Friday, June 17, 2016

Hot water and Demo

Just when I thought the simple act of showering couldn't get any worse at our home ... BAM! Hot water down for the count. To be fair, we were warned the gas may need to be shut off for a pressure test of our gas line in order to sort permitting out on our boiler (VOLDEMORT!), but it has been two weeks *edit* three weeks now. Three weeks of brisk, enlivening showers, chilling enough to make grown men scream. Seriously, two separate grown men at that. Christopher's best friend was visiting with his wife and got the full spa experience, which included lots of screeching. It wouldn't be so bad, I like to tell myself, if we didn't have to devoutly scrub and scour our bodies to clean them of demo dust and construction debris. 

I have started to concoct various methods of showering in an attempt to turn our moldy tape, ice spa into something I don't actively try to avoid. My best solution to date is the good ol' sponge bath (which sadly still leaves my ever growing and curling hair ever so stylishly coifed a la Pattinson). Other attempts have included the Prancing Backbend, it looks just like it sounds, the Stand Way Back Just The Hair method, again you get yhe picture, and the F&$@ It method which consists of deodorant. Yup. I have crossed the threshold into crazy house lady. Picture me surrounded  by piles of debris talking quietly to myself and consoling Christopher that, yes, he will be clean again.

And now, the labor. Demo! With the help of our friends we opened the wall back up between the kitchen and now living space. Back in the day, as in waaaaay back in 1912, there was a pocket door between the kitchen and what was then the diningroom. People live differently today but with the original intent in mind, we are aiming at making this space one again a space for entertainment for ourselves and guests. The original parlor was a room at the front of the house and the bedrooms were in the middle with pocket doors providing access to the light and fresh air in the public spaces. In fact, this model of row homw was specifically designed to enhance light and fresh air. Every change we are making to the structure is to further this aim. 

In our kitchen there used to be a light shaft which was slowly filled with mechanicals and plumbing through the years. I decided to use the space for the air retuen to the second floor, but after removing the plaster on the wall you can see where the original opening to the shaft was. You could wave to the opposite side of the shaft at someone taking a shower or, ahem, ... Close it up boys!

Here for instance, I opened up the space above what had been the entry to our apartment. Someone put a metal door in at one point. A lot of homes built in the same time period had transom windows above their doors. Since we are moving our front door closer to the front of the building so that our bedroom door will be INSIDE of our apartment, I'm opening it all up. Seeing how much more light comes through with just that small space opened just reinforces my desire for transoms above our new entry door. 

And in the photo above, look what I found above the closet - MORE STORAGE! This house was packed with NYC storage solutions. We'll be recapturing that space with a smart lil' cabinet door. 

Here are some other hidden nuggets: 

I love uncovering old wall coverings, paint colors and anything that gives me a glimpse into what the house was like when it's first owners moved in. Sometime the renovations are fun to see, like the little dutch girl wall paper boarder in the kitchen, but more often than not they are bad bad bad, i.e., removal of original doors, paneling, trim, etc.  

Up Next: Finishing a run of Il Trovatore with New Rochelle Opera and on the less glamorous side, more painting. 

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