Opening up

Now that the roof and walls are finally sealed up against the weather,


the guys have been concentrating on the inside changes. Right now, most of these changes involve ripping down and pulling out the walls and other parts that need to come away before new walls are put up.

Upstairs, this means cutting away some of the angled supporting posts betweeen the main house and ell and replacing them with other supporting walls so that we can build a closet and hallway between the old bedrooms and the new.

Here’s the view from the new bedroom to the main house:


Between the two doorways, you can see two of those support beams, which I suppose go all the way to peak of the roof. In the left corner, you can see the studs for the new supporting wall going in, where another angled post had come down.


This new structure will allow room for a small closet off of the guestroom (accesible via that doorway you see) and a walk-in closet in the new bedroom.

You can also see that the hallway between the rest of the upstairs and the addition has been opened up. Here’s our lovely model to show you what’s behind hallway door number 1:


This picture was taken from just in front of the the old hall closet (main house).

Downstairs is even more dramatic. The old chimney wall between the living room and old bathroom/pantry area is gone! Here’s the view from the living room into what will be the new kitchen:


And this view shows you the full length (or width?) of the “new” house, from the dining area (just about where the stairs to the basement are), straight through the new center hallway, through the doorway to the addition, and to the back wall of the addition:


I’m imagining Hyla and friends racing from one end of the house to the other via this path.

Finally, the beams over the old bathroom/pantry have been revealed. They don’t look too bad.


Inside progress, too

When it’s pouring too much to work outside, the guys move inside and continue to demolish the place (we asked for it, didn’t we?).

These next pictures are from Wednesday, October 26.

In the main house, the brick fire pad that used to be under the woodstove has been removed. The resulting hole will be patched by new (pine) floor boards. The woodstove will stay in this room, but will move to another wall.


And here’s the view from the living room into the kitchen (you’ve seen this view before). This picture shows that more of the central/chimney wall is gone (including the tile that we installed behind the woodstove all those years ago):


The rest of this wall will go eventually, too, leaving one, big, open space that will contain the living room (woodstove room), kitchen, and dining area.

A small part of the ceiling that was over the old bathroom/pantry area has been removed. It looks like a mess up there (ducts, insulation, plastic for what??), but I was relieved to see that the beautiful old beams that go through the dining area are up there and appear to continue nicely to the far wall. We were wondering. You can maybe, barely see one of those beams (behind plastic) in this picture:


There’s been some more work upstairs, too. This is the new hallway extension from the old upstairs hallway into the new ell bedroom.

Right now, this is a hole through a wall where we used to have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves:


There’s still a lot to tear down between here and there, but you can get the basic idea from this picture, I think.

There’s currently also another door into the new ell bedroom. This is from the guestroom:


Apparently, this door has always been there and was once presumably used to move between the upstairs of the main house and the upstairs of the ell, but as long as we’ve lived in the house, the door was boarded up. We suspected there was a door there, but never bothered to pry the door off. (Emily, did you know it was there?!)


The original plan was to just have a solid wall here between the two rooms and to lose the closet for the guestroom (because the closet that used to be there is now the hallway shown above), but when we were there the other day, Stewart had the brilliant idea of leaving this doorway as access to a small closet under the eaves. We love it! We used to have three closets in this house; now we’ll still have three…

Finally, here’s the view from the new bedroom back toward the two openings (guest room on the left and hallway on the right):


Addition coming along

Much progress this week on finishing the addition roof, especially where it connects to the main house. This view, in particular, is dramatically different from the one I posted here last:


Here’s the view from the side, showing the roofline on the front of the house:


And from another angle:


Note the plastic on the roof, which is doing its best to keep the nearly steady rain (for weeks!) out of the main house. I believe that, by the end of today, the new roof should be waterproofed and safe.

Last piece of the old ell is gone

These pictures are from yesterday afternoon (October 19). The remaining piece of the old ell roof has been torn down so that we have a nice, even roofline from the ell to the main house. The roofline has been raised slightly from the old ell roofline, which will give us more headroom in the new bedroom.


Here’s a closeup view, from the back of the house:


Last night, this whole area open was tarped over to protect it from rain (or snow!). I expect that everything will be covered with plywood by the end of today.


Much progress! We now have a second floor to the ell. The second floor will become our new bedroom, somewhat of an improvement over the second floor’s previous use (mouse and bat nests and box storage).

Here are views from the back, side, and front of the house, respectively:




That last views shows the new rafters for the roof. The day after I took that picture, they began to put the plywood sheathing over it:


Notice that the new ridgeline is higher than it used to be (compare it with the part of the old ell roof still sticking out of the main house). The old part will be removed and the new roofline will be higher all the way to the house.

Here you can see things filled out even more, with plywood defining the two side windows of the upstairs:


With the second floor accessible (by stepping over a 1-foot gap between the main house and the ell), we could get inside the new room and get an idea of its size and views.

Here’s Hyla playing on the scaffolding. You can see the ceiling rafters that define the shape of the ceiling. This is looking from the entrance of the room out to the side windows:


And here’s the view we’ll be looking out to when we wake up every morning:



What’s going on

Apologies for the delay since the last posting. We were busy celebrating Michael’s birthday and then vacationing in Wellfleet, MA.

Just before we left, the McKernon guys were doing their best to pull the front of the house in somewhat so that it would be sitting better on the sill/foundation. We have an old, un-square house trying to fit on a new, square foundation. Here’s a view along the foundation of the front of the house:

Front Sill

They approached this by running a cable from the front to the back of the house (through a hole cut in each wall) and winching the cable in.

The cable on each end of the house was attached to a metal plate:

Pulling it Together - 3

And here’s the cable running across the house:

Pulling it Together -1

We haven’t had a chance to ask yet if this process actually worked, but when we returned from the Cape, the cable and metal plates were gone….

More obvious (to us) changes include the ell beams restored to their ceiling position in the ell/addition:

Ell Ceiling Beams - 1

and most of the decking installed atop them:

Ell Ceiling Beams - 2

which begins to give you a real sense of the size and character of the room.

Also, the walls between the old kitchen/bath/pantry rooms are now mostly gone, so you can get a sense of the kitchen/dining area. This is the view from about where the couch in the TV area used to be, looking toward what used to be the bathroom and pantry:

Kitchen Walls Gone - 1

This is the view from the previous (and future) dining area, looking in the same direction as the previous picture. The blue-tarped rectangle on the left is a new kitchen window. The blue rectangle on the right is the new entry between the main house and the ell:

Kitchen Walls Gone - 2

Finally, here’s a view from the old livingroom (woodstove room) to the kitchen. The wall with tile and brick (where the woodstove used to be) will also come down, leaving most of the downstairs one large, open space:

Living Room to Kitchen

We do plan to move the toilet elsewhere.

A new room

It’s far from complete, of course, but the three new ell walls are up and define the size of the new living room.

Ell with Three New Walls

We can now stand inside the room and see where the windows and doors are, and what the view is like from the windows.

Inside the Ell

This is the side where the porch will be. The wide opening on right is the space for double french doors onto the porch:

Ell - Porch Wall

The pile of lumber in the foreground of the picture above includes many of original ell posts and beams, which will be added to the new room. The ceiling beams will be returned to their original position and act as the support for the second floor room (a new bedroom).

The basement

The basement’s back wall is now taking shape, so that you can see where the windows and doors will be. Here’s a view from the outside:

Basement Back Wall

Those two windows on the right are for the new home office (yes! in the basement… far from the fridge, but gloriously close to the washing machine and cat box…).

The big space is for double-doors. The window to the left of the doors will illuminate the “extra” space in the basement, where Hyla is really hoping we’ll install a trapeze.

Those previously-first-floor windows (for the old kitchen and TV room/entry) sure look high off the ground now.

Here’s a view from inside the basement, looking at the same new wall of windows/doors:

Basement From Inside

The guys built a nice rock ledge behind the basement, to define the edge of the cliff that droops off into the woods and down to the river:

Rock Ridge

New to the landscape is also this nifty machine, which scoops up large rocks and leaves the soil more or less where it ought to be:

Rock Scooper

Our property, like most of Vermont, has quite a few rocks, so this little guy will come in handy.

Speaking of rocks: two “new” ones (excavated while digging for the new foundation) are now deposited at the far end of our new driveway, at the entrance to the trail down to the river.

Driveway Rocks

These rocks, like the ones that used to be on the trail, closer to the old house location, keep cars from driving down to the swimming hole, but allow hikers, horses, skiiers, and snowmobiles to pass.

Friday was also the day that the excavators left. 😦 We’ll actually miss them and the dramatic changes to the landscape they could make in just a couple of hours.