Yes, this post does contain pictures of all the walls ripped out. You can quickly scroll down to see them, or enjoy the journal as we did…
December 15, 2018
I went to meet our contractor, Martin, at 8am on a Saturday – and found out the permits had been issued the previous night! This was very exciting because the construction could actually start, 6 months from house purchase and 10 months since we first saw the house.
[Kripa: And 4-5 solid months of design panic and indecision…]
What caught us by surprise was how quickly things would start moving: Martin was meeting with a demolition company at 9:30am that same Saturday. He said they would probably start demolition on Monday.
That meant we had 48 hours to:
- Mark everything we wanted the demo crew to keep with blue tape
- Move anything particularly fragile ourselves (Martin said we could leave it to the demo crew, but since he wouldn’t be there 100% of the time it was better to move anything ourselves)
- Decide if there was anything the previous owners left that we wanted to keep
At this point, I sent texts to some of our friends to see who was free for some Sunday help.
[Kripa: We have very, very good friends.]
From the beginning we knew we wanted to keep the original doors. The two apartment entry doors with frosted glass feel ripe for some kind of cool re-use, and the original hardware on many of the doors is an attractive and original element we’ll try and reincorporate.
One challenge with the doors: each one is a different size, ranging from 28 inches to 44 inches wide. Even the ones that seem like they should be the same size (like closet doors or bedroom doors) have 3-5 inch differences. This means we can’t just throw them into a standard door frame – we’ll have to either modify them or do a custom install.
If all else fails, I have a nascent idea of planing down the doors into lumber and making a table out of it. The idea making a central piece of furniture out of part of the original house really appeals to me – adding a touch of historicity to the mundane. (I fully expect Kripa to tease me about this.)
[Kripa: Other than that totally made up word, I actually do think this is a nice idea. And also a clever way to get me to agree to the 17 new power tools I’m sure will be essential to building this thing.]
We ended up saving ~20 doors and hardware. Some of them were extremely heavy – definitely solid wood, not hollow. Thanks to David (the architect), Caitlin, and Cory for helping move everything!
[Kripa: These are our very, very good friends. Everyone else is dead to me.]
The next thing we did was take out (or mark for removal) the original elements we thought we could re-use:
- An original large mirror in the hallway (called a “Pier mirror”)
- The two original built-in cabinets in the dining rooms
- The round safe built into the bedroom wall on the first floor
- Iron (?) vent grates scattered through the house. We’re not sure what we’ll do with these, but they’re heavy and cool looking so we’ll figure something out.
- The original clawfoot tub. The plan is to refinish that ourselves and use it in the master bathroom.
[Kripa: Nothing pictured here is coming back into the house. I don’t even know what those rusty things are?]
The last thing we did was look through items left by the previous owners for anything we wanted to keep:
- Flooring. So, we’re changing out the layout so much that we didn’t see anywhere we could keep the original floors without having to do a large and unsightly patch. BUT we’re going to repurpose some of the flooring as ceiling treatment, and any leftover we’ll keep as lumber for future projects.
- Solid metal shop table in the basement. Might be useful in the basement wood shop, or maybe we’ll put it in the garage.
- Fridge. This refrigerator works, so we wanted to keep it for selling/donating/recycling.
- Oven. It works, so we’ll probably donate it.
- Dishwasher. I *think* this works, so we’ll donate it.
- Kitchen cabinets. There were a couple of newer cabinets in the two kitchens, and I’m thinking I could use those in the wood shop.
- Pegboard. There was some pegboard in the basement and kitchen pantry that was in fine condition that I can use in the wood shop. Also lots of pegboard hardware – and while none of this is super expensive, why not save a few bucks and reuse it?
We finished Sunday evening (December 17th), and went home, fairly tired.
Saturday, December 22nd
We swung by the house to check on things, and had quite a surprise: demolition had not just started, it seemed damn near finished. Not only were the walls gone, the support columns in the basement were gone and temporary supports holding up the rest of the floors (gulp).
Turns out there was a SECOND safe on the second floor behind the drywall – though when it was uncovered it was already busted. Looks to me like someone pried it open years ago. Scene from my next Chicago-based historical science fiction novel?!? What could have been in that safe – the Mafia’s time travel device?!?
December 30, 2018
Kripa went back and got some video walkthroughs of the demo
It was one day until 2019, 10 months since we saw first the house, 6 months since we closed – and for me, seeing the the demolition made the whole project seem real in a way it hadn’t before. VERY exciting!!
[Kripa: All of a sudden, I want to start singing, “FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED MINUTES…]
Julia Davis says
I cannot BELIEVE you’re not keeping those white and green curtains. Don’t you have any sense of historicity?!
Brian Cody says
Our plan is to re-create the exact same curtains, but out of thread we spin ourselves from sheep we raise in the backyard and dye we make from organic algae.