Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Bath Demo

Here are a few shots of the kitchen before the demo started.  This door went to the little kitchen closet.  When I ripped out the closets looking for the hidden window, I no longer needed to use this door so the fridge was placed up against it with my portable dishwasher in between to act as my only countertop.  I still have to wonder how housewives managed with no counters.

Don't you love my exhaust fan?  It actually works extremely well.  The new bathroom wall should hit just to the right of the fan.

I moved the fridge over to the other side of the room where it will stay until I can renovate the kitchen.  Just for reference, the doorway on the left goes to the dining room.  The open door on the other side of the fridge goes to the back porch.

The plaster is flying as demo starts.  You can see the hidden window on the right at the top of the basement stairs.  I call that the gnome door because it's about 5', 6" high.  You should see the dents in my head.

We found this little children's plate inside the wall.  It's a metal of some kind and has the alphabet around the rim.  I'm hoping it will clean up a little.

Here's the area opened up.  The door on the left is the basement door.  In the middle is the hallway to the front door and the door on the right is to the living room.  I put up the old closet door and barracaded the hallway just to help isolate the cats from the mess.  They'd be sitting in the middle of it all to see what was going on with their house.

Here's the bracing where that second staircase was attached.  It's still a bit of a mystery.  I don't think the family that lived here would have been wealthy enough to have a maid but the 1880 census gives us a clue.

Click to enlarge

Three lines from the top shows the family that lived in my house in 1880.  This is 17 years before Jennie Ray lived here.  If you missed that story, you can find it here.

You can see Caleb S. Buckman, his wife Sarah, and three children, Maude, Charles and Herbert.  Also living in the house was George W. Hale, a 19-year-old boarder who worked at a stationery store.  I believe the house was built with a rental unit to help defray costs.  The second staircase provided separation of the living quarters.  In my former condo in an 1837 Greek Revival, we had the original contract for the house that included a two-room tenement above the kitchen at the back of the house.  I think this was a similar situation.  Imagine, six people lived in this 1200-square-foot house.  And they probably only had one outhouse!

Interesting to this side story, I found Caleb Buckman on in someone's family tree.  I e-mailed the owner of the tree who turned out to be Herbert Buckman's great great grandson who lives in a suburb of Boston.  He told me that Caleb and Sarah soon divorced and he ran off leaving her with the kids and was  never heard from again.  (I like to think that Sarah was a cougar and took up with the strapping young boarder.)  I was hoping he would have photos of my house and he was hoping I had information about his deadbeat great, great grandfather.

Anyway, back to this photo.  The vertical boards aren't studs; they were added as a base to attach the lathe to.  The area between those boards is plaster.  This was done as a way of insulating.  After the sheathing was placed on the outside of the house, lathe was nailed to the back of the sheathing and the inside of the cavaties were plastered to provide insulation.  

Remember when I did the exterior of the house...

...and it was all opened up?  That was necessary to remove all that lathe and plaster so that insulation could be blown in.  I'll eventually have to take all this out so it can be insulated properly.

Back to the mess.  Note the strip of floor between the masonite on the left and closet floor to the right.  That's the original finished floor.  It doesn't seem to be finished or painted unless the paint was more like stain.  It's gray but you can also see the path worn into the floor where people walked in and out of the kitchen.  I'm very attracted to that area.  If I could only touch it to soak up their stories.

This wall that's being opened up is the gable end of the main house.  We were going to put a reinforcing beam under the original beam to redistribute weight to new posts below.

Here is that beam.  A huge hunk was cut out of it somewhere along the line.

This shows the piece that's missing.  On the left, the beam is sitting on the door frame from the kitchen to the dining room.  On the right, the leftover stump was left dangling off the post (at the arrow) on the outside wall.

That's it for today.  I may post more Sunday but I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Easter.


  1. hi steve,

    i'll tell you how housewives manage w/o counterspace. they scream a lot. that and no dishwasher is fun too. i think old sarah did run off with the hunk, what with no counterspace and all. and you know how sarah's are.

    well my friend, you do not waste time and that's what i like about you, among other things. will you be posting after photos on easter sunday?

    have a good one.


  2. I thought I had a good grasp of what you were doing and how your house was laid out but I had to reread this a couple of times to get sure are ambitious! I can't wait for it to be done. Your whole way of living in that house is going to be so different.
    So no pictures from the deadbeat's GGgrandson? That would have been something.

    And yes, you know how us Sarahs bet is she did run off with the hunk boarder! :) No counterspace, no husband...uh huh.

    Hurry up with the pictures! Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Steve,
    A few things
    1. Janet i sright - you don't waste any time and I like that!
    2. Your story about Sarah being a couger is too funny.
    3. Just the other day I saw a diagram (can't remember where, now) that showed the happiness level of homeowners undergoing remodeling on their homes and the demo stage was only slightly less happy than on the day the project was finished. I am so excited for you!

  4. aggghhhh...I hope my comment went thru, otherwise this part is going to be confusing!
    4. It is amazing how little people used to live with. My little house is barely 1100 sq ft with one small bathroom and during the 40's and 50's a family of four lived here. We are a little tight with 2 people! Have a great weekekend!

  5. So interesting and very witty! Your basement door would fit our house with our seven and a half foot ceilings. We had no counters in the kitchen either. How did manage in those kitchens if they decided not to run away? Show us the dents on your head.

  6. You crack me up and you know how to tell a good story! I'd love to be gutting my kitchen. You know I can't wait to see what you do. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter if that's your thing :)

  7. I don't know where to start, this is all so interesting. Since I'm a newcomer to the blog, I didn't follow when you were working on other parts of the house, but I will tell you that I'm shocked at how quickly you get things done. I mean wasn't it like two days ago that the dining room shelves went in?

    The plate. Ohhh.

    The worn floor. Amazing.

    But the best is the the story about that louse of a man running off and the staircase for the boarder. Just totally fascinating stuff your house is telling you.

  8. The kitchen in the farm cottage I grew up in didn't have counter space and only two cabinets. There was a wonderful table in the center of this large room were she cut, chopped and mixed. I must add she was an amazing cook.

  9. Man you move fast. Very impressive. I referred to my Hale Family tree to see if there was a George listed - there wasn't. Wouldn't that have been interesting! Happy weekend!

  10. Impressive. It will be crazy nice when done. Wow, you are fast. Love the cougar comment. xo T.

  11. OMG, seems like we were just chatting about this in a someday kind of way and it turns out some day is NOW.

    Fascinating. And much better that blueprints for me.

    I love a good demo. Will be waiting with bated breath for the next post.

    xo jane

  12. Steve....I just LOVE your house! Your love and vision for it is amazing and you communicate it so beautifully!

    My house is similar in the fact that there are hidden doors and windows.

    I think I'm as excited as you are to see it in process and completed!

    Can't wait to see more. Happy Easter.. **Tami

  13. Renovations are full of surprises! That's the "fun" of owning an older home.

    When we renovated our kitchen a few years ago we found a beam carrying the 2nd fl had just been cut . . . and because we didn't want an atrium or the 2nd fl bath in the kitchen we had to add a carrying beam for the 2nd floor!
    Hopefully you won't find many more surprises.

    Our favorite surprise was the water leak into our basement, my husband could never find it until we ripped out the 1st fl bath as part of the reno, it seems that the previous owners had a leak, duct-taped the leak and drywalled . . . mystery solved!

  14. I hope you never finish renovating your home. I couldn't stand losing your blog;-)

  15. I've decided that you must be made of money! Or just in love with renovations! I feel guilty...I'm I to blame for this wave of terror just because I wanted to see the other half of the dining room? It reminded me of all the mess we went through when we demo and rebuilt our house...Glad I'm done, but the process did excite my loins!

  16. Steve - you're so ON it! I'm lucky if I get a chair recovered! (And seriously, that feels like I got A LOT accomplished!) You put the DIY-er's to shame. I can't wait to see how everything turns out!
    xo Melissa

  17. can you come be project manager on my house renovations? :)

    and i love that even your kitties want to be right in the middle of it all.

    hope you are having a glorious weekend.

  18. Getsthingsdoneinajifguy:

    Listen to your house talking to you...I swear I can hear it from here!

    And that plate...and the cougar you think the cougar threw the plate through the wall when she found out that deadbeat left...? Let's start rumours.

    I'm loving watching the transformation!


  19. Blimey looks like you have a lot going on but all worth it in the end

  20. S....having a blast watching your progress. My favorite part of this posting?...the fan!....I have a soft spot for a great exhaust fan....especially a solid wall unit like the one that you have....ahhh..the simple things.. ;) k