Friday, November 27, 2009

A Busy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving meant a day off work and of course we spent it at the Einsel House. This was our first day to focus on interior work and were we ever productive! Charles and I were both busy in the old parlor. Charles spent the day attacking the angled wall that blocked the front door. This had been put up as a temporary wall by the previous owners who used the parlor as the master bedroom.

(Pardon the tiny pictures - I'm posting from work and don't have the software to resize them.)

Angled wall before:

Charles at work (this was about the point where he grinned and said, "This is probably the closest I'll ever feel to being an abusive husband," just before busting another hole in the drywall):

No more drywall:

Yes, he got the wall frame down but somehow I forgot to take a picture. (I think it was because we all just stood and marveled at how much larger and brighter the room seems without that wall in place.) I promise to get a true after picture the next time I'm at the house.

As for me, I was busy attacking the closet at the other end of the room. Here's the closet before:

This closet had been the topic of much discussion. It was added by the previous owners both for storage space and to house ductwork to the second floor. Although it clearly was a modern addition to the room, the POs had obviously done their best to keep the closet true to the character of the room. All of the trim surrounding the closet had been reused from the window that was closed when the closet was added and the bathroom expanded. (See this earlier post for an explanation of the house's layout and how it has changed over the years.)

My opinion on the closet was mixed from the start. It did stick out like a sore thumb (mostly those purple doors) and although a closet makes perfect sense in a bedroom; not-so-much in the parlor. I had decided that although the closet wasn't ideal it could have been a lot worse. And it would make a perfect place to store DVDs, board games and the like. But when I mentioned this plan to my mom she seemed horrified. The closet had to go she said. And she seemed genuinely surprised that I hadn't come to this conclusion on my own. Every time the closet came up for discussion mom remained adament that it must go.

Then we took L through the house. (See this earlier post again.) Although L was in awe of the house overall, he found the closet most disturbing. And his opinion didn't change any upon reflection, as evidenced by this email he sent the next day (keep reading, he'll get to it):

"Hi - I thought you were a History major in College!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why would the clock shelf be on the west wall of the parlor????
In 1840, a clock was a rare item. Something that had a place of honor.
When you were in the kitchen (now thought of as the dining room) you could look directly west and see the clock on the west wall of the parlor and could tell what time it was.
Of course, the parlor didn't have an ugly closet along the east wall. It had a window which left more light shine into the parlor, so it would be a bright and cheery room.
Pretty good idea
[emphasis added]

Outnumbered, I admitted defeat. My mom has told me repeatedly to thank L for his role in this. "You never would have given in if it was just me telling you to tear it out," mom says. She could be right. Regardless, if the closet was to go it made sense to do it now. So this morning I carefully removed all the beautiful walnut trim and then began attacking the drywall and framing. This is what it looked like by the time we left to go to Thanksgiving dinner at Charles' grandma's:

The HVAC contractor is going to run larger ductwork up the corner of the room, and we will have to box that section off again. We're also still trying to figure out what to do about baseboard. And we will probably have to dig a bit deeper into that old window so that we can mount drywall flush with the existing plaster walls. So stay tuned, folks, there's still lots to come!

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