On Monday, our crew completely deconstructed the kitchen. If you watched the news coverage of Living Vintage, you saw a glimpse of the little kitchen, but here are some detail photos I shot at the beginning of the project:
This one makes me smile every time I look at it and makes me wish I had met the old lady who used to live in this house. I may have to keep this particular set of boards.
The guys also salvaged all the yellow painted walls and wide beadboard.
This beadboard is destined for our home office ceiling project.
After removing all the cabinetry, walls, and ceiling, the kitchen looked like this by the end of the day.
Oh, do you notice the plywood on the floor near the lower right-hand corner? We’ll get to that later.
On Tuesday, John removed interior wood from the walls. Turns out that most of the wall boards are the same type of wood as the floors!
After John was done with the walls, he and Mark partnered up and removed the really long ceiling boards. It’s a lot easier than having to move a ladder back and forth.
Next, the guys removed the beautiful dimensional floors joists from the second floor.
Now the only thing that remained was the skeleton of the house: the wall studs. Down they came, starting on Wednesday.
After denailing and trimming them, most are about 20 feet in length and straight as an arrow.
That is simply amazing! The grain of the old wood reveals why.
Wednesday was a big day for us. In addition to salvaging the amazing wall studs, we also removed the amazing staircase.
First to come down were the handrails and balisters as well as the beadboard and little closet underneath the stairs.
The scary part came next. Scary because the stairs are very heavy and valuable, and we didn’t want to damage them. Scary because we certainly didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
Believe me, the guys took their time before even beginning. Much discussion took place on how best to attack it.
I was so anxious.
In my nervousness, I shot about 100 photos, so I definitely captured the whole process, which lasted a good long while. No way were they going to rush things.
So here’s what happened.
First, John pried high and low, gently loosening the upper section.
Notice the ladder? You see, the staircase seemed to be barely attached at the top, so the ladder was placed underneath to help prop up the staircase and prevent the whole thing from crashing down once it was loose.
You work with what you have, right?
Once the staircase was loose, the guys pulled it away from the wall about 6 inches …
…. and it rested on the ladder and the landing while they thought about their next move.
Using the ladder, a 2″ x 8″, and the muscle power of three men, they pulled out the top flight of stairs, rolled it on top of the second flight, then pulled the top flight down to ground level.
I know this probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the photos will shed light.
The guys sure did breathe a collective sigh of relief when they were done, and I don’t blame them. Not one iota. No damage. Better yet: no injuries!
All safe and sound and in the trailer at last!
The guys had to take apart the landing before the bottom flight could be removed.
I don’t completely understand why. I don’t need to understand why. I trust that they know what they’re doing.
After that was done, Mark and John removed the bottom part of the stairs.
The process was very similar to the removal of the first set of stairs. They just used a shorter ladder.
So that was our hold-your-breath, living-on-the-edge Wednesday.
But wait, there is more!
Remember me mentioning the plywood in the old kitchen?
Well that plywood is covering an old well. A very scary deep well that’s 30 feet down!
I just have to show the craftmanship in making that old well.
The brick work is absolutely superb. About 2 feet in, the bricks are just stacked. No mortar whatsoever from that point down.
Anyway, why am I talking about a well and living on the edge?
Well, local lore has it that the oldtimers who used to live in the house long ago hid money in various out-of-the-way places. After they died, friends, family members, and their estate attorney confiscated all the loot. Several thousand dollars worth of old coins, I hear.
The guys could not resist seeing if the old well contained hidden goodies because we’ll soon be filling the well with old, crumbly brick.
Somebody had to go down to investigate. Mr. Badass himself (aka John) volunteered.
Here’s Mark and Reuben slowly lowering John into the well.
What did John find?
Trash. Just trash. Certainly nothing of any value.
He didn’t stay down there long, and I don’t blame him.
Was it worth it?
Yes. We would have always wondered if we hadn’t gone to the effort.
Would John ever do it again?
Um. Probably not.
After his pulse returned to normal, he removed the remaining wall studs, and we de-nailed them and called it a day.
On Thursday and Friday, our crew removed floors …
…. and massive floor joists and beams.
John also brought down more ceiling boards while we rapidly de-nailed them as fast as we could.
Oh, I haven’t mentioned yet, and need to. Reuben started following us home to help us unload our trailer.
We’re uber thankful for that.
With three people unloading, it goes so much faster, and I just cannot lift some of the heavier pieces. Plus, by later afternoon, we are so hot and exhausted, so having a third hand is such a blessing.
One of the last things that the guys did was pull out this little cabinet.
It may not look like much, but it was built using 2″ x 8″ boards and a big, heavy slab of 4″ thick board at the top. It is amazingly, solidly built and weighs a ton.
It had to be — it had been holding up one of the upstairs chimneys.
I’m thrilled that we got it out in one piece. It will be so cute as a little bathroom cabinet one day in one of the little houses we build.
About an hour before we called it quits on Friday, John and Reuben started knocking down the old fireplace.
It pains me to say that the old bricks are not salvageable. We have salvaged old brick in the past and would have loved to have saved the ones from this old place, but a gentle whack just turns the old bricks to shards and dust. Fortunately, they’ll be used to fill in the old well.
Anyway that just about covers what we did last week. I know this is a fairly long post, but we got a lot done, and I’m very proud of us and our crew.
We can’t complain a bit! Well, maybe we can complain about the 95 degree days! It’s already so HOT!
But, all in all, it was a great week!
Even one of our 2″ x 4″s thought so.