Our first weekend in the house was a busy one. Chandler’s parents came down to help with the demolition, so we got a surprising amount done.
The house is divided into two areas, the front and the back, by a set of stairs. The front of the house is divided by a partition wall and the back of the house is divided into the kitchen and a bedroom. We immediately went about tearing down the kitchen/bedroom wall and the partition wall.
Chan’s Kool-Aid Man moment
Under the drywall, wainscoting and layers of wallpaper, we found lath and plaster walls. While this form of construction was used until drywall was introduced in the 1950s, our walls were much older. The evidence was in the cut nails used to attach the lath to the studs. Cut nails were manufactured from the 1820s to the 1910s.
Wallpaper is holding the house together
As Steve was tearing into the lath and plaster, something came out of the wall besides spiderwebs and mouse nests. Hidden in the wall was a time capsule! The actual container and most of the newspaper was destroyed by critters, but the other items were intact enough to identify.
Among the debris we found the core of a baseball, a small clock, a lady’s shoe and an American flag with 43 stars. Chandler found a piece of a newspaper dated August, 1893 containing an article describing achievements of President Hayes, who had recently passed away. We were told the house was from the early 1900s, but the artifacts show part of it was built a bit earlier.
While we initially hit the ground running, we came to a stand still during our second week in the house. The current floor plan is atrocious with a tiny kitchen and the main living area situated in the front of the house near the traffic noise and less natural light. The bathroom is cramped and poorly laid out.
We have spent countless hours contemplating alternative floor plans. Our main objective is to move the bathroom and stairs to a less desirable area of the house and to create a sound buffer from the street noise. Once we have an idea of something we like, it gets laid out on the floor with masking tape.
One idea of many
We have gone through so many variations it is hard to think of new ideas that make sense. The masking tape makes our ideas easier to visualize and point out any potential problems.
While I am inclined to start work, Chandler continues to mull things over making sure that everything will work. It’s one thing to draw where everything goes, but a new bathroom will have a bunch of plumbing attached to it, and cutting a hole through the ceiling for stairs requires some mild structural analysis, etc. I want to make sure we are happy with our decisions, because we won’t be able to change them when the little one comes. However, I keep thinking that the clock is ticking down to October.
Our original Vermont daydream involved finding a large piece of land and building an off the grid house. Eventually we’d add a few goats, dogs and kids to the mix over the years. Our daydream is now being fast-forwarded because we are expecting our first child this October!
While our dream of building our own home is currently on the back burner, we will get some practice this summer. Our offer on a cute, little home with almost an acre of land, in a small Vermont village, was accepted. The house was built in the early 1900s and needs to be completely gutted and remodeled. We will have our work cut out for us.
Our little yellow house
Big changes on the horizon! We’ll be updating here as we embark on our next “project”.