Demolition Monday: Removing Chair Molding & Slate

There’s no better cure for a case of the Mondays than wielding a sledgehammer. It must’ve been a particularly boring Monday because yesterday we let loose on 4 different areas.

Demo Day 2007 kicked off with demo project #1: prying off the chair rail in the dining room that we’re converting into a 3rd bedroom (since chair rail is a bit weird in a bedroom). I was at work for this project, but from what I can tell Sherry had no trouble getting it down with a hammer, a crowbar and some womanpower. Hasta la vista, chair rail.

Check out the gross yellow paint and ’70s wallpaper we found underneath! It’s even uglier than what was there when we moved in.

Dining room - Demo Dining Wallpaper close-up

Then when I got home it was time to complete demo project #2, which Sherry had also started earlier in the day: busting up the decorative slate “medallion” in the middle of the backyard… all part of our master plan to make room for more grass.

The “busting” part of this project proved to be much easier than expected. Sherry and I happily took turns swinging the 20 pound sledgehammer (while humming the 80’s Peter Gabriel tune “Sledgehammer”) and within minutes the medallion was no more. Digging up the sandbed beneath the slate proved to be the real labor, but a big grassy backyard will so be worth the effort.

Circle - demo Sherry Circle - John Demo

Speaking of making room for grass – on to demo project #3: relocating the arch. Again, the demo part of this wasn’t too much of a problem. Some simple digging around the stakes and a few shimmies back-and-forth were all it took (well, maybe slightly more than a few shimmies). We made a pitiful attempt to stake it back in the ground at its new location towards the back of our property, but it was getting dark so we decided it was time for a dinner break.

Arch - demo John

After some Taco Bell and some errands (Lowe’s for topsoil) I thought we were done for the night. But I saw Sherry out of the corner of my eye… and she was holding a hammer. Now what? She was on to demo project #4: opening up our laundry “room.” Mind you, it was like 10:30 at this point.

We don’t have any good pictures of the “before” because the “before” wasn’t very pretty. Imagine some cheap, painted bi-fold doors creating a large claustrophobic closet that housed our washer, dryer and two junk-packed shelves. It was great at concealing the one messy area in our house, but it really closed in the hallway between the sunroom and the den, making it feel like you were being squeezed through a straw everytime you walked between the two rooms.

The demo started as simply removing the bi-fold doors but quickly progressed to taking out the entire wall above the doors, too. Luckily, crowbar + brute strength = no more wall. Afterwards, the room and our clothes were covered in drywall “snow”, but it sure looked a heck of a lot more open.

Laundry - Sherry demo Laundry - half demo

Laundry - full demo

The plan is to widen the doorfame about 10-12 inches to open up the hallway even more, and to put some cabinet doors on the upper shelf (to once again conceal our junk) and eventually replace the washer and dryer with prettier front loading versions to create a sparkling new, white laundry nook that’s easier on the eyes than our previous bifold cave. Can’t we just keep demo-ing? It’s so much more fun than putting things back together…


  1. says

    Hey Youngsters, any suggestions on a) removing dry wall (we have a similar short wall at the top of the entrance to our hallway that doesn’t make sense and blocks light… and we want to knock down a wall in our kitchen) and b) putting up a new wall (similar to filling in the door from y’all’s kitchen to the dining room… we want to knock a wall out of our kitchen and extend the kitchen into the too-large laundry room behind it). Thanks!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kristina,

      We actually hired a construction company to do that stuff so we’d hate to offer advice that might result in anything less than perfect. Our honest advice would be to either get help from a skilled friend or family member or to hire a professional for a polished and seamless finished product. Hope it helps!


  2. Karen P. says

    Sorry for all the questions but I’m reading your blog from the beginning and I see that you uncovered wallpaper under the paint. How did you remove the wallpaper. I went wallpaper crazy in my house years ago and want to start stripping it but I’m not sure of the easiest method.

    • says

      We’ve always heard steaming it off is the easiest. We just sprayed it with hot water, scored it, sprayed again, scraped it, and then scraped the glue. It took forever but it was all gone and easy to paint once we put in the time. Hope it helps!


  3. says

    Hey guys, we just removed a chair rail in our family room and there are now 2 ridges in the wall – right above and below where the chair rail was. It’s noticeable because there are probably 3 layers of different paint colors that have been painted with the chair rail… any idea on how to make the ridge less noticeable? I’m not sure if you ran into this problem at all when you took yours off…

    • says

      Definitely sand those suckers down until they’re smooth (take precautions if it’s an old house because you could expose lead paint while sanding so google how to deal with that if you are). You also might need to skim coat the wall (basically you use spackle and a putty knife to skim over the whole area so it’s all smooth when it’s dry). Good luck!


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