Thursday, November 10, 2011

So That's How the Birds Got In

We've started removing ceilings in the project house.  The floor to ceiling height is pretty low in most rooms (less than 8 feet), so we want to maximize that where possible.  There's some places with strapping that apparently once held, or was going to hold, sheetrock over the cracked plaster that we're taking down, some saggy ceilings where we need to figure out what's going on underneath, and some with water damage.  

We also moved the trim pile around on the third floor so we could tackle the one remaining section of ceiling that we had been putting off for months.  We had found in these ceilings, which are essentially in the finished attic space, that some critters had moved in and made a very significant nest.  They'd been gone for a long time, but they had left some less than desirable remnants of their previous home.  We never were quite sure what was there.  I think birds because there was a lot of straw involved in the nest, but there may have been some bats around the chimney too.

Removing that last part of the ceiling wasn't as bad as we'd expected.  Apparently, they'd lived in the center part that we'd already taken down.  What we did find though, was that there was a gaping hole all along the gable line of that end of the space!  It's a wonder we didn't have a new crop of creatures in there this summer, but I guess we'd made it rather inhospitable in there.  

Someone had taken down the outside trim around the gable, in preparation for what?  Who knows.  The roofer had warned us about it, but we didn't realize what he was talking about and that there was an actual HOLE there.  Since we don't have a ladder tall enough to reach the end, we fixed the hole from the inside using 1"x6"s, our trusty reciprocating saw, and a few nails.  Figures that it wasn't as easy as it might seem.  Nothing is straight and there's a vent pipe going through the roof there, but we got the boards in.  We went out side and started looking at the other ends and it looks like we've got a couple of other holes to find and fix too where the trim was removed.  More fun with the Sawsall and foam sealant to come! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Measuring To Create New Plans

We hit a milestone of sorts last weekend.  We finally finished the major part of the demolition of our project house.  There are still a few saggy ceilings left to go and some other odds and ends like removing the siding from the interior of the kitchen(!), but the walls are finished.  We spent some time this weekend remeasuring all of the spaces so we can draw out the plans to get our building permit.  We'll be adjusting the existing floor plan to make it work better for the way people live today and to correct some changes that were badly made in the past (e.g., closing up a window to create a bathroom in an awkward place).  

The house will probably have 4-5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths when we're done.  None of the rooms currently have closets, so we'll have to make space for them, preferably without making the bedrooms any smaller.  The laundry room will be moved from the unheated back porch to the second floor where it is close to the bedrooms.  We'll open up the kitchen so that it flows into the rest of the house rather than being closed off as it is now.  The 2 front rooms will likely become one large livingroom.   And we'll have to figure out how to handle a couple of oddly shaped spaces.  

Drawing the plans will help us make some of those decisions as well as determining where the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC should go.  The house was obviously cobbled together and expanded over the years and really had no character-defining features on the interior, but it has good bones.  We can definitely create a warm, livable home for the 21st century while maintaining the house's street presence and improving the neighborhood.