Tearing Down the House

What better time than the approach of Halloween than to tell you about the horrific chainsaw noise I heard as I walked home from German class a couple months ago.  It was the most awful, roaring sound that vibrated deep into my chest.

Sadly, I didn’t have to pause; I already knew where the sound was coming from:  our house.

Another wall goes down in Berlin

In the US, did you ever watch your dad patch holes in the drywall when you were a kid?  It happened at our house after we banged the doorknob (or ourselves) into the wall a little too hard.  The walls were made of 3/4 inch thick drywall and 2×4 inch pieces of wood–NOT pure chunks of drywall like these walls in our Berlin apartment.

We actually had to rent a saws-all to cut the wall out.  And needless to say, we weren’t too worried that our house didn’t have doorstops.  I dare someone to get a doorknob through our walls.

A lot of wires for lights and plugins were embedded in the walls.  We had to chisel them out (with the power out, of course).  The entire place was covered in a thin layer of white powder, and we looked like ghosts. The blocks stacked in this picture weigh about 50 pounds each.  Yowzers.  The entire living room felt much brighter, I’m happy to say.  The brown wall looks like it’s going to work, too.  Yeah!


The house is so bright now.

So now what’s the plan?

  • Walls: Martin’s chiseling off tile right there, then we tore down the last piece of upper wall next to him.  The lower half of the wall will remain with shelves on the inside and counter on top.
  • Heaters: There are three heaters along the walls we cut out.  They provided all the heat for the room.  The one in the kitchen is going out.  I have already painted the yellow above one heater (right).  The third will have countertop over it (covered in a sheet in photo).
  • Storage: In the original kitchen, the only places to store food and dishes was above and below the sink.  There was about two feet of wasted space above the oven and fridge, so we thought we’d make the new cabinets go all the way to the ceiling.
  • Things we want to add: a dishwasher, larger sink, freezer, and microwave–whew!  But writing this in hindsight today, Trust Me.  We’re going to make this work.
  • Things that still have to go: the white, inefficient cabinets and the oven.  The oven was too big, and the metal got so hot we had to use pot holders to open it.
It’s not a total Halloween scare over here–I promise.
And we meet all the little old ladies in the building.  That was nice.  They kept asking, “What is all that noise?”  (I’m just glad I didn’t know any German yet.)