So it would appear that our living room ceiling...the one that we thought needed cosmetic repairs from the great water cave-in of 2006...needs STRUCTURAL repairs.
Do you have any idea how much money is involved anytime my contractor says the word STRUCTURAL? And STRUCTUAL REPAIRS...well...that's just not a phrase you want to hear anytime in your life.
It would seem that one of the hand-hewn beams that form the structure for the living room ceiling is cracked...broken...busted. Half of it was apparently cut away at some point in history (that part of the house was built in 1840), in order to install something round (we're thinking a pipe chimney), substantially weakening the structure. Then, at some point, the damn thing broke all the way through and someone reinforced it with a piece of steel. Nice attempt, but not completely efficient...resulting in massive cracks in our ceiling plaster. We thought they were cosmetic and were willing to replace them at some time in the future. The waterfall episode moved up our timetable. Then...when the contractor went to remove the old fireplace yesterday, he was met by serious creaking and threatened collapse. It seems the fireplace may have been installed in an effort to lend some support to the sagging beam in the ceiling. Nice.
So...we now have a support column in the middle of our living room. And I'm waiting for the call about the price of this latest turn of events.
On a plus side, behind the old fireplace was, as suspected, a much larger living room doorway. It really opens up the room and changes the whole feel of the downstairs living areas. Plus, I will now be able to freely move furniture from one room to the other without having to remove doorframes in order to fit the larger pieces through. I LOVE it...as long as it doesn't cave in.