A few weeks ago I was telling Janet of The Gardener's Cottage that she was my hero because everything in her home always seemed to be in perfect order. When I take pictures for my blog, I said, I have to move all the crap from one side of the room to the other. Of course, it was a joke...kind of.
Last week when I showed off the dining room bookcases for the first time, Randy from A.J. Barnes asked to see the other side of the room.
It's time to come clean.
*WARNING* If you're weak of stomach, be ready to avert your eyes.
Here is the other side. Welcome to The Dark Side of the Room.
You see, when I first moved into the house, I was confident there was a window hidden behind this wall. A Greek Revival is all about symmetry and there was one place that didn't seem right to me.
See that window on the side of the house hidden behind the tree? I thought there should be one right below it.
There were a few closets where this window should have been. To the left was a small closet that was accessed from the kitchen. You can see the tile on the floor. To the left was a larger coat closet.
Right before I moved in a few years ago, I ripped out the closets in search of my window.
Here is that window all boarded up. That wasn't the only surprise.
On this wall, just at the left edge of the hole in the wall, you can (barely) see an angle in the wall where we discovered a second staircase once stood. It was extremely steep and rose up through the floor landing just before the door to the master bedroom. You can also see evidence of the lathe strips up between the joists (which are much more modern wood) showing that this was finished wall at one time.
In upper right-hand side of the above photo, you can see a joist that's smaller than the others. It's actually cut at an angle and up above the ceiling we found a little header board covered in wallpaper.
Here's that board.
Mr. and Mrs. Mastrullo's daughter, from whom I purchased the house, told me there had been a fire in the house before her father bought it and renovated it in 1940.
One end of the header showed some soot and we could smell the smoke when we opened up that area of the wall.
As genius as it was to suspect there was a hidden window, I was an idiot to start this project without a plan for what to do next. I can't restore the window without a variance from the city. Since I have other window changes for which I'll need approval, I'll do them all at once when I get to the kitchen.
Once the bookcases were done, I told Sam this other side of the room was going to drive me crazy now I got a call from Sam over the weekend telling me he's being held up waiting for some kitchen cabinets on another project he's working on and he wanted to know if I wanted to get started.
I've been living with this eyesore for over 2 1/2 years. It usually becomes the dumping ground for tools, paint and other renovation materials. It's time to bite the bullet and deal with it.
Next time I'll show you the plan for this area.