Today I was feeling well enough to demolish a little section of plaster and lathe. A small job, right? I took down plaster from a half-wall that has irked me ever since I bought the house: a short, ugly little “wall” that hangs down out of nowhere from the ceiling. It’s only purpose is to support an even uglier drop-ceiling in the kitchen.
There was once a full wall here. Someone chopped it in half and left the upper half hanging. It was really cobbed together. Here’s a close-up of one side. The chimney is behind this section (the white cracked plaster is part of the chimney– someone had pasted joint compound around part of the chimney).
I always wondered if there were perhaps plumbing pipes installed in this half-wall, or loads of electrical wire…. I am pleased to say the interior is empty. And it is not a load-bearing half-wall, either. So I was so happy! I can get rid of this lousy wall!
But then I found this jaw-dropper:
Someone was hiding something beneath the plaster and lathe and 70s paneling. At one time, a stove pipe was vented through the chimney, to vent a woodstove. The people never took out the cast iron fitting when they removed the woodstove. They just slapped a brick over it and slathered joint compound all around it. After a few decades, the compound has weakened. Thus belies the source of our moisture and mildew problem.
The area was home to an enormous mouse nest. An area about 1 foot by 2 feet was filled with frass, fluff, and stuff. And plenty of stinky, fresh mouse droppings. This was obviously an ideal home, since so much heat and moisture leaked out from the chimney here.
I had to shut off our hot water tank, which vents right up through this chimney. We have no hot water until we plug the hole. Thank God we replaced the furnace last year with a new direct model and that no longer vents up the chimney.
We are fed up with the chimney. I think this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We are looking into a direct-vent water tank and just may remove this troublesome hole in the house.
“As is.” They sold the house to us “as is.” …. sighhh….
Other bad news. Our property is affected by the Sauquoit Valley Pumping Station. Looks like our taxes are gonna go up through the roof again. I wish those greedy politicians would leave us alone. We have enough to do and pay for.