I've also got some images of reconstruction but they're not organized and I don't have descriptions for them.

This Olde House (from Hell)

I've been renovating my house for (gasp, sputter) six years now. It was built in 1908, but had some real hack `improvements' over the years: cut joists, wiring made from lamp cord, etc. At one time, there was a church in the basement, and it was a crack-house right before I bought it. It doesn't look too bad on the outside, but on the inside... well...

My latest effort has been finishing off the upstairs; one bedroom's done, another's 95% there, but the last is gonna hurt. This tour will start from the upstairs, back of the house, then come through the hallway, down the stairs, and back through the dining room and kitchen, before heading outside.

You can click on the thumbnail images to get a full-sized image; they're about 640x480 and range from about 30KB to 50KB.


View from the back bedroom, looking through door to deck. We re-framed the wall to accommodate a 48 inch french-door that's due to be delivered this week. Note that the old door has screen permanently installed on top of the glass window; one of the house's many mysteries.
Turning right, you'll find that you're not standing on much of a floor. The door, hanging over empty space, seems somewhat superfluous.
Continuing around, and heading to the door. We need to reframe this, so Maciek can continue hanging the drywall. At least we have good taste in beverages: those are Olde Heurich Maerzen, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Perrier bottles.
Heading through the door, you're in the hall. We ripped out all the old plaster; most was in terrible condition and had been patched (badly) many times. Maciek's scraped the layers of paint and ancient wall paper from the left wall; not an enjoyable task, but the plaster there is on brick so we didn't want to remove it. He keeps calm by listening to Howard Stern on the boom-box.
At the other end of the hall, look back before heading downstairs. The pile of cruft on the floor in the distance on the left is paint and wallpaper from that wall on the right. If you could see it, you'd realize you're standing in another pile of it even larger than the far one.
On the main floor, you pass what used to be the dining room. Now it only serves to store stacks of drywall and greenboard.
Entering what's left of the kitchen -- a horrible and shabby place, with some of the worst hack-and-slash-renovation I've seen -- you find yourself beneath the floor-less bedroom.< /TD>
You can look south through the door to the deck: on both floors at once.
Turning around, you can again see the door hanging open over space, then where the floor is still mostly intact.
The wiring supplies four separate 20A circuits for the top floor, as well as six separate telephone lines, a thin-net 10base2 ethernet, and four-pair 10baseT ethernet.
Gazing down, you're looking at the south ex-kitchen wall. Lot's-o-lath. From left to right, those odd objects on the wall are: a bottle of Springbank single malt whisky, my BORE ME license plate from Virginia, and an asbestos-covered passive heating duct from the paleolithic era. We're going to seal them all up behind drywall for posterity.
On the right is the East wall; you can see the start of the new floor in the renovated bathroom and some plumbing in the top left. In the center are some tar-coated bricks: we had to remove the original chimney and re-set new bricks; it was my first time working with bricks and we had to make mortar to 100-year-old specifications to accommodate the soft bricks used at that time.
Further on the right is an area that used to be a pantry; the little window isn't even a foot wide. A lot of the house seems to end up like this: storage for building materials and a heap of demolition debris. It's not good.
Heading outside on the main floor deck, we've stacked up all the long floorboards ripped out of the bedroom floor. While not in good condition, we'll need to re-use some of them to patch places in other rooms of the house. The old flooring technique was to lay 3/4 inch tongue-and-groove pine directly on top of the joists. The pine in those days was fairly hard, much harder than the soft stuff available now.
Downstairs on the back patio area, it's crowded. The Trash Collections folks are the only part of DC government that seems to work: if I can put it in a city-supplied `Supercan', they'll haul it. So there are over 30 beer-boxes, mud-buckets, and fruit-cartons full of plaster; a half a dozen doors I need to cut up into bite-sized pieces; and more of those damn floorboards. Last week, though, the trash guys yelled at me because my Supercans weighed so much that the truck's hydraulic lifter couldn't hoist them into the truck: they had to push them in themselves. (Note the beer boxes; we don't drink swill: Dos Equis, Wild Good, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Lager, Olde Heurich, Leinenkugel Weiss, ...)
  Speaking of beer, when we just can't stand it, and the weather is decent, we head out to Cafe Berlin on Mass Ave on Capitol Hill. Outdoor seating, good food, friendly staff and great Hefeweizen vom Fass! [this is not a paid commercial, blah blah blah :-]

This photo-tour was really an excuse to play with an Apple Quick-Take digital camera. It can store 16 high-resolution shots or 32 low-resolutions ones. While cute, it lacks any exposure control so much of these photos have bad contrast, etc. Idiotically, it also lacks any way to `rewind' and re-take a shot you didn't like: hard to do with film, but should be trivial for anything digital.


Created 1995-12-01