What’s above that ceiling?

We decided a while back that the library ceiling was one of the few that we’re going to take down. There are reasons. One of which is the mystery light fixture that doesn’t work (the one that doesn’t work is over the sink—naturally). Another is ambient light. It’s so very dark in there, and always will be since it has no windows, that having a standard white ceiling will probably help. It’ll help make it feel a little higher, too, and since it’s less than eight feet high that’s a good thing. Plus, with the ceiling down we can see how the furnace in the downstairs closet connects to the heat pump, we can more easily get to the spots in the kitchen where we need to run gas pipe for the cook top, and lots of other things. So, the ceiling must come down.

Backing up

Part of our task this day was to remove the rest of the back of the guest room’s closet wall. It started out looking like this:

There’s that silly furnace in there, and we checked into it. Yeah, sure, we can move the furnace out of the closet, and into the garage where it belongs. For a small fee. Right. How about if we turn it instead, so that we can access it from the library instead of from the inside of a clothes closet. Okay. That’s doable. The sheet rock has to come down, though. That’s one bit of demolition that Dave really got into. There’s no point in trying to save and reuse sheet rock, so the big hammer came out, and a few minutes later the closet looked like this (and then I cleaned up the debris):

Now for the ceiling?

But wait! We have to take the board and bat walls down before we can remove the ceiling. Joy. Here’s what the room looked like when we started:
This is how the library looked when we bought the house.

For the most part, removing the board and bat walls is a simple thing. Most of them are held up by only a couple nails and a whole lot of habit. There are some that are a bit more complicated, though. Like the ones behind the appliances, especially the wall boards behind the sink. Well… we (and when I say “we” I mean Dave) moved the fridge and the range out of the way, but we weren’t prepared to deal with plumbing that day, so what to do about those walls? Dave took out his handy new multi-tool, and cut the boards above the back splash. Ta da! We’ll worry about the lower half of those wall boards later.

Now for the ceiling!

With those wall boards out of the way, the ceiling is much easier to get down. While Dave wrenched at it, I mostly pulled nails out of planks that had already been removed. Once in a while I ran into the library to catch the end of a board as it fell off of the ceiling. This was a dicey thing. I had to put up my arms out, in the right place, and then quickly close my eyes so that falling icky stuff wouldn’t blind me. I actually did catch a few.

Now that most of the ceiling is down, everyone who needs to see where the plumbing and electrical stuff is going, needs to go, can go can actually see what they need to see. It’ll make working on all that stuff so much easier, too.

In closing

My gratuitous view shot of the day isn’t actually a photo of our view. Instead I captured a photo of our very first camellia flower! This flower is probably at least ten feet off the ground, and the rest of the plant soars above it. But look! How pretty.

We Have Three Fewer Closets

As part of the remodel we’re moving the wall between the master bedroom and the master bath to make the master bath a little roomier. As it is, the door can’t be opened all the way because it hits the counter. We’re going to pull the wall back a bit and replace the swinging door with a pocket door (Laura would say Squee or some such at this point).

To do this we have to remove two of the existing closets and rebuild one of them in a slightly different location. This is how things started.

The closet to the left with the swinging door is the linen closet and will be moving to a larger space in the hall. The closet to right is Laura’s and the one that needs to be moved.

And this is how it looks now.

Master closet gone

So, that’s two closets gone. What about the third? Ah, well. The future TV room has a closet (with a water heater in it that will be moving).

The library is on the other side of that closet and we need all the room we can get in the library. So we’re going to rebuild the TV room closet to be only 12 inches deep. That should be plenty for DVDs and the like.

Here are before and after shots.

Library
Before
After
After

So, that’s what I did Monday and Tuesday.

 

Indoor board and batten begins to come down

Monday

On Monday we decided it was “sweep the barn day.” So, we swept the barn. Dave worked on the loft while I swept downstairs. The weather was perfect for manual labor. Well before we were done we were both down to our shirtsleeves, even though it was in the low 50s out there, and the barn doors were wide open.

Dave started by stacking the bales of straw. There are nine of them. The straw and hay ladder will be going to friends who have horses.

I created this pile of, er, sweepings, by attacking this one corner with my broom. I wonder how long it’s been since the barn’s been swept. I’m thinking it’d been quite a while.

More progress! I still have to get in under the sink, behind the wood stoves, and behind the huge air compressor. The easy stuff, the middle of the room, is done now, though. To be Ansel-safe, though, the icky parts in the corners need to be cleaned up, too. No telling what’s back there. I’m sure it’s stuff we don’t want our little boy getting into, whatever it is. Ick.

Tuesday

Dave went up to the house without me, so that I could get some stuff done at my desk for a change. You know, the fun things, like paying bills, balancing checkbooks, and the like. He worked between appointments there. The locksmith came by and changed the lock on the mailbox (the tenant forgot to leave the key for us), the insurance company’s photographer swung by to take some photos, the pest guy came by to say he couldn’t treat for the beetles we have as his truck with that equipment on it needs fixing, but while he was there he treated for carpenter ants and the wasps that we found in the wall a few days before, and… I forget what else happened. I know I’m forgetting someone.

His tasks for the day started with getting up the last of the linoleum from the floor in his office. Well, as much as he could. There’s this one area that’s stuck pretty good. Neither the floor scraper nor the crowbar will lift it. Suggestions, anyone?

We’re hoping that the linoleum in the TV room and downstairs guest room don’t need to be pulled before hardwood goes down, so Dave finished cleaning the carpet pad off the TV room floor as best he could. Those yellow bits are resisting, but super thin. Here’s hoping.

The walls in Dave’s office and the library are board and batten where there’s no brick. Rough cut planks. I don’t know for sure if they are leftovers from the exterior of the house, but to me they look like they might be. Dave might disagree. I don’t think I’ve thought to bring up the topic when he’s been around. Either way, though this is a picture of the outside of the house, and the boards have been painted, this is a good example of what the indoor walls look like, too. This is also shows how lovely (cough) the house looks with more of those white plastic shutters removed.

Next he attacked the walls downstairs. He left walls alone that have switches or outlets or anything else electrical for another day, as we want Ansel to be safe when he comes to visit.

Dave’s wall before

Dave’s wall after

You may have noticed the insulation on the wall. That’s an interior wall. The other side of that wall is the TV room. There’s no insulation on exterior walls in this room, so he left the paneling on those walls for now. What with winter coming on, it could get cold in there with nothing between you and the weather but one layer of 40-year-old cedar exterior siding. Brr.

Dave worked on the library walls a bit, too, again leaving panels where electrical wires could get tangled in Ansel’s sweet little paws.

Wondering what was surprising? Dave found four of these sad little mouse carcasses when he was taking the walls down.