Sunday, March 30, 2014

Learning patience

We have worked until now with half a kitchen. This week we took everything out in order to move into phase two of our demo. After removing the stove we realized just how scared we should have been. This was the wiring for the stove!

This was a fire waiting to happen!
We had the inspector come in. He approved of the work we (really Mr. and his friend) had done so far. Husband called the lumber store and had plywood delivered for the floors. We had the strapping for the insulation and had a plan to rip out the floor on the other half of the kitchen. These were once beautiful hardwood floors and it killed me to not be able to salvage them.

Why would someone want to cover these?!
Our plan was that we would rip it out Thursday and plane down the joists at the junction between the new old and the really old parts of the kitchen in order to try to get a sort-of level base for our floors. Our thought was to get it out and cleaned up so that Saturday would then be a day of building back in... but our plans aren't always God's plans.

Turns out that the wall dividing our dining room and kitchen has NOTHING holding it up underneath!
That is the inside of the dining room wall and you can see
straight down to the basement. No support!
So we had to leave some of the flooring in place there because we were afraid to remove anymore without suring that up. As for the area that we were going to plane down-ha! The wood we could see from the basement was placed there as a cover over the actual beam to hide the fact that powder post beetles (rotten little critters)  had been at work there, too. There was nothing salvageable of the beam. The joists weren't nailed in; just notched in. In some places less than inch of the joist was resting on the rotted wood and granite foundation. YIKES!

Someone's attempt to hide the sill.
As this wood was hit it turned to dust. Look at the nails not even
touching the sill!

Friday the vapor barrier was put in the crawl space. Yay! I needed something positive to happen here. Then, back to the store for more wood to replace the rotting stuff Friday night. Our date nights have become trips to Home Depot or Lowes. I am not complaining - just keeping it real.

Saturday we removed the old sill that sat between the two halves of the kitchen. While we were doing that it was moving the joists that we had to brace up. Water pipes and heating pipes are attached to those joists. That caused a leak in the water supply to the area so everything had to stop to take care of the dripping.
Mr. FixIt does it all!

Fortunately, Mr. FixIt has a lot experience with water leaks! (Six years at his last job site taught him much.) He was able to remove the leaky pipe, fix it and replace it, soldering it back together. If we had to call in a plumber it would have taken much more time and money. I am grateful that he is so handy and that we had everything we needed in the basement. Back to the beam and joists! We set the joists in hangers nailing them to the beam instead of just having them notched in, as before. To finish the day we built a support for that unsupported wall. Nothing got done that we originally thought would get done this weekend but we are happy with the progress and trust that things happen when they happen for a reason.

The replace sill and vapor barrier.

I do not pretend to know much of anything about construction but enjoy discovering the handiwork and the craftsmanship of days gone by. When removing some of the rotted material we took this out.
Hand tooled peg and post.
It is a peg and part of the post. This has held the house together at this junction for at least 125 years, probably more, depending on who you listen to. Something so simple and yet beautiful in the simplicity and effectiveness. Will the work we are doing here last that long? Maybe, but it doubt the next owners will find it nearly as interesting as this peg and post.


  1. That's some scary looking state, I must say. Fixing it up would've saved you misery later, should it be left hanging there. Though it's too bad about the pipes leaking while you guys were fixing it up. Fortunately, you guys were able to fix it up quickly and neatly. Leaky pipes cause wood to deteriorate, so thank goodness you haven't found any yet!
    George Fryer @

    1. George, I am thankful that my husband has a lot of information floating in is his brain that enables him to handle problems as the "spring" up!

  2. Experience is the best teacher, yes? You’re pretty lucky to have a handy husband, Jolena. I’m sure you won’t have to worry about water leaks while Mr. FixIt is around. How’s your renovation? Is it done by now?

    Gregg Weir @ Capital Plumbing & Heating

  3. Hi,Gregg! Not done yet. We took a bit of a vacation. I will update the blog to catch everybody up. Thanks for checking in on us!

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  5. That's really frustrating and at the same time, scary. Good thing that the problems on the stove wirings and water leaks were resolved in short time, since it can cause worse damage when neglected. Well, you're lucky to have your handy husband who's always on the patch these things up. Thanks for sharing that, Jolena! All the best to you!

    Gordon Patton @ Bison Plumbing and Heating Ltd.

    1. Thanks for the visit, Gordon. These are the fun things about owning and rehabing an old house. I am very blessed to have a husband who is so good at trouble shooting these issues for us. I have noticed that only plumbers have commented on this post a wondering how you came across my blog?