Chimney Wipeout

Mike has been pretty bummed about the lack of progress made on the house lately.  The kid has to keep moving or he becomes restless and more than a little annoying.  Luckily, our house always needs something done, so it's a good match for him.  However, recently he started a new project at work, (a research center for a local medical university - high dollar, short timeline, large amount of stress), and has been working long hours out at the jobsite.  Getting home at 7:00-7:30 every night doesn't make him feel like doing anything but crashing on the couch.  For the first time we're nearly all caught up on our queue on Hulu.

So, when I tried to cheer him up by suggesting we work a little Sunday afternoon after a weekend trip to New York with friends, I should have known better.  I wasn't finished unpacking the car before he started setting up for some demo.

Let me first explain the plan for the next big project we are working on.  After about a week of downtime from finishing the bathroom, (which I will have done this week - Mike's re-found excitement for home improvement is contagious and I really want to call it done), we've decided to tackle the basement.  I've mentioned a couple times that we inherited a semi-finished basement with a full bathroom that we plan to use as our main family room.  And, since Mike's obsession hobby of homebrewing is such a big part of our lives, we've added a small bar/homebrew area to the mix too.

We started with a wallpapered, wood paneled, carpet squared space when we moved in.

While the built in was nice, it wasn't our style, greatly limited the potential layouts for the room, and most importantly covered up the main electrical panel and main sewer drain access, so it had to go.  Before we moved in two years ago, we tore it all out, including the paneling and wallpaper around the room.

We found an awesome deal for a giant leather sectional on Craigslist over a year ago, so we bought it and have been using it in the unfinished space just waiting for the time to redo everything.  Last week we moved it all up into the dining room, (awkward as heck, but it fits and allows us to work downstairs).  As of last night, this is what it's looked like:

(The built-in was along the back wall, and the Dundee mirror hides the electrical panel.  As if that one eyesore covered up fixes the whole room!)

For reference here's some floor plans I shared back in the day to see how everything is laid out:

As you can see when you come down the stairs and turn left towards the bathroom, there is a little nook that we thought would be perfect for the homebrew area.  It already has a can light and a little recessed area.  We took stock of what Mike has and he actually has both a small fridge and small chest freezer that he has added taps to and uses as kegerators, (that's a grand total of 6 taps!).  Unfortunately, no matter how we work it, they both won't fit into the nook, (boo).  We haven't decided which one we're going to put over there, (the other will be kept in the unfinished laundry room area - where they are hanging out right now during construction), but no matter which one we use, the nook wasn't deep enough.

Since the furnace is set further in the middle of the laundry room area, the only thing in our way of moving back that nook wall was the chimney, which sits behind the furnace, up against the wall.

So, this is the point that fits back into the first part of this post.  Last night.

Mike has practice tearing out the chimney, he removed the part above the roof line and into the attic first, and then the second story section during the bathroom renovation.  As I mentioned in the first chimney section post, we planned to do the chimney in stages:

1.) Remove from roof. done
2.) Remove from attic. done
3.) Tear out from upstairs bathroom, (during bathroom renovation) done
4.) Tear out in kitchen, (during kitchen renovation)
5.) Remove remaining from basement.

We originally thought we would renovate the kitchen before the basement.  But, since it's a much smaller project (both work-wise and budget-wise), we decided to do the basement first.  I also think it might have had a little to do with Mike's way of busying himself during the wedding planning stage, (I'm on to you, babe!).

To do this we had to take the chimney out of the kitchen first.  I voted to just tear out the walls we would be removing later during the kitchen renovation to start living with an open kitchen, but Mike had a much cleaner and methodical way of removing the section.

I told you Mike started setting up before I was even in the house, so I had to go way back in my files to find a photo of the dining room wall with the chimney.  Here she is before we moved in, before we painted, before we even had the floors refinished:

The chimney runs behind that little wall section with the outlet, between the closet and the opening to the kitchen.

Mike set up a little Dexter-like kill room to keep the dust from getting all over the house, (spoiler alert, it didn't matter - dust still got everywhere).

And, then I left and went upstairs to hide from the noise and dust with Benelli.  When I came downstairs to help clean-up, this was what was left:

As promised, a giant hole in the dining room.

But Mike's crazy and couldn't stop there.  No, he went downstairs to put another giant hole in a wall.

He decided that while he was dirty he might as well tear out the rest of the chimney.  He wanted to work in the laundry room behind the furnace and between the water heater, but I sweet talked him into tearing out the wall of the nook, since we're going to be removing it and moving it back a couple feet anyways.

This is the crazy tightness that Mike wanted to work around from the direction of the laundry room, he covered the brick in plastic (it must be made from magic dust, because it didn't matter down here either), but you can still see how small the space is.

The drywall removal went pretty quickly and I hung out and watched the sexiness that is Mike destroying things:

After another couple of hours taking all those bricks down, we were left with two courses that were grouted to the floor and a lot more space, not only in the laundry room to move this wall back, but also in the kitchen/dining room to someday expand the kitchen.

Although there aren't any pretty pictures in this post, we're making progress!  The next step is to demo the basement bathroom.  During that time we'll cut the concrete floor in the future family room to update all the piping and then re-level all the concrete.  After that it's just picking some flooring, new ceilings, fix the drywall, and move back in.  Easy peasy, right?

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