Demolition and Details

The Old House Web

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The turret, insulated and ready to be enclosed.attic1.jpg (10657 bytes)
Newly parged rear chimneyattic3.jpg (5221 bytes)
The new front chimney
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The last of the green paneling about to be torn down.two.jpg (12859 bytes)
Digging into the dining room.
Our former living roomtwoa.jpg (7715 bytes)
Temporary tent to protect mortar.
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Power washing old mortar out

Monday, February 20, 2000

The last of the demolition of 20th century "improvements" to our Victorian has begun. Even as we fill yet another dumpster, however, we've been taking care of lots of other details.

I had many discussions with folks about ways to leave the turret roof area open and exposed. I've been intrigued by the spider web of beams since I first laid eyes on them, and have looked for some way to keep the area open. But, in the end, my wife prevailed. The turret will become a proper octagonal Victorian tea area and sitting room.

We've begun insulating the attic and will be starting the duct work for the central air conditioning soon. In the picture at right, you can see the rolls of insulation, and in the foreground, is the newly parged rear chimney (the one that didn't fall during relining). As you can see, it leans quite a bit.

Speaking of chimneys, in the third picture from the top, you can see progress in the attic in the form of a rebuilt chimney and in the duct work for the air conditioning, running along the back wall. The chimney replaces the one that we had to pull down. In the process of relining the front chimney, we weakened the structure, and rather than face an uncontrolled fall, we took it down. This time, we reconfigured the chimney so that rather than leaning like its rear counterpart, it emerges in a straight line.

Keeping in mind our original goal of not having visible air conditioning chases in the upstairs hallway, we made the decision to go with two air conditioning units in the attic. One second floor hallway would have had a 12x12 inch chase boxed into it - and we'd have had to look at it for years to come - had we not gone with 2 A/C units in the attic.

Last of the demolition

The walls have been removed from the living room and dining room, and from the kitchens of two apartments that formerly occupied this space have been removed. The picture at right was taken from the kitchen doorway, looking northeast towards the parlor. You can see the remnants of the green paneling that seemed to be everywhere in this house.

The next picture shows the beginnings of the demolition of the dining room, with ceiling and walls stripped, and lathe being removed. Note the former side door to the porch (when the house had a porch). This will become a window upon reconstruction. The side door will be on the west end of the house, coming from the family room.

And the third picture shows what used to be our living room when we camped out in one of four apartments that resided in our house. This will become the parlor. Again, more of that green paneling to be carted to the dumpster -- the fifth we've filled so far!

Outside repointing

We're continuing our work on the outside, especially on the foundation wall, which suffered from years of deferred maintenance. Not the least of the sins was the landscape plantings too close to the foundation wall. We had roots almost 1" (2.5cm) thick coming through the stone wall. Not only does this weaken the structure, but it makes for a wet basement when water comes leaking in during rainstorms. We removed the dirt and stumps and roots and are going to seal the wall, hoping to prevent more leaks. This is not easy or quick work, especially in the winter.

In the picture above, you can see the temporary tent we've had to construct to protect the wall. Mortar does not like freezing weather. In the final picture, mortar is being removed from the wall with the aid of a power washer. The next step will be to re-mortar the wall.

To see more of Steve's pictures, click here.


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