Monday, July 21, 2008

Dry wall

Back in 1993 I was 26 years old.

Who cares, you say? I think I do. Not because I need to go back and fix some terrible decision in my life or anything. Sorry, not that juicy.

In 1993, my husband, Michael, and I started a labor of love and renovated a 100 year old building. There was a huge, all be it filthy coal-dust covered eight dark rooms full of junk second level, ready for us to tackle, and a ground floor retail space ready to be a shooting space and office area for a talented photographer. Built of brick, wooden floors, detailed tin ceiling, knob and tube electricity, 20 ft x 70 ft on both floors, 16 foot high ceilings on the second level.

We started on the second level on Thanksgiving in 1993. We decided the best course of action would be be to start taking everything apart and picking everything up we couldn't use and throw it out the last window on the far side of the building, so no one would get hurt if they were walking under there.

We had to stop working on the apartment/second floor and move and build our studio in February, because our lease was up at the old place, and we had a huge furniture photo shoot we had to be ready for by the middle of February.

So in March we started again. We cleared 8 rooms, all walls and horse hair plaster and slating from the walls, a toilet, 70 years of accounting records plus the room and shelves that held them, two iron fire doors, a three foot octopus furnace grate, at least 12 doors, pulled the ceiling down (there had been a fire so it was not useable), numerous pieces of wooden furniture, brass findings in the shape of little brass birds that were lamps that lit the rooms, and finally, wires, nails, junk and all the plaster off of all the brick walls.

We threw it all out the 2.5 ft x 6 ft window. We rigged up a wheel barrow for the plaster, shoveled plaster into it, rolled it to the window, up a ramp out the window, to a big pile outside, that then had to be re-shoveled and wheeled up a ramp into the dumpter. We went through 6 BIG dumpters. It was now March of 1994.

We had to clean all the brick with a wire brush on a drill. Sand blasting it did not work. At all. After hammering a bit on the plaster and pushing a crow bar up under the loosened plaster, you could pull a big chunk off, but the dust was VERY hardy, and was difficult to get off. We went through four drills and I can't remember how many brushes. And masks. The room would be a full white cloud you could even see through.

Obviously this story goes on for a while. It took another year and a half to complete our living space. We lived there for ten years. We still own the building.

Look below and you'll find the photos.

So, why am I telling you this? We are dry walling our basement. I am 41. No, I don't think I'm old at all, in fact I never think about my age if you want to know the truth. But this stuff was a lot easier when I was 26. And the stuff I was doing then, as you can see, was a lot harder.

Oh my gosh, I am tired.



Connie said...

Your home is beautiful! Gorgeous! It is so warm and inviting and loved. You can see all the love in that house. I'm a big sucker though for exposed brick and bare floors. I love it!

Peace & Love.

Anonymous said...

How gorgeous! I love the whole story, and you made it. Your marriage made it. I hear those types of "projects" are quite stressful. Your hard work shows in a glorious rejeuvenated 100 yr old building.
I am so impressed. Jealous too. I love the history behind a home. Makes it that much more special.

purplecat said...

Wow what a labour of love! and what a wonderful result!

Gwen Buchanan said...

I love "Labors of love"... I can totally relate.. that's how we work too!!
You did an amazing job... it is gorgeous...

Jessie said...

oh, these photos make me SHIVER!!! this place is BEAUTIFUL! dang. now that's a dream home. i loved reading your story of its manifestation.

Mary S Hunt said...

LOVE your home!!!!
My favorite wall is brick or rock

don't be afraid of the kiln
it is a very easy basic piece of equipment.

thanks for visiting me
till next time..