The goal of the project was to restore the building interior, as much as possible and practical, to what it was like during the early years, while including modern amenities and building practices to essentially create a new home with an old look and feel.
The demolition work revealed things like the original floor plan of the building, shapes and sizes of window and door trim, baseboards, chair rails, and picture moldings, as well as flooring material and color schemes. The restoration work aims to preserve these attributes, and even some original material, as much as possible and practical.
The initial part of the interior reconstruction addressed a few structural issues like restoring load bearing walls on the main floor and repairing the second floor joists. Afterwards the 2x4 exterior walls were shimmed to obtain a 2x6 wall thickness which could accommodate R20 insulation like most modern homes.
Once these initial tasks were complete the rest of interior work was basically the same as one would find in any modern home. New electrical wiring, insulation, and plumbing were installed along with new heating and ventilation systems. That was followed by drywall and then the installation of things like the kitchen cabinets, modern appliances, plumbing fixtures, as well as flooring and trim.
The second floor structure ended up needing work like the main floor, but for different reasons. Over the years load bearing walls on the main floor were removed without due consideration for the effect on the second floor. As a result, the floor joists on the second floor were not properly supported causing some of them to crack. For this reason doublers were added to all the second floor joists. And while that was being done another issue created by the original carpenters was also addressed. They built the second floor without any type of subfloor, so all the finished flooring was pulled up and proper plywood subfloor was installed. Doing this actually made it easier to add doublers.
All the exterior walls of the building, except for the east lean-to, were shimmed on the inside to obtain a 2x6 wall thickness to make room for R20 insulation. The walls of the east lean-to are actually a 2x8 wall thickness (R24) because of the sunken floor and the desire to make a smooth transition to the basement which is built with 2x8 material. Once the wall shimming was complete, the interior walls (partitions) were installed. On the second floor most of the interior walls were able to be re-used.
As you noticed in the above photos insulation was installed in the exterior was as soon as possible to create comfortable working environment during the winter (early March 2009).
The original staircase was one original item from the interior of the building that was preserved. In was removed early in the project and then later re-installed.
The old staircase still requires a lot of TLC, but that will come later.
There was nothing special about the electrical wiring. During the demolition work all of the wiring previously in the building was completely removed so the entire building was wired as though it was a brand new home.
Like the electrical wiring, the entire plumbing system in the building is brand new. However, unlike the electrical wiring, installing the plumbing was a bit of a challenge due to the location of the kitchen and bathrooms and the desire to conceal the plumbing as much as possible, especially that going up to the second floor.
The plumbing work was one of the longest tasks, but it's not that it took a lot of effort. Instead it was just the fact that only certain portions of it could be done at any given time. The first plumbing work, running the waste pipe and water supply line under the footings, was done before the concrete footings were installed. The next bit of work, installing the plumbing pipes below the basement floor, couldn't happen until the basement walls were up. After that came the rest of the rough in work, which couldn't happened until some of the interior walls were in place. The last bit of plumbing, installation of the plumbing fixtures, couldn't been done until kitchen and bathroom cabinets were in place.
Like the plumbing, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) was quite a challenge. The heating systems used in the house since the days of the coal fired heater and stove were all hot water type systems. These systems had a boiler in the basement with hot water pipes running to hot water radiators or baseboard heaters in the various rooms in the building. Such a system is relative easy to install and is good for heating but it does nothing for ventilation nor a centralized air conditioning system. As such, a force air heating system was installed. This will ensure adequate ventilation throughout the building and it can easily accommodate a centralized air conditioning system if and when such a system is required.
The challenge for the forced air heating system was the installation of all the duct work, especially that going up to the second floor which was mostly concealed in walls or between floor joists.
The drywall installation was straight forward and done just like any drywalling job.
The interior was painted using colors found on the early layers of plaster.
The kitchen cabinets were custom built on-site. The cabinet doors and drawer faces are being made from wood salvaged from the walls of the original kitchen (See photo of Mrs Noel's kitchen).
The custom replica windows required some finishing work on the inside of the building. First of all jamb extension had to be added to make them fit the new 2x6 wall thickness. Afterwards the windows were stained and varnished to show the natural beauty of the wood. Last but not least, custom trim is being created to match what was originally in the building.
The original building had tongue and groove (TNG) wood (fir) flooring. That flooring material is being cleaned up and re-installed. Due to the condition of the old flooring it won't be possible to do the whole building, so only select rooms will receive this flooring.
This installing of the old flooring is still in progress. More photos will be added when it's done.