Deconstruction, House and Acreage Restoration

The Acme Plaster Company

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Tunnel Vision in the Dining Room.

Believe it or not, the company that made the plaster and lathe that has likely been in our home for 114 years was called The Acme Plaster Company. While dismantling the ceilings, a little tag flew out of the crevices. The Acme Plaster Company is out of St. Louis, MO. Wile E. Coyote would be proud.

This is it. The end of the plaster and lathe. Nothing could more celebratory for me. In truth, it was awful. I would hate to have to rid a huge, old house of plaster and lathe for my day job. But, since I only hope to ever do it just this once, I look back on it and don’t feel quite so bad about the swollen fingers and endless coughing.

I believe the worst part (though I always initially felt is was in the removal of the lathe) is actually the cellulose insulation. It crumbles and flies through the air like some thick gray fur. Because it is so light, it tends to slowly drift around the room and stick to everything. Sometimes it’s in such bad shape that it has turned dark brown and black with age and dirt. That’s when it falls from the ceiling and coats your arms and clothes (and I imagine, your lungs) with its filth.

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With the ceilings removed, you can see straight up to upstairs in one corner of the house…this would be the original part of the house. Where no remodeling to the upstairs had yet taken place. The cellulose we found on top of this lathe just dropped straight onto Tyler’s head. He appeared to have aged forty years after the removal of this ceiling. Nothing but gray hair and eyelashes.

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The Living Room Ceiling from the Entryway.

As you can see in the photo above…at the time of this photo, there was still a little bit of cellulose clinging to the studs. It tends to get itself wrapped up around nails. But, most interestingly, I didn’t know that ceilings had this weaving-type of woodwork to help support the beams. (Umm…that is…if I’m remembering this explanation correctly. Is it for support? It’s possible it has an entirely different purpose). Regardless, this exists in all the rooms.

With the bones exposed, Tyler has been able to point out some more shortcuts that were done at some point (but most likely in the late sixties) for “renovating” to “get by.” I’m hoping (once the dust settles and it’s completely cleaned out by the end of this week) I’ll get him on video to explain the further oddities that were done. Though, the house has still made it after all these years….perhaps some quick fixes work better than we realize. Albeit, not to standards or code.

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