So, we pulled everything out except the good stuff (original plaster, trim, the well-done, leveled stringers across the ceiling). We've got the drawings ready and have most of our materials, and went gung ho. Besides tear-out, the first major accomplishment has been hanging the new ceiling (drywall, a step up from paper tiles we pulled down (yick!) but a step down from original plaster. Ah well, some compromises...
Problems so far: the floor had a small mountain range when you came in the door. We didn't know why, but suspected that we'd have to do some work with joists - not our favorite. It turns out, after some sleuthing, that the floor was only off-level for the last 2 feet or so. What happened was the house apparently had a larger back porch with a crawl space underneath. At some point, someone moved the porch wall back 2 feet to have a larger kitchen, and probably then put in the full basement underneath (now our laundry room). Ahhh, now things are making sense, Like why the concrete in the laundry room is a different color than elsewhere, or why the mudroom (now also half bath) was so skinny & disfunctional. And why there's a concrete half-wall in the basement between the main part and laundry room.
Here's how they dealt with the new floor transition:
We think they mis-measured the height, then it looks like they had a bad time finishing the cuts, and bashed the tops of the posts with hammers. Then scabbed in some garbage for some reason? Then ran the subfloor up the hill and said, ah, what the hell, good enough.
Fortunately, the bad part of the subfloor is exactly 3/4" higher than the good part, and the good part is completely level, so we cut out the bad part (back a joist or two for good measure) and when we just tested with the new subfloor (plywood), it sits level on top of the old subfloor in the good part, and the joists in the bad part. Way easier fix than expected! We'll tackle it Saturday.
Issue #2: wallpaper was AWFUL to get off. I'll just say this: it is never, ever OK to paint over wallpaper. The latex makes it pretty much impossible for any water to penetrate so you can't loosen the glue. Luckily, not much wallpaper.
Issue #3: they apparently cut up all the natural wood beadboard wainscoting and used it as shims for 70s plastic paneling. Argh! How tacky can you be? So we'lll go get some new beadboard...one design decision made for me by the house (it knows what belongs there...).
signing off, from the temporary kitchen (aka, dining room & living rooms...)