Monday, October 29, 2012

Plaster Repair Started

Our plaster repair contractor got started today repairing the walls in the stairway and upper hallway. After he started digging into the bad spots, I'm really glad we took the time to do this step. The walls had a lot of "bad spots," where there may have been some water damage.

By lunch, it was looking a bit like a set for a halloween movie.
But, by the end of the day, they had filled the holes and coated the walls with Weld-Crete.
I believe tomorrow they'll start applying fresh plaster.

Ironically, the weather was finally nice enough for me to finish shellacking the master bedroom closet, but I couldn't get into the room because of the plaster work. Oh well.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Our First Fire!

Today was cold and wet and dreary, so we decided to take a much-needed respite from house-related tasks—we needed some guilt-free recharge time.

Jeff built our first-ever-fire in our fireplace and we enjoyed an afternoon of lounging around reading.
It's nice to finally get a chance to enjoy our nicely refinished living room. Though, maybe I should have straightened up more before I took pictures . . .

Friday, October 26, 2012

Found Some Motivation

I guess getting quotes had at least one positive effect — they provided some motivation.

Once you reduce a particular task to dollar signs, it helps you realize how much something is worth — or not worth — to you. So, when the quote reduced the cost of staining woodwork in my closet to $200, I started to think — I can do that! So, yesterday, I stained my closet. Today I put on the first coat of shellac.

It's a little nerve wracking to do shellacking of the window today because the overcast skies look ready to burst, but I waited all morning for rain and it didn't come. So, finally I just decided to go for it about an hour ago. Hopefully the weather spirits will be with me.

We are hiring John MacNab again to come out and re-plaster the stairway and upper hallway area. The walls look awful. Over the years, there have been lots of cracks and sloppy patches and the new patches don't match the old texture. So, we're hiring him to come in and smooth it all out, nice and uniform.

We are also going to hire someone to paint the stairwell area and upper hallway. Jeff and I cannot get to the ceilings in the stairway, and it wouldn't even be safe for me to try. So, we'll just lump it and pay someone.

We're also hiring out the floor refinishing, but that was always the plan. Now I've got the quotes in-hand and can make a decision.

The only decision left is whether we'll stain the stairwell. It would cost us more than $1300 not to; I'm thinking we'll be staining . . . We'll probably stain after the plaster is finished and then we'll have the painters come in and do their bit, then the floor refinishing.

If we don't take another extended vacation, we should be done on time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Burnt Out

Jeff and I have been working on paint stripping, staining and painting fairly steadily since the summer before last. I'm tired of the project. No, I'm burned out on the project.

Our current unfinished section—the entryway and upstairs hallway—has to be done by mid to late-November, so we have enough time to let the refinished floors dry and then move our furniture back into the bedrooms.

I don't know if we can afford to, but we're thinking about hiring out some more of the work. If it's not crazy expensive—we're just going to hire someone to come in and make it beautiful! We had four appointments for estimates today and a couple more tomorrow. I just want all this work to be done so we can move in and live like normal people.

Though, I have regained at least some of my energy for working on house projects. I spent yesterday cleaning the windows in the bedrooms where I got stain and shellac all over them. What a pain! Next time I'll mask the glass; I'm sure it would be faster than the clean up.

Today we acquired most of the wood to replace the picture rail in the entryway and to repair the damaged fireplace. I'm also prepping my closet to stain the wood baseboard and window. There is an end in sight, if only we can keep heading in the right direction.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rain garden in action

Now that we have moved the rain garden, here are some pictures of it in action once the rains came.

I added some river rock to the channel from the rain chain to reduce the infiltration near the foundation as the water makes its way to the rain garden.

Seems to be working pretty well.

Moving Rain Garden

Just before the rains returned, Jeff worked hard getting ready—Digging and installing drainage pipes to redirect the rain from the gutters into the backyard rain garden.
He had to move the backyard rain garden over about 10 feet. I feel so bad . . . because it's primarily my fault. I had originally expected the pergola and patio to be next to the house, but when we moved it in the plan next to the garage it rejiggered everything else. And the rain garden is now in the wrong spot . . . Poor Jeff. He's such a good sport.
The chickens enjoyed all the disturbed soil to hunt in.
Jeff built a medieval style A-frame level
He did the digging and finished the project just in time for the massive rain we had this past week. It's been really coming down.

Once we finish some of our interior projects, Jeff will work on moving the rest of the plants over from the old rain garden area. I'm resisting the temptation to order a bunch more plants. We need to get more of the yard prepared before we bring in more plants. It's pretty obvious next year is when we'll get to the backyard landscaping.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Early 1900s Bungalow Exteriors

I ran across another supply of color bungalow pictures from the early 1900s. I'm going to backdate this blog post so folks won't see this at the top of their reader. These are mostly for google searches anyway.
I like to do what I can to support accuracy in bungalow exterior remodels.

These houses are from a book titled "Book of Home Building and Decoration," by Henry Collins Brown, published in 1912.

These houses are from a house plan catalog put out by Central Lumber in 1920.

This set of bungalows was published in a book titles "Home of Your Own" put out in 1921 by The Corn Exchange National Bank.

Plus a pretty brick bungalow from "Genuine Economy in Home Building" published in 1913 by Hydraulic-Press Brick Company.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Research Junky

For anybody who has followed the blog for a while, you'll know I'm a research junky. I love combing through old records and books to find interesting information. My quest to figure out our house's builder led me to find a long-neglected Laurelhurst neighborhood wiki, started several years ago. Since it was neglected, it was full of spam posts and users, but Jeff and I spent many evenings cleaning it up, so it's much better now.

In the last few days, I've been adding Oregonian articles dating back to the time the Laurelhurst neighborhood was established (1909). It's slow going though, because I have to use a reader to convert the pdf articles into text and then I have to spend quite a lot of time cleaning up the many mistakes.

But it's been fascinating to learn so much about this neighborhood we live in.

This couch potato project has, unfortunately, not been good for our productivity when it comes to working on real house projects. I had a good day yesterday sanding in the entryway and I think I'm about ready to declare it done. I just need to clean up the wood and get it prepped for staining.

We're off to a Halloween party tonight, so we're trying to throw together some not-entirely-lame costumes today. Most of our clothing and halloween gear is still buried in storage. Someday we'll be entirely moved him. I hope next year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pulled the Picture Rail

Jeff spent a couple of hours trying to strip paint from the picture rail in the entryway and it really wasn't coming off, so we just went ahead and pulled it. It was right up next to the ceiling anyway, so it wasn't going to work to hang pictures. We decided it would be far better to move it down a bit so we could actually use it as a picture rail. (We have loads of art we hope to unpack and hang someday.)
It came off pretty well so we could, in theory, strip it and reinstall, but now we won't have enough since we decided to install a multi-part moulding, like the rest of the main floor. And if we do this, the existing picture rail is a few inches too short where it meets the newell post.
McCoy Millworks carries a picture rail that is nearly identical to the one we removed, so I went this afternoon to get replacement wood. As luck would have it, however, they only had 7-foot lengths and we need 10-foot. So, I decided to wait 2 weeks for their next order to arrive.
I guess it's time to take a look at my list and see what else I can work on while I'm waiting.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Someday, When We're Done . . .

. . . I want to make a Marie Webster hand applique quilt for our bed. I want to make the Iris quilt from 1910.
Marie Webster's Iris Quilt, 1910
We will be done with our list someday, won't we?

And I recently picked up Michele Hill's William Morris in Applique and I really want to make a lap quilt for the living room, called Morris Magic (on page 60). It would go well with our tapestries and William Morris pillow. Our modern quilts just look out of place in the the room.
Morris Magic Quilt
For now, I think I will content myself with a starter-size project. The book offers up a pillow project, called Tudor Rose, designed by May Morris in 1892, on page 56. I need a hand project for during my wasted Netflix time.
Tudor Rose Cushion

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our House is in a Magazine!

Our main floor renovation appears in the October/ November 2012 issue of Northwest Renovation magazine. Very exciting! (Thanks to Skye over at Rose City Bungalow for telling me about the article.)

There is a nice article written up by Wade Frietag, Owner/Architect for Craftsman Design & Renovation, who was the contractor for our big project last year.

These pictures were taken about a year ago, right after the bulk of the main floor had been renovated, but before we finished the new leaded glass panels. And most of the decor belonged to the contractor. They didn't like our stuff so they removed it and put their own stuff out for the photos.

The digital version can be downloaded here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Almost Done Paint Stripping

I finally managed to get back at the paint stripping project; today is day 3 this week. Some bits of white paint are being very stubborn, but I'm getting there. I do have some challenges that I'm still working on.
The first, is stripping this little corner behind the newell and in front of the first step. There is just not enough room to get the tools in there, not even the dental tools. I'll probably try sanding it with the dremel tool, and if that doesn't work, it will just get stained as is and I'll touch up with paint if needed.
And I still have this high portion to work on. I hate working on ladders.

And the mullions in the lower window need some work. I'm thinking about trying paint stripper and soft wire brushes.
And I have to figure out how to deal with the picture rail that is above the woodwork restored last year. I keep asking myself why I didn't just strip it back then, but I didn't think about it. I should probably pull and replace it, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to do that; the wood you buy now just isn't the same as this old stuff. 

I may just have to declare one of the next rainy days "paint stripping day" and have Jeff help me with masking everything and we'll just have to work on it until it's done. He's much better about working on ladders.

Other than these areas, I'm mostly to the sanding stage. I bought a bunch of sanding heads for our dremel tool and a bunch of sandpaper for our multi-tool, so if I can maintain motivation, I should be able to finish this project this month.