Monday, February 2, 2015

the wall goes...

It took a week to decide, but the butler's pantry wall eventually came down...

wide open spaces now

We took the time to find a door that would fit the opening, and tested various pocket door rollers, but time had mangled the whole thing too much for it to function as it was built.  If there had been more indications that it was original to the space we would have reframed the pocket door track with modern hardware, but everything looked suspicious.

As it turns out, we were right, the track contraption was put together with shiny wire nails, not the iron square nails that should have been there.  There was also lathe on the adjoining wall (behind where the wall we demoed met it), so all in all, no guilt.  I'm sure something would have been in this spot originally, but it likely would have been the door to the stairs going down to the coal room, not a fully walled off hallway.  If anyone's interested in a floor plan I'd be glad to draw one up...

The next step in the process is plastering the holes and closing the space back up.  Doing this means we finally need to finish the framing around the fridge.  The fridge sits in the space that was likely the doorway to the back stairs that went up to the second floor of the addition (which would probably have been maids rooms).  In honor of the occasion we bought a new framing nailer, and since we can never catch a break, my beloved 3 year old Hitachi compressor sprung a leak halfway through.  We're only a few boards from finishing, so we'll just finish it off with screws while the compressor gets repaired.  And if you're wondering why the framing is done oddly, well, that's what happens when you change your mind halfway through about the design and don't want to go out in the snow for more lumber!

A few miscellaneous notes about the space we've uncovered:

-  The door from the dining room into the (once) hallway was the spot of the original door to the porch/conservatory.  Above the existing door you can see where the original sandstone lintel was removed to be used for one of the added windows elsewhere on the house.

-  The butler's pantry was closed off to be used as a child's bedroom, at least it seems that way from the pink paint and puppy stickers we keep finding.

-  This floor was originally grained like the current entry, then had linoleum put down (it currently has awful teal carpet, the last piece in the house).  We will likely re-grain and stencil it for the time being, but we also know of a big kitchen with original 1895 linoleum we may be able to salvage at some point in the future.
-  The wall between the butler's pantry and the kitchen was never fully demoed.  They only took down and re-plastered (on board) the plaster that was above the baseboard.  So when we removed that section of trim (which was out an inch from the existing wall), we found more of the same shiny dark green paint that was original to the kitchen.

-  As we suspected, the yard side of the addition is at least partially brick, while the front is wood framed.  If someone could explain this to me I would really appreciate it, because I've never seen anything like it.
-  We can see the 7 wires that belonged to the kitchen annunciator and a tin speaking tube, where they go, nobody knows...

The annunciator wires are the thin black
ones in the center of the picture

Those are all the updates I can think of at the moment.  Next stop, plaster.


  1. Tubes! Ooh you should put the speaking tube back in!

    1. I would do anything to be able to add the tubes back (they ran all over the house, but they've all been cut or smashed). Sadly, it would cost a fortune and be very destructive, not to mention how impossible it is to find the speaking piece ends...

    2. Yes, it is hard to find mouthpieces for speaking tubes, but not impossible. I have found (and purchased) three in the last six months. Of course, not cheaply!

    3. I would have no problem spending what ever it took to get the mouthpieces, but all of our tubes seem to be cut, and the demo necessary to rerun them would be outrageous. I can't decide if it's worth it to have the mouthpieces if the tubes themselves don't function.

  2. I'm lost, so this comment is no doubt worthless, but there are wooden houses with one side stone in my state. Stone-enders. Those stone walls were chimneys, so perhaps the brick wall had a fire place.

    1. Not worthless at all, I was just too lazy to draw up a floorplan today. A fireplace makes sense in the homes you're talking about (and there's a chimney in the end wall of our addition as well). This wall though is the long side wall, while the other side wall facing the street is wood. Truly bizarre!

  3. I like your detective work in finding the original floor plan!

    1. I just wish I could rebuild the back stairs... It's just not a proper mansion without servant's stairs!

  4. Wow! You have shared knowledgeable information. i am very happy to find it in your blog. Your work is fantastic.


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