Sunday, August 22, 2010

Office Wallpaper

Today the Office wallpaper came down. Pretty easily. But not cleanly. I'm just happy it's gone. Maybe that wallpaper was stylish and cool in the 60's, but not today. Even though the walls underneath are pretty gross looking, I'm still happy the wallpaper is gone. The room is already slightly brighter. I can't wait to start painting! Tonight I randomly chose a paint color while waiting for my mom at Lowe's. It's Lowe's brand paint, Valspar, color La Fonda Mirage. It's a blueish-green color, but very bright and cheerful. It's labeled as a National Trust Historic color, which made me feel like it was a good choice for this house. This picture below is sorta kinda close to the color. I love it!

The trim, beams, ceiling, fireplace, casing, doors, etc. will all be painted using a semi-gloss white paint.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kitchen Demo Day 1

Our Kitchen extends for about 3/4 of the back half of the house. That's a pretty large Kitchen. But it doesn't feel big. In fact it feels small, dark and cramped. Today, we took the first step toward fixing that.
To give you a better idea of what we're working with here, this is what we have. We have half of the Kitchen as an eat-in breakfast area. I love this part of the Kitchen. I've always wanted to have a Kitchen table. This half of the Kitchen has two large windows, a HUGE fireplace, plenty of room for a large Kitchen table, a built-in cabinet with shelves and cabinet doors below, plus the door to the back stairs and an opening into the hall. The other half of the Kitchen has all of the appliances and cabinets, two more smaller windows, an opening to the Dining Room and a Dutch door that leads to the backyard.

Separating the two areas is this:
The bane of my existence. I hate this thing! It ruins my big Kitchen! And it's so old and gross. The cabinets don't have any shelves in them, and open on both sides. Half of the drawers open on one side, and the other half open on the other side. All are filled with garbage, papers, phone books, tools, bowls, plastic silverware.. And it's right next to the door, so after struggling to open that pain of a door, you feel squished and cramped as you enter the house. And this is the door we will be using on a daily basis. It (the cabinet, well, the door too) had to go. Sure, someone back in the 50's thought it was a great idea. It's a tough Kitchen for cabinetry because there are so many windows and doors, and the only long wall is taken up by the cooking fireplace.
Goodbye. Good riddance. It was pretty easy to take down.. the only problem was a stray crowbar making a hole in the ceiling, but that's easy to fix. It was the top of the cabinet that was the most disgusting.. it was covered in about 60 years of dust, dirt and mouse poop. No wonder the Kitchen smells so bad!
Since they were on such a roll, the guys decided to also take down some of the other upper cabinets and cabinet doors off of the lower cabinets to make Demo Day Part 2 easier. We also learned how the mice had been getting into the Kitchen (though lucky we haven't been graced by their presence (knock on wood), they left plenty of evidence that they had been there in the past). The corner pantry cabinet had a hole in the floor beneath it that had been cut to run wiring up from the basement to an outlet on the corner post. A mouse (mice) had been squeezing through the hole next to the wire, and in doing so had frayed the wire. So unsafe! Good thing we saw this before we ever used this outlet! This wiring also went to the stove, which was plugged in so we could use the clock on it. That also got unplugged.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Painting the Master Bedroom

Originally we weren't going to paint the Master Bedroom right away. There are so many other things that need to get done in the house that seemed to take priority over it. The room was pretty clean, and appeared to have been painted in at least the last 30 years (whereas there are some rooms in the house that haven't been touched in over 60 years). And I didn't hate the paint color. It was a greenish-brownish color, which doesn't match our black furniture and blue comforter and pillows, but hey, priorities. 
A fresh coat of paint never hurt anyone. Since there aren't any other repairs or any other work that needs to get done in the room, Ryan suggested freshening up the room with one coat of paint, just to give it that finished look. So this afternoon my dad and I painted the walls. We really should have gone and gotten white paint for the ceiling and trim first, but it was one of those "let's do it now" moments and we just got right to work and regretted it after. The white trim in the above pictures didn't look so white when we were done. We painted the walls blue, the only reason being that we had free paint. When we painted our apartment when we moved in we used an online paint calculator that was way way off. So we bought 2 gallons of paint and only used half of one. It didn't photograph well though.. it looks really bright and obnoxious in these pictures. I swear it really isn't!
So now all we have left is to paint the ceiling and trim, paint the PINK radiator, repair some holes/cracks in the closets and clean the floor. And we have a bedroom ready to move into!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Doing Some Exterior Work

This weekend Ryan's parents came down to help out. My job was to tackle the bushes that were taking over the front of the house.
What's the point of having a beautiful house with tons of windows if no one can see it and you can't see out of it?

Those bushes were not easy to cut down. They had been allowed to grow without any maintenance for so long that their trunks (is that what it's called on a bush?) were as wide as a small tree. We had to go buy a new saw! The thickest of the trunks was 4 or 5 inches wide! We even found a small maple tree growing in between the ones on the right of the house... I felt bad cutting that down, so in the spring we'll attempt to relocate it to the backyard somewhere. 
While it looks a lot better than it did, I'm not 100% pleased. We can see out our windows and the house doesn't look unloved, but the bushes were so tall, that cutting them back resulted in revealing what is basically the insides of the plant. If you look out our Living Room or Dining Room windows at them, all you see is a mess of branches. Yuck. We've gotten mixed responses on whether or not they will grow in, and cover this up, but I'm not sold. I have a feeling that come spring (which is when we'll be moving outdoors and doing some landscaping), I'll be digging these up and planting something much smaller.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Living Room Wallpaper

Today we worked together and tackled the Living Room. The wallpaper in the Living Room didn't come down as easily as the Dining Room wallpaper, but because both of us were working on it, we finished in about 4 hours. The walls underneath were not in good condition.  As I said in my last post, there are a lot of little holes around the room, which have sand pouring out of them if you touch them.  Some (maybe most) of the holes we caused with our putty knives when we were scraping wallpaper off.  The walls aren't cracked though, so we'd hate to tear them down and put up drywall. But plastering the room is something we don't have time for right now... there are more pressing problems that need to get fixed before we can move in. I'm a little upset about that... I had envisioned the Living Room as being the first room done. We'd clean it up and paint it, and then move in a couch and a TV, and have one clean, finished room to relax and eat in. We could close the doors and keep out the dust and construction debris and have a little sanctuary in the mess of a house. But now it looks like that isn't going to happen. Oh well..
The room has such nice woodwork (not as nice as the paneling in the Dining Room, but still very detailed), but it is all glopped up with many many years of paint. And it may be lead paint, but I'm pretty sure it isn't (we really need to get one of those test strip kits). Either way, we've decided to strip all of the paint in the room and repaint the trim, beams and fireplace. Now if only I could come up with paint colors for this room... Nothing looks right...