So, we went to IKEA to buy some curtains to hang in the front hall in front of the entrance door to knock down some of the draughts that come through the front door. A standard trick in an old house. Before I could hang the curtain however, I needed to remove two small cupboards on either side of the door. These cupboards used to house the electrical supply which used to come in the front of the house and was relocated to the basement a number of years ago (have we been here that long that it is now “years ago” instead of “months ago”!!).
In addition, a while back (note the change in terminology) a neighbour down the street gave me a wallpaper steamer thing. He runs the charity shop in town and someone had dropped it in to sell and he knew I would be a likely customer for it.
So, I thought I would remove some of the old moldy wall paper and these two cupboards before hanging this “winter” curtain. The picture below is where I ended up!
The plaster molding around the top of the door was rather precariously perched on top of those two cupboards, so on removal despite the fact I was being extremely gentle, some parts fell off. I have the parts and will plaster them back up eventually. The floor boards at the entry, due to years of wet boots and moisture from the basement were rather rotten and needed replacing, the beams underneath were half eaten by the death watch beetle and the rubble that someone had put between the floor and these beams was just unacceptable.
On further note, the interior walls in this house are hand-made bricks that are 100mm by 200mm and 10mm thick, set on edge. The carpenters who installed the skirting boards (base boards) on the inside rooms used hammer and nails. Well, nails and clay bricks just don’t mix, so all the bricks on the bottom of the hall walls are rubble and barely holding the rest of the wall up. Seems the wall paper I removed was doing it.
So, the short story is that there is a bit more work involved with these curtains than originally planned. I have removed all rotten beams just under the doorway and will remove all the beams under the floor as well. I have started making cement block piers in the basement that will hold up the new structure and will make new cement beams across the opening to rest floor beams on (Monty, you will be proud of me, I have actually bought re-bar and concrete!!). I will re-lay the floor, fix the side walls and repair all the plaster on the arch. Now, to get all this done before Christmas – hmmm??
As usual, a few pictures for the visual effect! The first one is the hallway on day of purchase, April 2010.