Yep - usually I would start at the top. Actually, now that I have an infrared thermometer, it gives me a pretty good idea where the hive is, except that heat rises, so I try to use it to find the lower extent of the hive and then drill some holes to make sure of where the top is. I went bottom up this time because that is where the owner had already cut into the wall, so it was really the course of minimum damage. He had actually cut right through the corner studs (looked like with a chainsaw) so I really couldn't do much worse.
It was definitely a cool one. I just wish I understood what was going on. It appeared honey-bound, which is a condition I thought only occurred in artificial hives where the bees had no more room to build. These bees had more room, but no empty comb and not more than a couple hundred cells of sealed brood.
10 quarts of honey so far and still draining.