Sunday, January 15, 2006

Door Hardware

I watched more football today so I didn’t get a lot done. I got the hardware on, and made and put on the door stop. The door stop goes on the dining room side so I needed it to be redwood. I added an ogee edge to it to match the rest of the door stop in the house. Those damn Victorians had to put a milled profile on absolutely every piece of wood and the door stop was no exception.

Tomorrow I wall take everything apart and clean everything up. The hardware has some paint on it and the kitchen side of the door needs to be sanded and painted. On the hardware, the lockset and door plates are original to the house but the knobs are not. I’m missing a set screw for one of the knobs so it is drooping a bit.

Suzanne left a comment on yesterday’s post about the wall that was opened up for the Murphy Bed. Here is the picture again.

That is a wood wall and is original to the house, as well as the kitchen on the other side. Instead of traditional wood lath strips they put up 1X8 T&G redwood boards on the wall. The boards have a series of dovetail grooves milled in them every 2 inches. When they applied the plaster it squishes in to the grooves and forms the keys to secure the plaster to the wall. This is original construction, and from what I can tell pretty unique. I suspect a local mill marketed this method as a labor saving device. It would be easier and quicker to nail on 12-foot long 1X8 boards than it would be to nail on zillions little lath strips. I guess the idea never took off because I’ve never seen it anyone else’s house.

You can see the old part of the wall where most of the plaster is gone but it still remains in the grooves. On the part I rebuilt the plaster is also gone but there is no plaster in the grooves because it is new construction. I had a lot of redwood planks left over from the 1920s 2 story addition I removed so I rebuilt the wall exactly was it was built in 1895.

On the kitchen side, just on the other side of the wall in the picture, they built a small partition to carve out an area of the kitchen where the Murphy bed would open. This was actually the very first change made to the house when Mrs. Petch opened a boarding house in the late teens. She created a small apartment for herself out of the dining room, butler’s pantry, scullery, and that small part of the kitchen for the Murphy Bed.

When I started removing the partitions to restore the kitchen back to its original foot print I found evidence that there was a 2X3 foot grate high on the wall of the partition. I think it served 2 purposes. First, it let heat move from the kitchen (monster cast iron stove) to her apartment, and second, it allowed here to hear if anyone was raiding the kitchen late at night. The kitchen and the two parlors remained common areas of the house. The boarders lived upstairs in the 4 bedrooms, and Mrs. Petch lived in the “apartment” in the dining room. I guess this is the sort of thing an elderly divorced woman would have to do in the days before Social Security and pensions.


Anonymous said...

Ok, now that you've explained it, I can see the unique wood lathing. Really interesting! Do you think the whole house is like that? It might be interesting to find a square place somewhere and expose it, maybe framed in some way. It certainly would be a conversation point with people who are interesting in cool things like that. Of course everyone else will say "Greg, when are you going to fix that wall?" Thanks for the very expanded answer!

Greg said...

Yes, they did all the walls this way but the ceilings have the more traditional lath strips. I think maybe someone didn't trust this "new way" of doing plaster and they didn't think it would hold on the ceiling.