This progress update might not look like much, but I feel like one of the hardest parts is over: getting started.
I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about this scary first step of having a completely stripped-down house, but now that we’re here, it’s not so bad.
Let’s check out some pics of the living room, where there was the least amount of destruction:
Well, the popcorn ceiling is gone at last! We had originally planned to do this tear down ourselves, however, we were encouraged to bring some plaster samples from the walls and ceiling to a lab for asbestos testing before doing any work.
Always with a “safety-first” mindset, we’re glad we did get asbestos testing done, because SURPRISE! THERE WAS ASBESTOS EVERYWHERE.
To be fair, it was only 1-2% asbestos in the walls and 5-10% in the ceiling. UGH. I hate whoever decided textured ceilings were “in style”. While we had a small amount of asbestos, it still wasn’t worth the risk of doing the work ourselves.
Overall, the asbestos removal took about 9 days total. As you can see, we kept the walls in the living room and we’ll just repaint them later.
During those 9 days, pretty much our entire first floor was sealed off with tarps and lots of tape. You could still get in through our front door safely, but you had to go right upstairs. We stayed with friends for about 5 days which really helped ease some of the inconvenience factor!
On to the dining room where it gets real:
You can see in this pic that there was once another window in the dining room! This wasn’t a surprise to us because the plaster had cracked in that area over the years.
If you look closely you’ll see that there’s paper wedged between the dining room window and frame. This paper is stuffed with… wait for it… SEAWEED! I had no idea, but it was a popular maritime insulation material 80 years ago, I guess. I asked insulation-know-it-all, Ryan Kelly, if it was common in places other than Nova Scotia to which he replied, “I guess you could Google it.” So I DID Google it, and it’s actually sometimes still used for insulation.
This shot is taken from the corner of the dining room looking into the kitchen. It’s so crazy to be able to see the kitchen door from here! I can’t wait to have a big, open space.
As I’ve mentioned before, it is a load-bearing wall, so last week we had a structural engineer come to visit. They gave us plans for installing a beam so the house doesn’t fall down. Awesome.
Another view of what was the dining room from standing where the kitchen and dining room divide. Ryan’s already started on levelling out that back wall so we can give final measurements to our cabinet company.
And here’s a view standing further back in the kitchen, closer to where the door is. As you can see, Ryan wasted no time getting his tools set up in the space.
And finally, a sad trombone for this blurry pic of our brick chimney. It ain’t pretty. It looks like the mortar was slapped on pretty hastily after a few beer and then they were like, “ahh.. good ’nuff”. We could use a grinder to remove some of the chunky bits and smooth it out a bit but it would be either: a) time-consuming b) expensive. Or, throw in another option, a personal favourite, there could be MORE ASBESTOS in the mortar itself.
For these reasons, we said shag it and have decided to drywall over the brick. Cue sad Sarah McLachlan song, but, you guys, I think I can move past this one!
Okay, so I know the house looks pretty friggin scary right now. If there’s anyone out there who’s filming a horror movie and needs a set: we got you if you can come here in the next week to shoot.
But seriously, while having an empty shell as half of your house is terrifying, it’s also pretty good to know that it’s only up from here.