May 29, 2013
The project is now in full swing. Demo started last week, and the crew is making real progress. Here's a view from the back of the house (what used to be an office) toward the kitchen.
Once the plaster came down, we were able to take a closer look at the original beams used to construct the house, and got a sense of some of the alterations made to the structure over the past 141 years.
Behind one wall we made a fun discovery: a stair case!
After a bit more digging we found the opening and were able to take a look. Here's Heather checking it out.
Were are just getting started, so I'm confident we have more surprises to come!
(6) CommentsComment on this Blog
Please tell me you're not tearing out all the original plaster walls/ceilings! I understand needing to do repairs, but plaster is such an important part of an old house. Once its gone, the house won't feel or sound old anymore and destroys one of its most important historic details.
This Old House should do a better job advising people on how to properly save an old house like this. Its just completely wrong to tear out 130+ year old plaster like that!
We're actually not removing all that much plaster. I think you can see from the floor plans that we are keeping most of the walls. We love the character of the house and want to maintain it.
How about keeping the old staircase? One of the unique things of old houses is the two sets of staircases. It is also extra safety, in case of fire
Okay, its good to hear you're not gutting the whole house. We look forward to watching this project when it airs. My wife and I own an 1885 Italianate brick house in Cincinnati and we've been renovating it for the last year. So, we know exactly what its like to go through with a major project like this. Best of luck and post TONS of pictures:)
I love finding things out about my house that I didn't know about. I will say that finding a whole stairwell is something I'm not going to find but I hope it gives the homeowners something fun to think about during what can be a frustrating time. Thanks for the updates.
Some things to keep in mind about renovating are: 1. The point of no return. Once you start the demo and find structural or other code deficiencies, you might be required to bring them up to code. 2. If there are a sufficient number of keys missing/broken on the original plaster, it might become necessary to replace rather than repair. 3. Underlying circumstances such as over cutting and/or under sizing during previous renovations may result in, more than estimated, demolition to find a structurally sound point to start repairs. These all lead up to what is called the snowball effect.
I have been watching TOH since the mid-80's. I believe they will do everything they can do to protect the integrity of an old house. Much of what gets protected or not protected also lies in the decisions of the customer. They're the ones footing the bill. Also, keep in mind that bringing an old house up to today's energy efficiency standards will also alter the sound of the house with the addition of insulation anyway.