Demolition Day: Bring A Sledgehammer to the Party.

In between losing our original contractor and hiring our new one, the weeks of waiting turned into months. Nick and I were going over the budget. We were picking out fixtures, hardware and appliances. We were eager to have the renovation start so we could have our house done in time for the holidays. We were optimistic, but... another thing we were realizing was that we were heading into Blue Raccoon's busy season. The construction chaos would certainly add another layer of stress to the hectic months ahead. The sooner it was done, the better! 

Finally, on the morning of Monday, September 29, Brud Hutchinson and his assistant Matt Bye arrived to start the demolition. It was quick and really amazing to witness, as cabinets and walls and fixtures came tumbling down in a cloud of dust. The dumpster that arrived was huge. The City of Lambertville charges $100 a week to keep a dumpster on the street, so it was in everyone's best interest to fill it and haul it away. As it happened, it was also filled in no time... 

Brud is on the job! Nick and I really appreciate his quality craftsmanship and low key demeanor.

 

Day 1: Brud and Matt start taking down the 40+ year old kitchen cabinets. When we moved in I had to wipe the interior of each cabinet with bleach. They were so old, damp and moldy. Yuck! 

 

 

Matt clearing the debris in a cloud of plaster dust.

 

And then this...Wha? There was a side door to the porch? We found interesting things behind the walls. A newspaper from the early 1900s, an old beer bottle and even a Christmas card from the 40s.

  

The corner of the wall between the kitchen and bathroom. This brick column turned out to be easier to remove than we expected. The bricks were saved to patch the wall on the opposite side of the room. 

 

And that corner in the master bedroom. Brud pulled up the floor boards in the room that we were installing our master bath. He used these boards to patch this up. (Pictures of the finished floor to come in a later post.)  

 

 The outer wall of what was the full bath off the kitchen had no foundation. It just sat on soil. Uh oh...It was like those home design shows we watch: Brud said to us, "You know...I'm gonna have to dig a 3' trench and lay a new cement foundation before I can continue to frame out these walls. It won't cost that much." Okay...

 

 

And in our master bedroom closet which is above the demolished bathroom there was this. A cast iron drainage pipe from our neighbors bathroom. It didn't seem to be leaking, but we didn't want that behind our new closet wall. It would need to be replaced eventually, so why not get rid of it now while the wall is removed? Luckily their plumber came right over and installed a new PVC drainage pipe all the way down and out to their sewer line.

 

 The back of the house was completely open for about 3 weeks. We got lots of comments...

 

Finally the new cement and cinder block foundation was installed and the framing could begin.

 

 

Matt didn't just throw debris into the dumpster. We were amazed by how he was able to utilize every square inch of space. This saved us money.

 

The demolition phase took about a week. Now Brud and Matt were ready to start the build out. Over the next couple of weeks they framed out the walls in the kitchen and powder room. They moved the doorway between the master bedroom and bath and framed out closets in both of these rooms. The rooms began to take shape. We were beginning to see how wonderful it would all be once the construction was done, but how long would it take? By now we knew that we wouldn't have the kitchen and dining room for Thanksgiving, but would we be able to have our annual Christmas Eve celebration in our new kitchen? We were still hoping so...