Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Basement

We have an old house. 1892, possibly through 1895. Our house has what house people like to call "good bones." They don't make foundations like this any more, and they sure as heck don't do butternut wood trim on every possible surface like this any more.

I love my house.

But it is old, and has gone through a lot of owners. Every owner is going to do things their way, and things that seemed like a good idea in 1964 may not still be a good idea today.

Case in point: What I did for Valentine's Day this year. (No, I didn't ruin it this year!)The stairwell to our basement is dark and narrow - difficult to navigate on its own, but throw in the crap that tends to accumulate, and it's a health hazard. When we bought the house, there was a newish piece of white fiberboard forming the left wall, and small shelves on the right.

But the thing that I kept thinking about was that there seemed to be an unaccounted for foot of space between that fiberboard and the wall of the kitchen. Dead space.

I had grand fantasies about uncovering a hidden treasure. Or at least gaining some shelf space, but, you know, when you're chasing a toddler around, ripping off walls isn't something you can just knock out in an afternoon.

When we upgraded our kitchen, we knocked a hole through the kitchen side of the dead space and discovered - wait for it - dead space. No treasures, unless you count peeling wall paper from the late 1940s a real find (it was pretty!) This confirmed our suspicions that this had been a part of the kitchen at one time, but had been closed off at some point between 1950 and 1982 (which is when our cabinets were dated from).

Six months later, we ripped off the fiberboards, went, "Hmmm," and tore out a bunch of really old, really dusty plaster and lathe. (For those who don't speak 'old house,' plaster and lathe is what walls used to be made of before drywall. Solid, but a pain in the tuckus to remove. Wear a mask and goggles). The effort tired us out so much that we just threw stuff onto the floor of the reclaimed space and shut the door.

For a year and a half.

But January is OVER, and in my house, that suddenly means I've gotten a husband back again. And since the man has been sitting at a desk for essentially four solid months, he's itching to do something - anything - manly.

So this is what we did on Valentine's Day (after I gave him vodka, he gave me a two pound brick of Havarti cheese, the toddler gave us both chocolate, and we gave him Fraggle Rock DVDs. Valentine's Day, Sam's Club Style.)

This is progress! Sure, there's still no overhead light, but he's got the wiring in place to hook one up. Sure, there's still a huge hole in the floor where we decided to rip out the laundry chute that went from the second floor to the basement (since the laundry is no longer in the basement) that had been built to withstand nuclear war, but look! DRYWALL!! We have two sides of drywall up!!!

This is what we did our Valentine's weekend. Saturday he and I tag-teamed the last of the destruction. I am the Queen of Destruction - if you need something destroyed, I'm your woman. The kid takes after me here. It was fun - esp. the parts where I got to be right on almost everything - as in, "I really think we're going to need the recip saw for that," and twenty minutes later, he says, "well, I think I'm going to have to go get the recip saw." Sunday he wired and I (futilely) cleaned up the dust coating everything (got the kid to help with that - he's quite good at that anal stuff when he's in the right mood).

By Tuesday night, drywall! It is entirely possible that, after living in this house for 3 1/2 years, we are finally going to reclaim the dead space and have a pantry right off the kitchen at some point in the next two weeks.

I love this house!!!

1 comment:

Caley Greene said...

Yeah on the remodeling and the Valentine's Day. :)