An old house story, Part 3

When the West Bedroom was originally completed and time to move DeShawn upstairs into his planned space, he was afraid to go. He didn’t like the idea of being alone on the second floor, and the way the closet doors opened into the attic stoked his fears. So we decorated the bedroom as a study and gave him time to grow up a little. During the interim, we built out the closet so it wasn’t so foreboding.

The scared little boy of 2006 has grown into the fearless “tweener” of 2010 and wants to take his anointed place in the “best” room of the house.

In the Zen physics of old house living, any move upstairs must also involve a corresponding move downstairs. Ergo, the current series of mini-projects.

With DeShawn’s leave of the Master Bedroom, Carole and I can move our bedroom into the final space. With our bedroom moved from the Front Study, all the computers/bookshelves/etcetera (some of which currently reside in the West Bedroom) can move into their final space.

As part of the downstairs part of the move, we decided to get Carole’s workspace out of the East Bedroom and into it’s final space. The East Bedroom is, at this point in our narrative, the most “undone” and primitive of all the rooms of the house. Right now, it’s mostly a storage area having had little but de-construction work done on it. Carole has a small, open floor area to do her projects and the whole room is really too dusty for any cloth or sewing.

Appending Carole’s work area move to the “Move DeShawn’s Bedroom” project adds the restoration of the kitchen back wall to the task list.

More or less, here is what needs to be done in each of the affected rooms:

West Bedroom (no big deal)

  1. Finish putting sash locks on the windows
  2. Make the cable TV jack live
  3. Install some window blinds

Front Study (couple of days under the house)

  1. Re-wire approx. 1/3 of the old knob & tube electrical circuits of the 1st floor
  2. Terminate wall jacks on the network lines ran with Howard’s help


Electrical circuit 2, to be more specific

Kitchen/Addition (opening the box on kitchen restoration)

  1. Restore the back kitchen wall
  2. Some electrical re-wiring for new fridge and dryer placement
  3. Rough out plumbing for the washer
  4. Rough out dryer vent
  5. Modify gas line to existing heat stove to target for cook stove


Image redux from Part 2

Master Bedroom (too much to do with this project)

  1. Way too much!
  2. Some cleaning

And, yes, in case you were wondering, we are doing all of this work ourselves.

The east bedroom, for future reference

Photos of the East Bedroom, some older, some newer:


Trying to find roof leak, East Bedroom ceiling, 2003


Another ceiling perspective


Not many changes

An old house story, Part 2

The P.O.’s (previous owners) of 118 Henry Street had a very specific vision when they commissioned the addition. Designed as a family room, it was the best insulated and quietest room in the house. When we first were considering the purchase, our meetings with the old couple would always find them in the back room, the addition, watching TV. They bragged about how warm the room was in winter. It was dark, quiet and cave like.

As mentioned in Part 1, the entrance to the addition was cut into the back wall of the kitchen, also the back wall of the house. This entrance removed a very large part of the usable wall space in the kitchen. The loss of this wall in tandem with the kitchen remodel, removed all remaining hints of the original 1921 kitchen floor plan or design.

Not long after finishing the mudroom, we innocently believed that the kitchen would be the next room to restore. My no-love-lost affair with the kitchen had begun even before purchasing the house and some…umm…changes to the floor plan had occurred early on.

We planned to take almost 2 years to repair and restore the kitchen. Unfortunately, we could not have predicted what the hurricane seasons of 2004-06, combined with the melt water from winter snowfalls would do to our plans. We basically spent almost 3 full years dealing with the effects from roof leaks, bad plumbing (hint: that ain’t exactly clean water), and other old house horrors.

Still, in 2004, our hope, and naivety, were strong…so began the wholesale demolition.

Our final plan for the kitchen has changed a couple of times. It’s really good that we were coerced by circumstances into taking our time and considering all possible designs.

Here is an excerpt from the current floor plan:


The mudroom renovation gave us another room

Here is the proposed kitchen/addition floor plan:


We’ve always used the “real” living room as our family room

The overall goals for this part of the Henry Street restoration/remodel are:

  1. Carole and I will split the addition as work space for our projects, tools, and materials
  2. We will restore the usable wall space in the kitchen so we don’t have to put the stove in an island, and
  3. Make the mudroom a “real” mudroom, not a laundry room

It’s pretty evident how important restoring that back wall is to the whole plan.