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Thursday, November 10, 2011

And the wall comes tumbling down

We tackled a huge project over the weekend in order to make room for the (used) woodstove we bought over the summer in hopes of lowering our huge heating bill. Above is a before photo of one side of a double sided fireplace that hasn't been used since who knows when (well over 50 years since last use). The fireplace/chimney may be 100 years old, we don't know. We believe it was part of the original kitchen and used for cooking before they connected the kitchen to the main house by building a room in between the two.
First step in the demolition... taking out the closet. Look at how wide the boards are that lined the backside of the closet (that they partially painted white)! We have the same size boards all throughout the horse barn. You can't buy wood like that these days. We pulled them out, removed all the nails, and stored them away for later use.

Backside of closet wall down, now you can see the two rooms becoming one.

Freestanding fireplace now! The backside of this fireplace is another fireplace where we hope to tap our woodstove into. The chimney guy will be coming soon to evaluate the condition of everything and plan out what needs to be done to safely wood heat our home. This side showing faces the dining room. We hope the chimney guy says we can eventually use the fireplace on this side too for something. In the past it was used for cooking.

Close up of the dining room side. The iron pot shoved in it for now was found underneath the house when we moved here in 2004.

Once the chimney guy does what is needed to connect the woodstove and get it functioning, we will then decide how we want to finish the ceiling & floors. Right now the ceiling has drywall covering the original wood board ceiling and the floors are unfinished wood. Lots of options to mull over for both. What would you do?


  1. Howdy, Ann here from Shim Farm in Quebec, Canada. I found your blog by way of Farm Folly. You have a lovely old house. We're much in the same situation, house-wise, with on-going renovations.

    Our old ceiling joists were covered with gyproc, so it looks similar to your place. I don't see the ceiling joists in your photo though. I assume the boards we see on the ceiling are the floor boards from above? How many coats of paint do they have? And what is your tolerance for stripping them? We needed to double up our ceiling joists - that is to say, the original ones were 52" o/c, and we added one in between each, to bring us to 26" o/c. (Walking upstairs was so spongy before, we wouldn't have dared put any furniture up there.)

    Once that was done, we stripped the old joists, varnished both old and new, and placed gyproc panels between each one. Labour intensive - yes. Aesthetically pleasing - yes. We had to cover the floor boards because they had too many coats of (probably lead-based) paint. It would have been impractical to strip everything down. Also, all the wiring leading to the electrical box is hidden by the gyproc. The end result is a safe upstairs, beams that are still exposed for an old-fashioned nod, but with a clean, modern appearance. We also added sound attenuation batting between each beam which helps reduce the transmission of sound. This was an issue, since we also removed many interior, non-load bearing divisions, much as you've done (or appear to be doing).

    I enjoy seeing what others do to their old houses, so keep 'em coming! And any questions - don't hesitate to ask - we love sharing information and helping others in their quest to restore old homes back to glory.

  2. Nice to meet you Ann! In this part of the house where we took the wall out, the exposed board you see on the ceiling (under the drywall) is actually attached to the underside of the joists so its not a floor from above. This is in the back part of the house which is only one story, where they connected the main house (2 story) to the kitchen over the years. Above these back rooms is a short attic space that we can access from the kitchen. We dont use it for anything other than insulation and accessing electrical wiring (which The Boy had to completely replace a few years ago... one of many unexpected curve ball projects that this house has thrown at us, I'm sure you're familiar with these "fun" surprises).

    From up in the attic space, it appears that the wood ceiling possibly covers the entire area that is now covered with drywall. We are going to do more poking and prodding around to be sure, but if it is, we hope to completely remove the drywall and expose the original wood plank ceiling. We'll clean it up and paint it white (part of what is exposed is already painted from many many years ago, you can barely see it in the last photo of the chimney). We've agreed that exposing it and leaving it natural dark wood color would be too dark for these rooms where we have limited electric light & windows anyway.

    We always love meeting people who are also restoring similar homes... great for comparing endless notes!


I have a virtual open door policy for thoughts and suggestions, and I'd love to hear what you have to say!