Electric map

Mapped out the wiring with Glen. Unfortunately the wiring layout shows that it was done piecemeal over the years, so there is no organization to the wiring. Some breakers cover outlets here and there around the house. Some rooms have 3 breakers associated with them. Makes me want to expose more walls to sort it out and clean it up, but I am not in the mood for more demo.

Also prepped the living room to be plasterer-ready. Took some time to clear out nails and a few stubborn pieces of lathing near the ceiling and floor.


Living room demo continues

I finally bought the pipe wrench I needed to remove the radiators and get behind them. My original plan was to removed them, have them sandblasted, and refinished. Someone had suggested this would be a good idea and inexpensive. What I didn’t realize is the radiators are UNBELIEVABLY heavy. I can barely move them across the floor let alone fit them in the car. So they may just be getting put in the middle of the room and brush painted.

House Jacking

The house is solid but there is a sag in one area of the first floor. Right in the middle of the house, the floor on one side slopes to the center, and the stairs on the other side slope toward the center. Looking in the basement, after pulling away the basement ceiling, the problem seems to be that they installed the stairway to the basement just by hanging it off the floor, without support from below. With a house jack, we jacked up the low point. Plenty of noise and shifting, but it seems to work. The floor is now completely level (had a ½” drop), and the stairs are a bit more level. The stairs may be mounted out of level, so jacking further won’t help. We put in two lolly columns, and it looks great. As a bonus, I didn’t realize before we did it that there was a bounce in the floor in the low area, and now it is rock solid.


This area of wall is where we plan to put a passage to connect the kitchen to the living room.  Plenty of things to move to do so.  They are true 2×4 studs.

We went to a fireplace store (yes, such a thing exists).  It was great, set in an incredibly long and incredibly thin building, with working fireplaces all along both walls.  The building must have had 50 chimneys coming out the roof.  We are planning to put in a gas fireplace insert.  As much as I love wood, the smoke and ash would be terrible for kids allergies.  I was amazed at how realistic gas fireplaces look now.  And they are designed to efficiently heat, so are not just for ambiance.

Living Room Demo

I have this demo claw hammer tool from Stanley. Really worked well. It is light enough so it is not tiring to hoist like a sledge, but has enough heft to use some momentum to help separate unwanted parts from the house. The claw part is designed to grab and twist 2x4s as part of the demo. Unfortunately we didn’t get to use this feature.

The hardest part of the demo was being careful to remove the trim for reuse, and protecting the floors. The demo part was easy.

Not all that much debris… I am using the lathe for firewood, avoiding hauling it away, and providing some heat at the same time. Right off the wall and into the fire, so efficient I can barely stand it.

Living Room

Original plan was to demo this room.   There are layers and layers of wallpaper, and removing the plaster would avoid stripping it, and gain access to walls for insulation and wiring updates.

A contractor friend temporarily talked me out of it, saying to just strip the wallpaper and skim coat.  We started that, but I realized the plaster underneath is pulling away from the walls in spots.  So we are back to the demo plan.

Wood bathroom demo

Here it goes.  Unfortunately, as I suspected, behind the paneling was not studs, but a layer of horsehair plaster.  So it will be a bit messy.  Just taking down the tub surround makes the room feel much bigger.  It had a strange short wall around the top of the tub, fully enclosing the shower and making it all feel coffin like.

It was hard to salvage the wood.  Some of it was water stained, some cracked easily, some was not reusable because it was notched.  Maybe it was not worth it to spend the time to salvage what I could.  But it is done.

As I suspected, there is a nice chase in the left corner of the room, to get water etc up from the basement.  It looks like it goes all the way to the roof, all the way down to the basement floor.

I was surprised to find what looks like stucco on the outer walls.  We are wondering if the house has a tudor style finish under the siding.  The stucco, and sharp room angles would fit.  However, the large windows and lack of arches are not tudor-like.  The stucco helps seal for drafts, so that is good.

No insulation in the walls, as expected.

Behind the wood is some badly worn but classic wallpaper.

Some knob and tube, unfortunately.  The electrician said it is no problem and completely safe if it is in good shape, which it is.  He said just not to add to it (of course we wouldn’t).  But I am going to have him take it out and replace with romex.