exteriors, interiors, our house
Comments 5

D is for Demolition

Exterior of federal style home under renovation

A couple of weeks ago they started demo on our house. All the talk, all the plans, all the contracting, but I don’t think anything ever prepares you for the magnitude of feeling that accompanies such a massive demolition. I’m part-thrilled and part-terrified, and these two emotions make rather strange bedfellows. I’m excited for everything this means in terms of the possibility of living in a house that I have such a strong hand in designing and also for what this means for our family to live in a new, larger, carefully crafted space. And yet, I’m absolutely frightened by the reality of it all: the timeline, the effort, and mostly, the expense.

When you’re placing all your cards on a house in the way that we have (both in terms of hopes and dreams and pure financial resources), it’s pretty shocking to wake up one morning to pictures of a newly-skeletal interior. And that’s just what happened to me. I was in Oregon for work, woke up one morning and somewhere between getting out of bed and brushing my teeth I found five photos from our contractor in my email. And they looked like this:

Upper floor of Federal style home renovation

What a mess. Here’s the view up on the second floor while demolition was still ongoing…

Demolition and renovation

Also the upper floor, looking back towards to the future Master Suite!

Now I never liked the interior of the house to start with so it’s not like I felt like I was losing something I cared for, but there was just something about seeing it all bare and without the pieces of a “home” that had been part of the interior previously. After the initial surprise, excitement started to creep in, little by little. I became increasingly curious, wondering about beams, walls, and all the other little details I was noticing in the pictures. And most significantly, these pictures were real proof that the project was moving forward, and that some day in the not-too-distant (hopeful euphemism for quite distant) future, we’ll have a house to call our own.

I actually went and saw the house for myself when I got home from Oregon, and oh boy, what a sight. It’s been cleaned up some, but when I walked in I had to catch my breath, not because the sight was so shocking, but actually because I was overwhelmed with a raw sense of possibility. With so few walls, I could see straight from one side of the house to the other. The openness and expansiveness that I crave was right in front of me, and what I saw was the most inviting blank canvas. It felt like a cross between an old wooden barn and an abandoned warehouse of sorts, and it was exhilarating. I don’t suppose many people get to see their home in this state: beams, studs, exterior walls only. If you have the chance, take advantage of it, it’s really fascinating. In fact, for me it was so invigorating that I immediately asked the architect and contractor whether we could retain some of the amazing openness, but that’s another story…

Upper floor of federal style home under renovation

A post clean-up image: up on the second floor, looking through the space that will ultimately become the children’s bedrooms.

I hope you enjoy these sneak-peak photos and I wish you could all come with me on a site visit to see just how bizarre and incredible the space is right now (and how many oddities we’ve found in its original and subsequent construction too). I’ll keep sharing pictures as the renovation develops, so pop back from time to time to hear more about all the thrill and all the fright of renovating this old New England home.


  1. Linda says

    Exciting and exhilarating are a pretty good description how I feel and pray for on-time constructing. You know I don’t remember the fireplace on second floor, kids area? Look forward to updates with the progression. Hang tight!


    • In fact, there were TWO fireplaces upstairs… but they were in awful shape and are going to become reading nooks instead. Will post some pics as soon as they begin to come to life.


  2. Pingback: A photographic rewind: before the demolition | Textured Modern

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