Cold, wet nights

The Old House Web

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Lots of snow

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In the belly of the beast

The parlor fireplace
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Waiting for the pocket doors
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Pocket door tracks

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Where to put the doorway...attic07.jpg (7553 bytes)
The kitchen shapes up attic15.jpg (3849 bytes)
Sins of the past99111306windetail2.jpg (7054 bytes)
Next to be repointed99112318view.jpg (9032 bytes)
Looking out99112316ventcover.jpg (12231 bytes)
The new junk pilenine.jpg (7721 bytes)
Back porch door detailten.jpg (12337 bytes)
Haphazard wall construction14.jpg (8895 bytes)
Wire lathe indicates addition 15.jpg (7220 bytes)
Further evidence: diagonal wallboards on what was once the exterior wall

Sunday, January 30, 2000

Add this to lessons learned: communicate clearly with your heating oil company,especially in the winter...

A week ago, we moved out of the house we're renovating -- and just in time! Through amisunderstanding with the heating oil heat company, we managed to run out of oil. Had westill been living here, this would not only have made for a cold night, but a wet one aswell.

This mishap destroyed the old plumbing, but this was actually a blessing indisguise. There was no structural damage, and this forced us to shut off the water andboiler and move forward with the rest of the plumbing demolition.

In the picture you can see the single remaining cold water line, a heating-wire wrappedcold water pipe with a garden hose tap on the other end.

The stone stonemasons and chimney folks need this water supply to mix mortar. Wedrained the rest of the water pipes in the house, including the hot water loops for theradiators, and are now removing them.

For heat, we're relying on three 75,000 to 85,000 Btu kerosene gun heaters. In thefuture, however, we're going to have three rather wonderful fireplaces. The one picturedto the right is the parlor, and is being relined with fire brick.

Brick have been removed to open the other two fireplaces. Once these are relined, theupper floor chimneys need to be opened, flue liners installed, then the chimneys rebuilt.This process will happen all the way up the chimneys, resulting in a safe and structurallysound chimney.

One company quoted a price to simply blow a lining into the bricks from the roof, butother experts told us this process would leave us with a pile of fractured bricks insteadof any fireplace at all.

Not a risk we were willing to take.

Meanwhile, the framing goes on

The rest of the what was one of two downstairs apartments is pretty much demolished. Inthe process, we widened the foyer/parlor pocket door opening back to its original 64 inchwidth. The original pocket doors are offsite being stripped and refinished.

In removing the walls which made up the closets and kitchen from this same apartment,we found a second set of pocket door tracks in the wall between the parlor and the diningroom. But, alas, no more pocket doors.

The bathroom was opened up as well. The doorway on the left was the one present whilethis was an apartment. Neither of these doors will be left open when we get done.

In fact, this room seems to have gone through substantial change over the 100 yearhistory of the house, and we'll be adding our own modification to it. There are fourdifferent places to put a door in this room. Three have been used at one time or another.

As luck would have it, the most desirable doorway now opens up into our pantry. This isthe doorway you can see directly behind the ladder.

The other two doorways would open into the family room and dining room. We don't wantto have a bathroom off of these rooms.

That leaves just one choice -- the doorway shown just to the right of the ladder. Andthat, unfortunately, requires cutting load bearing studs and putting in a new header. Theremaining door openings will be closed again.

More framing was done back in the kitchen last week, including the archway openings atboth the front and rear of the kitchen. Much of the pantry and closet, shown to the rightof the stairs, has been framed as well.

There is, however, quite a bit more to do, as the earlier 1973 "remuddling"of the house cut a lot of holes in the floor and severed several joists in the first floorceiling.

Back in the basement

The stonemasons have repointing the foundation walls back to the rear stairs along theeast walls, which leaves only the southwest wall and the wall to the rear of the housewith the two large windows to do.

Outside those windows, we've stacked most of the basement's contents under a very, verylarge tarp. Other things which are stored in the backyard are the leaking oil tank, alongwith the porcelain sinks and claw foot tub. Next to that is the pile of dead paint cansand the log grate for the parlor fireplace.

In the picture you can see the door detail on our back porch, soon to be our mudroom.

In appreciation...

I really have to hand it to our demolition team. This house has been through so muchremodeling -- often haphazardly or poorly done.

Pictured to the right is a typical added wall. Although there is no lathe behindthis wall, there are three layers of drywall. On top of that, there was paneling to beremoved.

I don't know if this reflects laziness on the part of the installers, or a consciouseffort to reduce ambient noise. Whatever, these are really tough walls to tear out.

One bathroom held a nasty surprise. Untold years of bees had nested over top ofdoorway. We are thankful that we found this in the winter, when the bees were either deador dormant. They're gone now.

We now think this room was added onto the original house. For one thing, the plasterlayer of the wall was held on with wire lathe rather than wood. Since this room appears toalways have been a bathroom, that likely means it was added around 1900-1920.

Other evidence that this is an addition are the diagonal wallboards. These boards makeup all exterior walls in the rest of the house. In this room, they are on the interiorwall here, roughly cut at the ceiling level of the wall common with the pantry.

Future plans

We hope the chimney guys will be done this week, since everything is waiting on them.

The framers need them out of the way to reconstruct the upstairs walls around therefabricated chimney. A steel collar needs to be attached to the top of the chimney whereit exits the roof to tie the framing there to the brick.

Once that's done, it's time for the trades to arrive and get going - we've signed thecontract with the air conditioning guys --and figured a way to make sure we don't have a9x9 box chase running down the main hallway upstairs!

So there's going to be a lot of activity over the next few weeks!

Tosee more of Steve's pictures, click here.

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