Front Hallway Demolition

The downstairs hallway project was started back in 2015, when I slowly began removing wallpaper.  It was only slow because it was adhered with straight adhesive on unprimed walls.  (Not because I like to work slowly.)  I spent about 25 hours two  weeks ago taking down wallpaper in the unfinished spots.  Plus at least 30 previous hours over the last several weeks and years.

I took down bits and pieces in two layers to get the full hall completely bare.  This is almost the last bit of wallpaper in the house.  (I love the eclectic paper in the kitchen cubby and I’m keeping it.)  Now that the paper is down, I can see raw horse hair plaster in some parts and what appears to be original paint in others.  Not to mention the original stencil border, which I love.

The next step is putting sheetrock on the ceiling.  We did this in a day, but plastering the seams and edges will take Bill a few weeks.  He can’t work on it everyday (you know, life), but it also takes several layers and dry time.

In the meantime, I have bond-primed the walls and Bill has applied the first layer of plaster on those. They will need a second coat of plaster, a second coat of sealing primer, and then at least two coats of paint.  The same with the ceilings.  It’s a long process.  I’ll purchase lights soon, probably to match the upstairs hallway.

And this work is only in the downstairs foyer hallway.  Upstairs hallway is a whole other process and a whole other post.

Advertisements

New Bath & Shower!!

THIS is what I’ve wanted now for 8 years, a new bathtub.  Sigh, I’m so happy it’s in and over with.  But first, the gory details.  Below is the original bath as it was when we moved in, sans the ladder. 😉

The process to renovation was about what we expected, but it never happens as quickly for me as I’d like.  I started this, as mentioned, by scraping down the old paint.  Then, I primed with an exceptional bonding primer, filled in with joint compound, re-primed with bonding primer on the walls and a sealing primer on the ceiling.  Next, I painted my first base coat, on walls and ceiling.  But, the paint work was easy compared to bathtub installation, primarily done by Billy.

You can see from the photo below how cracked the ceiling was and how yellowed the vinyl surround had become.  We believe it was originally white to match the bathtub.

In the meantime, we took apart the old surround, took out the old tub, and looked into the plumbing.  It took us hours to figure out how to turn off the water, but that is the true treasure and beauty of an older home.  We went through every single pipe in the basement together and took a look at how it all fit together, twisting every handle and finally discovering that none of them really worked unless the water from the street/village was turned all the way off.  It was just the back pressure that kept pushing water up to the tub.  Bill was able to attach new plumbing relatively easily and we were able to install the new (porcelain steel) tub.  It’s longer than the last tub, which is a boon for me!

We debated on tiling or acrylic surround for the shower.  Besides raising the shower head, which I’m also thrilled about, we landed on surround.  It is easier to put in and repair down the road.  Having only one working shower in the house means that we need to have it working quickly and efficiently.

And the best part of the room is the new mini chandelier.  We needed more light since the two sconces are rather high on the wall and the room is oddly shaped.  It was a fun bobble to add and gave us the chance to put in two more outlets near the sink.

New towels, new rugs and sigh.

Before too long, we will replace the toilet, but really it’s done.  SO HAPPY doesn’t even begin to cover how this new room makes me feel.  Nothing like a pretty bath to make you feel really clean.

Finished Dining Room

It has taken a while to get here, 9 and a half years to be exact, whew.

The dining room was the very first room we took on when we bought the house.  There wasn’t much to repair and we thought it would be an easy start.  But, as anything in these old houses, once you start unwrapping a project, you discover all the hidden delicate issues underneath.  In this case, it was the old wallpaper adhesive that has kept showing up.  In Victorian America, people wallpapered everything, including ceilings.  The wallpaper covered old plaster and cracks easily and fit with the trend of over the top loud embellished decor.

However, when in removing old wallpaper in our home, whether it was our removal or the previous owners, the vintage adhesives stayed in place, like a nice little tacky sealant on the plaster.  Covering those with primers and expecting them to adhere to newer plasters and acrylic paints is tricky business. But, we repaired the dining room ceiling first back in 2009 before we did the walls, windows, and lighting.

And then, we redid the ceiling again, two years later.  Finally, we realized we’d have to give in and start putting sheet rock on all our ceilings to keep from redoing them every two years.  This was a smart decision our end, and we put up sheetrock in 2 bedrooms upstairs and the family room downstairs.  In a few weeks, we will also put it up in the hallway downstairs.

Finished DiningIn the meantime, to cover the ceiling in the dining room, Bill decided to take the sheetrock a step further, and he coffered the ceiling, which I revealed in this post.  In truth, the edges need to be finished on the coffering, but it is minimal work at this point.

So. . . we have completed the room and finally found some chairs we like.   That is a whole other story.  Antique chairs were too small, and modern chairs are built with less integrity, so it took us a while.  Finally, the clearance rack at Pier One gave us the right option.  It is odd that I chose light chairs, light carpet and drapes with a small boy in the house, I know.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

 

Upstairs Bath Repair

Several years back, we repaired and prepped the upstairs full bath.  Within the first year, the painted walls and ceiling started to crack and peel – due to the high humidity this room gets during showers having no fan or ventilation.

Since then, we added an automatic fan to vent out through the attic roof, but the peeling paint has lingered, along with a hideous tub and surround, of two different colors.  Not to mention, I was never truly happy with the color I chose for the new paint and the stencil around the bead-board wainscoting.  The photo is the current bath colors, new photos to come.

We’ve decided to overhaul the whole room, except for the original sink.  It’s not my favorite sink, but I can’t bare to part with it because it is c. 1894.  Plus, it is a beautiful grey marble.  (And I found a lovely marbled top vanity to match.)

We’ll put in a new tub and I’d truly like to tile around it instead of acrylic surround.  Possibly a new toilet, additional and new lights and definitely new paint and ceiling.

The first part and biggest pain, however is chipping away at the patchy paint on the ceiling.  Once I get as much down as possible, I’ll use a strong bonding primer and then patch with joint compound.  Our issue might been that we used a shellac primer when we first did the work.  While shellac is great between layers of paint, or covering wallpaper with super adhesion, it isn’t the best for humidity.  We just didn’t know at the time how humid that room could get.

So this week has been full on scraping, bath and downstairs hallway, which I’ll share in another post.

Maybe next week will bring at least a little paint my way and more time to keep you updated with posts!

Laundry Room Sink

We finally have put the laundry space all together.  I’m anxious to get a cabinet (home made) put in above the washer and dryer, but otherwise, it feels much better.  Cleaner, organized and a space I can really utilize.  I love the mini shelves Bill put in (which you can see to the right of the sink cabinet), and the sink itself is both rustic and completely original.

This is the grain cabinet we found at a local antique store, along with a faucet I ordered from VanDyke’s Restorers.  We use VanDyke’s a lot for reproductions of Victorian hardware.  The hammered copper sink was one that I purchased through Etsy.  I’m so thrilled to have a useable and beautiful space, just a little sad it is so hidden from the rest of the house.

The new washer is a dream to use and doing laundry is a whole new joy.  I’m one of those odd people that has always enjoyed it, but now, even better.

 

Bill’s Office

This was the second room we worked on in our home, after the dining room.  It had a lot of pink, wallpaper and woodwork that we decided to change.  When we looked at the house, this room was being used as a pool table room, but we know from neighbors that it once held a piano and was a parlor of sorts.

Originally we called this room the Library, as we intended to put shelves around the two full walls, possibly putting in a gas fireplace and room behind the shelves for a hidden safe.  Ah, how plans change.

When Bill came home full time to start his business, b2coaching, we decided he needed an office of his own.  This room is perfect for his work, and allows him some privacy, or space for in-home visits with clients.  The solid cherry pocket doors both work for this space, too.  You can see Bill’s desk is a beautiful wooden table that he built to match our cherry wood work.  I found the Steampunk light on Etsy and the odds and ends are Bill’s decor, (except for the unattractive AC unit.)

However, he needed shelving.  Lots of shelving.  We made a 3 hour drive to Ikea last year to find some good shelves.  All wood, but user assembled, here they are.  We decided that just the one wall would be shelves and the back wall would hold Bill’s whiteboard, as he prefers to write out thoughts and ideas large scale.  Below it, I found a curio at HomeGoods for his birthday back in January.  We outfitted everything with attractive folder boxes and files and some old lights above the shelving.  Eventually, we will replace the ceiling light with a vintage fan, and possibly paint the woodwork a brown-black.  

 

 

Beginning the Foyer

Been working on this project now for 3 years, maybe more?  I can’t remember at this point.  Sometimes I’ll start a project when Bill is happily woodworking on something and then it stays in limbo for several years while I do other stuff.  Since pulling down wallpaper in quarter size pieces takes a while, this project has been on the back burner.  Besides, the hallway looks slightly like old world antiquity this way and I don’t mind it, as long as it stays clutter free.

I’ll pick the work up once we’re back in the fall and Will is in school.  And also once the laundry room, dining room and front porch have their say.  It’s all about prioritizing in an old house like this, right?

But, here is what it looks like now.  Floors (soft pine) were redone back in 2012 and the piano was a good price from an auction.  The hardwood woodwork is ALL cherry and has been unpainted.  I clean and polish it from time to time.  It has wear, but still resonates beautifully.

The hallway has strange walls, with a slight texture surface.  As I’ve peeled back the wallpaper, I’ve discovered what appears to be original stenciling in a chocolate brown color.  The original paint appears to be a caramel color with multicolored sponging, but I cannot discern what was really happening there.  I’m going to try to recreate the stencil pattern, though.  Don’t want to lose that gem!