Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Warning: some readers may find these images disturbing!

There is no doubt that demolition work is fun. The guys who have moved in to our house to start the renovation (as we have moved out to a temporary rental home, a mile down the road) tell me that the demolition is the best bit and they liken it to a form of therapy. After a walk through the house and a rather crude system of marking 'Xs' on the areas to be demolished, the drawings (that took a year to complete and a hefty design budget to refine) are put to one side and hammers are the order of the day.

The entrance way with the vestibule and closet walls removed

It is fast work. In the 48 hours since the men began, the ground floor is unrecognisable. Kitchen cabinets, fixtures and archaic appliances have been torn out, drywall is ripped out to reveal studs and joists, wood panelling and trim is prised away and the swinging hammers smash through partitions (there really is no other word but 'smash' to communicate the energy and speed of the demolition process).

Half of the z-shaped kitchen - gone

Yes, you read that right. Amongst the swinging hammers, there is the more delicate process of removing the wood trim and panelling. Now this is where some may disagree with our approach and the design decisions we have made for our 100 year old home. And so it is with some trepidation that I share these pictures with you.

Dining room - before

At the heart of our house is a dining room. Seen in the picture above as it was when we left it on Friday. In this state, it was a vast improvement on the dining room that we inherited from our predecessors, with its dark blue carpet on the floor, green paint above the panelling and heavy dark ceiling fans hanging in the centre of the room, the combined effect of which was to make the space feel like a cave. When the sun shone outside, sitting in the dining room, we could barely see the food on the plate in front of us. Today that room has changed.

The dining room - now

The wood panels on the walls have gone and I hope, dear readers, that you will not judge us too harshly for this. This is not a strike against wood panels - they are very common in the houses of our neighbourhood and we have seen lots of homes where they add character and beauty. Unfortunately, these did not and so their time was up. The decision was not easy and we spent many hours debating between ourselves and with the architects how to blend the wood with the updated look of the new addition. Ultimately, the panels had to go and I have to admit that seeing the wood lying on the garage floor awaiting its fate (in a kind of demolition purgatory), a moment of doubt overcame me. I'm sure it was the first of many to come. The renovation of an old home is not for the faint hearted.

The kitchen cabinets and appliances 

Other areas will keep their character: the leaded windows, the wood panelling in the entrance hall, up the staircase and on the landing. This renovation is the pursuit of light and where that sits with the original features fitted by the builders in the Edwardian age, we intend to restore and preserve it.

And so, we close the door on the old dining room (at least we would if the door was still there) and look forward to the new space that will be the lighter heart of our new home, where the wood in our mid century Danish dining table and chairs will be the focus of attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment