seventy-five 2x4’s later...
... we have a framed living room and fireplace.
The french polishing stages of 5 planes provided an excellent “window” for working on the living room/dining room. My Dad was able to offer a welcome and much needed hand with all this. The basic set-up was to stack the lumber on the front porch and pass it through the window as needed. Dad was in charge of measuring and piloting the chop saw (and sadly, it is not a Festool). He was also a great sounding board to figure out just how to build a 48" full extension drawer under the hearth. He played a vital role in getting this done - thanks Dad.
Here is a quick shot of the bulkhead to return this space into two rooms. The bulkhead drops down to the same height as the pocket and double beveled glass doors. That trim line will be carried from the doors to the bulkhead. The effect of the bulkhead is amazing - the space does not feel like a dark bowling ally anymore - it feels much wider (which is exactly what we were hoping would happen).
This is a shot of the early stages of figuring out the fireplace framing. Dad kept shaking his head and I swear I heard him mutter under his breath “nothing is ever done simple in this house!” There were a few frustrating moments, but I think we both enjoyed the challenge - and certainly the reward of solving the issues. I will post more photos once the drawer is completed and installed.
Another shot a little further along.
We also took time to do some new wiring in the two bedrooms above this room. We ran several new receptacle lines and cleaned out the last knob and tube circuit in the house.
The next step is to create a barrier between the windows and the new 2x4 framing to contain the spray in polyurethane foam insulation.
There was also quite a bit of work going on outside. The chimney was taken down to the last few courses of brick and then rebuilt.
Here is a shot of the completed chimney. See the line where the color changes? The lower section is not the actual brick color... someone painted it! The 70’s were not good to this house.
The two new windows were also installed - and we are thrilled with the results. We would not have removed the original windows if it meant loosing the stained glass. We worked with the window manufacturer and based the upper picture window on the dimensions of the stained glass window frame. A few plane strokes later, the original frames dropped in from the inside.
One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to support the two courses of brick given that the original window frames were structural. We did not want to leave the original frames in because they would reduce the amount of glass, so we had two very large 1/4" thick steel “L” brackets made. The brick was notched out from the inside and the bracket was carefully slid in place. The bottom of the “L” supports both courses of brick and the vertical part keeps everything rigid. Thankfully the brick held fast and nothing moved.
If you are wondering what’s up with all the cross bracing - here is the scoop. We had considered using LVL’s - but they are about 10x’s as much - so we used regular spruce 2x4’s. To combat the inevitable twisting, warping and cupping we cross braced everything. Maybe a little more than we needed to - but nothing makes me more mental than drywall screws popping and walls moving.