New Concrete and Unearthing The OG Brick!!

Hello my dears!  Man have I got so much to tell you about the Merc!

Last Friday all of the concrete was poured in our massive gaping trenches! What used to look like this:

A Homer bucket for scale. I mean, those are ankle breaking deep folks.

Now looks like this! Smooth as a baby’s bum!

I can’t even tell you how great it feels knowing that all of our water is coming through new plumbing and that we won’t ever have to worry about rusty pipes or bad connections.

The back bedroom was also finally awarded its second slab of concrete!! In an emotional speech it let me know that it finally feels like it belongs to this elusive club like the rest of the floors at the Merc.

We still aren’t sure what these unexpected fiascos cost us, but they are a necessary evil and not something that can be planned for (12″ concrete I’m looking at you.) Our plan is to sit down with our contractor after all of the framing is done and reassess the budget now that the unknown costs are out of the way.

Speaking of contractors, I’ve got a whole post about making sure that youre working with a good one, so if you have any tips or experiences to share please leave them in the comments below or email me!

Once all of the demo was done there wasn’t loads of stuff for Court and I to do, so Court decided that it would be a brilliant idea to start demoing the stucco and plaster that is on the front of the building.

If you remember what we were planning for the front, the center section where our front door is the original store (before the 7 additions were made….)

Looking at the old pictures we were able to see that there was brick somewhere buried deep under all of the paint and plaster. HECK YES.

We weighted a few options, 1. Remove the plaster and uncover the original brick. 2. Add thin brick to the face of it without removing the plaster (similar to what we used in our living room)

Ultimately we decided to uncover the OG and see what the Merc had in store for us (knowing that we can always cover it if it’s atrocious.)

So that is where we started (Court rather enthusiastically). I was nervous, the Merc is so old, what if the stucco was stabilizing the building and it had huge massive cracks or holes?! What if the portal to land of the lost is in the walls of the Merc instead of the floor!?! What if it came off so easily that we were left with a massive gaping hole where our front door is going, before we’ve ordered or made any plans for a door! GAH SO MUCH STRESS!!

He cared 0% about my thoughts and feelings. Rude.

As he started ripping the 2″ plaster off we realized that the brick wasn’t in as good of condition as we had hoped.

There are really deep gouges all over the face of the brick. I shared it on my instastories and so many of you commented that you’d seen something similar on Fixer Upper called Worm Brick and that it was intentionally designed that way. After a little investigation we determine that its not worm brick. There are 4 or 5 layers of paint on the surfaces and if it was worm brick the paint would be in the gouges too.

We think that they did it to prep the surface for plaster, and MAN ALIVE did it work, after 2 hours of working on it, with all of his mighty muscles this is what he was able to uncover. Poor dude.

So what does this mean!? Well, Court’s got a lot more work cut out for him. We’re planning on sandblasting the brick and removing the paint, this will hopefully soften the gouges enough that they aren’t glaringly obvious and offensive.

One of my biggest fears with this renovation is that I’ll over renovate. I don’t want to lose the personality and charm that the Merc has, and I think it would be fairly easy to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, but that is 100% not what I want. If we’ve got some wonky brick, then I’m all about working with it as much as we can, ya know?

This fear of over renovating is inspiring some pretty huge projects (think Nugget floors x4). While we were traveling last week we went to my friend Whitney’s house. It was built in 1905 and was SO incredible. Original pine floors with gaps and waves, plaster, molding, old doors, and quirky details that you just can’t fake. It helped me snap back into the reality of what an amazing gift renovating an old building is. It doesn’t have to be perfect and new and shiny. It’s not supposed to be! So what if our floors slope down 3 1/2 inches? It can have uneven floors and skinny openings (cough*cough hobbit hallway) and crumbly brick.

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent.

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Up next! FRAMING!!!




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Author: Jeff Donaldsons

Good day everyone, I'm a family man who loves hanging out with friends & meeting new people. Family Friends and Coding Yeah!. I also love helping others.