green master bath with antique oak dresser and two pedestal sinks
Photo: Judith Bromley
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A Wrench in the Plans

Having been so deliberate with our planning, we thought we had prepared for everything, but the house, of course, still had a few surprises in store. While preparing it to be moved, we found asbestos in the attic and the attached walls of a lean-to shed; removing it was a hurdle we knew could be dealt with only by professionals. Luckily we were able to get the men in white suits there within two weeks. It's a bit strange, I have to say, to see your home turned into a hazmat zone, complete with a little tent outside for showering.

After that, Dennis and I immediately started gutting the house's interior while it sat in the side yard. We had agreed in the beginning to take on the demo, but I really didn't know what I was getting into. It was hot, muggy work, and I hated wearing a respirator. I also wasn't too fond of having to pluck out hundreds of nails from the original fir floors, which we discovered after tearing off a layer of new oak that had been laid over them. I spent a good week crawling across the first floor with a crowbar, green knee pads strapped on. Thankfully, Dennis took care of most of the heavy hauling, while I scooped debris into buckets.

Shown: An antique oak dresser sits between two pedestal sinks, providing storage for toiletries and extra towels.
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