Jesse is taking off this week and part of next week to work on the house. It’s been slow so far because we’ve only had a few days here and there to dedicate to the house. We’ve spent most of our time the last few years on clearing the property of overgrown blackberries, ivy, and other plants. And we put several months into building an apartment in the shop for us to live in.
It’s very exciting that this month is a turning point, and we are now able to put some time and money into the house.
The goal this month is to finish digging out crawl space in the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom; remove the ceilings in the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom (along with tons of residue from rats); jack up a side of the dining room (old kitchen) that has sunk; rebuild the wall supporting the second floor; and start repairing the foundation of the house. Hopefully, in the next few months we can replace girders, joists, and subfloor; and vault the ceiling of the kitchen and dining room.
We originally believed we could clean the house and make a few minor changes, but as we dig in we are finding that never would have been enough. Rats have had full rein of the house for several years based on how much reside is in the walls and the ceilings. And based on the comments of an exterminator we had our here a few years ago. We would never have been able to clear out all the rat nests and feces without opens all of the walls and ceilings. But because our remodeling plans are so in depth we will be able to clear it all out.
As we remove walls, ceilings, and floors, we will be saving as much of the wood as possible. Underneath sheetrock on the walls are 8 inch wide “shiplap” boards. These boards were nailed to the wall frames with old nails. And on these boards you can still see some of the remains of the old wallpaper that was at one time tacked to the “shiplap.” We will save all of these “shiplap” boards. We plan to plane them and put them back on the walls.
In addition, we plan to use many of the old joists to build a dining table. These joists need to be replaced, not because the house is old or was not build well, but because over the years they have been cut for reasons I do not know. In one place it’s obvious a girder (the floor board holding up the second floor) was cut when the furnace duct was put in.
We are happy we dug in enough to find these issues. Having to rebuild so much of the foundation and walls and floors will take time, be we know that we can make the house both solid and beautiful. And 50 years from now, we will be happy we made all of this effort.
In the photo you can see the staircase from the new kitchen. I say “new kitchen” because the original kitchen was on the north side of the house. We are flipping the kitchen to the south side for more natural light. The old kitchen will become the dining room. You can also see the basement below the stairs. And the wall (just the frame right in front of the stairs) holds up the second floor. This whole wall will need to be rebuilt. See where the base of the framing 2x4s and supported by blocks? Who knows when or why those boards were cut, but this is not how to support a second floor wall. 😳