Wednesday, September 03, 2008


What is the easiest part of remodeling?

March, 1975: we bought an "old" house. Old being a relative term, the house was constructed in 1896. The house had been modified by additions and at least one remodeling between then and when we purchased it.

This once stylish home was in need of some serious renovations.
All the walls were of plaster and lath construction and a few still had shards of wallpaper clinging to them. Except for the dining room all the other rooms' plaster were severely cracked with large chunks missing and usually found in a crumbled mess along the hardwood baseboards.

Seventy-five percent of the electrical wiring , or more, was of the knob and spool variety. All the minimal plumbing was cast iron, and galvanized piping. While there were a few inches of time packed cotton batten insulation between the attic floor joists, the rest of the house had zero insulation. All the single thickness glass windows had storms, but they were in sad shape, needing either complete replacement due to wood rot or extensive re-puttying. The floors, some pine planks and a hardwood floor in the kitchen were covered with cracked and crumbling linoleum or rag-rugs. Some portions of the floors were painted with a shit-brindle enamel. The house was completely furnished with furniture from four or five different decades. The closets were full of 1930-40's vintage clothing. the root cellar was full of antique canned goods. The coal bin was full. The freezer was full of very old food. The bathroom had been fitted into a previous pantry and was barely five foot square. Literally, I could sit on the commode, soak my feet in the oak rimmed zinc tub, while washing my hands in the sink, and not reach or strain a single muscle.

I think you get my point.

My father although a laborer/truck driver was not a handyman. Thusly my experience with home repairs and remodeling was limited, at best. Being an avaricious reader and intellectual type, my father imparted many words of advice to me all my years growing up. One of the things he said was: "rel, learn to read and learn to read well, for if you can read you can do anything."

A young family, two small children and limited income said: you can't afford to hire someone to redo this place so this will be a self taught do-it-yourself project.

Now that it's pretty well complete, it's time to start over. Especially the bathroom is now in need of updating. But now I can afford to hire an expert to do the job.

The easiest part of remodeling is tearing things down!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Kay said...

Well done. Our home is in need of a bit of tlc in places. But it's not as old as your one. What a great story. Glad you don't have to do all the work this time round.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

How nice to be able to call someone to do it for you. Although, as I remember from the tornado, it's a weird thing to have people clomping around your house whether you're there or not.

6:28 PM  

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