Maybe I lied; a little more demolition.

So this week, Tom was down to make a bit more progress. The next step was to tear the roof off of the milkhouse, in order to make way for a rooftop garden. (So I guess we technically weren’t done with demolition, huh?)

Anyway, the local wildlife makes a habit out of dining on our vegetation (as evidenced by the current state of our hostas). The entrance to the house will be an elevated porch over the ground level horse stanchions, to the right of the milkhouse. Instead of leaving the pitched roof, we wanted to flatten it, install some sort of tray and drainage system, and start a garden far out of the reach of our neighboring deer and rabbits (squirrels, on the other hand, are a different story).

And now the roof is no more! To see a before picture, check out the post about the barn exterior; it’s the photo of the east elevation.

No more demo.

So remember back in April when I said we hoped to finish demolition that weekend?
Yeah, well, that didn’t happen.
But eventually it did…. a couple of weeks ago, actually. The last remaining room that needed to be torn out was the old work room, which makes up part of the great room. It had a sagging hayloft above, and paneling on the walls, none of which was salvageable.  We had actually been storing salvaged lumber in that room, so we first had to tear all of the nails out of those boards (which was tedious and time consuming).  Once that was done, we tore down the rest of the room.
And, finally, we are finished with demolition.

completed demolition.


Hidden barnwood, and other goings-on.

Last Saturday, Billy and I were at the barn, prepared to do some (not particularly gratifying) labor: tearing a bit down, cleaning up debris, trying to get 200 years of dust and hay out of our future homestead.

But we had a very pleasant surprise: the assistance of one Chris King. And with Chris around, we got far more done than we could have alone.

On the agenda was to tear down the bowed and slightly rotted part of the hay loft in order to elevate the ceilings in the great room. We began working in the space we’vehidden hardwood. been calling the middle room (as it fell between the mud / storage room and the workroom in the original barn layout). It’s quite strange: it had a bizarre steel contraption coming up from the floor with pipe and a drain, and it was surrounded on all sides with large tiles that we suspect are asbestos. Or so we thought. As it turns out, the floor was not asbestos, but masonite board. And under the masonite, wood planks. It was quite exciting to find floors in great shape that can likely be salvaged.

Besides pulling up the masonite, the rest of the walls and ceiling of that room had to come out. We did it in sections, hauling away garbage cans of shattered tiles from the space. As the ceiling came down, we learned that a squirrel or two – nay, a whole scurry of squirrels – had once made themselves quite at home. (Though squirrels are largely solitary creatures, says that a pack of squirrels is called a scurry. I googled it, so it must be true.) I’ve never seen so many nuts (from sycamore trees, I think) in my life.  They poured from the ceiling as we took down the tiles.  We probably removed at least 4 full garbage cans of the petrified tree fruit.  That, in addition to hay and dust and rainy conditions, made for a particularly dirty workday.  But at the end of it, we had pulled down the middle section of the hayloft:

pulled down part of the hayloft.

The part to the right will remain as a loft; the part to the left will also come down. But we were able to get a feel for how high the ceilings will be in the great room…… and it’s pretty darn high.

Since we’re only occasionally part of the major progress, it was very cool to see such a drastic change while we were working. Chris has been there this week, too, and Dave and Adam (Tom’s crew) put in a day while Tom recovers from knee surgery. Billy and I will be back this Saturday for… you guessed it: more demolition. (Maybe the last bit of demo?! Hey, a girl can dream.)

Electricians and plumbers and surveyors, oh my.


Last week, Billy networked with a whole mess of subcontractors, got some quotes and scheduled some jobs. We’re makin’ moves.

Since then, we’ve already had the surveyor out to demarcate the property.

We were also able to quickly hire a great electrician; Casey Electric was already out at the barn on Monday. He put in a service panel and a meter, and scheduled the inpector to come by today. As soon as the inspector sends the cut card to PECO, we can get new service to the barn.

Since Bill has a modicum of experience, and our new neighbor Chuck is skilled with electrical work, they are going to try to do most of the wiring for the house. This is one of the places that we hope to save some money by doing as much of the work as we can ourselves.

Billy also had meetings with a plumber and an HVAC guy and someone who does spray foam insulation.   We’re still waiting on quotes from them, but the sooner we can get them in and working, the better.

Bill and I were there all weekend ourselves doing work. We have a bit more demo to do.stachions There was this strange little closet room that was all lined in tarpaper that we took down over the weekend (most of it, at least). We also tore up some of the floor in the basement, so we can pour footings for the basement stairs. Part of that entailed pulling a giant post, probably 8 inches in diameter, out of the ground. I think it was buried at least 4 feet. We want to reuse them, though, as banisters for the stairs coming into the front door and inside, so we had to painstakingly dig it out.

We still need to pull down part of the old hayloft. A piece of it will remain as a loft, but some (the rotted parts, in particular) will come down to elevate the ceilings in the great room. On Saturday our buddy Brian came to help, and we had an unexpected visit from my father: he was dropping off a hand-me-down couch (they are replacing the one in the kitchen, and gave their old one to us).

And we plan to be back this Saturday for more work! We have to capitalize on free time when we have it (because we don’t have much).

A bit more waiting.

On Christmas Eve, we got an email from our bank guy, Tad at First Savings Bank of Perkasie (, that the commitment letter for our loan was in the mail, and once we had it in our hands, we could schedule our settlement date.  Awesome!  Then, there was Christmas day, then a snow storm, then the New Year’s holiday.  So the USPS isn’t exactly rushing it to our door. We’re a bit anxious, but realize we will close on this loan sooner rather than later.

So to move forward (as we wait), we ordered a dumpster and it was delivered last week.  Today, we cleared out that unsightly pile of rotten / water damaged / unusable boards (that appear in a photo or two).  So the space is ready to continue framing, once Tom is able and our loan is done. 

Alright, 2011. 
Let’s do this.


While we wait for our construction loan to go through, Billy and I have been busy with demolition.  It’s not demo in the traditional sense, as we’re trying to salvage all that we can to reuse it elsewhere in the renovation.

Towards the north side of the barn, there was a giant wall of 11″ wide planks, separating the main room (by the hay mow) from the room that’s over the garage.  We’ve taken out that entire wall.

On the south side of the barn, there were three rooms below the hay loft.  The side entrance led into the mud room, there was a room in the middle, and then a work room towards the front of the barn.  In our drawings, the mud room will remain in roughly the same place, but the other two rooms will come out to form the great room.  So, board by board, we tore those out as well.

Here are some before-and-after photos of demolition.