Demolition!!!

Demolition actually started on Wednesday, April 24, and proceeded quickly. After one day our kitchen was gutted and the living room and family room were piled with debris.

Debris from the kitchen demolition fills the family room.

Another look at the family room with the kitchen in the background.

Two weeks later demolition was complete.

I find it fascinating to study this old house and try to understand what it has been through. I’ve done this for years. Now with the framing exposed, more things are evident. Here you can see that the walls were originally framed for larger windows. There is a header four or five inches higher than the current window opening, and the original sill may have been lower.

The house was built in 1880. It’s been through one or two major renovations before. We are about to undo some of the “modernizations” such as lowering the ceilings. Why were the ceilings lowered and the windows replaced with smaller ones? Maybe as an attempt to reduce drafts and make the house easier to heat. We’ll be making the house more comfortable by adding insulation in the walls and making them air tight. We’re looking forward to restoring the higher ceilings.

In this photo, with the lowered ceiling removed, you can see old wallpaper in a band around the room above the window. That shows how much we are raising the ceiling- about 10 or 11 inches. We’ve also had the brick veneer above the fireplace removed with the intention of creating a more unified wall and the experience of a bigger room.

In this view, taken while standing in the kitchen space, you can see a surprise or two. Just to the right of the opening to the stairs is the framing for a door (where you can see the electrical boxes and wiring). Sometime before electricity was added to the house the circulation pattern was different. Note the white rectangle to the right of the old doorway. Could this have been a pocket for a fold-out ironing board?

You can also see framing for another doorway to the left of the existing opening. In our current renovation we will be restoring the passage to the left and blocking up the current opening. This will give us more space for cabinets in the kitchen.

Here you see the central bearing wall on the left. This wall will be reframed with the openings in different places, designed to create stronger sight lines that make more sense of the relationships among the spaces. The cross wall will be removed entirely to connect the kitchen across a peninsula counter to the family room (formerly the dining room)

The former doorway between the kitchen and dining room was to the right where there is a part of the header visible at the edge of the photo.

Although we made the big push described in earlier posts to clear out the areas being demo’d, we still have other areas that will be impacted by the construction. One of those was my workshop, which has accumulated too many tools and miscellaneous materials over the years. There are extra tool boxes from my dad and from my sons and old toolboxes of my own.

I counted seven tool boxes, not including the one I currently use. In this photo, I have already cleaned up some of the mess. I worked on this task all day one Saturday when Meg and Craig were away. It was quite challenging as there were so many memories associated with the old tools and supplies from years ago when I built and worked on houses. I kept repeating to myself, “I’m done with needing bits of wire and old plumbing parts. I’m not going to be in the construction business again. Please, just get rid of these leftovers.”

I didn’t have time to go through the toolboxes to organize the tools, but at least I organized enough of the clutter to make room for the plumber to run the waste pipes through the shop. Following this deep dive into the past, it seems appropriate that I took myself out to Burger King for dinner. That’s not something I have done in a very long time.

Okay, so that’s one more step of the process completed. The carpenters and plumbers will be arriving soon to get construction going.

2 thoughts on “Demolition!!!

  1. No big changes. A few small changes to coordinate plumbing, especially the vent pipes, with the existing framing. It has been most interesting to see the sequence of changes to the way the spaces relate to each other. It appears that the kitchen was originally pretty strongly separated from the dining room and living room. At some point the doorways were relocated and an additional opening was provided between the kitchen and dining area, with these moves strengthening the links to both the dining and living rooms. We’re taking it a step further with the complete removal of the wall between the kitchen and dining room (now called the family room) and its replacement with a peninsula counter.

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