January 2, 2011

Successful Transplant

There are some things original to the house that we want to preserve. The intercom/radio system in the kitchen is one of those things.
The copper cover plate was some of the inspiration for the revised kitchen which will feature a copper hood fan. Originally, preserving the radio was simply going to involve pulling it out and box framing it for posterity.

But some more thought and some good luck with stud placement and wire accessibility meant that we could at least attempt to install it just around the corner from its original location.

Still in the kitchen, but not interfering with the placement of planned upper cabinets. This old-college-try was also influenced by the apparent masses of people who are planning on 'guesting' at the house when the renovations are complete. To a person, they all insisted that they'd really prefer to place their morning coffee order through the intercom rather than bellowing down the stairs to the kitchen. Which, clearly, is where I'll be waiting. Just chomping at the bit to make breakfast and coffee.

Here's my first view of the innards. It was at about this point I was cursing my own ambition. But a little self-talk and I figured it wouldn't be so bad.

The person who installed it was kind enough to use masking tape to label the wires...the writing was rather faded, but I was still able to make it out. I did end up making new labels because the masking tape was crumbling to bits. No way was it going to make it through to the back side of the other wall.

Here's a close-up of some of the components, after I disconnected the unit from the wall and the wires. Pretty neat looking stuff. Not that I have a clue what any of it is. But up close it looked like a mini sky-scraper city of the future. Which is funny, considering that the radio is 50 years old.

New hole. If I hadn't already cut the hole I suspect that the frustration that ensued might have resulted in guests having to yell for their breakfast. I'll tackle pretty much anything except for power lines. That means that rerouting the power for the radio was Norm's job. Norm doesn't often swear. I find that renos do bring out the foul language in a man though. I kept thinking I should cover Rory's ears.
The new hole on the right makes the light fixture in the main floor powder room accessible. Handy, since the power for the radio was wired into that fixture box. Not so handy, since there was a metal support bar impeding access to the clamps and getting everything back into the fixture box afterward was a pain. But that was yesterday. Norm's much better now. And we discovered that there is a little cabinet built into the wall behind the mirror in the bathroom. I had assumed that the large oval mirror was simply hung on the wall like a picture, but it's actually hinged to a built in medicine cabinet. Which, as it turns out, is a handy place to store screwdrivers and such while you are swearing at the light fixture above it. Hands-free cursing.

Power dealt with (see the wires safely covered and peeking up from the bottom left corner) and a new day upon us, I proceeded to pull my neatly relabeled wires. I had to extend some of them because they wouldn't reach the new location. Today's tool of the day: Soldering Gun. Hot melty stuff. What's not to like?

And there you have it. Okay, that sounded pretty easy. And when I scroll back through the photos it looks pretty easy. But it wasn't. So for all you future guests, you should know that there is also an intercom in the master bedroom. Consider this: *YOU* will stay overnight. And in the morning, *I* will buzz down to the kitchen (where you'll be waiting, of course) and let you know whether I'd like waffles or eggs for breakfast. Or maybe both. Oh, and I like my orange juice freshly squeezed.

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