I'll cut to the chase- turns out the knob-and-tube wiring we were told was inactive in fact powers about 1/2 of our house. Glory be. When it's in decent shape it's not necessary hazardous (though pretty inadequate to power our modern appliances, etc as it was largely used prior to the 1930s) but when it's janky and sort of all over the place mixed in with modern(ish) wiring, like ours is, it has the potential to cause fires and blow fuses and all sorts of fun and games. So it needs to go. Thankfully we have some great family connections to electricians and after they poked around a bit it was determined that to do the work we needed to....wait for it....gut the rest of the house. We called Israel to see what he'd charge to do the remaining walls (the upstairs hallway, the horrid blue room, the kitchen ceiling, and....gulp...my beloved foyer) but because he'd gone so over weight on the past dumpster he needed more this time around- money we just don't have to spare. Enter Gavin (with help from myself and a rotating cast of good and benevolent friends and family) doing the demo his damnself.
Today I got to join him for a lovely demo date (Mom was able to take off work and wrangle the kiddos for the day). In some ways, it was satisfying- swinging a giant pry bar at the walls that have caused me so much anxiety and consternation- but mostly it was dirty, tedious, and immensely strenous labor. We set up a make-shift shoot out the window and into our new (third) dumpster using a ladder wrapped in tarp and dropped bucket after bucket of crunchy plastery goodness down and out of our lives. Gavin's been at it for a few days and honestly, after putting in just one good day myself, I don't know how he's held up so well- I feel like I've gone over the Niagra Falls in a friggin barrel. Suffice it to say I am crazy-proud of my hubs.
I have had some reservations about this final gut- it becomes increasingly difficult to save those traits of the house that add that infamous "character" since working around old moulding and plaster medallions can be really hard when you are trying to smash through walls. There have been a few casualties along the way -one example- the aforementioned plaster medallion crashed to the floor without warning today and broke into a million peices so it will have to be replaced with a salvaged one or a reproduction- but I think we have managed to keep enough original details to add back in once the walls are up that the house will still be itself, but better. Like the Six Million Dollar Man. Or something. Plus the more we open the more we discover potential problems (I'm looking at you, furry grey/black mold monster under the kitchen ceiling) before they have a chance to really become catastrophic. We will truly know what's what with this house, and that does feel good.
Anywho, once all this is done the electric can be roughed in and we can FINALLY get moving on insulating and PUTTING UP SOME WALLS. I really, really cannot wait. But for now, enjoy our new "open concept" Victorian...
|It is I, Demo Goddess|
|His and Hers Matching Aspirators! How cute!|
|Gav's Dad sanding all our cabinet doors|
|The crazy "Baker's Rack" set up so we could get to the plaster on the stair wall|
|Uncle A planning our upstairs bathroom.|
|The infamous Joe Da' Taper|
|Beauty in Destruction|
|The view from upstairs into my poor, poor foyer|