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Demolition is cool

We are at day 4 of demolition and the discoveries continue. The Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture (HVVA) were meant to come round today but due to illness had to postpone. A bit of a pity as we are at the perfect stage for them to see some of the structures and advise us what we should keep and what is OK to pull out.

I had a short conversation with Robert Sweeney of HVVA about some of the features of the living room. He thought the fireplace in the living room was original (although unusual for the period) but having taken out all the fixtures around the fireplace it seems to me unlikely that it is. The fire box is strangely 'pushed out' into the room (maybe another structure behind?) and the wall paper and plaster work behind it suggests a previous structure. Images below:
1) oddly protruding fire box, 2) wall paper behind structure 3) evidence of mantle 4, 5+6) unpainted area around the chimney.

Robert, the HVVA guy, also wondered if the lowered ceilings in the living room and library were also original to the house. Our assertion is that they are not. Firstly as evidenced above, all of the beams and rear side of the upstairs floor planks have been finished and painted. While the paint is not as thick as below the ceilings, there are a couple of layers of white paint. This is in keeping with what I have read about early Huguenot houses which had beams and plank ceilings which were painted white to make them light. (A look I think we might have to keep).

Below are some pictures of the wooden ceiling once the plaster and lath ceilings have been removed. (The lowered ceiling level can be seen because of the change of paint . Black below the ceiling, white above). Not only does this give us nearly 9ft ceilings the size of the beams can be seen and they are really impressive.

Where the cabinets around the fireplace were (now removed), a channel had been cut into the wall. This is great because we can see the layers of plaster beneath. There are clearly two distinct layers of plaster. The deepest layer clearly has straw and vegetable material in it against the stone, with a later layer of plaster added on top. Good reason to keep the plaster work on the external stone walls intact. I would love to keep the straw plaster if we could.

Finally one more interesting find. A 'little cigar' box lost inbetween the ceiling and the floor. Much eaten by mice but beautiful none the less.


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