When we bought the OAH, it had a one-story addition over the old basement steps. Based on the size and scale, you'd think the Arnolds were a family of giants - they were not. We lived with the addition for a single winter. It lacked insulation and there was an uninsulated door between this unheated space and our living room. We also had a very narrow, steep staircase on the interior that made it impossible to get a queen size bed upstairs. It was a odd juxtaposition between the stairs going up and those going down.
So we decided to tear the entire thing off and start over from scratch, it seemed logical at the time. To prepare for the project, we dryolocked the concrete block at the basement level of the addition, bought a lot of materials (but enough to save us from daily trips to the hardware store), had a dumpster delivered, and invited we knew to come and visit for a long weekend.
And, the fun is just beginning!
Objects found: Clay bricks in the stud cavity, square cut nails (hinting at the age of the original structure), horse hair plaster, original clapboard siding, Kool cigarettes, brass butterfly ornament, subway token, plastic bags and sweaters stuffed into nooks and crannies.
Lessons learned: We found out that the Arnolds were creative re-users before it was trendy. They wadded up plastic shopping bags and filled all manner of cracks and voids. For the larger cracks, they used sweaters. Their basic building materials were bags and sweaters with tar for mortar - seriously.