Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Lost and Found

I've always read about people finding hidden things in their house like fireplaces, etc. and always imagined how cool that must be. Well the first week we lived at the Hall house was quite an exciting time!

First was uncovering the butler staircase which I already knew existed, but it still was quite thrilling. To go from the 1st to the 2nd floor I would have to go outside around to the front door and vice verse - and that got old real quick! So the day after settlement I was already tearing out those walls to the back stairs. I found most of the original trim intact which was nice and the original 5 panel door was nailed shut behind the panelling. The ceiling goes another foot above the dropped ceiling. Unfortunately the bottom two stairs came out into the kitchen and were torn out. That scrap wood nailed to the left at the top of the stairs - that was once original trim work that met a fate a little better than most. I salvaged every bit I could find.

Even more exciting was this angled wall in the "hallway" that led to the old parlor. At first I thought maybe this was where the stairs ended, later maybe that it covered up pocket doors, finally I was just clueless - what would a triangle cavity exist for with nothing above nor below to explain it. Then something clicked and I though hmmm, that would be logical spot for a fireplace when this was one big room. So I tore off the panelling and found..... plaster?! Huh. But then I caught a glimpse of green under the rug, and when I pulled it back I couldn't believe what I was seeing - a real arts & crafts style tile hearth! It didn't take me long to start hammering away at the wall and opening the firebox up. So cool, I gotta fireplace now but.... where's the chimney?? None poke out through the roof and no remnants of where one would have ever existed above. Then I noticed the hole in the bottom. It was a gas fireplace, and when I tore the wall above the brick I could see a metal flue pipe. Later I found out that the pipe travelled up to the ceiling, makes a 90 degree bend towards the back through the kitchen ceiling and ties into the heater chimney.... pretty slick.

Not bad for the first week!

1 comment:

Greg said...

With a tile hearth like that, there must have been a nice mantle at one time. Don't tell me, let me guess...