The exterior walls (shown held up by iron beams) were not replaced. Click either photo to go to an extensive slideshow …Photos of the renovation give sometimes-intimate glimpses of the White House. Here, workmen dismantle a bathtub …[Click here or on either photo to go to our slideshow of almost three dozen shots.]
It's a story that just about anyone who's ever lived in an old house can relate to:
Soon after moving in, the new occupant started noticing drafts. And noises, too -- popping and creaking.
Workers were called in to take a look, and sure enough, they found some ... issues. Pretty major ones. The house was 150 years old, after all. It had withstood some major remodels already, including modernization of its electrical, heating and plumbing decades earlier. Not to mention it had endured an early fire that burned it right to its outer walls.
One ceiling was sagging 6 inches. The bricks supporting the staircase -- which were bought secondhand decades earlier -- were disintegrating. The nursery was "an outstanding example of a firetrap," the pros said.
But this was no ordinary repair job, as the New York Times wrote at the time (note: link goes to a PDF). The home was the White House, the occupant President Truman. And as it turned out, the place needed a gut renovation.
The National Archives recently uploaded photos from this historic 1950s remodel to its Flickr account. Yahoo! News recently published some of them, but we wanted to show you even more pictures, including many before-and-after shots of famous spaces like the White House lobby, the State Dining Room and the Blue Room -- even a renovated White House kitchen.
Think of it as a cautionary tale for those of you thinking of taking on a remodel. Or, for those who've survived the ordeal, consider this a reminder that it could have been worse.