Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deconstructing Nancy

A good spot for a breakfast bar:

Well, leave it to me to not have a picture of the fireplace before we took it apart, but there it is after we took the brick down. Back in the eighties, home buyers must have been crazy about molding. We have it all over our living room. It was my job to delicately remove the molding, keeping it whole and uninjured, in case we want to use it again. Below is the area just to the left of the fireplace--the opening to the kitchen:
To open up the kitchen, we essentially had to saw that upper wall in half. It happened to be a load-bearing wall. You can tell, by the 2x10's that ran across it. (They're on the far right.)

See the chimney? All shiny and silver? It's a piece of tin. My husband climbed up on the roof using some old rock-climbing gear to dismantle it.
We have a beautiful Live Oak there that is starting to lean on our house. I don't know how much longer we get to keep the Live Oak. We do need the house, as it shelters us from storms. Plus, I think there's a town ordinance against living in tents. Here's a view of the chimney work from the inside:

Of course, electrical things had to be re-wired and unexpected decisions had to be made about lighting fixtures and say, how about a wine cooler?! Decide now because now's when the wiring goes in!
The re-do also left a hole in the ceiling, which needed to be patched:
Throughout the first morning--a good five or six hours, really--my daughter was chipper and excited and chirping. She carried the bricks from the fireplace, one at a time, to the side yard, and she helped me sweep:
Are you loving our totally awesome turquoise wallpaper? It's actually quite tasteful, just outdated and not very us. Sunday night, our friends who are also working on their kitchen, came over to pick up their daughter and commiserate over pizza and wine. Since they were in the middle of leveling their floor, they counseled us to get the tile up as quickly as possible before my father-in-law arrives to help lay down the new tile. I'd helped remove their tile and they had some helpful equipment.

So Monday, I took it upon myself:
Kneepads, mask, gloves and goggles required. That's the jackhammer I used above. I was about three hours into it and a little more than halfway through it when my friend showed up to help me finish the job. Hurray! Lots of sweat and aches in that job. The tile had to be picked up and carried out to the back of the old pickup truck. We finished before 5:00. I did it to move the work along and to impress my husband. My husband, it turns out, is harder to impress than I'd imagined.

Underneath the tile was linoleum, which we pulled up last night. Underneath the linoleum is some papery glue, which we will scrape up this morning. It appears to be water soluble and should come up easily. [Update: did I say it should come up easily? Lord help me--I'll be here all day and part of the next!]

Isn't it interesting that your fireplace is really just a three-sided tin box, sitting on top of cinder blocks, surrounded by bricks? Look at all that wasted kitchen space the fireplace was taking up!
Yesterday, in addition to editing some pages for a local magazine, I began the arduous task of wiping up the dust. I imagine I'll be finding thick layers of it for some time. So, essentially, it's not much different from life before the kitchen renovation.

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Blogger Dana said...

Your deconstructed kitchen bears a startling resemblance to me at certain points in my life!

btw, its been a hundred years since we've had the bright magnetic alphabet covering our fridge, along with little grubby paw prints -sigh- those were the best of days.


8:48 PM  
Anonymous allan said...

From your photos, I'd say that the FP wall is an understack, and the only load it's got on it is the drywall on the ceiling. Can't believe they used the concrete forms for header material. On second thought, I remember we did that for some owner builders in the '70's. Actually, that does save a few bucks if you don't have to pay a carpenter to cut up some forms and make sandwich of it. But inspectors out here would have not of that. Gotta have a real 4x as spelled out on the prints.

It's going to be an experiment to see if this comment goes through. The last couple were DOA. Real gems, too.

Eye candy aspiree you may be in the Swamp, I would sooner swoon over ladies who know how to handle manly tools.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

After all that, your vacation in Portland must be a nice reprieve! :)

9:53 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Cursed blogger! I'm sorry some of your comments aren't posting.

Can't believe they used the concrete forms for header material.

I don't know what that means, but I'll check with husband or FIL.

We simply duplicated what was there (the 2x10's), but made them longer and higher.

None of the 2x4's framing the wall was longer than 8 inches--all the beams seemed to be fused together.

The scraping up of the gluey paper under the linoleum was really demoralizing. I claim little arm strength and tendinitis, but my FIL arrived in the nick of time to take over. We poured hot water over it and that seemed to help.

I already love the bar though, even though it's just a wooden frame.


those were the best of days.

They go so unbelievably fast.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

your vacation in Portland must be a nice reprieve!

If it weren't for the horrendously long seven-hour drive! Derrr.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous allan said...

Oh, the concrete forms just means the boards they used to make the forms when they pour the foundation slab. Very nasty to work with when they're all covered in concrete. If you're still in the vinyl removal stage, one way that has worked for me is getting a long handled scraper that looks like a hoe that got ran over. I sharpen it up a bit and go to town. The bits that are left can be scraped off with one of those little scrapers with 4 inch replaceable blades. It's still a horribly boring job. But that's what alcohol and music are famously good for.

(sorry if this is double entried, but the first one didn't seem to take)

11:52 PM  
Blogger David N. Scott said...

Holy crap, that's a lot of work.

You=My hero.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks, allan, we have both such scrapers and until yesterday afternoon, just me. I really think a lack of back and arm strength hindered progress.

DNS, it's my husband who's the real hero--he's got the know-how, I'm just the inadequate muscle on the project.

7:37 AM  
Blogger kcatmull said...

I am in SHOCK at how much you're doing and totally in awe that you are able to do it at all. You are amazing! Can't wait to see the new place!

5:54 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

We're so crazy!

6:47 PM  

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