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!


The Master Bedroom is Complete!

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:

  1. My dad and Bill pulled out sheetrock covering windows
  2. Dad and Bill removed “closet” made of sheetrock
  3. Bill and I redid all sash cords for front windows
  4. Bill puts in window moulding
  5. Bill removes the red shelves in the nook

    Goodbye red shelves
  6. Karyn cleans floors and Bill stabilizes plaster
  7. Karyn finishes last two windows and sash cords; Bill put up moulding and scraped sashes for priming
  8. Bill painted sashes
  9. Bill worked on moulding and Karyn learned to plaster
  10. Bill plastered
  11. Bill plastered and Karyn chipped paint and primed moulding
  12. Bill plastered
  13. Bill stabilized cracks and removed light fixtures
  14. Bill plastered
  15. Sanding the plastered ceiling
  16. Bill and Karyn laid in mesh ceiling and plastered corners
  17. Bill plastered ceiling
  18. Bill plastered ceiling second coat
  19. Bill plastered nook and ceiling
  20. Bill sanded ceiling and plastered nook
  21. Bill primed
  22. Bill and Karyn laid in mesh for hairline cracks
  23. Bill plastered back wall over mesh and touched up
  24. Bill finished putting in moulding and touched up plaster
  25. Bill and Karyn primed woodwork
  26. Karyn painted ceiling
  27. Karyn painted second coat on ceiling
  28. Bill and Karyn painted walls
  29. Bill painted second coat on walls

    Painting the walls
  30. Bill plastered and repaired nook
  31. Bill sanded and primed nook
  32. Bill painted the closet
  33. Bill painted the first coat in the nook
  34. Bill painted second coat in nook and Karyn cleaned the floor
  35. Karyn and Bill painted woodwork
  36. Karyn and Bill painted woodwork again
  37. Karyn did a first run stencil test
  38. Bill sanded the floor
  39. More sanding
  40. Karyn stenciled
  41. Bill sanded edges on floor
  42. Bill sanded corners, cleaned the floor and applied the first oil coat
  43. Bill applied the second coat
  44. Bill applied the third coat

    Cleaning windows
  45. Bill sanded the lamb’s wool fuzz, cleaned and applied the 4th coat
  46. Bill put up the hardware
  47. Bill built his closet shelves
  48. Bill put up the base moulding
  49. We cleaned the woodwork and painted the base moulding
  50. Bill put up shoe moulding and curtain rods
  51. Cleaned!

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.

The wall which hides two windows
View of the nook
Get a load of those floors and pink trim
Sheetrock gone, ready for plaster
In full plaster mode
Completed room (minus the light)
View of the nook with crib ready for baby
View towards closet and hallway