Some families go to Disneyworld for spring break. My family guts rooms. It’s kind of the same thing, I guess.
We are fortunate that our school’s spring break matches up with my son’s college spring break. We made good use of our time while he was home for break. We’ve gutted all but three rooms in the house and we’ve done all the work on those in the past. It would be silly to pay a contractor to do that work when we know we can do it ourselves. So that’s what we did.
The last room on the main floor to be gutted is the room I used to use as a craft/computer/laundry room. It was covered in 1970’s style paneling when we moved in back in 1995. It must have been a higher quality paneling than the paneling my parents used in our house. I remember ours as being kind of a slick wood grain laminate. This paneling is like a sanded luan plywood style. I decided I would paint it and because of its sanded wood texture, it took the paint beautifully. I only painted it once in the twenty years we lived here. That’s not to say it couldn’t have used it again, but I figured at some point the room would be gutted anyway, so why bother?
Pay no attention to those cobwebs, please. This house needed a major cleaning after being out of it for three months. Because I knew a demolition job was at the top of the to-do list, I didn’t feel compelled to take care of them.
We will essentially be dividing this room in half. A wall will be put up starting about the edge of the window. Half of the room will be the laundry room and the other half will be a full bathroom. This is what the current bathroom in this room looks like:
Go ahead and laugh. We always did when we looked at this tiny little closet turned bathroom. The toilet really isn’t at an angle. I took this picture before we removed the toilet. There’s a camper sized sink in there, too. So basically a half bath in a half closet. You would literally have to back into the bathroom. And don’t even consider shutting the door if you are over 5 feet tall. The door will hit you in the knees as you sit on the toilet. I guess this was a solution in the eyes of someone who lived here before us.
I’ve always looked at houses with their beautifully appointed laundry rooms and thought how they made doing laundry seem almost glamorous. Be very jealous of where I have been doing laundry for the past 22 years.
This closet used to have some really ugly bi-fold doors on them. They were so ugly that I repurposed them in my son’s bedroom, where they aren’t so ugly anymore. I’ll show those to you someday in the future.
This is the same side of the all the laundry area is located. This entire wall will come out and be one big laundry area, with a washer and a dryer, cabinets, and countertop.
The boys started and made quick work of the paneling in the room.
Once we removed the paneling, it was time to remove the plaster and lath. The lath boards are the strips of wood you see that serve as a “frame” for the plaster. On the lath walls the plaster was applied in three layers. In the picture below, you can see the plaster oozes through the lath to form what was called the “key.” The plaster is interesting because they used to use horse hair to strengthen it. When you break up the plaster, you can see the little fibers of horse hair in it.
A word about the lath…my husband was a freak about nails in tires. He said it was because he was always the one who had to repair the tire and change it. So he would have us take this lath off the wall piece by piece and chipping off the old plaster that was still hanging on. Then we would have to remove all of the nails. Most of the nails used were almost like a brad nail, which meant they would break easily and be a real pain in the patootie to remove. We would separate out the nails into an old milk jug and bundle the lath with twine. I have put the lath into my reclaimed lumber stash and so it can be repurposed into future projects. We’ve made a few cool things over the years out of the old lath. (Don’t worry, I’ll be showing you the fun stuff later.)
Gutting a room is a really dirty process. You have to figure in those walls are at least 100 years of dirt and dust in and behind those walls. I’m glad there are just two rooms remaining after this one.
But bonus! Reclaimed wood is always a treat! I’m already plotting what I can do with these 60-year-old 2×4’s!! I’ve been looking at bench plans and think I may use this to build some benches for my dining room table.
Oh and double bonus! (I think.) I can still do laundry since this area remains fairly untouched. Look at those gross old heat runs! We will be replacing those with some bright and shiny new ones once we have relocated them against the back wall.
While the mess is hard to deal with, I am experienced with it. I’ve pretty much lived in a hot mess for 12 years. I’m happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel!! I won’t know how to act once I have a completed home!
Until next time…
Salvaging A Farmhouse is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.