Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Begnning of the End

Finally.  After more than 2 years of demo, thinking, procrastinating, we're finally going to work on finishing the dining room!

It's 10 degrees out at the moment and has been lower than 20 for several days.  Needless to say, this has brought any piddling around with half-finished projects outside to a complete stop.  No better time than the present to work on a hefty indoor project. 

So, I'll start this story from the beginning with a shot of Carolyn's dining room when they owned the house. 

Allegedly, lightning struck the chimney and blew out half the wall and that's when the room turned into what it looked like when we bought it.

This is how the trouble started-well, not necessarily as it was pretty obvious to us that there was a problem in that room when we bought the place, but this is how it started when it did.

See the door on the left just past the shelf?  Well, that door faces south, but from inside the dining room, there was no door on the south wall.  SO, one day while Donnie was at work, my friend and I decided we'd free the door.


Mission accomplished.

To make a long story short-well shorter, we ended up stripping that room the first summer we were here so that we could see the condition of the walls behind the paper and assess the work that needed to be done.  The south wall had been drywalled over the failing plaster where the plumbing had leaked for who knows how long from the bathroom above, so Donnie removed the drywall and the plaster to investigate.

We knew there was something fishy with this room when we bought the place as there was a bow in the ceiling along the south wall that bowed into about a third of the room.  There was a dip in the floor as well.  Not a huge one, but one that raised questions.  What he found was that all of the studs on the south wall were entirely rotted off and were basically hanging mid-air.  The only thing that was holding the wall in place was the door that had been covered over.  It was then that we realized exactly what to expect of the workmanship of the 1980s renovation-lipstick on a pig-i.e. do what it takes to make it pretty, but don't bother to actually fix it.  Not a discovery we were pleased about, but one that was correctable as long as you undid everything the last guy did.  We have a lot of that around here, but those efforts while slap-happy, may have kept the house from becoming a parking lot, so ya just shake your head and do what needs to be done to fix it.

After tearing half the house apart and jacking up the floor, fixing the bad bits, putting shut-offs on the leaking pipes and repairing the leaks (there was still a usable bathroom and a laundry room above this one at the time), insulating and stripping the wall for drywall, the repair portion of the job was done-of the wall that is.  Notice the slope in the ceiling that the top piece of stripping really accentuates?  That slope is what Donnie is working on now. 

Me?  I'm staying out of his way for the moment.  Too many cooks in the kitchen and all that.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes it is good to just stay out of the way! The bad thing about old houses is that oftentimes you have bad "restorations" -- (we call them muddling!) But just think what you accomplisehd!