Listening To An Old House…

by projectbuddy


It is interesting how an old house can “talk” to you and let you know what it needs next. Of course, what my old house decides that it needs is not always what I decide that it needs. Nevertheless it’s often wisest to “listen” to the house with my ears and eyes.

Often it’s not necessarily the aesthetic comforts of home that a house needs. Decorative or architectural elements are really the final touches, particularly when what your house is saying what it really needs is more insulation, an extra electrical outlet, or a way to keep the raccoons from getting into the attic.

Quick tip: If you take the lathe and plaster off of a wall, make sure that there is no access into the room from the attic, or you will possibly come face to face with a pair of raccoons climbing down into your kitchen just as you are coming home from work in the evening!

My current challenge is a doorway that was added to my living room about forty years or so after the house was built. This was done to turn a closet into a “hallway” so that visitors didn’t have to walk through a bedroom to get to the bathroom. (My house has a Jack and Jill bathroom design.)

I would like to reclaim the closet for storage space, but I’m unable to restore the wall because the air return duct is there. Although moving the air return duct to the living room would solve that problem, doing so would visually ruin the living room ceiling that I had worked so hard to design and construct.

I believe that the solution will be some type of built-in bookcase which would block the doorway but still allow air to flow into the air return duct. You will notice that there is also a thermostat that may need to be moved but definitely needs to be upgraded.

I will be working with my quarter inch grid paper again to see what solutions I can design that will fit the character of my house. In the meantime suggestions are welcome!

This photograph was taken August 2013. Currently this closet that was turned into a “hallway” is just used to keep wood and building materials out of the way. Part of one wall was removed to create a channel for running new electrical wiring. I’d like to keep that accessible for future work if possible. The doorway to the back bedroom is to the right and the door next to it leads to the bathroom. I would like to somehow return this space into being a closet again, only one that is accessible to both the bedroom and bathroom for clothes as well as bath towels, etc.