Thursday, August 15, 2013

Demolition, Man


Demolition has started.  Three hours, two guys, one dumpster...


View from upstairs
...and the porches were history.


The house looks better already.  Those porches were just bringing the house down.



Under the porch were five shovels and a pitch fork.  There is no visible gap under the kitchen
but we still can't figure out why there's three feet between the outside of the foundation
and the inside of the basement.  The basement walls under the kitchen are poured concrete - so
much more modern than the rest of the basement - so it just may have been dug smaller than
the outside foundation.  I think this is where coal was shoveled in to the basement.



Inside the going is a little slower.  The kitchen tile is set in a bed on thick mortar
on a metal lath that's like a cheese grater.  Watch your fingers!

Above the tile is evidence of the stove flues that went in to the chimney.



The floor.  Ceramic tile on plywood on linoleum tile on plywood
on hardwood on subfloor.  It was a good two inches thick, maybe more.


Here's a few before-and-now photos.


One of the cats took up residence next to the sink after it was emptied out.
He seemed kind of sad about the old kitchen going away.
(Maybe that was just me.)

This is the same kitchen window that was next to the sink.
The bathroom window is in the distance.

Pretty, right?  It's so old!


Here's an old drum trap circa 1900. All lead.
The claw foot tub and sink drain to this.



The old pantry.



The back door to the porch air.


How's this for an example of bad construction technique?

A charred joist between the kitchen and bathroom that's about a foot shy of being
tied to anything.  I was told there had been a fire in the house - I saw evidence
of fire up above the ceiling where the new bathroom is - but this burned joist seems
to have been put here later.  Nothing around it or attached to it is burned.

I always find demolition both nauseating and exciting.  I always fear that something
horrible will be revealed, something will spring a leak, start a fire or fall down.
At the same time, it's the beginning of something new.

70 comments:

  1. I think it's exciting and can't wait to see it morph into your vision.

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    Replies
    1. I get excited as soon as the demo stops.

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  2. Fingers crossed...next...franki

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  3. It's amazing to peel back the layers-I always wonder what the people were doing when THEIR reno/building was going on. Love the charred joist. We just replaced one, too-but we never knew about a fire here before.

    The shovels-what, did the guys doing the cement just say,
    "Oh leave 'em here, we don't need them anymore ?" LOL

    Love seeing the skeleton of an old home. We have some writing in the garage that tells the well depth/placement and the name of the well inspector/dates he was here. It's awesome.

    I believe kitty is simply mocking the state of the kitchen he is expected to play in right now. Or maybe he's supervising the workers? Cats. They simply tolerate humans, lol.

    It's going to be fun to watch this all come together. Any luck with your bespoke pieces being put into a design yet?

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    1. I know, the shovels were kind of funny. And the pitchfork? When was the last time anyone used one of those in the city?

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    2. I think the kitty was hoping a fish would be flushed out. Or in, I guess.

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  4. That 3 feet of space would have me wondering about all kinds of possibilities...some good (treasure) some not (bodies). But I love watching all the wonderful things you're doing here.

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    1. I know, it's kind of fun unravel the mysteries.

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  5. Renovating an old house is rather like an archeological dig, isn't it? The demo does look rather horrifying, but the new kitchen (and porches) will be worth it! Those tools were a nifty find.

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    1. It's hard to imagine a pretty/handsome new room with all that dark, stained wood hiding underneath. But, yes, it is kind of rolling back and layers and years to see what other people lived with.

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  6. I think it's very exciting but very scary at the same time. I love all the updates, via Instagram and now here, please keep them coming!

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  7. can't wait to see it completed!! thanks for the updates!

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  8. I think that is a spading fork..........used to turn and mix dirt in a garden...........probably left there by accident one dark and stormy night by the INTREPID, BRAVE, AMAZING current owner of the house.......wonder what he was burying under the porch that he didn't want the neighbors to see?!?!?!?!

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    Replies
    1. That could very well be but I plead the 5th, Rob!

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  9. Replies
    1. I wish! It looks like it was put down in the kitchen after the bathroom was added so it's not continuous. Patching it, I think, is a littler funkier than I want it to be.

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  10. I'm impressed with how calm you are. Trying to fix a leak in the shower here today and losing my mind!
    I am so excited for you and cannot wait to see this all unfold!

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    1. Who says I'm calm? I haven't been able to eat today I'm so sick to stomach.

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  11. I'm always struck by how long it takes to build something and how quickly it can be demolished. That last picture is just scary. I'm going to enjoy seeing this progress.

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  12. It's so interesting when you start to tear apart an old house, isn't it? You're right, you never know what you'll find. Kind of scary. I hope everything goes smoothly, but if you do have a few bumps along the way, I'm sure you'll get through them just fine. Keep on keeping us posted!
    Claudia

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  13. love these photos. love the chaos of demo and remodeling. adore it actually.

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  14. Haha! Love how the curtain is still on the back door ... some civility MUST be maintained!

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    1. Thanks for noticing that. It's a fun juxtaposition!

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  15. So scary and ugly but I agree, something beautiful is on its way and I can't wait to see it come together. Your plans sound fabulous!

    Londen

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  16. I love this. The history of the house is so fun to find out about. Here's to new beginnings.

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  17. This reminds me of when we stripped back our house to the bare bones. It almost felt like we were rousing it from a deep sleep. I also recall considerable head-scratching regarding some of the decisions and choices of previous owners/builders. I think your cottage is very lucky that you are its custodian at this time in its "life".

    Thank you for sharing all this detail. It's really exciting to watch - especially from the comfort of my (renovated) abode ;)

    Hang in there - you're doing a great job.

    Spud.



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  18. Renovating is always frightening when you never know what you will find behind the walls. You are very brave, but don't worry, the end results will be so fantastic you will forget all the $ and pain; not unlike giving birth - ha!

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  19. Amazing demo photos! That joist brings back renovation nightmares!

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  20. That is just so cool! I'd be out there with my metal detector trying to find old coins. I have two old flues, one now covered by my new kitchen cabinets.

    I'm getting ready to have my front porch rebuilt as well. I always feel nervous and territorial about other people working on my house! It's a weird feeling. I remember feeling surprised and happy, during the kitchen renovation, though, about how much a work crew can get accomplished in a few short hours, compared to what I can!

    I love those white hydrangeas. What kind are they?

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  21. What a brave man! How exciting it must be to have this all underway! I do not, however, envy the dust you must have. Can't wait to see what's next!

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  22. Scary! But I know it will turn out wonderful! I'm excited to watch it's progress.

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  23. Wow, you don't mess around--you've jumped right in!

    Five shovels and a pitchfork sounds like the name of a band (maybe one from Oregon or Burlington Vt.)

    The picture of your cat on the lone cabinet/sink is sweet. Don't know if she doesn't want to to move it or if she's waiting for you to turn on the water.

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  24. Yikes! I don't envy the dust (or hotplate) but that is exciting. Its better to find shovels than more sinister things under one's house.

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    1. So far, no dust. Plywood was screwed to the doorway and it's taped off on the side. Completely sealed. The hot plate is another story.

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  25. Steve I just know it will be worth it! Wow I could not do this; you are one brave and talented man!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Designer Series

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  26. I feel for you! At least your cats are content to stay home...I'm chasing dogs through the neighborhood or have neighbors returning them...Seems like things are rolling along though...we found the original linoleum floor in the Kitchen, not very pretty...at least you don't have a Hobbit Door leading to a Hoarders meets Animal Planet room!! You may very well be ahead of me soon :)
    am

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    1. The kitchen is sealed off so cats are totally isolated from the work so it's worked out well. I should do a post about renovating with pets.

      I doubt I will get ahead of you. A lot of reworking of plumbing and HVAC to do and these subcontractors usually bring things to a crawl.

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  27. Exciting and terrifying, in equal measure. Let us know if they find Jimmy Hoffa in there.

    xo T.

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  28. Very exciting times.
    XO, Victoria

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  29. I am so excited. Hurry up to the good part where its all done. Ann

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  30. I love the fork and shovels under the porches, great find.
    I know it makes sense to do the kitchen and porches together, but they might have been pretty useful as an outside kitchen while the new one was being done!
    Looking forward to seeing the transformations, you have such talent and style.
    Hope the cats don't get too ruffled by all the changes. I love Abyssinians they are so smart and full of personality.

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    1. I can still grill and living in the city, there's so much prepared food available, it's not been a hardship at all. The cats don't like their environment disturbed but once they get used to those changes, they're dealing with the adversity better than I am.

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  31. I love seeing Before and Afters . . . I will be following. Wonder what kitty is thinking . . .

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  32. I think a couple of test digs over the weekend where the porch was would be an interesting diverision. You never know…

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  33. I love this stuff! Demolition is the easy part, putting it back together is the wonderful part.

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  34. Ahh the joys of an old house! You are right there are always "treasures" to be found and secrets revealed! I can't wait to see what you come up with for your island. I have been busy so haven't been following along like I normally do!

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  35. Now this is scary! Love that joist that goes no where. Our house was built in 1968 with none of the charm as yours, but I swear this guys who framed this house were wacked out crazy. I have built stone terraces in my garden, but I think I could call my house The Stoned House.

    Hope you remember the porch is no longer there...until it is!

    ps Just looking at these pictures gave me heartburn.

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    1. I don't think I sleep walk but the door is securely locked.

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  36. I know you have a plan of attack but, whoa!
    -Wendy

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  37. Hi, Steve - I have always felt the same trepidation about tearing into a house, but usually have been rewarded by coming away with more confidence, especially since there were fewer mysteries left.

    I think you should find a place to hang the fork on or near your porch — it's a great conversation piece!

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    1. I will feel good about knowing everything is safe and stable before sealing it back up.

      I thought I set the fork aside and was going to clean it up but it's now missing. It might have walked off unfortunately.

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    2. I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm glad you have good documentation with that striking photo.

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  38. Only you could make a photo of shovels and a pitchfork look like Art.
    :)
    Yeah, I'm thinking they left them there at the crime scene. Scary.
    The whole thing looks scary to me. My head was spinning just looking at it. I can only imagine how you must feel. Even so, I have looked at all the photos 2 or 3 times now. Just frightening, but kinda cool too.
    This will make for the best Before and After photos ever.
    I know it will end up Amazing.

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    1. It is a little scary as things are revealed but once it's done, that stomach ache goes away. It's better to know exactly what's there and deal with it.

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  39. fascinating and yes, scary. like an architectural dig, but it is your home revealing it's origins.

    a friend just bought a property in laporte indiana for his weekend getaway. the original home is long gone. the neighbors came to his party to meet & greet. one guest said, "should we tell him?" upon agreement, they informed him it was the land of belle gunnes, the most prolific female serial killer in world history. if you know the story, her 49 ,found, victims were buried on the land.......YIKES! the landscape plans have been momentarily scraped

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  40. My oh my, Steve, this looks quite a project! A house seems so vulnerable when it is stripped back but it is exciting because you know that from that low point things can only get better and better. I'm a bit like you and always concerned that some ghastly problem is going to be unearthed. Love the old tools!

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    1. Rosemary,
      Vulnerable is great insight. That's exactly right.

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  41. Yikes. Make me nervous looking at it but it has to start somewhere! Hope you're surviving OK. Poor kitty. Hang in there!

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  42. I love these finds and your chronicles of a Reno. I cannot believe that cut joist, oh dear! Scary and great to get it fixed. Your kitchen space is going to seem huge! Good luck with it all, and hope there are no more bad surprises.
    xo nancy

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  43. Whoa! What a job. Can't wait to see what you do with it. Too bad the pitchfork is gone. I thought the same thing. Shine it up and hang it somewhere interesting.

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  44. I am sad about your old kitchen, too.

    Hope things go smoothly from here!

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  45. In looking at that third picture, I have decided that the shiny spot with the X in the middle and the pointy arrow MARKS the spot where THEY used the shovels and the fork to BURY Paul Revere's SILVER stash!!!!!!!! Yep, that is definitely it!!!!!

    Gotta stay POSITIVE!!!!! during renovations!!!!

    All the best!!!!

    Rob

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    1. That's funny, Rob. I'm surprised no one asked about that. That's the reflection of the sun off my neighbor's windows. My old one-over-one windows put the same reflection on her house in the morning. It's an odd effect. The six-over-sixes don't do the same thing.

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  46. I know you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, but this is no yolk.

    It's taken me what, two days, to even read this post.

    I'm anxious just viewing this from Virginia.

    But also excited for you and to see the eventual fabulousness that arises from the ashes.

    I have two pitchforks. Neither of which is yours and one of which I use for mulching.

    You are our intrepid adventurer.

    xo Jane

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