Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cooking up a Kitchen

The two "newest" rooms of the house are just off the kitchen. One looks like it was some kind of workshop/mudroom, the other we know was the home of the previous owner's pool table. Apparently, he "lived" in that room and visitors rarely made it further into the house.

Here are several "before photos" of the kitchen, workshop/mudroom and pool hall:

We've decided to make better use of these two rooms by removing the wall between the kitchen and the workshop/mudroom to make a great big kitchen with a large dining area. The pool hall will be turned into a den with a fireplace. The kitchen and the den will be connected by a 5' archway. (Remember, there are two parlors and a library in the front of the house.) The den-to-be is the only room that could logically support a fireplace, so while we're dreaming, why not dream big? Having a fireplace will make this house even more perfect. Adding a swimming pool will be the final step toward total perfection. But that's another day.

The work on the kitchen began with this pile of boards a week or so ago. I've lost all track of time, so I have no idea when they actually started this.

I came home from work one evening and having inspected the work in the yard, I came around the back side of the house to enter through the kitchen and was greeted by these boards.

I had no idea they were starting on this part of the job so quickly. I thought they were going to dig the trench around the foundation of the house first, but, first things first being what they are, they had to demolish these two rooms and support the roof first because of what was to come after.

First they demolished the the walls and ceilings and floors inside these two rooms.

As suspected, the mudroom had been built directly on the ground without any kind of foundation. What were they thinking?

Once the guts were removed, they proceeded to place timbers in two rows several feet in from the walls to support and jack up the roof.

Imagine, if you will, a fireplace with a Victorian mantel on the far wall where the door is now, centered between the timbers.

Once the roof was supported, they removed the walls.

Here's the view of our drying north yard from our new den through what will be French doors, we think. Imagine stepping through the French doors out onto a brick patio.

Here's the view east up the hill to the timberline through the small window.

Here's the same view through no window, but imagine you're looking through three over-sized windows over the kitchen sink.

Once all the walls were removed, they took out the foundation that the pool hall had once set upon.

While the original owner's builder had the wherewithal to put a foundation under this room, they did so minimally, constructing it of only two rows of concrete block. What were they thinking?

And so, our excavator, Lindsay, dug a trench around the two rooms in preparation for the installation of a deep foundation and the perimeter drain. The final picture in this post shows how closely Lindsay dug the trench to the edge of the footings of the support of the roof. Just below the footing you see is yet another spring. The fear was that the earth under the footing would crumble and slide into the trench. Did it or didn't it? Stay tuned.