Before and After. . . Renovations so far

Dining room, before we began
Dining room, complete with lemon trees

Here are a few images to give you an idea of how far we’ve come in 2 and a half years.  We still have a ways to go, but our house has become “ours”.  I’ll move through the images based on the order in which we completed the work.

We moved in during July of 2009, but since we were only renting (waiting on our loan to go through), we didn’t want to start any major work.  We spent the summer cleaning out the house, pruning back vines and readying for our paint crew.

When the outdoor work was underway, we began by cleaning up the kitchen and sealing the pantry.  We pulled carpet out of the laundry room, which I still haven’t show you.

And then we started the big work.  Since the dining room looked as though it would be one of the easier rooms, we started there.

Library with window still boarded
Library finished

Next we worked on the library, though we still have yet to put in shelves.

Bathroom before demolition
Completed bath

Then we started upstairs with the full bath and alongside we painted the kitchen.  It took us a LOOONG time to do the bath because we had to remove crappy wallpaper, which was adhered with caulk and a soldering gun.  Just kidding, but it was put on eerily strong.

Kitchen, fall 2009
Kitchen, freshly painted

We stayed upstairs to work on the master bedroom and redid the ceiling in the dining room, not even a year later.  Then we began the nursery and finished up with the living room, where we are still putting final details in place.

Pantry in progress
Pantry, painted

We’ve yet to redo anymore floors except for the master bedroom, though we did consider having someone else come in and do them for us.  We are still debating what to do there.  Such a big job for us.

We still have yet to put up the chandelier in the living room and attach the mantle, though Bill has completed it.

Master Bedroom, with windows covered
Master Bedroom completed, except for ceiling fan and stencil
Nursery first used as our bedroom
Nursery with mural begun

Once those pieces are in place, he will begin our bookshelves!  I cannot wait to get all my books in place.  I feel as though we still haven’t moved in because my books are waiting patiently in boxes all over the house.  I’m not a hoarder by any stretch, nor a collector of anything in particular, but I do love books.  And, thankfully, Bill loves building and working with wood, so this will be a great project for us both.

While Bill is working on the shelves, I have yet to finish painting and stenciling several areas in the house.  I am also going to draft up plans for our garden.  I’d like to get some flowerbeds in place this spring, for once.

Living room, first week moved in
Living Room complete!
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You’ve been waiting!

Waiting to move in

That title implies that I would be showing you a completed nursery, right?  Well, it is complete to a degree.  The crown moulding is in, we’ve put down a carpet and the baby has moved in.  But, I’m still painting.  Yes, it does take me that long.  I’m working on a Peter Rabbit mural for the nursery and now that little guy is napping in there, I can only work in bits and pieces.  However, here are the pics of the room so far.  We finished painting the room a light turquoise and then readied the closets.  I decided to paint them a bit darker than the walls.

Mural in progress

Previously, we thought we could line them both with pine and/or cedar and call it done, but the expense kept us on the original plan just to re-plaster.  My father had removed all the wallpaper in them during the winter, so they were completely bare.  Bill re-plastered and built shelving and I primed and painted.  In the meantime, we shopped for a carpet.  To keep the dust at bay and the baby healthy, we have decided to wait on refinishing any floors right now.  Course, this drives Bill crazy, but it keeps us moving along on getting plaster work done. . . and has given Bill motivation to work on other wood projects (such as our mantel).  So, the room has a full rug, which was hard to shop considering the room is shaped like an octagon.  We ended up purchasing a rug that was custom cut. . .but the store had to do it twice to get it right because the room isn’t square!  Crazy hard.  All in all, it is a clean comfy nursery space at this point, but not as fun as it is going to be.

Hard at work

While I’m painting away on the nursery (and finishing stenciling in our bedroom), Bill has moved on to plastering the living room.  As you may remember, the ceilings have been sheet-rocked.  So, he is working on the walls and seams.  The woodwork in there is all cherry, which we love, but this will mean that any additional work we do will need to match.  Well, we would want it to match.  Eventually, we would like to do a crown/picture rail moulding in there to formalize it.  However, the main woodworking project we need to complete is the fireplace mantel.  It is currently pine, and we are thinking that it is original, but we aren’t sure.  It looks to simple to be Victorian, and yet, we found a matching mantel in oak online that dates to 1890.  So, we are debating whether to improve the piece we have by wrapping it around the stove more carefully or to build an entirely new piece that would go up the wall.  Any thoughts on that?

Nice window, eh?

My favorite thing in the living room is the side door.  It leads to the porch, which is the front porch that wraps around, but the door is mottled with shellac and old stain.  I love it!  I don’t want to refinish it at all, because the patina is so beautiful to me.  However, Bill might win out.  It should be refinished to complete the house and care for the wood.  Sigh.  (I like this door even more than the stain glass in the front window).

So, this is our current state. . . Hopefully by the holidays we can have a lot more done.  It would be nice to be in the living room by Christmas, for Will’s first.

the Nursery: it is almost there

a lot of plasterwork to go

Well, we have been a while in writing.  Our new son, born in February has taken up quite a bit of our time and energy.  But, we have pushed on to complete his room and hopefully finish the living room by Thanksgiving.  I took a short trip south this summer to give Bill some uninterrupted time to work on the nursery.

As you may remember the walls needed a lot of plaster due to the fact that they were covered with a sanded paint and had some substantial cracking.  Before I left to go south, Bill had repaired a lot of the cracks, meshed the walls and put on at least one coat of plaster.  During the 10 days of my trip he managed to finish the plaster and sand the walls, apply sheet rock to the ceiling, tape and fill, caulk the woodwork, polish the hardware, scrape and paint the sashes, repair the sash cords and prime everything.  Yeah, “wow” is right.  And, he was working a full time job and doing classwork at the same time.

finished plaster, waiting for primer

Upon my return, we have been able to paint the walls and trim.  It is such a bright room that I didn’t want to use a dark color for our little guy, so I went with a pale robin’s egg blue.  I’ve picked out new lighting which will arrive soon, too.  I have planned to do some decorative painting in his room (in all my spare time), but I keep changing my mind as to what to do.  Possibly a mural or a faux chair rail with a pattern underneath.

This weekend we will put up crown moulding and finish the painting and then the following weekend we will begin on the floors.  This floor has the least damage, so it should take very little to sand and stain.  We have decided to use a water-borne stain and polyurethane in the nursery due to the fact that Will was very sensitive to the tung oil we used in the master bedroom.  It won’t be as durable and a bit more difficult to maintain, but I’m finding the tung oil a beast of its own in that I can still smell the oil when I enter the room, and we finished that floor in January.

first coats of paint on walls and trim

Ah well, my writing time is short today. . . the young’un has awoken.  I’ll be back to post finished photos when the room is complete.

Changes are coming

Well, we’re off to a slow start this year.  The master bedroom is my pride now that it is complete, however, we’ve found a major glitch in our renovation system.  The baby appears to be allergic or irritated by the products we used on the floor!  So, that great little nursery nook we made?  Well, it all had to be moved, and moved again.  At first we didn’t know it was the room, so it took us a while to figure out that our son was agitated and stuffy because of the solvents.  I can still smell them faintly, but Bill can’t smell them at all.  So, we were hoping to be settled.  But, the baby has a sensitive system, so we moved him next door into the guest room/green room.  Alas, the floor still seems to bother him, so we moved him down to the library.  And now, currently, the baby’s room is in our library.  (And, our bedroom is the close-by dining room).  The green room still holds the crib, and there is a pack and play in the kitchen.  It is a long story, but when one has a baby, the house seems to collect baby things in every room.

We were going to focus on finishing the floors this summer, but we aren’t going to move forward on those until we know what finish to use.  Our previous choice was not only easy to maintain and looks great, but it is extremely durable.  The best choice for low odor will be softer and more likely to scuff.  Throw out ideas if you have them.

But, we are plugging away at Will’s new room, whether or not we do his floor right away.  Bill is spending bits of time here and there plastering and I’m well. . . I’m nursing and diaper changing a little man who will eventually be helpful on the home renovations, too.

You can see how much he has grown in 3 months.  He is giving us a workout physically but we’ll get back to full swing eventually and finish this project! 😉

Taken last week, just after a feeding
in the hospital the day after he was born

Stay tuned for a video tour soon!

Bare room

You can see original wallpaper under the top layer of paper inside closet

We are pricing out and starting to order materials for the baby’s room.  As I mentioned in the last post, we’ll be putting sheet rock on the ceiling in here, so we’re going to order a  shipment that will allow us to also have enough for 3 other rooms in the house.  Once that arrives, Bill will be able to start prepping the room.

Right now, we haven’t done anything to it except clear it of all furniture and decorations.  An empty canvas if you will, ready and waiting.  It is one of my favorite rooms in the house, so I’m looking forward to transforming it into a comfortable living space.

While we are waiting on supplies, and giving ourselves a bit of renovation break waiting for the baby, here are some photos of the room completely bare.

Faces the east side of the house, envision this room directly above the dining room
Two corner closets and entrance from hall
Interior of closet, showing wallpaper that needs to be removed

The Octagon Room

We haven’t really named this room anything as it has always just been “our bedroom”.  In the rest of the rooms upstairs, we’ve had to call them by some sort of name to identify the differences, especially because we weren’t using any of them for the first six months or so after we moved in.  The “green room” became storage for the longest time, until it was converted into a true guest bedroom last May.  The “blue room” became my studio for painting because I preferred its size to the other rooms.  The “pink room” was always destined to be our Master bedroom, but it took a long time to get to call it “our bedroom”.

However, the white room or the octagon room has really gone nameless as it was just the bedroom.  Now, it will become the nursery, but that name is a long way off from becoming a reality.

the White room

You can see how we have used it in the past.  We moved into this room because it was truly the cleanest bedroom when we bought the house.  Though the walls are terribly cracked and painted with a sanded finish, the floors are in relatively good shape and the room was just better than the other options.  There are also two small closets in this room on the corners, making it a full octagon.  The windows opposite the closets are also on “corners”.

It has been a comfortable quiet space to get used to sleeping in such a big house, and I will surely miss it.  However, we have plans to move it right along for the baby, so we’ll walk you through the process once more on another bedroom.

Bill is planning on putting up sheetrock on this ceiling.  It was never our intent to use any sheetrock in the house, but we have discovered the hard way that the plaster cracks way too easily, and “un-does” a newly finished room.  The dining room is a perfect example.  Bill has done the ceiling in there twice, but it is cracking again from the joists between the floors.  So, we’re going to put up sheetrock on the ceiling to keep our sanity.  That is the first priority on the empty room.  From there, we’ll go through the same process of repairing wall cracks, plastering walls, fixing windows, priming, painting, sanding the floor and finally refinishing the floor.

I also took a close look this weekend into the closets to see what they will need.  Each one is fully wallpapered and carpeted, which is weird considering they probably aren’t more than 3 square feet apiece.  But, I may be able to get a sample of original wallpaper out of one of them to show you.

We will post along the journey!