I Can Haz Load-Bearing Member*


My father-in-law took down the drop ceiling in the “living room,” a crucial step in understanding the underlying work needed in this structure. The good news: The kitchen wall isn’t a load-bearing wall, freeing us (in theory) to consider moving it, changing it, or eliminating it. With no wall the space changes substantially, and I could see a center-island kitchen working well in that configuration.

The bad news: The center beam gets an F from Mr. Foster who taught shop in high school. What started as a rough-cut 4×4 (true 4″ measure) is a mere 2×4 shadow of itself for a terrifying one-inch section. Even a whole 4×4 is questionable, where a pair of 2×6’s on edge would have been more politic. But I don’t want to install a tub above that Improvised Collapsing House Device, let alone fill it with water for a relaxing bath.


Here’s the whole ceiling uncovered.

IMG_2636 (1)

Here’s how the previous owner lowered the ceiling lamp junction box to reach the drop ceiling. This gets a D from Mr. Foster (extra credit for creativity).


Here’s the ceiling tile ready for a dump run.


My father-in-law also finished taking down the paneling in the upstairs room, which involved that very stubborn oak ceiling trim, fastened with 4″ finishing nails.


This is basically where Marsh’s office will be. Picture a wall (of books) on the right where the stairway banister is. Only the paneling in the stairwell remains, where it’s hard to reach.

So what was I doing while Marsh’s dad was doing all this?

IMG_2633 IMG_2647

New entryway lock-sets! Locking latches and deadbolts. Required drilling out 2″ holes in the doors, chiseling the insets for the strikeplates, and a lot of careful, methodical work. One more door remains, which needed a lot of repair. As of press time the wood filler was still hardening. So we feel a lot better leaving the house with all the tools in it, etc.

So this is what I brought home to Marsh this afternoon:


Next: Two days for list-making, prioritizing, planning, and making calls, to plumbers, roofers, electricians, chimney people, cabinet-makers, handymen, and, I hope, getting our estimates from the heating company.

(*That’s what she said…?)