Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bathroom Progress ... or, How to Pass Time While Snowed In.

As expected, we received two feet of snow on Friday and Saturday.  We had laid in ample supplies of everything we could think of, so there was no worry about having to leave the house for anything. 

By Saturday afternoon, as the snow continued to fall, cabin fever began to set in.  We are accustomed to going places and doing things, and it's hard for us to quietly accept the few times when this is not possible  ...  like when we're trapped in the house by yet another snow storm.

How does one deal with cabin fever?  By dismantling part of the cabin, of course.  Steve went downstairs with his implements of destruction to finish off the remaining walls in the basement bathroom.

(If you missed earlier posts about what we're doing in the bathroom, click HERE and HERE to come up to speed.)

We had to move the clawfoot bathtub out of the way to get to the walls.  Steve cut small squares of carpet to slip under the feet, so he could slide it to the other side of the room.

The trash cans are trapped in the driveway underneath snow, so he used the tub as a dumpster.

The walls had two layers of wallboard on them.  The uppermost layer was gypsum drywall, with various colors of paint and at least two layers of wallpaper on it.  The underneath layer was unpainted Beaver Board (a compressed fiber product, common in early-to-mid 20th century utilitarian spaces.)

We found crumpled pieces of old newspaper from December 1943 inside one of the stud spaces.  This suggests that the bathroom is newer than the 1920's/30's that we thought it was.  After I get the newspaper all flattened out, I'll come back here to tell you about some of the facinating stories and ads that it contains. 

The clawfoot tub was installed earlier than we were told it was.  The drain line is the same copper that was used in the 1960's renovation, instead of the galvanized drain that was used in the original plumbing.  The partition wall that contains the drain is obviously newer construction than the outside wall.  I'm wondering if the bathroom was originally one room, and was sectioned into the hall, closet, and smaller bathroom in the 60's?

Someone wrote a materials list on the Beaver Board wall above where the tub was ... probably for the partition walls.  (Steve had already torn off a chunk of the writing before I stopped him to take this photo.)

It says:

7  for Bathroom
4  for closet
14  2 x 4 x 8
10  furring strips 8'
1  26" (something)
(something) (something)
45  ft (something)
45  " M(something)
30  " 10X
30  " 2X
trim for door

and they did some math:



1 1/4  ceiling
1 1/4
1 1/4  walls
1 1/2

I've been working on the renovation of this house since December 2002.  It didn't take me long to learn that, if you're quiet and you listen, the house will talk to you and tell you stories.  I will preserve these recent discoveries, along with the few others we have, for future owners of our house.  And I will leave my own time capsule in the wall of the bathroom ... a newspaper with stories of this most recent blizzard.  It seems appropriate.


  1. Oh boy, does that bring back memories! We worked and worked on this old 1869 house, and we are finally 'done enough'. I'm in the mood to do a little redecorating though. I love that you put a newspaper in the wall. LOVE IT. Hope cabin fever doesn't get you down too much hon.

  2. I've heard similar stories from people renovating old farmhouses -- newspapers packed in walls, and construction notes. That's a great idea to put your own time capsule into the wall.


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