Our Fixer Upper: Amsden Building Demo

     Last week demo began on our latest fixer upper project and I can barely keep up!  Our contractors have been awesome and have been moving faster than I ever imagined on the interior demo of the entire building (upstairs and downstairs).  For a little more background and details on our plans for this building, see my original post here.  Our main goal is to restore many of the original features of the building and the character that has slowly been covered up or replaced over the years.  This building was used as offices and a courthouse annex so many walls were added to create lots of small offices and rooms.  The biggest part of demo will be removing all these walls to completely open up all the spaces and raise the ceilings back up to the original height of 14 feet.  I wanted to share a few pictures of the upstairs progress and some interesting original features we have uncovered- prepare yourself for lots of dust and mess!  

Above is one of the upstairs office spaces that we are opening up- this was originally 2 offices with lots of small rooms that we are making into one large open office.  You can see a better view of how the space was divided up below too.

All the lighter colored wood represents newer walls that were added probably in the last 20-30 years, while the darker beams are most likely original to the building.  We will be trying to take as much of the outer walls of the upstairs and downstairs back to exposed brick as we can.

One interesting feature that we uncovered was this beautiful arched window that had been completely covered up (you can see it to the left and then how it was covered with trim to the right)!  This is actually right above our large regular windows and when they lowered the ceilings in these rooms, they ended up just covering up these original details.  We are hoping to restore these arched windows so that they add even more amazing natural light into these office spaces!

Above is our favorite room upstairs which is the corner office with the best views of Main Street and the giant curved corner window you can see in the photos of the front of the building.  We really want this office to be a show-stopper and are completely opening up the entire space and raising the ceilings as high as we possibly can (maybe even higher than the original 14 ft.!)  

Above is part of the ceiling in the corner office-  there are two levels: the beams that that ceiling fan is hanging from which are at 14 feet, and what extends beyond that is the attic area all the way up to the roof.  We want to at least get this entire room back up the original 14 feet ceilings, but are hoping to make them even higher into the attic for a super dramatic and open space.

In the same room we uncovered this old fireplace behind the wall (that most likely also extends downstairs too).   We also uncovered another fireplace that was covered with old wood panneling in the first office (see below).  I'm not sure if we will be able to make these function again, but I still like the idea of having them in the spaces to add the historic feel and original character to the rooms.

We've had lots of good news so far throughout demo, which is very rare with a building this age!  One of the things we were excited to find was some original hardwood floors upstairs (under many layers of carpet!).  We should be able to refinish these and patch any missing areas to match.   This is a huge find, since we originally budgeted to put down all new floors upstairs.

Above (and below) you can see the front two offices which will be opened into one large office (we will have 3 total office spaces for lease upstairs).  All the offices now have their own tiny bathrooms, but we will be moving the bathrooms to accommodate the new floor plan and so that they break up the floor plan much less.  

One more look at some of the floors we uncovered- every room of this upstairs had a different color of carpet when we bought the building!  We were able to take some video footage of the entire building before demo that I hope to share soon so that you can get a better idea of the overall layout.  The downstairs has already been completely cleared out as well and I'll be sharing more details on that next week!