5/26/06 – Blueprints & Bars of Silver

May 26, 2006 at 6:47 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

Old house owners dream of finding treasure in the walls.  You never know what you might uncover; a letter, old newspaper, evidence of changes to the house or even a lucky shoe.  Sometimes previous owners hide valuables in the walls.  Doyle, the previous owner, believes his wife hid bars of silver somewhere in the house.  Doyle thinks she may have traded the silver for diamonds, so we've been sifting through the rubble in hopes of making a valuable discovery.
 
Original blueprints to a house built in 1872 would also be a tremendous find.  As I was peeling off layers of wallpaper, hidden doors and lath and plaster in the North Bedroom, I stumbled upon a long tube and an older, weathered roll of paper leaning next to the tube.   I got chills. 
 
Kate was on her way over for a visit so I made sure NOT to look inside the tube or unroll the paper so she could make the discovery.  With the digital camera snapping up picture The Tubeafter picture, we "discovered" that what we found were not blueprints, but rather a print of a ship painting.  The weathered roll of paper The Paintingturned out to be a wallpaper sample.  Both are very old — perhaps 100+ years, but our hopes were high for blueprints. Bummer.
 
WallpaperThe search continues for Blueprints and Bars of Silver! 

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5/22/06 – Another Door and a Date

May 22, 2006 at 10:00 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

Today I focused on tearing out the walls, ceiling and the poorly designed closet in the blue room.  After tearing out the closet it was clear that it was framed in well after the stairway to the upstairs was built. 
 
Later I began to tear apart the other bedroom and stumbled upon yet another doorway that went into the kitchen area of the apartment. 

Door to Apartment Kitchen     Door to Apartment Kitchen Opened

I also found a layer of very old paneling on three of the four walls.  The paneling is the Pannelingsame as much of the exterior siding of the house dating back to before 1885 (I think, based on Sanborn maps). 

The fourth wall provided an interesting fact:  The wall was added on Dec. 5, 1940.  Whoever did the work was nice enough to date it for us to find 65 years later.  Considering the similar construction Date on Woodmaterials — they used exactly the same wood based on the stamp — I believe the blue room closet and a stairway to the basement were added in 1940 too.
 
Why does the date of construction matter?  For us, the goal is to return the house to the way it was 100 years ago, after the third major addition.  If we attempted to return the house to how it originally looked in 1872, we would have to remove the apartment as well as the turret and all the gingerbread detail on the front of the house.   So, keeping the 100 year goal in mind, if a wall went up in 1940 instead of 1890, we wouldn't hesitate to remove it to create a better floor plan.

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5/21/06 – Visitors

May 22, 2006 at 9:42 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

The project house has become the talk of the town — or at least the neighborhood.  People are curious about all the activity and I'd bet I've given more than 100 tours of the house so far.  All the positive comments help reinforce that we're heading in the right direction.
 
Two visitors last week were unique in that they were telling ME about the house.  Orange Decker lived in the house in the late 60s to early 70s before selling it to his brother Doyle Door Opening With Rodwho owned it until this April.  Orange said he was the one who closed off the doorway from the entry to the living room.  He also confirmed the date of the most recent wallpapering in the living room was from 1971 (you can see the wallpaper in Rod's hand in the photo to the left.)  I found a newspaper in the wall with the date April 5, 1971, confirming the work had been done in that zone.
 
Orange's son Linn also stopped by to see how the place had changed.  He talked about his room, where the bed was located and later the location of his sister's crib.  His most vivid memory in the home occurred on July 20, 1969.  Five years old at the time and wanting to watch cartoons, Linn remembers watching Neil Armstrong take "One small step for man" on the living room television. Moon Landing
 
Keep hitting this blog for more stories about the house and the people who lived in it over the past 134 years!

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5/20/06 – Free Recycling Day and More!

May 22, 2006 at 9:25 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

The past few days have seen lots of changes to the house.  Kate's dad Stephen came Dad Helpingdown to help out with the removal of the lath and plaster walls and ceilings.  Thank you, Stephen!  In the "blue room," (aptly named for the horrific blue trim color) he revealed two doorways that had been closed off years ago.  One went into the apartment space and was probably an outside door at one point. 
 
We had suspected that there was some muddling of the blue room because the closet was right up against a window — it just didn't feel right.  Sure enough, Blue Room Sillwith a little demolition you could easily see the rest of the window trim continues through the wall and into the closet.  This will be restored back to original.
 
Saturday, May 20th was Free Recycling day here in Albany. Recycling Day You have to haul it, but they will take just about anything.  So we borrowed Derrick and Julie Cox's trailer and hauled away 4 loads of yard debris and two loads of wood from the lath and plaster removal.  Kate gave the lawn another trim and the yard has never looked better! 

Check out the before and after pictures below:

Pre Recycling     Post Recycling
 
A special thank you goes out to our new favorite neighbor, Rod, who lives across the street.  As a retired logger he helped fall a tree that required skill in not landing on the project house or the house next door.  On Saturday, he pitched in to load the trailer!  Rod's wife Debbie is also very nice and dropped off a Welcome to the Neighborhood card.  Thanks to Rod and Debbie for being great neighbors!

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5/16/06 – Now it’s getting Fun!

May 19, 2006 at 1:15 pm (732 Walnut Updates, Albany Links, Preservation Links)

Rod and Sawzall

False Ceiling RemovedNow it's getting fun!  I love demolition!  Can't get enough of a sawzall, sledgehammer and crowbar.  I've been working on tearing out the false ceiling in the entry, kitchen, living and dining room.  Some time in the late 60s somebody thought it made sense to drop the ceilings from the original 11 feet down to only nine.  Crazy, I know, but it happened a lot during that era as folks tried to save on heating costs.
 
Found DoorwayI have also been attacking the lath and plaster walls.  In many spots it just crumbles in tiny pieces, other areas I'm able to remove it in bigger chunks.  A few surprises have appeared:  There was the closed off doorway, which we talked about in a previous blog.  Confirmed there was a transom window above the front door.  We had suspected that based on the way the exterior siding Transom Windowwas badly patched over the door, but it was confirmed when I discovered sheetrock over the front door instead of lath and plaster.  Also the framing indicated that area had been modified.
 
Between the dining room and living room I discovered an archway that had long been lowered and squared off — probably at the same time the ceilings were lowered.  The result is a much more open feel from room to room.  Archway
 
You have to have vision when tackling a project in as bad of shape as this house is.  But we are already seeing a payoff with the latest discoveries.  More to come!  Keep hitting this blog for all the latest!

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5/10/06 Update Now Available

May 10, 2006 at 9:21 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

We've got a new post for you to read. Click here, or, click on 5/10/06 – There's a House Under therein the right rail!

Also, I added a post script to this most recent blog, be sure to check that out as well.

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Week 1 is posted!

May 1, 2006 at 3:51 pm (732 Walnut Updates, Articles on the House)

Check out what we've done so far – read about what happened to the Datsun (I know you've been dying to know!)  Click here, or, click on Week 1 in the right rail!

Also, we've posted "A little bit of history" to bring any of you who are just joining us up to speed on things.

Finally, for those of you who didn't see, we made the front page of the Albany Democrat-Herald!  Click here to see the archived story.

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