Progress! The soffits we worried about two days ago turned out to be improvised and totally non-structural. And the walls we wanted gone were similarly non-load-bearing. So they are now all gone. Our kitchen has been reduced to a bare-bones box.
The awful pink tile is also gone. It had been affixed to plywood, which was mounted on top of the original oak flooring. That turned out to be too damaged to salvage, but we anticipated that – our new design includes new tile. With the old tile and underlayments gone, the new tile can be installed flush with the existing floors on the rest of the downstairs. No more 3/4-inch “trip me” strips at the doorways!
In terms of house archaeology, a few things have been revealed. I get a big smile from the wide-board underfloor, now exposed. You just don’t find slabs of tree like that in a new house.
You can see the footprint of the old butler’s pantry pass-through on either side of the door to the dining room. Those cabinets and dry sink were long gone before we moved in, although the butler’s pass-through still exists in the sister house next door to us.
Also harder to see, is the framing for the heat grille that brought kitchen warmth up to the bedroom that’s now Elder Daughter’s – which must have been the nursery at one time. The grille is gone from upstairs, and the floor is patched in there, but looking up at the ceiling now exposed below, you can see the frame in which the vent used to sit.
On the far wall are remnants of old knob and tube wiring. My contractor is VERY happy we have written certification that all knob and tube in the house is dead, a victim of the general house re-wire we had done when we first moved in.
Another thing that isn’t shown well here is the framing for two windows in the kitchen, both larger than the remaining old over-sink window. We know they existed from faint scars in the stucco outside, but we still have framing for them inside. This turns out to be a good thing.
The last bit of interest revealed are marks on the overhead joists, which show where the original lath and plaster ceiling existed. It was full-height – the same as in the rest of the downstairs. Having that room overhead again will make the kitchen feel much larger, and will keep it cooler in the summer.
Now having almost maxed out on the Destruction Phase, we begin Reconstruction.
First up today – the new windows. Four to be exact. The two in the dinette area replace the existing ones, with no change in dimension (I would have liked to make one of those bigger, but budget realism manifested). The other two replace the smaller window that is over where the sink used to be. We will be re-using some of the old window framing to put in a new window plus a transom panel above it, to bring more light into the north-facing room, and to use up some of the awkward space between the window area and the now significantly higher ceiling.