Friday, September 26, 2014

Old Florida home remodel phase 1: DEMO

Part of the process of creation is destruction. To build anew one must start with a blank canvas, Tabula rasa. And so the first step in the renovation of our 1924 bungalow was demolition.

First a temporary wall was constructed sealing off the front half of the house from the back half. The majority of the renovations are taking place in the back half, and by walling it off we could continue to live in the house a bit longer. So it wasn't long before plaster walls were crumbling down.

I have to admit it was kind of exciting because I was curious to see what we might find. Everyday after the workers left I poked through the rubble.

First the plaster wall was removed from the guest bedroom exposing the wood lathe from the wall on the opposite side. This would be become our guest bathroom.

Also exposed was the old knob and tube wiring that was used throughout most of the house.  Contemporary building codes required that we upgrade the electricity throughout the entire house.

Something appeared to have created a nest under our bathtub, probably rats.

When we removed the drop ceiling in our tiny kitchen we found two florescent light fixtures with bulbs intact. Perhaps the light switch that we thought did nothing was actually turning on lights we never knew existed. Could this explain our large power bills?

Beneath the vintage bathroom tile was plaster scored to look like tile.

My favorite surprise was this tiny ironing board found in the wall of the kitchen. It would have opened up in the back room which at one time had a washer and dryer in it.

Underneath the bathroom tile was this blue linoleum.

Snail shells inside the walls. Did they crawl there themselves or did a rodent feast on escargot?

Proof that our back room was an addition; the white tongue and groove overhang was the original back of the house. The addition will have similar tongue and groove overhangs. 

The back room sans windows. My guess is that it was originally a Florida room.

Walls demoed, the floors exposed to the elements before they too ended up in the dumpster. The floor boards were in rough shape and could not be salvaged.

Layers of linoleum in the kitchen like sedimentary rock formations, each one holding a story of our home's history. It was difficult to determine what the original flooring looked like.

Here's the back of the house with the back room removed. This would be as far as the house  originally stretched. The addition most recently held a room we called the "Elbo Room", a small bathroom, and two cramped closets. New construction starts here.
City code also mandated that we demo much of our driveway. Our home was once used for a construction business, and my theory is that the business was responsible for much of the concrete that surrounded the house. While I was happy to see it go, I was not thrilled about the unforeseen expense. But I suppose that is all part of the ongoing process....


  1. I live in a house built in 1859. It is surprisingly intact and that is wonderful and also has its problems. Of course, there are built-on rooms, varying in age and in condition. The inside of the tiny closet under the stairway reveals the exact same sort of wood-lathe as you have in your guest bathroom. I adore my old house and gladly accept its flaws as I embrace its beauties. It is lovely to see these pictures of your house which are you so lovingly bringing back to full life.

  2. I don’t know about you, but I find it amusing when I see a tad of what was underneath the original appearance of a room or house after it was demolished, just like those empty snail shells you found inside the walls! I couldn't help but create a funny story or two in my mind when I saw them. Haha! Anyway, good luck with the remodel! And thank you for sharing the experience with us. Cheers!

    Hope Underwood @ Level and Square Construction