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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Finally. . . our Victorian Living Room!

Bill repainting the living room

Whew, it has been a big and busy year for the Berthels.  We moved back into the living room this weekend, after putting on the sixth and final coat of ceiling paint.  Yeah, six.  Well, you heard about it being too glossy.  Then, we needed to put on 3 coats of matte to get it just right.  I can’t say I’m completely pleased, as I am a precise and finicky painter, but it is livable.  We cleaned the woodwork, scoured the floor, touched up the walls and moved back in.  I still need to oil the woodwork and Bill is finishing the mantel detail, but we moved in.  And, we need to hang the light.  I think we’re both worn out, though, frankly.

To recap 2011, we opened the year with a full pregnancy on my part and Bill hurriedly moving through the floor in the master bedroom so that we could have a place to settle the baby.  We spent the first four months living in the guest room and downstairs because the smell of those floors was so strong.  The newborn took all of our energy and time, and yet, we began putting up sheetrock.  AND while we were living in the rest of the house, we began re-plastering the nursery, in anticipation that our little one would be moving in there by late spring.  Well, as most things go, that took us a while and it was late summer before Will lived in his room.  SO, while that room became livable, we tore apart the living room, in hopes that we could plaster and paint and be done by the holidays.  It is the holidays, so we had to move in.

We decided to fore go refinishing the rest of the floors, until we could find the product we liked and the time opened up for us to do the work without sacrificing Will’s lungs or our sanity.  As of yet, we don’t know when that process will be complete, but I can say that we’re feeling the need to rest and work on the details.  With so many tidbits to finish up, I don’t know when we’ll begin the next big project.  Right now, we have two bedrooms to refinish, one bath to redo, one laundry room, a garage to paint, floors all over to refinish and all of the hallways to rework.  There is a lot left to do. . . but a lot more time to do it.

Moved in finally

Right now, we are going to enjoy our little guy and complete the little things we have going on.  I have lots of painting to keep me busy and Bill will share his woodworking as it progresses.

In the meantime, enjoy your holidays.  And write when you get a chance, we love hearing from you.

Is the painting finished yet?

Putting up masking to repaint the ceiling

Technically, no.  Well, maybe.  Okay, I’m honestly not sure anymore.  We’ve repainted the walls and now the ceiling, so everything has about 4 coats of paint and at least one coat of primer.  It is our living room after all, so we’ve wanted it to look absolutely perfect and it has taken a while to get there.  We switched brands of paint as well as colors for the room in mid stride and ended up not liking the results.  So, after some debating a lot of test mixing, we finally found the right wall color and then Bill wanted to repaint the ceiling to a matte finish so that it looked smoother.  I can’t blame him, and yet it was just too much for me to think about.  I’m ready to be done already.  I think we’re honestly both tired of living in the dining room.  Not to mention, once this room is actually finished, it will be the first time in 2.5 years that we’ll live in the house in all the rooms.   Since we moved in back in July of 2009 we have yet to occupy all the rooms of the house and enjoy them all at once.  Once we move back into the living room, all ten rooms in the house will be used to their full capacity, and we’ll take a much needed break from plaster work.  Oh, there is plenty more to be done, but Bill is going to do some wood working and I”m going to paint for a while, maybe a long while.

The final choice of green

So, this is the living room at this point.  I haven’t yet decided if I really want to stencil this whole room.  I know, I know.  I have started creating a stencil for it and I’ve talked big about it, and now I’m changing my mind again.  The walls look really nice plain and I’ve picked out a ceiling stencil.  Thinking I might just hang art and pictures and let it go at that.  I’ve decided how to stencil the front hall and with a patterned rug, it might be enough. (I do realize that I owe you a stencil tutorial.)

We aren’t going to buy rugs for a while, though, considering that Will is enjoying the walker right now and the hardwood floor works well for him.  So, we rolled up the other rugs downstairs so he can maneuver room to room on his own.

The Christmas tree is planted squarely in our front window this year, a different spot than the previous two years.  It will be hard to decide the permanent place for the tree, but it seems to belong in this room for the long haul.  Now to place the furniture and think through how the baby will get around and what he’ll want to pull down or crumple.  Once everything is in place, I’ll post some completed photos and take you on a house tour as of where we are right now.  I just want to get all the plastic down and tools put away first.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Living Room Green

Dark Red, view into the front hall and front door

So, I mentioned in the last post that I was having trouble painting the correct color green on my walls.  Today, I’m mixing up the green to match the swatch I’ve chosen and I’ll sit with it in all kinds of light to decide.  I’ll paint a test swatch about 2 feet square to see what I think.  I’ve already chosen the stencil to go over the entire room, and I’m starting to make that today.  Instead of purchasing that stencil, I’m going to cut it myself from a pattern that I found in Victorian wall paper designs.  I’ve cut plenty of stencils before, but I’ve never made one that will need to last me a while.  This will need to be quite sturdy and accurate.  I’ll take pics of the process for you.

Current green

In the meantime, here are the before and after pics to show where we’ve been and where we are now.  The red in the room before made it a cozy winter color, but it really didn’t match the woodwork or my decor.  The green makes the room quite light, so I’ll need to find a way to “warm” it without darkening it too much.

The light has been cleaned and is ready to hang.  We think that it is pewter, as the metal is soft.  Bill is going to rewire it for safety.  It matches the dining room light except for the center pendant.  You can see a close up of that light from the previous post on the dining room.

The next steps for this room will include replacing the mantle, which has been refinished and building an extension to it to fit around the pellet stove.  Eventually we will refinish the floors and possibly the side door.  Maybe, way down the line we will put in cherry crown moulding.  Honestly, I’m surprised the house doesn’t have crown moulding in the formal rooms downstairs.  Hopefully, we can move in before Christmas.

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 Living Room: Getting Started

Before we started. . . .

We are finishing up the nursery over the next month and I’ll post new photos of its completion once all of the furniture is moved and settled.  I’ll do some decorative painting before then, too, so it is baby-friendly.  I was thrilled to have time this weekend to paint as it was, and Bill spent the time putting in moulding and touching up trim work.  We’ll have to take a weekend off for work celebrations at Golden and then we’ll start sanding the floor.

In the meantime, I thought I’d show you the living room.  Bill has already put up the sheetrock on the ceiling, and we’ve cleared it out to ready the walls.  He will plaster and fill first as usual, but this room has fewer cracks than the others.  It was the one room in the house, we think, that the previous owners patched and painted.  The red color has made the room cozy in the winters, but rather dark.  The woodwork is cherry, so we won’t have to paint that.  We’ll clean it really well and oil it like the dining room.  We’ll have to work on the pocket doors, though, which will be a heavy task considering they have been used frequently and are so heavy that they drag on the floor.  Bill will also refinish the mantle and piece in some moulding to fit better around the pellet stove.  He also wants to refinish the side door leading to the porch.  (But, I sort of like that door, it is all cracked with old shellac and I like how it’s aged.)

Sheetrock in place, let the plastering begin!

This floor is extremely well worn, but we likely won’t refinish it for another year or two.  Will will probably be running through the house before we know it and with our long winters here, I might let him ride a scooter through the house during snow storms.  Best to leave the floors as they are for a while.

The chandelier matches the one in the dining room; original to the house and likely plated in nickel or pewter.  It will be cleaned as well as the stain glass window, which isn’t viewable from these photos.  And yes, I’ll paint or stencil in this room as well.

Of course I’ll be glad to show you process shots along the way.  It is our goal to have this room completed before Christmas, but we never know what will come our way.