antique schoenhofen beer bottles were discovered in the attic of our historic Howard Van Doren Shaw home

Support Walls, Beams, and Beer Bottles

Building a new structure is pretty straight forward. Building a new structure that ties in  to an old one seamlessly is full of complications.

First, if you like your existing house, you have to create temporary support for it so it won’t collapse when you tear down the existing walls transitioning into the new space. 

In addition, the weight of the new construction, and the wider spans of many of  the new openings, create a need for more permanent support.

Some people run unsightly soffits , beams, or lower the ceiling  to cover up these support structures, but that screams “addition” and Dave will have none of that. 

To create “in construction support”,  we have to tear up perfectly fine existing walls and ceilings, add temporary support for them, and build the support beams and duct work into the walls. A lot of ” in construction structural support”  had to be added above the new large openings in the kitchen and great room.  This adds cost to the job, but it’s worth it.  _DSC6209-Edit   



These new structural microlams and posts were built into the walls and ceilings so they will not be visible or lower ceiling height.








And while we are talking about framing, can we take a minute to admire the way they did it 124 years ago?



Super wide planks used for the floor boards from old growth tress.
Today’s 2 by 4 compared to 2 by 4’s 124 years ago, is actually 1.5″ by 3.5″ 

Part of the fun of renovating a historic house, is discovering little bits of buried history along the way. We already dug up a beautiful brick  cistern (see Dig Baby Dig) Today, the carpenters discovered these old beer bottles tucked under the eaves in the roof. 







Of course I googled Schoenhofen Brewery  and discovered it was a pre-prohibition brewery in Chicago with a rich architectural history of it’s own. It survived prohibition partly by making Green River and became one of the largest brewery in Chicago. read more here

Three beer bottles from another place in time. Three buddies after a long day of framing? Three teenagers sneaking a beer on the roof? How these bottles ended up buried in the eaves of my roof 124 years ago is anyone’s guess….


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