When I started the last post, I thought I was going to end up here, but I got sidetracked on the backyard / utility work. These are the demolition plans for the house – they also will give you a refresher on the current floor plan of the house (minus the third floor which doesn’t have a lot of work in this project). Again, the text quality isn’t great, but if you click on the image the plans are a lot clearer.
On the basement level, we’ll be removing that awful areaway access that is a serious accident waiting to happen. Neighborhood animals also like to walk down to the bottom and leave surprises there for us. I am not sorry to see that stairway go.
On the first floor, we’re gutting the kitchen down to the original walls, and removing the door + transom and other two windows completely. We’re also removing most of the rear masonry bearing wall along the back. That will be exciting and nerve-wracking. The porch is going too – we’ll salvage the ipe decking and either reuse it somewhere or sell it. At some point we’ll also be removing all of the original hardwood floors on this level and replacing them. They are in rough shape, and as beautiful as I think they are, they are spent. There is no subfloor, and we are doing something unconventional by installing the new floors with no subfloor – but raising the floor level by +/- 3/4″ of an inch is not an option with the stairs, the bookshelves, the doors, etc. We’ll be using t&g Douglas fir flooring, and it will be consistent throughout the first floor, extending into the addition (where it will be laid over a subfloor). It will span the existing floor joists just fine in the old spaces, and we’ll select a finish that will complement the rest of the floors in the house. I’m very excited at the prospect of a continuous floor with no transitions or thresholds.
Onto the second floor – we’re removing the balcony framing and shoring up the existing roof rafters as we go. There will also be some masonry repair on the second floor rear wall – the full extent of that will not be known until we’re into it, but we’re anticipating some work there. We’re also removing almost all of our existing windows in this project, and replacing them with windows that match the existing and are permitted in our historic district – but that are also insulated windows! Hoorary. On the front five windows we’re hoping to use Loewen’s retractable screen feature – it hides in the horizontal check rail, but can slide in place if we open the windows. I’m pretty particular about not having screens on the front windows because our windows really make the house. (That’s why we’ve never installed storm windows there.) But on the sides we’ll use traditional screens since they aren’t visible from the ground.
Here are the demolition elevations. Porch framing will be removed, and you can see the area of masonry removal on the back wall. That’s a big chunk of wall, and a nice piece of steel going in. A concrete pad will be poured on top of the stone wall to support new steel tube columns buried into each side of the opening. The new beam will bear on those.
Unrelated, but I really love the side elevation of our house. She’s so tall and thin, but there’s no wasted space in it. I think that it’s interesting to live in a neighborhood that was built as a working class community – there were two families that lived here originally – that despite a rather humble scale and close proximity to others, the details of the house on the front were not compromised. I think I also like it because it’s a view that’s impossible to see in person, short of hovering in a drone and temporarily knocking down the neighbor’s house to do it!
I hope our house is okay with these big changes – we’ve treated her with as much care and love as we could over the past seventeen years, and she’s been pretty patient with our experiments in home making.