Monday, May 21, 2007

Raising the ceiling...err, floor.

Last week was a sparse week on YASTM, only because it was a busy week around the demolition/construction/restoration project we lovingly call, home.

The decent weather has brought the latest project to the top of the heap in terms of feasibility - both temporally and physically.

A little background.

Sometime before the early 1940's, a major addition was constructed and tacked onto the eastern section of the house. It included a side porch and entrance and the rooms now being used as our laundry room, our one-and-only bathroom, and a walk-in storage closet.

The addition also included what was once considered a bi-level sleeping porch. Well, I call it a lanai, but back in the days before central A/C, folk around these parts called it a sleeping porch - basically a room with large windows on every wall that were covered in canvas (later screens) for comfortable sleeping on those warm summer Oklahoma nights.

The surrounding windows have long been covered up with siding (badly), the stairway removed (an attic ladder installed in it's place), and the low, seven foot ceilings rendered both the upper and lower rooms as not quite habitable.

The plan then -- raise the 1st floor ceiling up a foot to give the downstairs room a full 8-foot clearance, build a new floor 3' above the recently raised ceiling to be level with the existing 2nd story floor, then raise the roof on the 2nd floor to afford the same 8' ceiling clearance for the upstairs room.

Both of the rooms will then be transformed into adequately large upstairs and downstairs bathrooms (10'x13').

Next, we'll bust out the entire 24' eastern wall of the upstairs unfinished play area, build a short right angled hallway connecting the play area to the upstairs bathroom, and while were at it, build out a 12'x6' observation deck off of the play area, accessed via a set of french doors allowing for plenty of sunset colors to flood the upstairs with several hours of golden hour light.

There's a ton more detail that's going to go into this project (plumbing, electrical, insulation, flooring, bathroom fixture selection, roofing -- not to forget that we have to raise the entire roof of the 2nd floor up 55" to get to our 8' ceiling), but for last week, we just tackled the first task -- raising the downstairs ceiling.

Pulled all the sheetrock off the second floor and found no insulation (no surprise), that the exterior siding was nailed directly to the wall studs instead of to a plywood sheet (very surprised) and that the only insulation was a sheet of tar paper (brrrr). Here were prying up the old floor planks and detaching the floor/ceiling in preparation to lift it up 13".

Yes that window will have to be moved up, otherwise it'll be nearly sitting on the new floor.

The ceiling is loose, thanks to some handy work with a Milwaukee Sawzall, and were slowly raising it up, up, and away.

13" up and the attic ladder no longer touches the terra firma on which it once rested.

A lonely orb comes to examine our handiwork. The ceiling is up and we now have 8' ceilings in the future downstairs bathroom.