10.02.2012

The Evolution of a House

One of the more interesting things we've discovered as we've been slowly working away on our house the last 3 1/2 years is how much our home has evolved. And I'm not just talking about simple paint color changes, but the fun discovery of floor plans getting altered, walls getting removed, rooms changing in purpose. Some are bigger than others, some are stranger than others and some are cooler than others, but they have all been really interesting. Some of them really boggle my mind, but I'm reminded that maybe in 60 years when someone decides to go through and remodel the work we've done, they may think that we were crazy.

One of the first crazy things we happened upon was the front door


It's hard to tell from this picture, but the door is a hollow core interior door several inches short that actually swings INTO the doorway to the TV room when you walk into the house. It was really weird. When you opened the door it swung to the left, so you had to step down into the front room, close the door and then you could enter into the TV room. We quickly hated this (as in within about 2 weeks of moving in) and set about fixing it


That plywood "door" stayed up for several months. Yes, that's right, months. I'm sure our neighbors wondered who the hell we were, but we were on our way to starting to fix things. The plywood went up in January, the real door (that swung the right way) went up in May



The first real big change that we made was knocking out and making larger openings in the kitchen. I'm always really hesitant about this in more historical homes because I want to make sure the changes we make fit with the very specific architecture of the house. So when we opened up part of the wall between the kitchen and the TV room...


...we really wanted to make sure we matched all the arches in the house. Chris made a template and we made sure the new drywall was hung in a way that mirrored the old plaster



We also opened up the doorway between the kitchen and nook so that it was a wider walkway instead of a small pocket door. And again, we matched the arch





Another big change we made was building the hutch in the TV room. We really wanted to try and make it fit with the home as well and I think we did a pretty good job



I think that's about where our major floor changes have ended. But we have changed a few little things here and there, like the electrical boxes we discovered in the front room flanking the fireplace that were covered up that we re-exposed and installed sconces



There have however been a lot of floor plan changes that we have uncovered, which has been really fun. Two of the more recent ones have happened in the hallway. We knew the corner closet was in no way original to the house. That, combined with the fact that it was super ugly and too big made me not feel bad in the slightest when that sucker got torn down



Finding the ironing board alcove, the old carpet, and the groovy wallpaper was really cool. But what was more mysterious was all the markings on the wall in the plaster that showed a lot of changes that the closet went through over the years


And when we torn out the trim and doors from the center closet in the hallway...


We discovered a little switcheroo that was made at some point


No, it's not that hole (Chris did that when hooking up the TV and wiring it into the hutch components) it's the plaster patch that was done and the break in the 2x4 header


A strange little discovery. Did this use to be 2 closets? We couldn't really figure out what it was for, but it was cool to find.

One big huge question mark that has had an impact on all the rooms in the back of the house is the porch they enclosed. There was a back porch that ran nearly the entire width of the house. There were at least 2 doors that opened out on to it and there was a window in our bedroom that opened onto it as well. You can see where the home ended and the porch began in the laundry room


There was originally a step down onto the porch


And we're figuring somewhere along here there used to be a door. The other door once belonged to the bedroom


Sure, that's the door that Chris opened up over the weekend, but the original framing shows that this was indeed a door at one point that someone covered up


And you could tell much more obviously that there was a door here before we re-opened it (can you see the framing on the far left of the pic?)


I don't mind that a door was closed up, but it's annoying that a window was closed up. There was, at one time, a window in our bedroom. And now it's gone... :( Once they enclosed the porch they made (what we affectionately call) the animal room (for it's TERRIBLE stench when we moved in) and the window from the bedroom was now the wall of the animal room. And when we worked on tearing down all the HORRIBLE framing they did and essentially rebuilt it last year, we became very familiar with their stupid changes


It would be really awesome to have a window in our bedroom. But alas, we do not. However, when we finally, maybe, possibly, finish the back bathroom, THAT room will have a window and we can leave the pocket door open so that it sorta kinda feels like the bedroom has a window :)

And the last change that we've discovered to our house...the weird bedroom floor plan change. While we can see how the floor plan changed, neither of us are sure quite why it was done. Now, some of the bedroom floor plan exists in the art room closet


How do we know this? Check out the floor


That framing on the floor is where the wall used to be, and you can see the crosshatch pattern in the floor that exists in every corner of a room in the house. So this edge of the art room closet used to actually be the corner of our bedroom. And that is where we will bust into to make the closet bigger


That task is actually the last large one remaining on our giant flooring to do list.

So there you have it, all the ways our house has physically evolved - at least as far as we can tell. Have you had any fun discoveries? I'm still waiting for us to find buried treasure, but that hasn't happened yet. Damnit.

6 comments:

Carrie @ Hazardous Design said...

It can boggle your mind to wonder what a historic house looked like originally and what has been altered over the years. You guys are doing great work. I have a feeling your changes will be kept by any future homeowners for many many years to come.

Heather said...

People do the weirdest thing when they're remodeling. You two are turning that house back into a gem.

meryl rose said...

Thanks ladies! Sometimes I feel bad about changing the foot print a little, so I'm happy for the support :)

Cheryl said...

Why should you feel bad about changing the foot print? You are making thoughtful, practical changes for the way you live - which is not necessarily how people lived when the house was built. And you are undoing some very strange changes made by previous owners.

Keep up the good work!

Feral Turtle said...

I love your blog! I found you through DIY Diva's blog. I am your newest follower. Would love for you to come follow me. We have an old house that we have been working on for 12 years. Too bad I only started my own blog a little over a year ago. The stories we could tell!

meryl rose said...

Oh you know, someone's always got an opinion about everything, and I like what we're doing, but I do get nervous that someone will think it's "wrong." I should really say screw it :)