By eliminating most of the interior walls, we gain something like a blank slate: a wide-open, loft-like floor plan on which to create the upper-level flat with the fewest restrictions on what goes where.

Into every life, a lotta dust must fall.

Or maybe it just feels that way to us, since renovating older buildings – projects Ernst Brothers particularly enjoys – inevitably includes a period when so much crud is floating in the air, despite dust masks and ventilation.

Demo before Doylestown home renovation

Over at the former Moose Lodge on Doylestown’s East State Street, we’re nearing the end of the interior demolition, as this image shows. Last week, the second-floor gutting was essentially complete, right down to a few key wall studs, brick-framed window openings and original subflooring angling across the full width and length of the building.

Preparation for home renovation in Doylestown

And so, while the first-floor demo continues, upstairs we’re getting ready to rebuild. First, our crews are constructing temporary shoring so we can remove some of the load-bearing walls and install new structural beams.

Historic home renovation in Doylestown, PA, a suburb near Philadelphia

By eliminating most of the interior walls, we gain something like a blank slate: a wide-open, loft-like floor plan on which to create the upper-level flat with the fewest restrictions on what goes where.

Speaking of restrictions, we had a pleasant surprise upstairs this past week that means we’re able to retain the impressive 11-foot ceilings with no need to create any soffits. We were concerned initially that making room for the new mechanicals and HVAC system we’re installing would require us to lower part of the second-floor ceiling.

Many people traveling along East State Street have probably been unaware that any renovation is underway at the old Moose Home. But coming up soon we will begin demolition work on the exterior walls to allow us to install new windows in this lovely old landmark.

Maybe “new” is misleading, since the windows we’ve chosen will look very similar to those that graced the new brick edifice when it first opened in 1913. However, instead of cast iron casements with single-pane glass, ours have all the energy-saving features you’d expect from custom-made casements in 2015.

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