All windows, no walls

Well.  Here she is.  What we've been looking for.  Studs are all gone. Well, except for Brooks, my much younger brother (by 22 years....a whole other blog post) resting on this chair.  

Here is a stud trying to justify a reason to cool down.
Brett here.  The day started early.  Earlier than a 13 year old is able to get up after a late night taking selfies of half his face or the ceiling and snap chatting them to his "friends". The beam shown here is one of two 16" LVL's (laminated veneer lumber).  The ceilings in the kitchen and dining rooms were reinforced with vertical supports that helped tie the rafters to the ceiling joists.  One thing that is interesting about construction from the late 1800's is that 2x4's were considered ample for holding ceilings, in our case, the 2x4's were notched and rested on a 1x2 board that was nailed to the studs.  Simple, effective, heck - even long lasting.  But we reinforced it anyway.  Screws are cheap right now.   
First beam going in. 
Marcus, Ridge and Flea (Lee but I didn't ask why) added some temporary supports, started measuring and pulling chalk lines.  The decision was made that a cased opening was the best way to finish out the new area.  Original thought was to have no idea the beam was even there.  Put it up above the dining/kitchen ceiling and have ceiling/wall boards make a seamless transition corner.  But the original builder's level might have had a rounded edge.  If we had used a level in our situation, we might have been looking at a 4" difference over the nearly 20' span.  So we choose the cased opening since we could use trim to take up any difference, but the measurements from the floor are the same and the measurements to the ceiling were the same.

Pardon me, Janna, for a short interruption.  Brett was kind to leave out the part that when I heard about this decision to put in a cased opening, I distracted the team for about 30 minutes with a conversation about why we had to do this.  I really envisioned just two levels - the ceiling in the living room and then the ceiling in the kitchen/dining.  They finally convinced me that it was not going to look smooth because the current ceilings weren't level.  From the living to kitchen it will look just fine, but in the photo below, you see about six inches that we'll need to trim out.  What took the guys about two minutes to discuss and decide, took me an additional 30 to get behind the decision.  I'm sure this is one of many plans that will have to be adjusted or changed as we go.  So I need to get used to it.  Brett will probably conveniently forget to tell me when the crew is going to be there working the next time.  Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

View from back door.

Finished product. Beams in, ceiling support in foyer raised to meet the higher ceilings.
While the guys were here, they went ahead and built the ceiling support structure for the new, raised foyer ceiling.  We will reattach the old wall and ceiling boards once the foam insulation has been sprayed.

We saved every board, stud and tree that was removed during demo.  This one (pic below) is an 8x8 square post that essentially had a 4x4 hand carved out of it because of how the old wall boards attached to it.  One of the guys estimated that we might have pulled a couple thousand dollars of antique wood from the house in just this one days work.
This was the tree that was removed from the load bearing wall. Side note: it, or some of its brothers, may end up being a fireplace mantle in the future.   

Brooks was working on an important job outside while the beam work was going on inside.  If you recall our little honey bee problem, I decided to mix a couple of pesticides in some white barn/fence paint in attempt to mask the pheromone ('scent' for all you Auburn grads) that was attracting the bees back to this same location in our wall year after year. Brooks was my chief pesticide paint applicator on the back side of all siding boards and the inside wall cavity.  I should also mention that we don't have wifi at the "new house".  He was a big help.

Front Exterior Wall with cocktail of pesticide laced paint to hopefully keep the bees from coming back.


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