Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chapter the Fourth: In Which We Discuss the Filth

It's a no-brainer that renovating/restoring a centuries old house is going to be dirty work, right? We knew that, or at least thought we did anyway, but nothing could have prepared us for the level of absolute filthiness that we are in on an almost daily basis. I don't think we've tackled a job yet that didn't require a bath and change of clothes afterward. Many of the ceilings here are constructed this way: previous owners pull down the ceiling plaster but leave the lath, nail 1x4s over the lath, put up drywall ceilings. The problem with this is that it drops the ceiling enough to cover the top half of the window frame, not exactly the aesthetic we're shooting for. So, ceilings have to be torn out and put up with just drywall. It is dusty, sweaty work.
Micah & Levi pulling down the parlor ceiling

Levi, filthy with plaster dust

And then the kitchen. Under the fiberglass wall and ceiling covering there are layers upon layers of wallpaper. Under the wallpaper the ceiling and top parts of the wall are crusted with thick, sticky creosote. It's as though one day long ago some distant resident thought that they really didn't feel like washing the ceilings again this year so.... let's just wallpaper over it! It can be scraped off and scrubbed off, but it's slow work. Micah and Katie got about a 10 foot stretch done in an hour while Levi was removing more of the fiberglass ceiling (Micah's skin can't handle the fiberglass).

Levi, Katie & Micah working in the kitchen


And this is how I really spend most days.  :-)


  1. It's so exciting to see the process and progress! I'd be half-tempted to built an outdoor shower station for the minions. :) Here's to un-re-muddling!

  2. I like notmolly's suggestion of the outdoor shower! Oh my.... what a mess! Reminds me of cleaning out my aunt and uncle's home after they had passed.... both were heavy smokers and everything was covered in thick dark muck!! Glad you took some time to rest!

  3. I love Katie's skirt and cowgirl boots while she works!!

  4. Man, I'd be tempted to sleep outside in tents!

  5. I've seen houses like this. We owned a farm right here in our town ...well, my grandparents and my parents did. Many times they would be fixing up the tenant houses or our two big old farm houses and you could see the plaster and the lath. You have a lot of work ahead of you but well worth it!


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