Kitchen Demolition

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Day One
The first demolition day doesn’t really count as much of a demolition day. It was the day we were taking over the house and Patrick and I were anxious to see what was under the drop ceiling in the kitchen. We knew that the laundry had some space above the drop ceiling. That was pretty easy to figure out since it was the kind of drop ceiling found mostly in office buildings or built-out basements. The kitchen’s drop ceiling was some different kind that wasn’t so easy to move. So of course we were very curious to see what the ceiling would look like under there. Patrick quickly got busy taking all of those off – and sure enough the ceiling was about another 2 feet higher, very close if not the same as the rest of the 10 foot ceiling house. The drop ceiling was held up by some very well built beams. Above that was the (presumably) original plaster, partially falling off in some places and partially peeling paint in others. But we were happy to know that we would also have a tall ceiling in the kitchen.

Day Two
Having a house, but not being able to go to it as often as you like due to lack of electricity can be quite frustrating. So naturally we were dieing to go to our place and do some work to it during sunshine hours on Saturday. We came prepared with our ladder, hammer, pry bar as well as some other junk. Hammer and pry bar were soon to be our best friends. We started out taking off the doors of the (presumably) original built-in that features some of the nice woodwork that can be seen throughout the rest of the house. Of course the built-in is one of the many features in the house that has a million layers of paint, including over the hardware, and can not actually get properly closed. We put those in a safe place because we want to restore the built-in. Next we took down the existing cabinets – which there aren’t many of. Two on the wall and the counter with the non-functioning sink. I was a little scared having a heavy cabinet fall on my head, hand, foot, whatever other body part, but we managed quite alright. The wall cabinets will be saved and placed in the backyard shed for storage space, the counter cabinet is pretty useless and will go in the dumpster.

The counter cabinet always had some funky stuff going on behind it. Well, I guess we were not actually too aware of what was behind it, but we did see that to the left of it the cheap wood paneling was all funky and beat up looking. After we took out the counter cabinet we could see that there had been water damage behind it, and someone had amateurishly tried to solve the problem by putting plywood behind it. There was also some kind of aluminum sheets nailed to the wall that were kind of a pain to get off. The same area around the floor is where the original floor is missing and has been replaced by some cheaper flooring that isn’t 100% properly supported (something our contractor will be taking care of). In addition we noticed that the wall under the window wasn’t properly supported as some of the 2×4’s were rotten from the water damage, and some of the other 2×4’s weren’t connected all the way from when the replacement flooring was put up. I guess that is something that will need to be addressed by the contractor as well.

Our temporary dumpster space became the laundry, next door to the kitchen. As we did not have a building permit yet we also had not ordered a dumpster and therefore had no other place to store our junk and debris in the meanwhile. Our next steps consisted of Patrick tackling the well built drop ceiling beam structure while I started hammering away at the plaster. Patrick said that plaster was generally thought of to be a pain to remove, but I have to say that I didn’t struggle too badly with it, and it actually seemed easier to get rid of than the 2 layers of paint on the dining room wood paneling.

And so at the end of the second, but first real hardcore working day, we left quite happily with our barely recognizable kitchen that was torn to all kinds of bits and pieces. We were quite proud of how far we had gotten after that one day.

Day Three
The third day we got two of our friends, Josh and Dylan, to help us with demolition. Now what guy’s dream isn’t it to smash things to bits and pieces? Of course a 1915 bungalow isn’t exactly something to smash into bits and pieces though, but has to be carefully taken apart to ensure no damage occurs to items that need to be preserved. So as I continued with more plaster removal in the kitchen, the 3 guys got started on demolishing the bathroom. Again, it was no problem getting off the plaster in the places I could reach it. Sometimes it was difficult to get into places by door frames and I had to borrow the pry bar from Patrick so that I would be able to get into those corners.

After a visit to see our contractor she confirmed that we not only had to remove the plaster, but the many wooden slats underneath – taking it down to the studs. Patrick and I were secretly hoping that this would not be the case. We stood there looking at the ever so many slats that someone had to hand cut and nail to the studs, piece by piece. We admired the extensive craftsmanship that had to be put into this work and were sad that houses just aren’t built like this anymore. I suppose there are pros and cons to these issues though. Nowadays one can spend the money to get more energy efficient windows, etc. I also wouldn’t trade my modern electronics and conveniences for anything. But to see how much work had to be put into a house like this, with all the slats – it’s quite impressive. So as we stood there looking at the hours and hours of labor that would have been put into this wall we sadly started tearing into the slats. Again, where the slats met the door frames we started facing a challenge. The door frame was surely put on after the slats and it is hard to remove the slats and nails when they are partially under the door frame. We’ll have to figure out how to best get rid of those left over pieces – I’d hate to have to remove the door frame! And so at the end of our third working day we left with a rather messy bathroom, and a very bare looking kitchen. We still have some more work ahead of us in there with removing of more slats, some more plaster, and the well constructed drop ceiling beams – and the plaster and slats above that once we can reach them. Our challenges that we face here is waiting for electricity to saw down the beams (temporary electricity scheduled to be provided Sunday). Our aid that awaits us is the dumpster that should be delivered by then so we won’t have to use the laundry for dumpster space anymore, alright!

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