We admit it: we have an unhealthy obsession with brick walls. It’s a problem. It seems like every other post we write up has something to do with exposing brick — sometimes accidentally. This weekend was no exception. We had a happy accident with our brick wall that made us fall even more in love with it.
The whole thing started when I removed all of the window and door trim in the hallway. There’s nothing really wrong with the the way the previous owners put up window and door trim — it just seems a little big and clunky to us. We plan on redoing it all.
While prying the trim on the flipside of our brick wall, I realized the solid planks of wood framing the door weren’t solid at all. Basically, we were expecting the back to look more like the front:
The wood sticks out about 1/4″ past the brick and is grey and aged. On the flip side, it looked like this:
The wood doesn’t reach all the way to the back. They faked the look by using trim covered with plaster. Doh!
After a few choice profanities and whole lot of hemming and hawing, we decided to remove the wood frame. This meant we would have to replace our old wood doorway with new wood to make it jut out 1/4″ on both sides and get that super modern look we were going for. We weren’t exactly happy about having to cut out the beautiful grey wood — we thought it had a lot of character — but Bradley cheered up when he realized this was a really good excuse to pull out his Sawzall:
Look at that concentration.
Sawzalls. Are. Intense. Proper sawing technique requires both furrowing of brow and flaring of nostrils. Clenching of jaw is optional, but highly recommended.
Bradley sawed through one side, then switched to the other:
Then he broke the top in half using a crowbar:
And removed the wood on the side, which revealed the butt end of the brick wall we’ve exposed:
Not gonna lie: the entire time, I was cowering in the bathroom and asking Bradley for reassurance that the ceiling wasn’t going to fall down on our heads. He explained that the header — that big block of wood above the door frame — is supporting the weight of the wall. The door frame was in there loosely. It wasn’t even nailed to anything. So it wasn’t supporting any weight at all. It was mostly there because doorways are supposed to have frames. In other words: just ‘cuz.
I felt safe enough to come out of the bathroom:
And immediately regretted it. Nothing like 130-year-old dust to wake up those sinuses! Once we had the wood out and let the dust settle, Bradley checked to make sure the wall was level:
Both sides were perfectly level. Bradley rejoiced:
Then he went around the corner and said, “Oooh, now we have to expose this other side.”
I caught him mid-ooooh. And he’s right:
On the left, you can see Bradley scraping our freshly exposed brick to get the dust and plaster off. On the right you can see the brick wall in the Smurf room. And that white crap in the center? That’s the little bit of plaster that’s separating the two from being one long, continuous piece of interior design eye candy.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the jackhammer with us (it’s at Bradley’s workshop), so we won’t expose the rest of the brick until next weekend.
For now, we’re giddy about the way our frameless raw brick doorway looks:
We were planning on replacing the door frame, but we like the way this looks better, so we’re going to leave it. Frames? We don’t need no stinkin’ frames!
What we learned from our happy accident:
- Roll with the punches. Being flexible about our end result is one way to avoid being constantly heartbroken about things not going the way we plan.
- Different is good. We were a little freaked out at the idea of having a frameless doorway — it just seems so different — but the more we looked at it, the more we liked it.
- We’ve come a long way, baby. Sometimes we get down on ourselves about not working fast enough or not getting enough done on a Saturday. Then we look at our before pictures and realize how much we’ve accomplished in a month. Check out what this hallway used to look like: