Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Parlour Ceiling

I guess the plaster on the ceiling in the parlour is about 114 years old. There have clearly been leaks in the roof over the years, and the roof was replaced once that we know of. I am sure that the roof was repaired and/or replaced in the early years of the LBH, too. What is underneath that ugly brown paper?

A builder recently told me that during the early 20th century, people just papered over things they didn't like. They built new walls over old walls, new floors over old floors, and covered old ceilings. He spoke of restoring a home a block away from our tiny house; the owners told him that the house had originally been a barn. He laughed, but when he was peeling back the layers inside that particular house, he found all sorts of interesting things.

The previous tenants, when tired of the walls, covered over old posters with new wallpaper. One of the posters that he unearthed, depicting North-West Mounted Police posts, is now displayed at the local museum. (The North-West Mounted Police existed under that name from 1873 to 1904.) Sure enough, he removed several floors to find the floor of the barn, horse shit and all! They didn't remove the manure, but built on top of it. I guess it was an expedient, if not smelly, way to renovate one's house. And, as an added bonus, house guests might not overstay their welcome?

Parlour Ceiling

The photo above shows the most damaged area of the parlour ceiling.  I think the horrid brown paper on the ceiling of the otherwise charming room was installed when electricity was brought to the LBH.  I do not know when the house was wired, although I suspect it was in the 1950s. The water damage likely occurred prior to the installation of our current, metal roof in about 2006. (This is what it looks like now, as we bought it - we purchased the house in July of this year.)

Close-Up of Plaster on Ceiling

Here's a close-up that I took last week when I stuck the camera up into that big tear in the brown paper. How many layers do you think there are? We are so tempted to just rip it down - it's like a big, ugly Christmas present! But this one will be the kind of gift that just keeps on giving. I imagine a shower of old plaster, dust, and spiders, revealing even worse damage beneath... Some kids sneak into a parent's closet to peek at their Christmas prezzies - I was never that type of child, no way - but this present would be too difficult to re-wrap. No peeking!

Once we start, we will not be able to stop, and our pocketbooks are not deep enough to explore this yet. I am making plans though. I guess we will tackle the wee house's foundation first... We will get her standing up straight. Her insides will have to wait a little while.

I just hope we don't find too much crap along the way.

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