Awaiting Destruction, Wasn't The Empty House Beautiful?

Awaiting Destruction, Wasn't The Empty House Beautiful?

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Maxwell Ryan
Jul 19, 2016
Here's a pic of the house totally emptied in February, while we waited for permission to start the demolition.
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

Welcome to The Stacked Barn project where I lead you through a year-long odyssey that I've never been on before: the building of a new house. I'm going to show you how my new home gets built - step by step. This is Chapter Two.

The last picture I shared with you is just below. It shows my house nearly, completely gone and the four foot crawl space exposed. This pure and fast destruction took place over a few days in April. The house was torn down and carted away AS was all that cinderblock foundation that you see. It was perhaps the quickest moment in the process, and it was the official kickoff because none of this could happen until all of our paperwork was approved by the town.

Demo

April, 2016

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

Filing all the paperwork and getting approval to move ahead with the demo took a long time and we were set back at least two months dealing with things that we didn't expect. One of the surprises was a new rule that requires any house being demolished to be officially "unhooked" from all gas and electricity by the local utility, PSEG, which took a while to do and then this additional paperwork had to be filed with the town.

Looking at the front - BEFORE
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
Look from the front - AFTER
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

The reason for this new rule? Apparently, a house had been demolished last year that hadn't been properly unhooked, and it blew up. I was happy to play this one safe.

Filing paperwork is frustrating, so leave a lot of time for this and you won't be surprised. Particularly if you've moved out of your house as it's your main residence, this can really frustrating, but it ALWAYS takes longer than you expect I've learned.

Looking at the back - BEFORE
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
Looking at the back - AFTER
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

Moving

January 2016

I was ready for the demo in January because we thought we would be clear for the demo soon. That was when I moved everything out of the house into PODS in the front yard in two days (for the record, PODS are a great, much more affordable alternative to moving your stuff to storage).

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

I had three great helpers, and it was amazing to see everything disappear into boxes in one day and then get carried out the door on the next. Many hands make light work.

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

The House Is Empty & Strangely Beautiful

February 2016
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

I first met Eric Striffler four years ago, when he photographed this house and my family's barn next door for The New York Times. He did such a stunning job in such a short time, I remembered him vividly and asked if he would photograph the process of this house coming down and going up over the course of a year. He agreed to the project, so you will see that most of the pictures are his, and, certainly, the most beautiful ones are his.

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

During these final days, I removed everything I wanted to keep and left a number of things that were given away to friends who visited the house in February. Appliances, cabinets and countertop was taken from the kitchen. Odds, ends and furniture were taken from the rooms. The doors and windows were taken off of the house. Skylights were also removed. The bones were picked over and almost everything given another life.

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

Next time: The Plans!

(Image credit: John Berg)

Resources:

Architect: John Berg, Berg Design Architecture
Contractor: Peter Germano

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