When we first moved in, we had to remove the old window in the upstairs bedroom to get our beds in the house because the stairway was far to narrow. We updated all of our windows last fall with more energy efficient windows. This proved to be a problem when we went to remove the beds for the renovation because the windows were slightly smaller. This forced our first cuts on the house to be removed from the stairway. When they removed the first chunk of wall from the stairway, the excitement began to kick in. I could visualize the open floor plan I had been imagining since we decided to start this project. The overwhelming sensation of this being only the first step to a massive project kicked in shortly there after.
The pile of wood keeps getting taller and wider on what used to be my front lawn. I can't help but feel slightly overwhelmed by how much work actually needs to be done. Paul and Stan have been working extremely hard to remove all the lath boards and plaster from the home. Most of the debris were hauled off in a very full dumpster, but we decided to use what wood we could for burning. Our first fire proved just how important this home renovation really was. Paul piled the boards high in hopes of a lasting fire but we were in for a rude awakening. Once the pile of wood was lit, the flames swallowed all of the scraps in a matter of seconds. After a minute or so of intense burning and crackling, the wood was gone. We were both astonished that this was the same wood that had made up our home. If we had ever been caught in a house fire, I fear our family would not have had adequate time to get out of the house. There was very little insulation in the walls; they even found sawdust in the bathroom walls which was occasionally substituted for insulation "back in the day." When extremely dry wood and insulation meet old electrical, the hazards begin to add up. Once complete though, the house will be properly insulated and will have new wiring, allowing me to sleep more peacefully.
The more they removed from the home, the more I learned about the character it holds. Previous paint colors are being exposed, layers of wallpaper revealed and old exterior shingles uncovered. The border pictured above was hand painted on a few of our walls and the small bit of paper from 1912 was found in them. We also found out that our chimney was meant to remain covered- forever. Where the brick was not exposed, it was quickly and sloppily thrown together with over flowing mortar and uneven bricks. We were planning on leaving the chimney completely exposed, so now we are exploring the idea of covering the entire thing with ledge stone and building a stone hearth for the wood burner.
Everything is officially gutted. The entire second floor, stairway, kitchen, bathroom and walls are all gone. The house is an empty shell ready to be strengthened. To view the entire gutted home, view my slideshow
. As always, comments and shares are greatly appreciated. This renovation has been a big part of our lives lately and has been very stressful, but very worth it. Be sure to follow my blog and Facebook page to keep up with the progress of our St Johnsbury home. If anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!