Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deconstructing History

We are now in the deconstructing phase of the kitchen of the old house. This has been a rather interesting period since we are discovering more and more about the house and how it transformed.
For instance, after removing the aluminum siding we found another layer of siding. We anticipated this, but what we didn't expect was to find that a door used to be on the driveway side of the house. You can kind of see where it would have been in the photo to the left. there is a line going down from the window on the left and then a line under the right window. The door would have been there and this siding was added after the fact. This also explains the stoop in front of this side of the house.
Once we tore into the inside of the house, this door was confirmed and also changed the way I thought this addition was added on. I thought that it was added on in full without much changes back in the fifties when water was probably connected to the house. However, there were at least two renditions of this small addition that I can think of.
The first wall we tore into was the wall between the kitchen and bath. It was a standard plaster wall. A hammer and crow bar worked well to pull down the plaster and rip off the wood. We saved the wood for kindling. The picture below shows that wall.

Then we tore into the outside wall. Two things here. One the plaster was put one with a metal screen instead of wood. And two, there was bead board tongue and groove underneath it all. It is actually kind of prettyand in good shape and I would like to save it for use somewhere. And then when I pulled down the wall perpendicular to it, which also used the metal screen, siding from the original house was exposed. The interesting thing here is that the siding is painted the same color as the bead board making me believe that the siding and the bead board served as the interior walls of the new addition. Now think about this.
The bead board forms and straight line from ceiling to floor, right. The siding however, is not going to be a straight line, siding is lapped so that water will run down it and not up into that last board. So what did they do back then to account for this gap between the two walls? They shoved fabric in the space between the two walls and called it a day. Gotta love it.
I then went around to the other walls in the kitchen where we housed the washer and dryer (if you remember tha). The part up against the bathroom was plaster with wood lath. Which is good because that is more kindling. The outside wall that faces our neighbors is metal and then, I am banging along the wall to loosen the plaster and the sledge goes right through it all. Here we find two cavities that have insulation in them and are covered with drywall (hence the easy holes).
What the heck is with this? When did this get put in and why only two cavities. So something must have happened here that required them to bust into these two cavities only. The water heater was located here but I don't know why they would have taken a wall down to install a water heater. I sure didn't need to take the wall down to UNinstall the water heater.
At least I am being entertained with mystery while tearing the house down.
Here is another photo of the laundry area. Still finding the green bead board. No other possible window placements have been found. So if the original addition only had that one door and no windows, then I can see why they decided to add two windows and change the door location.
Other fun facts about the house as we deconstruct. Extensive termite and water damage. Woo Hoo! Actually we knew it had been sprayed for termites when we bought it. But the water damage behind the tub is new news. I don't think the tub leaked while we lived there.
So there you have it. The first report of the deconstruction phase.