• Kate

The Last Lath

So sorry for the radio silence, friends. To say things have been a bit chaotic would be a laughable understatement. As we are learning all about the joys of renovation, we are also learning that nothing (and we do mean, nothing) goes quite as one plans. More on that later, because today we want to share with you the progress of our ceiling. You may be saying to yourself that ceilings typically come complete and therefore only require maybe a bit of paint. Not ours. That would be silly.

You see, we discovered that our ceilings happen to be dropped by 14 3/4 inches, which means there is more than a foot of space between the ceiling you see in the photo above and the original 1915 ceiling height. More than a foot.

The ceiling was dropped, we believe, to act as an open plenum, which draws air throughout the house while the lowered ceiling can help conserve on heating costs. We were hoping it was used as a hiding spot for lost treasures or big bags of money, but alas, it was nothing but a bunch of hot air.

After removing the ceiling, we were happy with the new height and wanted to leave it just as it was (maybe paint the green). And we could have ... if we didn't want to get a closer look at the load-bearing beam above the stairs. Since we are hoping to expose the staircase, this is pretty important stuff. Typically, it would mean removing a small section of ceiling and replacing it with drywall once finished. But, that doesn't work quite so well with plaster and lath, as it makes matching drywall incredibly tricky. So, the whole thing had to come down.

Thankfully, we have a friend who was willing to jump into a Tyvek suit and help Christopher remove it all. The aftermath was what we would assume would look like if zombies had kill rooms, all within into our happy little home. The good news is the exposed ceiling will make it easier for the electricians -- that is, when they finally arrive to replace all of the wiring in the house. 2 weeks, they said. Sadly, the Money Pit, has lost a bit of its charm (though we still adore you, Mr. Hanks.)

One thing we would be remiss not to mention about removing walls or ceiling in an old home is there's a good chance you will encounter fiberglass insulation. Now, we say this with all seriousness, it is invented by the devil and it will bring you to your knees in itchy misery faster than Chicken pox, which is a freaking POX. Rinsing doesn't help. Brushing it off does nothing. Washing with acid or bleach just makes it angrier. The tiny glass particles penetrate the skin and make you their bitch.

We can attest to its evilness because Christopher first attempted to remove a section of ceiling without a shirt on (did we mention we had been doing all of this in a heat wave? Oh yeah, that happened). Poor guy turned a color red that is solely reserved for angry cartoon characters, and his chest looked like it had been through a meat grinder. The only thing we could think to do was to use duct tape to wax the tiny demons away. It didn't take all of them, but it made life more tolerable. {Sidenote: This is the real romance of a renovation, folks, and we plan on sharing it all.} Good news, however, is we've learned that pantyhose works surprisingly well if you should ever be unlucky, cursed, enough to encounter the horrific insulation.

That is all fiberglass insulation ... Save yourselves.

And, lastly, a fence update. I realize this seems like ages ago, but the city director did come by our house (seriously, so impressed by that) and we came to a compromise that best serves everyone. As you can see from the photo below, we were allowed to build a 4-foot solid cedar fence. Christopher is then going to add 2 feet of cedar slats and cap it off. Plus, we agreed to set it back from the sidewalk to give a more spacious feel for pedestrians, and will plant something wonderful along its edge. All ideas on what types of flowers, grasses, bushes, or plants are welcome.

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