Up until this point, we had hoped that the gutting would be primarily limited to the first floor--we didn't mind doing a shoddy job upstairs for now, painting over wallpaper, if it could save us money. But we did want to rip up the carpet, knowing the previous owners' predilection for dogs, cats, and nicotine. Ripping up the carpet in the office meant removing the baseboard. When I pried it off, half of the wallpaper came with it, revealing the expected paneling. No big deal, I thought. We'll take the paneling down on this wall and put up sheetrock. Unplanned, but doable. However, I soon realized that the perpendicular wall had been built over the paneling, which continued to the other side, the bedroom closet. Thus, the closet wall would have to come down too. OK. Fine. Until I realized that the closet ceiling had been built over the paneling, which meant that the ceiling would have to come down, too. To summarize: office carpet=baseboard=wallaper=paneling=closet wall=closet ceiling. It was like a giant game of pick-up-sticks.
In the above picture, you can see the office wall paneling that has been pulled away from the frame, but that can't be removed because the perpendicular office wall is built against it. In an attempt to preserve that perpendicular wall, I managed--with Amy's help--to knock down the drywall and then use the electric saw to remove the paneling. I felt a huge--and likely unwarranted--sense of accomplishment about saving the back wall. In the picture below, you're looking at the frame of the hallway wall; the wall dividing the office from the closet (what I have been calling the perpendicular wall) juts up against the frame. On the other side of the perpendicular wall is the missing closet wall. The doorway looks into the bedroom--so far, its walls are intact.