Ceilings, ceilings everywhere

Our story so far: Things were looking up in the 126-year-old Methodist church we were renovating into our dream home.

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Now Tyler paid attention to the other ceilings in the church.

ceiling bathroom
Bathroom ceiling, joisted in.

The master bath required a false ceiling.

ceiling hallway
Hallway ceiling.

The hallway to the master bedroom required a false ceiling.

ceiling bedroom
Note: There’s room for window trim beneath the tray.

The master bedroom required a tray ceiling. The master bedroom’s ceiling was particularly vexing because of the unlevel floor and existing ceiling but Tyler persevered, as always, and made it work in a way Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” would have approved. In the remaining recessed area, we would install a ceiling fan.

The entryway required reconstruction to remove all the cross beams in what was formerly a false ceiling; here, we were going to drywall the actual ceiling with only two cross beams. Tyler also removed the last ancient wasp nest that had been decorating the church.

doorway bedroom
Ahh, an arch.

Among other details above our heads, Tyler created an archway for the open doorway from the master bedroom to the master bath, and he rebuilt the back stairway to the second floor that was hopelessly crooked thanks to a broken stringer.

Tyler in stairway
Pay no attention to the man beneath the stairway.

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Tomorrow: We pursue a technologically forward approach to skylights. Read about it here.

The solution to sag: Structural support

Our story so far: We took steps to be careful as we demoed the interior of the old Methodist church, including hiring a structural engineer to look at the building’s support system and prescribe a fix.

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Tyler and Reroofer with sag
Tyler and Reroofer preparing the space for the new header in the space between the sanctuary and the overflow area.

In the space of about eight hours over two days, Tyler and his help, Reroofer, got the header constructed and put in place, and they reconstructed the choir loft wall (I helped by renting a couple of heavy-duty adjustable floor jack posts and transporting them to the church—I’m handy like that). When they jacked up the floor, the wood gave a great creak and wail, but it cooperated. The second floor was suddenly a lot more level and the opening where the kitchen would be constructed was no longer saggy.

header after
Here’s the space after the new header was installed. You can also see the doorway, above center, where one will exit the second floor onto the to-be-built balcony.

With that task completed, I could put to bed my nightmares of bathing in the upstairs tub—me in my birthday suit relaxing among a cloud of bubbles and a hundred gallons of water—and falling through the ceiling. We were structurally sound now. But we still had to demolish the 20-foot sanctuary ceiling without killing our project foreman.

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Tomorrow: Chapter 15 concludes with a solution to the sanctuary ceiling problem. Read it here.