when we bought our house, we were really excited about the “bonus room” at the front of the house. (it’s the “den/office” on the floor plan but the original function was as a piano room.) seeing as we have always made-do just fine without a dedicated office, guest bedroom, workout area, playroom, etc. and we don’t own a piano, we knew this room was not going to end up as any one thing — but would be a flexible room, serving as an office for me, a place to practice yoga or for frankie to play, maybe to host a short-term guest on occasion.
during week one, we ripped out the built-in desk and pendant lights and then we vowed to leave this room alone until we were ready to deal with whatever might be underneath the drop ceiling or behind the faux wood wall panels. we knew that if we started taking this stuff down that it might force us to deal with this room right away and there’s really enough on our plates at the moment. but i went back to work part-time in september and i’m working a few mornings a week, sometimes from home, and staring at the wall panels… well, i just had to know what was behind them.
i started with the smallest panel, which was overtop of the door. i figured if what was behind it was bad, whatever i exposed would be out of reach of both archie and frankie. but what was behind it was good! it was wood strapping, which had been nailed into the original plaster walls to create a surface to which the wall panels could be attached. i then guessed that the ceiling had been dropped to meet the height of the wall panels and i bet that the original ceiling was still intact underneath.
you guys, i was right! (this almost never happens.) my dad helped to finish the demolition while he was visiting and we happened to have a dumpster out front (for our roof) at the time and my roofers said they didn’t mind if we threw all the den material in with the shingles. i am so over-the-top excited about this room and it’s (now) 9.5′ ceilings. the ceiling in here is the same height as in the hallway and these are the only two spots in the house where the ceiling is original plaster and not drywall, so i’m guessing the ceilings have been dropped throughout the house over the years. i am not planning to ruin perfectly good ceilings, especially as they’re all still a good height, finding out if i’m right, but it’s really exciting to figure this stuff out.
back to the den, it’s going to need a good skim-coat (the walls are in fair condition, but do need the attention of a professional), pierre is going to refinish the floor and my carpenters are going to patch in trim where it’s needed and build me a beautiful storage bench/seat in that little window nook. we found a giant (9′ x 5′) 1910 map of vancouver island in our basement and it’s been with the framer/restorater for months, but it’s going to look so good on that back wall.
time frame is that this will be a january/february project. plenty to keep us busy until then (roof going on this week, eavestroughs next month, looking for a house painter for the spring), but this is the project about which i’m most excited!