Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


OMG… just… OMG… (Demolition day 1)

Wow. I’m exhausted. It’s been a helluva day.

Left work at 3:00. Brandon got a tetanus shot at 3:45. We met up with our realtor at the mortgage office at 4:30 to do the closing. Our mortgage person said closings usually take 20 minutes to half an hour, but the four of us are chatty people and we were actually there till 6:00!!! It was really fun, we got good information, and ended up with a house!

My mom called while we were there wanting to know when we were going to be at the house and what we wanted for supper. While I drove us back to the east side, Brandon ordered a pizza to be delivered to the new house. We picked up a few things at mom’s and then went over to our new old house. Before long, we received our very first pizza delivery at our new house!

Mom and her boyfriend, Craig, showed up with a pickup truck full of tools.
They took some pictures of us with our new house.
Craig helped Brandon fix the front storm door.
We set up a table in the house and sat down to eat supper.
Then we got to work!

First we pulled up the carpet. The padding underneath the living room/dining room carpet has crystallized under its fabric topside and has adhered lightly (more like crusted itself) to the wood floor underneath. Rather than spend the time to start scraping that mess up today we decided to leave the padding on the floors until the heavy work is done. Free drop cloths! The padding is actually really well intact and doesn’t pose a hazard for tripping over or anything, so it’s kind of a blessing in disguise. The padding in the back bedroom is another story. That carpet had its own padding attached to the back of the carpet. It was foam padding once. Now it is crunchy and brittle and pulverizes into fine yellow dust under our feet. The good news is that it was never tacked or glued down. We just lifted the corners it and folded right over. The bad news is that we were left with a very messy bedroom floor. You can see the back side of that carpet in the third photo here (the one with Brandon standing over the flipped over carpet looking somewhat incredulous.) The last picture in this group is a shot of some of the tack strips my mom tenaciously removed after we got the carpet pulled up.

Then we started pulling down paneling. Whoever installed it had added additional wood trim at the bottom that I had to remove from every wall before we could take down that section of paneling. Brandon said, “I can’t fault them for shoddy work. It was well constructed paneling at least.” I nodded and said, “Uh huh,” as I stuck a wonder bar under the side and wrenched it loose.


Here’s a picture of mom supervising.

I got tired of her staring at me so I turned her to face the wall and carried on with my work. đŸ˜‰

There was a lot of paneling.
When Brandon removed the paneling over the fireplace he found a big hole in the wall, so naturally I took a bunch of pictures of it. There was insulation inside similar to the kind of insulation in between the joists in the crawlspace in the attic. I have no idea what this material is made of. I don’t know if it’s flammable and whether or not it should be used around fireplaces. If anybody has seen this kind of insulation and knows what it is, please get in touch with me because I have no idea what I’m dealing with here.

Here’s a cool picture of the back of the wall and the chimney. I stuck my camera inside the hole, facing the ceiling, and this is what I got.
We revealed some interesting patterns of wallpaper by uncovering the walls. But what we revealed about the shapes of the painted vs. wallpapered areas has presented more questions than answers. For example, was there a chair rail in the dining room? What was hung over the fireplace that had to be wallpapered around? Same question around the dining room windows. Those areas look like there might have been something decorative or furniture-like attached to the walls there. Furthermore, to the right of the front door in the living room the whole corner was painted white on top of the wall paper. They put a strip of 2 inch wide masking tape on the wallpaper level with the top of the doorway, painted the tape and everything below it white, and left the tape up. I’m wondering if there was maybe a make-shift coat closet built there, but the walls don’t show any evidence of having had anything nailed to them there to hold up the walls. When we reveal the floor completely maybe that will give us a clue.
There were once wall sconces on either side of the dining room windows. Here’s the footprint of one:
Some parting questions for today:

  • What is the brown color on the plaster walls? Is that some kind of surfacing material or old fashioned primer/sealer? It was never painted over when first installed and while parts of it have wall paper over it, the wallpaper doesn’t look like it could be original to the house.
  • Is it worth it to repair the broken wall over the fireplace or will it keep destabilizing? Should we tear out that section of wall and drywall it?

And here’s the collection of little knick knacks that my mom and I found:

[tags]carpet, chair rail, closets, garbage, paneling, photos, wall sconce, wallpaper[/tags]

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2 Responses to “OMG… just… OMG… (Demolition day 1)”

  1. August 14th, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Craig says:

    Can you explain in more detail how to remove wall paneling and what kind of tools did you use?


  2. August 14th, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Kelli says:

    Hi, Craig! Sure, I’ll give you some more detail about what we did to remove the paneling. First, there was 2-inch trim around the bottom. I used a wondwrbar (like a flat crowbar) and a hammer. I put the flat end of the wonderbar against the crack between the trim and the paneling and used the hammer to tap on the curved end to wedge it between the trim and paneling. Once it was between there I used the wonderbar to pry the trim off. The trim was nailed to the wall with finishing nails. Again I wedged the wonderbar under a corner and started prying the paneling off. Because finishing nails have such small heads, some of them came out in the paneling and some punched through and stayed behind in the wall. Once we got the paneling down we used a vice grip to pull the nails out of the paneling and the wall. The paneling had also had some thick black adhesive meant to stick it to the wall. It broke away from the paneling easily and we had to scrape it off the wall later. So that’s it! Tools used were a wonderbar, a hammer, and a vice grip. Make sure you wear gloves.

    Thanks for reading!

    (PS, wrote this from my phone so sorry if any typos.

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