The Hidden Carpet

This week I used post-it notes to put our project plan on the wall. The left side is months with tasks under them, the right side is materials to be bought by task.

Project plan on the wall

Then I was looking at the tasks and thinking about the walls in the hall closet that is about to become a bathroom, and I realized I didn't have any kind of accounting for if those walls -- hidden by fake wood paneling as is typical in this house -- should happen to require major work.

Downstairs bathroom, before

So I emptied the closet out completely. This was of great interest to the pets, who are generally not allowed in the closet at all.

Downstairs closet, looking south

And it had to be done at some point, anyway, so it might as well have happened today. Though I admit that we had a lot of stuff stashed in there that I was not keen on dealing with right away.

Downstairs bathroom, without paneling

Then I took the fake wood paneling down (most of it; I left it up around the return air vent there at the end).

Downstairs bathroom, looking south, minus fake wood paneling

The condition of the walls (seen here covered in wallpaper of uncertain vintage) did not inspire confidence, so we decided to take them down now.

Weird piece of wood instead of baseboard

Also, this did not inspire me. That's a spot where the baseboard was oddly replaced with a piece of wood. The piece of wood was not attached in any way to the wall; it pulled off easily with my hands. How that came to happen, why the decision was made to put that there, I do not know. But there's something unpleasant behind there I just know it.

After taking down the drywall

The drywall came down easily, mostly because it was 1/4" thick and not attached particularly well. I literally kicked part of the wall down with a sneaker-clad foot. Do not build your house like this.

Iffy wiring

I'm pretty sure that when this wall was built, this was very iffy wiring to put into it, almost as iffy as it is today. Just saying.

Carpet under the wall

On the other hand, apparently somebody saw fit to build the wall over the carpet, so we're not talking about high levels of attention to detail.

Newspaper from inside the wall

We were able to narrow the date of construction of the wall down with some scraps of newspaper used as a shim against the baseboard. This comic has a date of 10-16 on it.

TV listing from 1976

And this TV listing notes "Campaign '76" at 2pm.

Sample of the wallpaper

Here's a nice piece of the floral wallpaper.

Flooring samples hidden under the wall

And the two kinds of flooring hidden under that wall: a piece of wood-grained linoleum, and that carpet, which must have been pretty impressive all over the hallway.

Closet busted out

The hallway looks really different with the closet gone, but no fear: we want that downstairs bathroom badly enough that we will not be changing this plan no matter what. The remaining wall will also come down, at a time when we can handle having the heat off for a few weeks while we get a new wall up in the place of this old one. Right now we decided that piece of wall would not get in my way as I work on the plaster around the return vent.

Dog food and coats

In the meantime, we need to find some kind of temporary storage for our excessive numbers of coats, and the dog food supply (our local pet food place has a buy-three-get-one-free deal which is very worth it given the price of hippie dog food these days). I am going to buy a coat rack for the coats, and I guess for now the dog food will end up in some pantry or other.

Now I'm on to working on the hallway walls, as neglected as that project is.

posted by ayse on 01/08/12

9 Comments

Wow, the hallway does look so different with the closet walls gone. The dogs look like they are imploring you to give them all that food right now. If only those dog jedi mind tricks worked better.

That wood piece "baseboard" is scary. I can just about hear the violins shrieking in the background.

You lost me at the remaining wall - how does that involve the heat?

Here's hoping someone scavenged the baseboard to use elsewhere in the house and not because monsters lurk behind it.

There are two pieces of remaining wall: the original wall that holds the stairs up (which we will not remove because it holds the stairs up), and the little remaining piece of the wall the previous owners put in, the triangular piece that fills in near the bottom of the stairs. That last piece of wall holds our return air vent and the thermostat for the heater. If we demo that piece of wall, we have to partially dismantle the heater.

Oh, this really made me laugh out loud, and not in the overused LOL sense. The sequence from the iffy wiring to the wall built over carpet to the "Campaign '76!" clipping is really great.

Or rather, it's really great for those of us not actually dealing with the consequences. Ah, Previous Owners, Ye Knew Not What Ye Did, or if ye did, there's that special circle of hades for ye...

Considering how similar in construction our houses are, I'm surprised you could even fit a bathroom under those stairs! I think we may have a closet there, but can't be sure. Our heater (not located under the stairs in any way) is pretty remarkable, though. I mean, it's remarkable that it keeps the house warm at all, and it kind of fails at that most of the time.

I spent my first few months in the house talking about pulling out the wall-to-wall carpet in the living room and raising the roof back to original, just like you did in your dining room (which is a bedroom in our house), but my boyfriend kept telling me I'd think otherwise in the winter when it got really cold. It has, and he's right.

We have 32 inches clear under the stairs, and the code minimum for the toilet is 30 inches wide, so we just barely have room to do it. It'll definitely be a tight fit, but having a bathroom near the front door will be worth it. More than a massive closet that it's too tempting to fill with stuff.

As you said, one good thing about shoddy workmanship is ease of removal! Its crazy to see what some people thought was "OK" to do when remodeling.

Good sentries you have there guarding the neww appetture! sp Are they expensive?? LOL

I just got a glimpse of the curve of the staircase ceiling first floor_have always wanted to know how they got that curve and the supporting structure frame!!!

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