Friday, December 8, 2006

A Dynamic Duo!

Eric and I hit the house for another three hours again last night. We stripped all of the panelling from the west wall in the living room. Our dream was to find an entry door hidden behind it all. Old italianates often had two entries. One was the "formal entry" into the parlor where they welcome guests. The other was the "familiar entry" which family members used in day-to-day activities. This probably would have been the "formal entry" (if the living room was once the parlor). The existence of an entry is evident from a piece of plywood outside sealing up the old door. Alas, some former owner must have removed it and left drywall, insulation and plywood in its place (sigh).

I continued around the wall to remove more panelling, plaster and lathe to expse the second pocket door. Meanwhile, Eric tore out the strange ceiling abuttments and the strip covering the pocket door track. So IF we removed the carpeting AND the nail in one of the doors anchoring it to a stud...we probaby have working pocket doors! Too bad we plan to tear down those walls and will have to find a better place for them. The removal of the panelling exposed lots of old plaster attached to the exterior brick walls. Some of it still has very victorian-looking floral wallpaper that comes off in sheets. It looks like it was printed on brown packaging paper, but I'm pretty sure that's just because it is so old! While cleaning out the walls from the mountains of plaster and dust I created, Eric suddenly jumped up and scared me to death with an excited "Mare LOOK!" He produced a flat case that with some soot scrubbing turned out to be a decorative black and silver deco cigarette case! I grabbed the camera to take pictures of our diligent work and our new prize. I was very proud of myself for remembering it on this trip. Too bad I didn't check the batteries at home! I'll try to get shots next time of the wall paper and newly found pocket door.

We make a point to clean up each night before we leave. It makes for a good "cool down" period from the heavy labor and makes it nice to return for the next smash session without encountering a giant mess. Last night just after Eric found the case and I pulled some weird fabric-y pieces (curtains?) out from on top of one of the pocket doors, I went to turn on the vacuum and "pop!" all of the lights went out and the vacuum started smoking. Now, we'd had the radio, the Shop-Vac AND the Hoover vac going earlier ALL at the same time without incident. I spookily surmised that we'd disturbed some spirit in the house who was displeased with out intrusion! The ever-stoic Eric just went down the basement, flipped the breaker, on came the power and all went back to normal (vacuuming included). Stay tuned. The ceiling might come down Sunday after our party!

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