Agent

Leaving the gaslight era behind

Beautify room with pipe-and-patch project

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Q: I have an old house in Berkeley, Calif. It used to have gaslights. The pipes are still visible in the rooms, sticking out 2 1/2 inches from the walls and capped. I know that there is no gas in these lines, so I would like to remove them and patch the holes. I tried a pipe wrench, but wasn't able to budge them. I could cut them flush with a Sawzall, but I'd like to get them deeper in order to do a better patch. Any suggestions? A: Kevin ran into the same thing when he refurbished his 1879 Second Empire Victorian in nearby Alameda. The old pipes were still in the walls -- old gas lines, old water lines, and old lead drains and vents. Kevin did a lot more than you propose. He opened up the walls to the studs, exposing everything. What a 100-year-old rat's nest! But you don't have to do that. We remember when Kevin took ownership in 1982. The walls were in pretty crummy condition after years as a rental, and the color scheme was electric blue and purple, a suitable home fo...