In 1926, when our house was built, a typical home was divided up very formally - a separate parlor for gathering, a separate room for dining, and of course, a very separate kitchen for women to cook in. Now-a-days, family life is much different and many prefer a more open plan, frequently creating a "great room" that includes the kitchen, the dining area, and the living space. I see the good in it. Families enjoy just being by eachother even if they are doing different things. We like that, too.
In order to get that in our house, we needed to create one large room out of our very separate dining and living rooms. We knew that breaking down the wall between them would give our family a larger and more flexible space. So, my friend Tamara and I decided to just go ahead and tear the thing down. I'm tellin' ya, this was not just any wall. It was more like a a wall within a wall. So really, it was two walls and one very large set of pocket doors. Here's the wall is in all of its glory. (And, oh yeah, there some nasty old panelling, too.)
We started by removing the wood trim and baseboards. Then we hit the plaster, using hammers and crowbars to chip it away and gathering it in garbage cans. We wore masks and safety glasses for this - very important. Here's Tamara sportin' the wear.
The last step, breaking down the wall's structure was a real pain. Apparently, this thing was not going down without a fight. I still can't figure out how they built it because the inner wood sleeve for the pocket doors was nailed to the studs from the inside. They must have built each side separately and then titled them up into place... but who knows. Then, there was the matter of removing the pocket doors, presumably installed in 1926 using hardware I did not recognize or understand.
In general, the whole wall was over-kill. It was completely over-built and made for a much bigger pile of wood than I would have preferred. Luckily, Madison has a great recycling program so we were able to recycle most of our construction debris. I still have the pocket doors complete with mystery hardware - destined for reuse.
We started this whole process at 8:30am and finished at 8:30pm - 12 hours minus a quick lunch and dinner. The shower afterwards was the best part of the whole day, with eating the dinner my mother made for us a very close second. Thanks Mom!
Above are the results of our labor. It's not perfect yet - obviously. There's a scar on the ceiling and walls where the monster divider used to be. And... there's some exposed ductwork, but hey - nothin' a few studs and some drywall won't fix. Here's the preliminary plan that Jon and I come up with. It's gonna be a little while since there are some other projects to tackle first. But, when it's done, I promise to share.
I grew up making things using saws and hammers with my dad, while my mom was introducing me to many different crafts. Then I went to architecture school and spent the better part of ten years drawing and making models. Now I own a home and often feel like the lady in the Lowe’s commercial who is empowered by her home remodeling project. By now, I know how to use every tool from a table saw and a nail gun to paint brushes and knitting needles. Now that my daughter is three, the time is near for her to learn the ways of the do-it-yourselfer, too - something I am very much looking forward to teaching her. Over the years, I have developed a deep interest in sustainability which comes out through my work in architecture and furniture design.
After several years of being crafty, I get the most excited when I work with reused materials. This love of making things out of “junk” is where Wastenot Workshop began. Creating items that are beautiful and functional out of materials destined for the landfill has given me the opportunity to satisfy two of my passions at once – making things with my own hands and lightening my footprint on the earth. This is not to say that all the materials I use are salvaged, as I have found it too limiting and impractical to do things this way. However, I do operate under the long-used idiom “waste not, want not” – a philosophy that seems to have been lost in our hyper-consumer age. I like using discarded materials, used or new, that just happen to come my way. When new materials are required, I take great care to use them efficiently, saving every scrap possible. I am always amazed at the level of creativity and uniqueness that comes out of asking myself one simple question – “what the heck can I do with this?” Of course, it is no less important to make things that are durable and reusable - equipping us with the ability to waste less.
As a side note, I also enjoy photography and am trying to upload more of my photos to share. Check 'em out!!