Sunday, October 08, 2017

Old House Update - October 2017

You know your house needs deep cleaning when the dirty footprints are leading OUT of your house.
It's been a busy couple of months since my last update.  School has not only been in full swing, but fall break begins next week.  Homecoming has come and gone, the senior has marched in his last parade and Sprite is getting ready for the school talent show this week.  The Diva has settled in with a new teacher and we are continuing to make progress on the old house.

I am not going to detail every bit of work as it would boring to read, but I will show you all we have accomplished.

First, we have a working, almost finished upstairs bathroom!!!!  We can shower at home now.

When we bought the tile, I wasn't sure if I would like it.  I wanted the standard sized 3" x 6" subway tile for the shower.  DH and J- were planning to do the tiling themselves and wanted something bigger so there wasn't as much to grout.  So we bought 12" x 24" tile instead.  I didn't like it, but figured that it would probably be okay.

My mother-in-law suggested that we talk to one of her nephews who was a professional tiler.  We hired him and he did a meticulous job.  We chose a medium gray grout to make the white tile really stand out.  It turned out so much better than I expected and I really love how it turned out.

We ran into a couple of snags in the bathroom.  First, the tiler discovered that there was a crack in the shower base.

We had to make several phone calls and found that repairs would not be covered under warranty as it happened after installation.  We don't know how it happened, but it wasn't there when the base was installed.  But we did find someone in Kansas City willing to drive out to our house to fix it.  It is barely noticeable now.

Second, when R- came to install the sink, he found that the water lines were installed to be 6.25" apart.  This would be fine for a sink set in a vanity, but we bought a pedestal sink for that bathroom as it is a fairly small space.  We had two choices:  rip up the new floor and have the water lines re-positioned or buy a new sink.  We bought a new sink with a vanity.   It is a little large for the space, but it will work and have storage for towels.

Then, after the vanity was installed, we found the new sink had been miscast and the overflow drain was so thin that it had a large hole in it.  I bought a second sink/vanity combo, we swapped the sinks and I took the old new sink and the new new vanity back for a refund.

The shower is divine and it was lovely to clean up at home after this last weekend of work.  We still have to rehang the door and install trim, the medicine cabinet, a plastic curtain to protect the window and assorted hooks and holders for towels and toilet paper, but the bathroom is usable and that makes me happy.

The kitchen is painted, both ceiling and walls.

Kitchen - North and west walls

Kitchen into the dining room

I have had a similar shade of green in my current kitchen and liked it so much that I wanted to use it again.  I think it looks pretty with the white cabinets.  We plan to add a 12" cabinet on either side of the stove to pull it away from the chimney.  In this room, we still need new counter tops, new floor and possibly a new sink.  I keep wavering between keeping the existing sink (which is really worn and rusty in spots) and replacing it with a stainless steel sink.  The steel sink is more practical for how I cook, but I love that old vintage sink and would spend the money on refinishing it if I knew that new finish would last as long as the original.

The kitchen and the bathroom are the only two rooms that get their own colors.  The rest of the house is being painted country white.  Our current home is like living in a crayon box:  Sprite's room is three shades of aqua, Senior's room is two shades of dark blue, Diva's room is lavendar, the kitchen is green, the living room and family rooms are beige and/or country white, our bedroom and bathroom are peach and DH's office is "IBM" gray (appropriate for an IT professional.)  I like it, but redecorating involves repainting and I dread having to repaint the Senior's navy walls.  The country white gives the whole house a fresh clean vibe and I plan to liven it up with colors in the fabrics ad rugs that we choose.

Dining Room - North wall

Dining room - east all

Dining room - south wall

Dining room - west wall, only one coat of paint at that point.

Dining room:  installation of  new ceiling tile is in progress

DH's office has two coats of paint, but really needs a third.  It still looks so much better than either the wood paneling or the sickly pink.

DH and I are using this room to sleep in until the addition is built next year.

DH's office - west wall and cubby.  This will look a lot nicer after the trim is painted.

DH's office -- this wall looks so much nicer with the new dry wall.  It was all cracked with lots of holes. 

The entry hall, stair case and upstairs halls are also painted.  All the pink is gone.  Mostly.

Entry Hall and Stair case

Looking Upstairs

Looking down stairs

This corner baffles me.  The area to the left where the wall juts out is just boxed in -- just dead space that can't be used.  We are not sure why anyone would configure the banister this way and figure they never expected to have to paint it.  There is still some pink and some wall paper left on the wall between the banister and that bit that juts out.  I was able to get to some of it with a thin narrow roller designed for painting trim, but just couldn't reach the last little bit.  It can't be seen unless you know how to look for it, so I will leave that little bit of history for the next owners to puzzle over.

DH and J- have been steadily working on completing the remaining wiring projects.  All the wiring in the upper two floors is done and I am so happy about that.  All the old knob-and-tube wiring and cloth covered Romex wiring is either gone or disconnected and no longer a fire hazard.  That also means we can finally insulate the attic.  DH and R- spent a Saturday blowing an additional layer of insulation.  No pictures, but the house will be much cozier when it gets cold.

The fun part of all the painting is finally getting to install some of the finishing touches, like the switch plates.   I have wanted to finish the push button switches for a long time, but couldn't find the screws. I figured that I would have to buy new screws and found some old ones to use temporarily so I could get the plate installed.  Guess what?

Found them! 
DH had put them where they would be safe and easily found.  Except we all forgot that bit.

All done.  
 We decided to use the new bronze plate instead of the original brass, but I will keep the original with the other original things found in the house.

We did a little home automation too:

To get to the basement light switch, you first have to go down three steps and turn.  If you have an armload, this could be a problem.  To make it a little easier, we added a motion sensor which will trigger the basement lights to turn on when it senses movement from either door.  If we are away from the house, it will also send a notification that there is someone in the house.  We used a SmartThings hub (NAYY - not affiliated, yadda yadda) so that we can remotely turn off and on lights and have a light come on in the house as we approach the house from outside (it senses our phones.)  We have one in our current home with lights programmed to turn off and on automatically, turn on the coffee pot in the morning and turn on a light when the garage door is opened (very useful with a teen driver who often leaves the garage door open.) I have had a lot of fun programming it and coming up with new things for it to do.

We are getting closer to the end of Phase 1.  I have only three more rooms to paint walls and all the trim.  We also need to stain the deck and finish the kitchen and next spring, we plan to begin restoring the twenty original windows.  I will be ecstatic to finally clean the house and just enjoy being there instead of working all the time.

We could not gotten this far without the incredible family and friends who have volunteered their free time to help with painting, heavy lifting and wiring projects and feeding us.  To protect privacy, I won't mention names here, but know that we are deeply grateful for all your help.

With luck, by the time I can get to the next update, we will be mostly if not completely done with phase 1 (restoring the original house) and planning phase 2 (the addition).

Have a great fall!

1 comment:

JustGail said...

Your house is looking good. About that bathroom tile - don't forget, less grout also means less areas to be battling mildew. That odd corner by the stairs looks like the perfect place for a long skinny art piece.