Brick work and headers.
We’ve got an incredible brick guy* who’s been working with his crew since last week. There’s a lot of brick work to be done, on both the exterior and interior. The brick was probably what intimidated us most about buying the house initially, but consultation with an engineer and another brick guy (not the one repairing our house) reassured us that – while it needs to be fixed and wasn’t super-safe (no one wants a brick to fall on their head), it is mostly cosmetic and not structural.
So they have been steadily working on repairing and replacing bricks, and filling gaps and cracks all around the house.
You can see some of the still-wet repair work here, in the cracks around the master bedroom window.
More repair work, before (left) and after (right). Look above the door, below the window.
The south side of the house has always been particularly problematic, and when the basement guy* took 5 inches of “swag” out of the house, the problem areas really started crumbling. No matter – it needed to be deconstructed anyway, so the crumbling walls just meant that some of the demo work was done naturally. So this particular section is being rebuilt to some degree. It won’t look perfect when it’s done, but it will look good and old. If we wanted a perfect house, we’d build it.
Top left: Bedroom window before demo. Top right, middle left, and middle right: bedroom window after the house was jacked up and reinforced, bricks falling everywhere (including through the window pane). Bottom left & right: Bedroom windows now, as they work to repair and rebuild it. As always, click on an image to make it larger.
Brick repair, exterior view. These guys* are my heroes right now!
While all that brick work is happening, our trusty basement guy,* Alan, has worked his way up to the first floor and is installing some new headers. One in the large doorway between the living and dining rooms, another over the living room bay window.
And then there’s the brick wall between the kitchen and dining room that we thought we couldn’t remove, then uncovered and decided we needed to remove. So Alan and his crew are carefully deconstructing this wall – including taking down a chimney – and placing a steel header to create a (roughly) 9-foot opening between the dining and kitchen. Once this is done, the brick guys* will come back in and finish the brick work in the kitchen. Then the demo guys* can come in and finish taking down the framing in the ceiling of the kitchen, which they left up because they were seriously worried the whole kitchen might collapse if they took it down before the brick repair.
The start of the work on the wall between the kitchen and dining room. You can see the new header where the opening will be. Right now, it seems a bit…perilous.
Does your head hurt yet?
Yep. Mine, too.
But if we can get through this part, we’re
hoping mostly sure the house won’t fall down.
*I’m sure there are actual, official names for these professions, but I don’t know them. So I affectionately refer to our people as the “basement guy,” “brick guy,” “garage guy”… You get the idea. The feminist in me is not-so-secretly hoping for a construction “girl” of some sort to come along at some point… At any rate, all the “guys” and “girls” will be invited to the first Off Center Party and I hope they will drink heavily. They deserve it.