Bonafide Farm

How a house comes down…even when you weren’t planning on it

October 6th, 2009 § 1

To get caught up, I bought the farm and spent the summer working with a draftsman to design a renovation. One thing led to another and the project snowballed until I was basically building a new house. I found a contractor, signed a contract, and on Sept. 28, demolition began. The first day it looked like this:

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Day Two:

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And here’s when things got dicey. Turns out that right where I wanted to cut a new front foyer into the house, the floors were uneven on either side of the main beam.

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Further investigation of the beam revealed this:

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If it’s not obvious from the photo, this is not what you want the main, loadbearing beam of your house to look like when you finally get right up under the hoary little floorboards. Termite damage. Lots of it. But it was certainly not unanticipated, and I had prepared myself to expect this. So after not too much headscratching and nary a moment to mourn the old house, which I had made a good faith effortto salvage, I decided to take the existing structure completely down to the foundation and build new. It just didn’t make sense to build essentially a new house on top of a crappy base. And now we could deepen the crawl space, which is about 16″ deep now and scary, condition it to increase energy efficiency, and stash several large systems such as the HVAC and water heater down there, freeing up valuable interior space. And so deconstruction proceeded. I asked the contractors to salvage as much old wood as they could, with the hope that I could make something out of it in the future.

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Day four. The roof starts to come off.
House attains that light and airy feel I was going for:

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Day five. I’ve got a nice mountain view through what was once my house…

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And this is where we are at 7:30 p.m. tonight. My contractor was at the site when I dropped by tonight, and he suspects that the house will be completely down to the foundation by Thursday. Then work begins to add a few courses of block to the foundation and get that set to put up a new house.

§ One Response to “How a house comes down…even when you weren’t planning on it”

  • Matt Dawson says:

    An excellent summary for the unitiated. :) My favorite gem so far:

    “House attains that light and airy feel I was going for.”


    That chimney looks absolutely defiant!

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