Sunday, July 09, 2006

Demolition Neverending

One part of our little restoration project that I completely mis-calculated is the amount of demolition and removal we have had to do. As you can tell from the title of our blog, our house is tiny. The floor plate is approximately 900sf. How much stuff can a house like this hold – particularly when it is practically empty to begin with?

When we first saw the home, there were a few odds and ends left behind by the previous owner. Once we moved in and upon closer inspection, I quickly learned that a small house can have many nooks and crannies and no matter how small they seem, you can pack a lot of shit into them if you need to. As an example, within a closet in the basement, we found a completely dismantled king size water bed frame and bookshelf surround. Along with furniture, books, lumber and other items crammed into the corners of this house, several trips between the house and the dumpster were required.

Another thing I quickly learned is that old houses just seem to attract all kinds of accretions. I must have pulled off enough curtain rods and other window treatment miscellanea to fill a small room. I think there were shelves and hanging devices on just about every surface of this house. That makes sense, you need a place to put, hang, and organize your shit – how else are you going to do that? The layering of wall, ceiling and other coverings was overwhelming as well. The amount carpeting and drop ceilings filled a good part of our basement and I can’t even get started with the amount of vinyl wall covering I have removed. Anyone out there that wants to install any of this stuff in their home, please e-mail me and I will provide enough gory detail that I think you will reconsider.

Hopefully most of our removal is done. We have a couple pieces of furniture and some books here and there that are still left from the previous owner – maybe we’ll have luck with that stuff at our next garage sale. We also have a handful of other items – lighting fixtures and such that really need to go but that won’t happen until we get serious about restoring the main rooms. After that, all that I think will be left is the aluminum siding.

I thought we would be finished with our basement project by now (all of the pics here document that work in progress). Everyone keeps telling me that when you are doing a restoration project you always need to double the time and money for the myriad of unforeseen things that come up. I think that I have done this in my “scheduling”. The only place I went wrong was the demolition. Who would have thought that there would be so much stuff in such a small house?

Demolition was one of the more gratifying parts of the work. It is the means to getting to what you actually want and a great way to take out any frustrations. Nothing beats pulling out an ugly fixture or mis-placed surface covering. Hammering through a wall or pulling up bad carpet is a great workout, particularly after dealing with some of the clients I have. Part of the problem is putting something back where you just demolished. The other problem with all of this removing is that you never know what you will find underneath. In this situation, all too often, it was just more stuff.

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