision was part studio-office and part playhouse for adults. A pool table. A dart board. Definitely a fireplace. Comfortable. Unprecious. Unbuttoned.
N.B. Before fast forwarding to the almost second incarnation of Rosslyn’s game room, you might want to check out a couple of brighter photos of the icehouse in the autumn of 2006 during the early rehabilitation process.
Game Room v2.0
As rehabilitating the main house (and the boathouse) consumed more and more of our time, focus, and resources, the icehouse project slid down the priority slope. Postponed. Postponed again…
As rehab’ing the icehouse, repurposing it really, from an outbuilding that had served the previous owner as a woodshed, into a more relevant utility building for us, shifted from punch list to pipe dream, it left some desires unfulfilled. Given the formality of Rosslyn’s living room, we still wanted an informal “hang out” space. What if the room underneath the living loom, excavated painstakingly in the first phase of our project could become the game room? Bench seating around the perimeter, a pool table in the center, and only a flight of stairs away from the bar! It seemed like a good workaround.
In 2007 we made that decision to conceive of the new found space beneath the living room as our future game room.Here are some early photographs of that process.
I will revisit this unique room elsewhere, including photographs throughout the rehab cycle. It’ll blow your mind. (Hint: this was originally a crawl space with literal drifts of mold so horrifying that it nearly killed our purchase!) For now I’ll just conclude this post focused on Rosslyn’s ever-future game room. That’s right. It didn’t happen here either. Another transition in our preferences, priorities, etc. resulted in adapting the game room — well before acquisition of pool table or hanging of dart board — into a fitness room. So, long story short? We have no game room. Yet.
N.B. If you missed my Instagram photos, you might enjoy the better visuals of the pre-concrete pour and the action shot of Mike “Dutchy” Ahrent screeding.