Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Demo Days Have Found Us

The constraints: 

Three day weekend, 30 cubic yard dumpster, four rooms.

The participants: 

Mike and I, my dad, and two friends who pitched in for a day.

The challenge: 

Tear out all plaster and lath (including ceilings), cabinets, fireplace, and non-original framing for closets and doors. Remove all of the nasty ancient carpet. Fill the dumpster to the very top.

The results:

Dining room (those of you who have visited may recognize this room as our bedroom from when we lived downstairs):

Dining room looking into the pre-demo living room. Look at how big the doorway is with the framing removed!

Living room:

Our "fireplace" plus a hidden duct. More on the fireplace/chimney in a later post, but let's just say it's half the size it appeared to be and never seems to have been used for actual fire.

Living room looking into the light dining room.

First floor bathroom. with secret hidden doorway. More on that later as well, but we discovered that the first floor full bath was likely at some point a scullery.

First floor bath with the true ceiling height revealed. So yeah, there was a second ceiling. Not a drop ceiling - just an extra ceiling.

Kitchen. Note the revealed doorway to the first floor bath on the left behind the lamp.

Kitchen, including bonus giant houseplant that lives outdoors in the summer and doesn't fit anywhere upstairs in the winter. So it will live there for now since it refuses to die.

My poor tortured hands after day two. I'm still trying to scrub the grime out four days later.

The lath that came out of the kitchen. That's right - only the kitchen made that huge pile. And the guy who pitched in tremendously to create that pile (hi Dad!).

And last, but most certainly not least, a terrible through-the-window-screen, I'm-too-tired-to-do-real-photography shot of a completely full dumpster.

Coming soon to a blog near you - a closer examination of the fireplace situation and an exploration of the first floor bathroom/scullery/pantry. Until then, I'm going to bed.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

And So It Begins Again

Well, it's about that time again. Our lives have been entirely too neat and orderly. So it's time to break some things. As we wait for an upcoming long weekend, we're starting the pre-demo work on the first floor.

That means dismantling lights and outlets. Look at this super sketchy wiring we found! Yes, that's brown speaker wire and knob and tube running the ceiling fan we used for seven years.

We're also taking down the pretty Victorian casing and woodwork that is patterned so that we can strip and refinish it. This time, we'll pay someone else to strip the paint. I've had enough with that.

While Mike does the finesse work on the casing, I play with the five-pound sledgehammer in the kitchen. Those cabinets didn't stand a chance.

We've made some discoveries, too. Like our fireplace. There was no bag of gold inside. Instead, we discovered that the chimney is actually only 2/3 the size it appeared. Note the hollow section on the right. It's brick behind plaster on the left. So we're going to have to figure out what to do with that.

Next Thursday, we're having a dumpster delivered. And then the ceilings will come down, the walls will come out, and if we have time, the floors will come up. Onward!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Second Floor - Before and After

Well, today is the day. We're moving upstairs. We've officially "finished" the second floor remodel.

I put "finished" in quotes because, of course, we have a few things left (baseboards in the closets, hanging up the hallway light, paint touch up, installing a stair runner). But that's OK. We can live upstairs and do those things.

More than anything, both of us are looking forward to living somewhere with color after seven years of "landlord white."

"Seven years!" people exclaim when I tell them. Yeah, well. We never really had much of a formal timeline. And in addition the remodeling the second floor, we replaced the windows, front door, front porch, fence, roof and siding, front walkway, landscaping, and HVAC.

And we fixed assorted things that broke all over the place - sinks, toilets, ceilings that came crashing down.

And we enjoyed life. We went on vacation - including two times overseas. We got bikes and rode them all over the place. We celebrated weddings and birthdays with our family. We had friends over and went to see movies and concerts. 

So with all of that, seven years doesn't seem too bad to me. 

Now for the pictures.

Front Room - Before

 Front Room - After

Bedroom - Before

Bedroom - After

Bathroom - Before

Bathroom - After

Hallway/Stairs - Before

 Hallway/Stairs - After

Saturday, December 20, 2014


It doesn't get much more amazing than these before/after photos of our floors. But first, I'll extend the suspense by writing a bit about them.

The floors in our house are just planks of old growth pine. There's no subfloor. And while old growth pine is much harder than new pine, it's still a soft-ish wood.

Additionally, all of the floors had been covered with tile, linoleum, carpet, and more. They had been through water damage and leaks. They had a gazillion nails and staples pounded into them (remember this from 18 months ago?).

Our expectations were pretty low. We knew there would be irregularities in the wood. We thought parts might turn out OK. But wow. Just wow. We hired a terrific contractor, who is EPA certified for all of that nasty old dust (maybe there was lead, maybe there was asbestos). Three days later, it was like magic.

So here are the pics. Amazing.

Stairs before:

Stairs after:

Hallway before:

Hallway after:

Front room before:

Front room after:

Master bedroom before:

Master bedroom after (with bonus Mike!):

Next up: lighting and trim!