You didn’t think we’d let that one new wall hang out all be itself, did you? Throughout the rest of that week, two more walls came to join the party.
Before getting new walls laid our and built on the first floor, we had to iron out the floor plan. Throughout this process, we learned that when dealing with such an old house, architectural plans can only take you so far, and decisions often have to get made in real time when new discoveries are made in the walls. Case in point, the configuration of the first floor bedroom, staircase, and bathrooms. We moved the staircase to the opposite wall (I’m sure our architect was really impressed when we broke that news to him. Sorry Patrick!), moved the laundry upstairs, and reworked the bathroom layouts. All of this is to say that if you ever have the pleasure of taking on a significant renovation, particularly of an older structure, go into the project with very flexible ideas and expectations. Sometimes you’ll find yourself designing a bathroom around a toilet that can only be in one particular spot, and that’s OK! These decisions that feel absurd and frustrating in the moment will hopefully just become the cute quirks of your house that you can roll your eyes at later.
Though the schoolhouse had to come down, you’ll be pleased to see that it rose back to life quickly.
Level floors are in sight! Once the old flooring came out, the crew put a new sill on top of the concrete foundation wall. Then, after a couple of months of resting on temporary bridging, the back wall was brought back down to rest on the sill. Sigh of relief.
With the new sill in place, floor joists went in quickly and a new, level floor system was born.
Throughout the renovation process, this structure continues to surprise me with its ability to expand and contract. In the previous post, that dirt floor looked so small! It’s always so surprising when the house can seem like a different size from one day to the next. The joists look so long and spacious!
It’s difficult to walk on joists and film it all at once:
Next up is, you guessed it, more demolition.
With some slightly warmer weather and the addition of a new construction crew, we were able to get the remainder of the back concrete wall poured.
Our lot is fairly small and is very close to the road, so we had to get creative when maneuvering the chute so that the concrete could flow all the way to the back of the house. It turns out, the easiest way to do it was to have the chute go through the window and across the house. It also meant that the concrete truck had to be parked in the middle of the street (!). Thankfully the house isn’t on a main thoroughfare (by any stretch) but we did put a wrinkle in some morning commutes!
Thank you to our neighbors who let a concrete truck hang out in their driveway!
I was out of town for this momentous occasion and don’t have actual photos of the concrete chute running through the house or the completed concrete wall, but take my word for it that it is everything you’d imagine a concrete wall to be.