Now that the asbestos was taken care of, demolition could begin! I would have to say lath and plaster is probably one of the messiest removals, and the demo crew was covered head to toe in dust (and it wasn’t the stuff that came off by just wiping yourself down – it left a sticky residue on the skin, clothes and worst of all hair)!
Uncovering History During the Demolition
During demolition we uncovered some pretty neat things (isn’t knocking down walls fun?). We found a hidden staircase , an old archway that probably separated the formal sitting area to the formal dining area, an old medical journal and a hand written note to a doctor dating back to the 1870’s! We determined that the house was built somewhere around 1870, and was likely owned by a doctor. There is a lot of history in Peterborough, so it was really neat uncovering some original artifacts and architectural design elements.
Getting the House to Modern Day Standards
Needless to say, we were pretty excited to get all that mess off the walls. The plans were to strip the walls back down to the studs, expose the interior of the walls so we could remove old wiring and plumbing and bring it up to present day standards. There were also some minor layout changes we wanted to make that were going to be imperative to the overall flow and function of the building. One of the major changes we made was the removal of an awkward stair situation at the back of the second floor (yet luckily not the most difficult task).
There were two sets of stairs that met at the landing of the main staircase to the second floor and these had to go! The hidden staircase we found was at one point connected to one of these two stairs, and then ultimately closed off. They were a constant tripping hazard and just didn’t make much practical sense. We blocked off the opening from the 2nd floor stair landing and removed the two staircases, which created a straight walk through to the kitchen. Other than that, the majority of the layout remained the same. What other curve balls did this old house throw us? Stay tuned!