House Fire Update #4: The Beginning of Demo & Hidden Surprises!

Demo work has finally begun at our 1886 Victorian home after being struck by lightning and catching fire. It’s a whirlwind of emotions because the start of demo work actually means that it’s for real. As much as we’ve had to deal with the past 95 days (see all updates here) since the fire (and it’s been a lot!), I almost kind of was in denial about the type of work that was going to happen to my beauty.

Because I’m a lover of all things old, it’s really just sad to me to see all of the history ripped out. My husband on the other hand…keeps reassuring me that so many people have put their touch on our home (we are the 13th owners…no wonder we were struck by lightning!) and that now is our turn to put our own mark on it and preserve our 133 year old lady and make sure that she stands strong for another 133 years! – when he puts it that way, I totally get it and shut up!

All of the demo work so far has been on the second story. The construction crews have enclosed our staircase and wooden wall to protect it (thank you!!!)

Heading to the second story of my house literally reminds me of the scene in ET when those guys, who were all dressed in white suits, invaded Elliot’s house and put up plastic zipper wall barriers and quarantined the house. Like for real, it’s what my house seems like! P.S. I hated that scene!! It still scares me to this day!

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At the top of the stairs, is a zippered wall (has now been switched out with just plastic and clips) where the demo work has begun.

Once you enter the quarantined zone, you are greeted by what could totally work as a haunted house! The walls and ceilings are all being ripped out. Because our house is so old, the walls and ceilings were made of lath and plaster (swoon!!)

In our kid’s bathroom, I knew there was a chimney behind the drywall. The chimney runs all of the way out through the attic and roof and down (obviously, lol) to our laundry room and then basement. It had been fully covered up by walls, however, there was a little spot in the drop ceiling in our laundry room where you were able to get a glimpse of the brick. Well, when I went to the second story, I was so surprised to see this gorgeous cream city brick rocking it in my daughter’s room!!! I should have put two and two together because her room is on the other side of their bathroom, but I hadn’t thought of it! So yeah, I was super stoked!!

So, as much as this demo is killing me, I am just so so excited about this beautiful find!! I am totally working on convincing my daughter that this is SUPER COOL and to let it be exposed in her room! (I’m definitely going to have to pull my mom card and trump her!)

I love seeing where possible doors were also! I’m not certain that there ever was a door to the left of the chimney, but I have a really big hunch that behind the chimney (which is now the kid’s bathroom) was a stairway that came up from the 1st story). As an old home, having a second staircase would have definitely been a possibility, plus this is at the back of the house, likely the servant’s quarters, and it’s over the kitchen…so it all makes sense! (to me at least!)

Oddly, our daughter’s room has a door to our master bathroom…basically we share a Jack & Jill bath with her. Because we are mean parents, we are going to close off her door to our bathroom and force her to use one of the other three bathrooms in our house! lol I think she’ll manage!

Entering into my older son’s bedroom (this is actually looking out from his room into another room/hallway), it’s obvious that the doorway and wall were added at some point because the wood is not old. I’m working like a detective to find whatever information I can about our house, particularly building plans! I’d love to put it back the way it was when it was built!

Prior to us moving in, we hired a company to fully refinish every square inch of wood floor in our house: 1st & 2nd stories – plus carpet in the basement. In my son’s bedroom there was carpet (most likely the wood floor had be torn out at some point because now that we’ve got this renovation going, you can see where it was!) We had the carpet ripped out and brand new wood installed to flow with the rest of the 2nd story. The brand new wood floors have already been torn out and the beautiful subfloor is showing. (I realize I may be the only one who thinks this is beautiful!)

Looking from his room into the kid’s bathroom you really start to see the fire damage. The area that is really black is directly above where his bed was (p.s. he was sleeping at the time of the lightning strike – thank you Jesus for protecting my baby!).

This next picture is one of my most favorite ones because it shows what my hubby and I do really great together – DESIGN AND RENOVATE!! He is talking through potential options for the kid’s bathroom and how we are going to make it extra gor-geous!!! He literally is the most amazing at in-envisioning exactly what I would love (without me having to think! hahaha) and coming up with new creative ideas, just like he did with our kitchen renovation at house #3! It’s silly, but this is the kind of stuff that makes my heart skip beats with excitement!

We didn’t know that the tub/shower and sink (and tile floor replicated to look old) were going to be thrown out (it’s totally fine, they were new/modern) so now the real fun for me has begun…scouring every resale site out there looking for vintage bathroom fixtures and “appliances” (is that what you call tubs, etc?) – I’ve got my eye on a 100 year old Kohler clawfoot tub at the moment!

My other son’s room looks similar to the others, however, his ceiling still has the lath up at the moment.

Finding old knob and tube electrical is so neat!

All of the windows in our home are weighted. Many of the sash cords (the rope) had come detached prior to us moving in, so we had them all restrung. The windows work as a counter balance of weight.

You can bet your bippy that all of our windows are to be made back exactly the way they were! We do not want new windows by any means. I’ve even requested that if the window needs to be rebuilt, then we want the existing glass to be reused. Many of the windows are original … or at least super old because they have that gorgeous old “wave” to them! ahh!! It’s these type of features that made me fall in love with our house!

One of master bedroom closets…that we are actually thinking about fully removing. Odd, I know! Who gets rid of closets?? Not normal people I can assure you. However, it blocks our stairway some (super hard to explain) and with an other large walk-in closet, we technically don’t need this closet.

Our master bedroom is acting as a collecting room at the moment. Doors, trim, toilet (ha!) and more are being stored in here.

The dumpster has been filled and replaced multiple times now…look at all of that lath!!! The crafter in me is considering grabbing some of that and making something!

Despite all of the crazy with this whole situation, I honestly feel so blessed and lucky that this is OUR home. Because I literally vow to not let it be modernized or stripped of it’s character. I want to preserve it and let it’s true beauty shine!

Be sure to stay up to date on all of our updates along the way!

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Fire Updates:

Update #1: House Fire, Struck by Lightning

Update #2:  Update

Update #3: Frustration

Update #4: The Beginning of Demo & A Few Hidden Surprises

Update #5: Demo of the Downstairs

Update #6: 

Update #7: Silver Spoon

Update #8: Trick-Or-Treat; Victorian Style

Update #9: New Joists

Update #10: Roof

Update #11: Roof Demo

Update #12: Roof Demo & Rebuild

Update #13: Beginning of Rebuild

Update #14: Secret Bookcase!

Update #15: We Have Roof Shingles!

Update #16: Heart Hunters & Easter

Update #17: Butler’s Door

Update #18Hometalk Segment & Video Walk-Through

Update #19: Beginning of Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC

Update #20: Garden & Bunnies

Update #21: Choosing An Exterior House Color

Update #22: Treasures Hidden In The Ceiling

Update #23: Insulation

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