Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Hallway Project, Walls

If I look for it, I see the effects of old age throughout the house. Here's a shot of the hallway wall, where a section of the wall expanded and cracked because of moisture from above--it's just inches away from the attic fan opening, and we've had some leaks in the area.

I became intimately familiar with these walls when demolishing the guest bathroom. Unlike the walls of today, which are made from a chalky material, this wallboard from 1924 is made up of fibers and a thin plaster shell, so it expands and cracks when it gets wet. No problem. I've pulled down this entire section am replacing it.

Another thing I've wondered about is this view of daylight from the attic fan opening. In 1924 these louvers would have been opened most of the summer, and the gigantic fan above would pull air from the house. So these cracks would have been no big deal. I'm going to seal the opening.

I've tried the fan in the summer and it is impressive, like watching a small plane get ready to take off, but nothing can take the heat out of a Florida summer. Thinking back to life in 1924, this fan would have been indispensable if, in fact, anyone were here, but chances are that no one actually lived here in the summer--they would have arrived in the fall from somewhere up north. They would have marched up the stairs, first thing, and turned on the attic fan.

Another item on my hallway project is the bathroom door, which is in sad shape. It has been neglected over the years, poorly painted, pitifully primed, dinged and scraped. I'm going to give it a good restoration. All these things can be fixed.

What happens with old age? An opportunity to be young again.

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