• January 27, 2004

Den Disaster

Too many things wrong to mention...

Restoration Diary, , ,

Sometimes, I’d rather not know. Really, really rather not know. Really. The plaster walls are in horrific shape.


Wallpaper is the only thing holding the ceiling up. The plaster has completely disconnected from the lath. The plaster ceiling cannot be saved and will need to be replaced with drywall due to cost restrictions.

Sad plaster walls

The wall between the kitchen and den had already been replaced with drywall by the previous owner. Once the drywall came off we found that 3 of the wall studs, which support the second story, are damaged by dry rot.

Dry rot

That corner of the room sits underneath the upstairs bath. That must have been one hell of a water leak!

Dry rot

The bottom of the studs are completely eaten through by dry rot in places. It makes me wonder why the second story hasn’t started to sink into the den?


We also discovered an old termite infestation. There were no live termites but they had been there and eaten away some of our window frame and the lath.

Sad little den!

It was another bang up day in home ownership! Tequila. I need lots and lots of tequila.

Comments { 3 }
  1. jmo

    There is no getting around the fact, that when found all at once and as a group, these particulars are really a huge bummer.

    They all can be fixed. I suspect we’ll find similar issues above our current bedroom and under the second floor bath. Still, it doesn’t make the discovery any more fun.

    Your copper plumbing looks so shiny and new…that IS a plus. Our rotted gross slimy LEAD plumbing is coming out. That’s a cool little mound o’ cash. And I don’t think the plumbers compromised anything too badly with the holes…if the holes aren’t in anything that bears weight (like a joist, beam, post or load bearing wall stud), you’re very likely A-OK. If the holes are in a joist or load-bearing wall stud, AKO did the research and found that you can safely remove up to 1/3 of such without compromising.

    Anything that you want to reinforce can be reinforced…that includes rotted posts (there are specific techniques for this…recent issue of Fine Homebuilding illustrated this one I think. “Renovating Old Houses” definitely addresses stuff like this. Our neighbors also found this…including the old termite loveliness…when they uncovered a muddled front room/porch. They’ve pulled through :)

    The asbestos…shudder…nightmare. I don’t think you could have done much else. Termites…old! No new ones :) Mold….erk. Can be addressed. Especially if it is in a place where the old plaster and lathe goes. Drywall…that is a bummer. Though look into sheetrock and skim plaster coat. Someone on the ABM board had to do this and it isn’t too bad…especially if you aren’t patching a wall as 1/2 and 1/2. And easier to put up then recreating a plaster ceiling. I reluctantly concede this, because I adore plaster, but the plaster for 4 room ceilings in our place is already gone and it looks like we’ll be losing at least 4 more room ceilings by the end of this. Remember…battles versus war. They’ll be so busy oohing and ahhing over your gorgeous trim…

    Margaritas. I would say that the Unofficial Bungalow Owner’s Manual says to first mix some margaritas. Before anything else. Then make up a list of creative curses to invite upon the heads of previous owners. These get better as the margarita level goes down.

    Hang in there.

  2. heather

    Thanks for the support. It’s nice to hear from a fellow comrade in arms! Glad to hear about the AKO research.

  3. jmo

    H–By tomorrow morning or the next, I should have some photos up of the sistering we did on the bathroom in yesterday’s enty. It is pretty straightforward work. Looks good.

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