The suite originally had drop ceilings in the living room and kitchen. Over the years, water damage had worn them down just a bit, as will happen with historical buildings in wet climates. The decision was made to remove the drop ceilings, and when we did so, we realized that there was another ceiling above those! It is always fun and interesting to see what new secrets our venerable buildings have to share with us. We went ahead and took those second ceilings down too; then we decided it would be easiest to raise the ceilings. We ended up being able to add about 10 inches to them, a remarkable difference!
We thought doing the ceilings would be an easy job, timed perfectly with a separate bathroom renovation that we were doing at the same time. But of course, home repairs tend to snowball. When the shower in the bathroom was torn out, we realized there were no joists supporting the shower or, for that matter, the entire back of the house. Our handyman extraordinaire Brett wasn’t sure what to do. So, we slept on the problem, hoping for a solution. Ultimately, we decided that the only option was to take out the hardwood floor and pour a reinforcing concrete stem wall from above. In order to not compromise the structural integrity of the upper floors, we had to do the foundation reinforcement in 4-foot sections. That part sure was exhausting, but after it was complete, the bathroom renovation was completed quickly and easily.