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.
Next we worked on the library, though we still have yet to put in shelves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The master bedroom is complete and we moved in this weekend. I have a touch up of stenciling to do, but other than that — it is a livable, decorated space.
You can see that we completed the paint job by painting in a cornice moulding around the top of the room in the trim color, leaving the lines crisp. Without the furniture, it looks rather tailored and formal, unlike the frilly Victorian feel the room would have originally had, likely with flowered wallpaper. So, the stenciling should help that feel quite a bit. As I mentioned earlier, I may go ahead and stencil the whole room, but I’ll have to sit with that for a while before I take the leap. Doing one wall is weeks worth of work.
The wood furniture is turn of the century, coming from my grandmother’s cousin’s parents, known in the family as Uncle Gus and Aunt Ella. The bed, dresser and gentleman’s bureau were their personal bedroom furniture. I am very lucky to have these pieces as they fit beautifully into our home and are in wonderful condition.
The black and white upholstered chair was my Christmas gift from Bill. I had wanted a nice glider or rocker for the baby’s arrival, but something that would endure many years and not look dated. This is what I chose, a glider that is also a recliner. Very comfy and a nice contrast to the solid gray walls.
The nook is also completely furnished with the baby’s goodies: crib, dresser and changing table. We’ll plan to have the baby with us in the nook until his room is ready for moving in, likely at least five months.
Now that we’re all moved in, we’ll be taking a close look at our old bedroom, the octagon room, and deciding how to attack it next. Eventually it will be the baby’s full time room, to be decorated in turquoise and chocolate with a Peter Rabbit theme. (You can tell I’ve been ready to do this one a while.) Pictures and process yet to come!
Finally we can breathe a sigh of relief as we can move into the Master Bedroom. . .every repair and redo is complete.
We will get new lights once we find what we’re looking for and we can save up for them. A Victorian looking ceiling fan would be ideal, both for energy and looks.
Just to recap how we spent the past six months doing the master bedroom, I’ve written out how we spent every single day working:
My dad and Bill pulled out sheetrock covering windows
Dad and Bill removed “closet” made of sheetrock
Bill and I redid all sash cords for front windows
Bill puts in window moulding
Bill removes the red shelves in the nook
Karyn cleans floors and Bill stabilizes plaster
Karyn finishes last two windows and sash cords; Bill put up moulding and scraped sashes for priming
Bill painted sashes
Bill worked on moulding and Karyn learned to plaster
Bill plastered and Karyn chipped paint and primed moulding
Bill stabilized cracks and removed light fixtures
Bill and Karyn laid in mesh ceiling and plastered corners
Bill plastered ceiling
Bill plastered ceiling second coat
Bill plastered nook and ceiling
Bill sanded ceiling and plastered nook
Bill and Karyn laid in mesh for hairline cracks
Bill plastered back wall over mesh and touched up
Bill finished putting in moulding and touched up plaster
Bill and Karyn primed woodwork
Karyn painted ceiling
Karyn painted second coat on ceiling
Bill and Karyn painted walls
Bill painted second coat on walls
Bill plastered and repaired nook
Bill sanded and primed nook
Bill painted the closet
Bill painted the first coat in the nook
Bill painted second coat in nook and Karyn cleaned the floor
Karyn and Bill painted woodwork
Karyn and Bill painted woodwork again
Karyn did a first run stencil test
Bill sanded the floor
Bill sanded edges on floor
Bill sanded corners, cleaned the floor and applied the first oil coat
Bill applied the second coat
Bill applied the third coat
Bill sanded the lamb’s wool fuzz, cleaned and applied the 4th coat
Bill put up the hardware
Bill built his closet shelves
Bill put up the base moulding
We cleaned the woodwork and painted the base moulding
Bill put up shoe moulding and curtain rods
Whew, that was a lot of work, and well worth it, I think. I hope you enjoy the before and after photos below. It is quite a difference.
I’ll post pics of the finished stencil work and decorated room once we have completely moved in and are settled. Then you can stay tuned for our next project. Let me know if you enjoyed the step by step posts of this room, and we can do the same for the next piece of the house.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, mostly due to my spending my time more focused on the house work and the fact that I am actively working on my degree. With a baby on the way, the master bedroom and adjoining nursery-nook are of the highest priority!
Most every floor in our house needs refinishing. All of the first floor has worn finish and some slight damage due to years of neglect. The second floor has a mix of things going on. THe hall is very worn, the bathroom we have already refinished and the bedrooms are all at different degrees of “bad”. Worse of all the rooms in the entire house is the master bedroom. With heavy paint on the perimeter 20 -24 inches of the room and the entire niche painted with what is at least three coats of porch enamel there’s major sanding and work to be done on this room’s floor!
Refinishing floors is something any energetic DIYer can do. It involves renting some equipment and being fairly organized but more so, it requires muscle and energy. Sanding a wood floor is hard, dusty work. The sanders are heavy, operating the sander requires upper body strength and you’ll feel like quitting well before the job is done.
Here’s a picture of a typical drum sander rented from the local hardware / rental center. We’re lucky enough to have a rental center 15 minutes from our house in the next village south of where we live. Their prices are reasonable and better yet, they are very encouraging and nice people.
Without going into too much detail about the sander, know this: The whole unit weighs about 180-200 pounds so get help if you need to carry it up stairs!
The sander is essentially a large electric motor that spins a single drum that the sandpaper is attached to. This drum spins at a very fast rate of speed tearing whatever it comes in contact with into dust! And speaking of dust, 90% is captured by the suction the machine generates and deposits into the attached dust bag. The master bedroom being roughly 400 square feet of floorspace generated just under a full 30 gallon garbage can of dust when all said and done. Good thing the sander has dust collection. Could you imagine having to sweep all that dust!
As you can also see in the picture, we had paint to remove from the master bedroom floor. It appeared to be a porch and deck enamel type paint that was still very well adhered to the floor. Luckily it was only painted around the perimeter of the room … what appears to have been a painted border around a centered throw-rug which was stapled to the wood. To efficiently remove the paint required that I start with 26 grit paper. For those of you that have not seen 26 grit before it’s similar in texture as asphalt roofing shingles. Needless to say, this floor has some irreversible damage not even this heavy-duty sander can remedy but the floor will be massively improved no doubt!
The sander has an on and off trigger. It’s as easy as that. You plug it in and pull the trigger and hang on! The sander wants to move forward due to the rotation of the spinning drum as it gets traction on the floor. The only “rule” is do not allow the drum to be in contact with the floor while standing still. If you keep the sander moving forward or backwards, the finish will be good. If you stop, even pause, the drum will create a “swail” in the floor.
The painted floor was in such poor condition it required 5 full passes starting with 26 grit and ending with 100 (26, 32, 60, 80, 100). With so many passes on heart pine flooring, I surely got a few “swails” in there. Although not pictured, I rented a “pad sander” that allowed me to remove many of the defects of the more harsh sanding process the drum sander left behind.
Also not pictured is the edge sander. As you can barely see in the picture, the drum and pad sander cannot quite get closer enough to the baseboards so an edge sander is required. The edge sander is a heavy-Floor sanded before edging completed duty disc sander that allows you to safely sand right up to the baseboards. I removed and discarded all of the shoe molding since what was used was quarter-round. I’ll digress here but it really bugs me when carpenters use quarter-round instead of real shoe molding. Quarter-round lacks the slight vertical gain you get from shoe molding which makes the profile a little more elegant but more so, makes sweeping the floor, up to the edges, more easily done!
After all the sanding was complete and I vacuumed and tack-mopped the floor to rid it of all dust the finishing could begin! We chose to stay true to the period of the house and used an oil finish. To be specific, I researched oil finishes for 1880’s era homes. Most commonly used were tung oil finishes; sometimes simply tung oil alone. Waterlox still makes their “Original” formula just as they did in 1910, only 25 years later than our home was built. As far as commercially available floor coatings go, this was as close as we were going to get to “original”.
The oil accepts up to 25% oil based stain added directly to it or the floor can be stained first. Since we only wanted to add subtle tone to the already well aged heart pine floor, we added 25% Minwax Early American stain directly to the first coat of oil. I pad-applied the first coat and vented the room. One nice feature about tung oil is that it dries and cures by oxidation meaning all you have to do is supply fresh air to the room. An open window with a window fan does the trick… even in the middle of the winter with temperatures in the 20’s.
The entire finish takes 4 coats to complete. The first coat with stain mixture (which soaks in dramatically) and then three subsequent coats of the oil alone to build up a durable, semi-gloss finish. Allowing at least 24 hours between coats to dry, an entire floor takes just under a week to complete however with the busy schedule of everyday life and trying to optimize the warmest days to vent and circulate air had us done in about 2 weeks.
Putting in the base molding
I’m sure we’ll write one last blog post on the mast bedroom to show the room in it’s finished state but here I’ll share one last picture that gives a decent visual for the finished floor. There are a few tools on the floor due to my putting in some extra base molding. The living and dining rooms have double stacked bas moldings so we took that design element upstairs into the master bedroom as well. This allowed me to make a new, clean line of base molding which framed the newly refinished floor nicely.
Every project thus far has taught us new lessons. The major lesson I’m taking away from refinishing the master bedroom floor is to never use a lamb’s wool applicator pad again. I brushed the last coat by hand due to the fuzz left from the “lint free, fuzzless” pads we bought. I washed them before use as directed and “delinted” them too. Oil floor finishes do not require any sanding of the oil but due to the pad leaving fuzz on the third coat, I had to sand the third coat, mop with mineral spirits and then proceeded to brush apply the final coat. It came out nicely considering where it began!
Well, I’ve spent the last week working on the stenciling and I’m quite pleased. The pattern is delicate and very Victorian, and the monochromatic palette is just perfect. As the stencil is so delicate, I’ve had to work in small batches, only doing 5-8 patterns at a time. I’ve only worked one wall completely, and I’m debating on doing more as I like the pattern so much and the rest of the fabrics will be solids (textures, but solids).
Bill is in favor of me doing the whole room, but it is exhausting work. So for now, we’re starting with just the one wall. We’ll see what January brings.
For his part, Bill has started the floor. We rented a huge floor sander and he spent 8 hours sanding the previously painted floor with 4 different levels of sand paper. One has to go in steps with sanding. You start with the heaviest grade and go down slowly. The grit on the initial sandpaper was like asphalt it was so heavy. Neither of us could believe that it was what would be needed, but sure enough, once Bill used it, we couldn’t have gotten by without it. I think that this room is truly the most difficult room in the house, due to all the plastering and sanding and wall removing we’ve had to do. Other rooms should be smoother. But, each comes with its challenges and cool discoveries.
Once the main part of the floor was sanded, Bill rented and edger to get close to the walls. Unfortunately, this is a hands and knees sort of machine, but it tucks right in next to the woodwork.
The pine floors smell amazing during and after the process. I can’t imagine how this house must have smelled when it was brand new. This house would have smelled of fresh pine and waxed cherry woods (at least, that is what I imagine.) Course, it could have smelled like coal and bad wallpaper paste.
Now that the edges are smooth, Bill rented a second push sander, a pad sander. It was a newer machine and lighter “on its feet”, smoothing out any ridges that were left. We will likely be able to do most of the house with just this sander, but we’ll see as we get into each room. This is just our first test on the floors. Bill worked tirelessly on Sunday finishing the corners with a hand sander and then cleaning the dust out of the room. He was anxious to put our first coat of stain and oil on the floor. The weather was warmer yesterday, so we could vent the room properly. I didn’t go upstairs most of the day to avoid the fumes, but I peeked in on the room this morning. It is stunning. Bill is gifted and the original pine floors lend to a beautiful finish. We’ll put on several more coats of oil to finish over the next week/two weeks. Can’t wait to show you the final pics.