PROCESS: CLEAN UP
These images document the very earliest stages of transforming the house into a blank slate. Notice that all of the junk originally crowding the rooms has been removed and stacked in a staging area to be rationed out onto the street for garbage pick-up. The wall between the kitchen and dining room, in addition to the walls of the downstairs bathroom (in the kitchen) have been demolished and removed. Concrete platforms for both toilets have been broken up and removed.
Much of the paint and lime from the walls has been removed at this stage, exposing the bare plaster, revealing layers of past patchwork and repair. Stripping the walls back to the bare plaster is a risk because not all of the lime comes off as easily as it does from walls that have had water damage or structural cracks. There were two options: leave most of it intact, do some patching, oil prime and paint, OR, totally rip it off, go crazy and leave the wall naked. The bare plaster lends a shimmer and depth to the wall surface, and ended up being nicely balanced by warm tones in the bare wood trim and floor that would later shine through.
An interesting thing to remember about the early life of this house is that plumbing was still an uncommon feature in homes. In the case of Circle House, there is evidence in the original construction of a wash basin. It was located in the upstairs hall. Interesting to known that a wash basin had priority over bathroom or kitchen plumbing. Before the sale of the house, former residents occupied the living spaces while the plumbing, or at least the toilets, were dysfunctional. Like a step back in time, but without the graceful 19th century habits for discretely dealing with waste. Needless to say, toilets were being used without a water supply or drain. The odor-blocking ability of a carbon filtered mask became paramount during this chapter of the renovation.