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!

the Library

Middle window was sided from the outside and boarded up

We started the library eons ago.  It was the second room we completed, but we have a long way to go considering we’re going to put in built in shelves, and I’m going to stencil the whole ceiling.  Yikes.  But, considering that the plastering is completed and it is a viable, usable room, here are the pictures of our process.

Originally, this room would have been the front parlor, the more formal sitting room.  And, from what we know it was used that way with a piano on the back wall at least for a time when the Skinner family resided here.  (There were two sisters, the Skinners, that lived in the house for many years, related to the original owners, the Ives family.)

My amazing superman

When we first looked at the house, there was a large pool table in the room and nothing else.  The middle window had been sealed up and boarded over from the inside and siding put on from the outside.  So, from the outside, it didn’t appear there was a window.  The interior colors were pink and off white wallpaper, with a glass Tiffany wannabe light hanging in the center of the room.

I began by removing wallpaper, which was rather easy in this room, considering it was put on correctly.  It took me weeks, but it came down smoothly.  Bill had to re-plaster one whole section of wall, by first removing old plaster and the filling in.  The plaster had been severely damaged and was quite soft.  It wouldn’t have worked just to put on our mesh and go over it with joint compound.  You can see from this photo the lath underneath.  It is super cool to see how the house was put together.

Working the plaster at night

And, from this work, we were also able to see the horsehair in the plaster.  Yup, real horsehair plaster for those that aren’t familiar. I suppose it gave the plaster more structure to adhere.

Once the repairs were complete, the wall paper removed, we fixed the double hung windows, re-plastered the ceiling, primed and painted the whole room.  We also fixed these pocket doors.  They were the first ones we tried to repair and learned how to do so in the process. All of the doors hang on tracks, and they can be adjusted up and down as needed.  Since the doors are solid cherry, they are quite heavy.  And, with constant use over 100 years, they have begun to hang low and expand.  With a little work, we were able to raise them on the tracks and get them moving again quite easily.  We did not, however, remove them completely to refinish the back sides.  I would like to do that at some point so they match the interior woodwork, but it is a ways off.

The room is plastered and primed, waiting for color

Currently, we use the room as an office, with both of our desks.  We are also letting Will nap in there regularly because it is quiet and dark, and I can be downstairs with him all day this way.  It works well for a variety of purposes, but it isn’t decorated or attractive this way.

The upcoming shelving project will do a lot to enhance this room.  Bill will build all cherry shelves along the two full walls and I will stencil the ceiling to give the room more character.  I suppose if we are lucky we’ll be able to start on this room in the fall.  We have to complete the nursery and refinish the downstairs floors before then, so I can’t guarantee our timetable.

Finished and waiting for decor

Of course, I will show pics of Bill’s process on the shelves and the stenciling along the way.

Have a wonderful Easter!