Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 23: Pulling up the f***ing parquet

Spending two full days hunched over the floor pretty much sucks. Es pulling up floorboards; me pulling out the nails from the floorboards (we're saving them). But after after about twelve work hours, the parquet is gone! We're now down to the original (?) floor in the living rooms. We assume that under this layer are just the beams and open crawl space. Or hoping I should say. 






Es' parents came down on Saturday to help (bless them). They stripped the floors and walls of the back bedroom. A solid wood floor was hiding under two layers of laminate and vinyl flooring. The picture below is looking through the old doorway that used to be between the two bedrooms. The doorway in the corner (barely visible with the shadow) was there when we started; it leads to the kitchen annex. This bedroom was built in the 1950s as an add-on, explaining why the walls are not knubb. 


The knubb wall that you see on the right side of the picture above was the outer wall of the house before the new back bedroom was built. The exterior paneling was left intact, as you can see on the left side of the picture below. The picture below was taken from the back bedroom, looking towards/through the old doorway that used to join it to the front bedroom. (Which by the way used to be a window before the new room was built. Follow?) 



The picture above was taken standing in doorway of the front bedroom, looking through the old door (and former window) between the bedrooms. So the window in the center of the picture is in the back bedroom.

We didn't work a lot on the kitchen this weekend. But earlier in the week Es pulled up the styrofoam blocks that were sitting on top of the rock fill in the kitchen annex (under the concrete that was pulled up last weekend).  

His parents also pulled down the plasterboard that was covering the outer wall of the back bedroom. Again, found exterior paneling here. The kitchen annex (current gravel pit) was built in 2004. Before then, the back bedroom wall was actually outside.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 16: Making progress

Pulling down wall coverings and ripping up floors remained the focus of this week. It looks horrible in the house right now. As if it could never be livable. But honestly, it is really rejuvenating to pull down/out all the crumbling, dirty layers of bygone facades. When we do (eventually) get around to the rebuilding, we'll know what's in our walls. It won't be layers of disintegrating wallpaper, crumbling plaster, potato sacks, and old rags. And that is a good feeling.

From one side of the front living room, looking through to 
the other side. All wall paneling is down and in the van,
ready to be dumped! We are down to the last layer of wall covering -
the crumbling chalk plaster/original wallpaper.

Our current heating solution downstairs
(OK, some paneling remains)

Looking into the front bedroom. We finally got the last layer of vinyl
flooring up. Took down all wall paneling and took out the door.
Tore down a section of the knubb wall (on the right side of the door) that was 
precariously loose. Actually, we're liking the idea of a big, double 
door here, and have reconsidered making this room a library/study(/guestroom)
so that it is more integrated with the living rooms.

Got down to the bare knubb in the other side of the front living room.
The chalk plaster makes a huge, dusty mess! But it's pretty
easy to get down (raking over it with a crow bar works rather well).

Looking through to the entrance way/hallway from the kitchen. 
We tore out another section of wall here that was literally hanging 
from the ceiling without floor support. Some of the wall is planned to be 
replaced. Got around to taking out the downstairs bathroom this 
weekend (it used to be where you see the window)

Side view of the former downstairs bathroom

From the entrance way, looking into the front living room

The kitchen annex - this was the newest part of the house 
(built in 2004). It is filled in with layered small fill, styrofoam, and 
concrete, as we hope to do throughout the ground floor. 
Had to pull it up though so that we can make it level with the rest 
of the house, and integrate the planned floor heating. Thanks to
Es' dad for working the jackhammer all weekend to get us here!

Takk for hjelpen!


Big thanks to Es' dad for coming down to help us this weekend. Because of him, we now have a heap of broken up concrete where we once had a kitchen annex. Yes, that is actually a good thing.

Getting down to the knubb!

Deconstructing the interior walls of Sg13, layer by layer....

 "Before" walls: painted, textured wall paper

 Ripping through the layers (from front to back): particle board, plaster board, 
painted potato sack (yes, really! see post below), paneling

 Paneling. Kind of a nice color, really if it wasn't so dirty

 Behind the paneling: wallpaper, 3 layers thick
The original layer of wallpaper was fastened (by small tacks, it seems) 
to the chalk plaster that originally covered the knubb wall

 Finally! Down to the original knubb wall.
Heap in the foreground is mostly crumbling chalk plaster

Smoking Joe


Spotted this drawing on a strip of the old wallpaper. Nice to know that past owners/renovators had a sense of humor.

Notice the potato sack-like material on the backside? We found this stuff nailed up on the paneling (on both the walls and the ceiling). They painted on it directly. Guess it is more or less the same as putting up textured wall paper that is meant to be painted over. But still, potato sack material? Kind of yucky. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Plastered houses made of wooden bricks

So, Fredrikstad sits right where the river Glomma meets the sea. The river once was an important ore for the fleeting of timber, supplying timber from the forests in the central part of the country to the many sawmills that used to operate in the area. The sawmills generated a lot of leftover, cut stubs of wood, too short for commercial use. Times were poor and calling for cheap housing, so in Østfold County, like in the Swedish neighbor county Bohuslän, a house building culture evolved referred to as 'knubb-hus'. Basically, the short stubs of wood were used as bricks, with mortar and the works. Look at the last picture in Liz's last post, you will see an interesting discovery we made the other night. That's right, wallpaper behind the paneling, on top of old chalk mortar! As old as the paneling may be (a hundred years, I'm sure), the house still seems to have been plastered like a brick house to begin with. At least inside. And that's awesome, we are now planning to explore the possibility of returning the inside walls to their former working class glory...

Monday, January 16, 2012

The many wallpapers of Sg13







(These two at the bottom seem to be the first wallpapers of Sg13, 
or at least they are both directly on top of the original chalk plaster walls)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 8: Demolition in full swing

This week has primarily been spent ripping up (and down) layer after layer of flooring, ceiling, and wall covering. I think we pulled up 3 layers of flooring in the kitchen, and as many layers of paneling on the ceiling and walls. In the process we've uncovered an old door that leads from the hallway into the kitchen. We've also found about 10cm of extra ceiling height, which is a very welcome surprise. We've now gotten down to the raw walls in most of the kitchen and are nearly there on the ceiling. The same process has been started in the front living rooms.

Also this week, tetanus booster shots for both Es and I. First, Es stepped on a nail (went right through his shoe). Today, I went to catch a plank and ended up with a nail puncture in my arm. There are nails in everything we pull down, and they are difficult to avoid. 


Front hallway, with new opening to kitchen


Kitchen, looking towards living room. New opening to hallway is on the left.

Kitchen, looking through the new opening to hallway

Kitchen wall, where sink used to be. Raw "knubb" and brick.

Kitchen wall, where sink used to be. Raw "knubb" and brick.

Kitchen, looking towards veranda

Front living room, door is into the kitchen

Front living room (looking at the corner where the fireplace used to sit)


Partitian wall in front living room... and what we think is the original wallpaper

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 1: So long, kitchen

The deconstruction of the ground floor begins by taking down the existing kitchen. We will try to reuse most of it in the "new" house. I believe it is IKEA Adel (off-white), circa 2004/5.

Now you see it.


Now you don't.

"Before" Before - Pictures from the real estate ad

Here are some sloppy screen shots of the real estate announcement for Sverres gate 13 on Finn.no. Enough to get an idea of what the house looked like before we took it over and started renovations.

The big renovation planned is to pull up all the floors on the ground level, fill in the crawl space under the house so that the foundation is solid and we have infrastructure for floor heating, re-work some of the room arrangements, then re-do the flooring throughout so that it is all the same. The second story is mostly OK for the time being (the bathroom is pretty "blah," but we'll probably have to deal with it for a while). Just some superficial work is planned.  We are hoping to do most of the work ourselves.


Edited in early Feb to add: Ha!  Only one month into the project and we have already dreamed up a number of new changes both downstairs and upstairs. At this point, most anything goes (within the confines of our budget and sanity)!