odd finds during renovation

What strange things have you found during renovation of a home? I bought a 70 year old farmhouse a few years ago and have been renovating it slowly. Finally got to pulling up the carpet in the upstairs hallway and a couple of the bedrooms.

In one of the bedrooms the previous owner had built an entire wall into a series of closets of varying size. It is weird. When I pulled up the carpet I found another layer of carpet. While pulling up the second layer of carpet I found out that the divider walls for the closets were built on top of it. A layer of padding under the second layer of carpet and under the padding was a layer of roll linoleum. Pulled that up to find shit brown painted hardwood.

I don’t own a home yet, but I’ve found some strange stuff in my car. There was what appeared to be a fusible link in the wiring for the cooling fan relay. It turns out that instead of putting a fusible link in, the PO put a length of 2 gauge wire in.
a grave full of dead bodies.

ok not really but that would be badass and creepy. I have a 100+ home I am working on and I have found old beer caps from other folks who have done renos before me. I have found window openings that have been sealed off and covered up. I have also found gas pipes in teh wall that were used for lamps (the house originally has gas lighting) I have also found old newsprint from the 1880′s that were shredded by mice but still is readable and has some big peices still remaining. I want to frame it because it is from a local town newpaper that is still sorta around but as another name. Getting ready to take down some more walls actually in the next few weeks
3 layers of drywall each with multiple layers of wall paper in between…

Um, random ways to build walls so studs never line up….

Dont even want to start with wiring…

And the worst thing I have found: a grave yard of mice that had been there long enough that all that was left was bones. How the previous owners (or whoever owned the house at the time) dealt with the smell of rotting animals in their wall, i will never know. A few dead birds in ceilings too, but nothing as bad as the piles of mice bones.
When moving my grandfather out of his old house into his new house we were moving his library and found about 5 grand in hundreds tucked away in dozens of books. He didnt trust banks for a long time and thats how he stored money. He completely forgot about it over the years. Also found his old Korean war stuff and my dads rifles as a kid still in perfect condition. Don’t even want to go into what we found while cleaning out my mom’s parents camp after they died. Fucking treasures everywhere that were forgotten about over time.
Visited my buddy a few weeks ago. His apartment is 85 years old. While contemplating life, he noticed an area that would be a perfect hiding place. He ripped the trim off and looked inside to see how big it was. There was a bag inside. Gay porn DVDs. I’m totally serious. We didn’t even think to look at the copyright dates, but DVD technology is only about 10 years old.
My grandmother’s root cellar smelled like molasses.
really.

Removed a piece of door casing and on the back was written in carpenter pencil: Installed by John Doe, carpenter for Joe Blow contracting on 00/00/00, making $x.xx per hour.

Removed another door and found the auto section from a long defunct newspaper, folded and shoved into the gaps. The homeowner was ecstatic, as the section included a review of a 1961 Plymouth Valiant, which turned out to be his very first car when he got out of college.
it wasn’t my house, but a friend of mine found all kinds of guns and shit in a house he gutted out with his family. they bought a summer home that was lived in by a drug addict who was apparently paranoid and stocked his entire house with loaded and cocked guns of all kinds. they also found a mortar shell.

My grandmother’s root cellar smelled like molasses.
really.

oh crap!
While tearing apart my bathroom:
They decided notching every stud along one wall to run a drain line would be a good idea.

When they installed a medicine cabinet, it didn’t quite fit between the studs, so they just cut a bunch of the studs out. It’ll be fine.

I’m taking framing/carpentry in school, and this is definitely not how to frame a door. Especially in a load bearing wall.

Awesomeness I found in the attic.

Collar Ties and Struts to cut the span/support the rafters. Not that big of deal right? It’s normal…

Except for the fact that they’re usually made out of 2×4′s, NOT 1" by 6" tongue and groove planking.

Oh and the struts usually go down on top of a load bearing wall. These are just nailed onto the ceiling joists of the room below. No load bearing walls.

a grave full of dead bodies.

ok not really but that would be badass and creepy. I have a 100+ home I am working on and I have found old beer caps from other folks who have done renos before me. I have found window openings that have been sealed off and covered up. I have also found gas pipes in teh wall that were used for lamps (the house originally has gas lighting) I have also found old newsprint from the 1880′s that were shredded by mice but still is readable and has some big peices still remaining. I want to frame it because it is from a local town newpaper that is still sorta around but as another name. Getting ready to take down some more walls actually in the next few weeks

You should totally restore the gas lighting, and attach the beer caps to the inside of the wall to spell out a message to the next guy.

And some people would’ve just auctioned that shit. It’s no wonder being an estate auctioneer is such a good living; people will tell them to just load everything in a truck and sell it, not ever even looking to see what’s there to be had.

My grandmother’s root cellar smelled like molasses.
really.

In any event, you people make me want to never buy a house. All that klugey shit…man oh man.

Awesomeness I found in the attic.

Collar Ties and Struts to cut the span/support the rafters. Not that big of deal right? It’s normal…

Except for the fact that they’re usually made out of 2×4′s, NOT 1" by 6" tongue and groove planking.

Oh and the struts usually go down on top of a load bearing wall. These are just nailed onto the ceiling joists of the room below. No load bearing walls.

worst house ever
Old war medals hidden in my parents attic. The house was built in the late 40′s, they were pretty cool but my mom wouldn’t let us move them. She didn’t want to upset him if he was a ghost
You guys might be interested in some hilarious electrical work found in renos:

I used to be in the remdeling business and seen all kinds of crazy construction boondoggles. Especially redoing houses formerly owned by idiots who just couldn’t keep themselves out the the home improvement centers.
When running new wiring up stairs I drilled through ceiling tile, then plaster, then wood, then hardened insulation, then floor boards, then carpet. My bit was only 18" and it would go all the way through.
when I helped my dad do a reno on a 120+ year old hotel I found hidden in the wall a 80 year old pack of cigs.. a full pack.

that was around 10 years ago.. the smokes were all hard and I don’t remember the name of the brand.

I wish I kept them and took pics.. damn.

a grave full of dead bodies.

ok not really but that would be badass and creepy. I have a 100+ home I am working on and I have found old beer caps from other folks who have done renos before me. I have found window openings that have been sealed off and covered up. I have also found gas pipes in teh wall that were used for lamps (the house originally has gas lighting) I have also found old newsprint from the 1880′s that were shredded by mice but still is readable and has some big peices still remaining. I want to frame it because it is from a local town newpaper that is still sorta around but as another name. Getting ready to take down some more walls actually in the next few weeks

exact same thing here

You guys might be interested in some hilarious electrical work found in renos:

for membership
i didnt find it, but my great-grandfather was a contractor and lost his index finger while hanging drywall at a job. He just wrapped up his hand and continued working, leaving the finger behind the wall.

That’d be an interesting find
I’m tearing my 128 year old house down in a few weeks, I will let you guys know if I find anything interesting
supersoaker version 1, beta edition

i didnt find it, but my great-grandfather was a contractor and lost his index finger while hanging drywall at a job. He just wrapped up his hand and continued working, leaving the finger behind the wall.

That’d be an interesting find

Now THAT, sir, is a REAL man.

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