Friday, November 30, 2012

Floors Finished

It was agony to wait, but we finally got upstairs to take pictures. The guy(s) from Reborn Floors spent 5 long days sanding, filling, scraping and finishing our upstairs rooms and stairway. Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of every individual step because we were trying to stay out of their way, so we'll just have to content ourselves with the after photos.

We decided to finish with a clear finish—Bona Traffic—as we did downstairs so the floors are now quite a bit lighter.

The difference in the big closet is amazing. Except for a patch done by CDR up in the back corner with unattractive knotty wood (upper left in this picture), the wood looks gorgeous. This might be the first time it was finished.
Here's the stairway.
Now that I can get back into the master bedroom, I think I'll try and work on stenciling the frieze. This will be my last chance to do it before we move the furniture back into the house.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Floors Started

The floor refinishers showed up . . . 4 hours late, but they came.
We masked up everything to try and deal with the dust, but apparently they now come with giant dust collection systems, so the dust really isn't too bad.
Jeff and I had to go and do some scraping in the master bedroom closet. We had to get thick bits of linoleum and adhesive off the fir before they could go in with the sanders.
There is quite a difference between the before and after sanding.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Linen Cabinet Almost Done

I forgot I needed to buy new hardware for this one, so it's not quite done, but we're oh so close.
The floor refinishers are supposed to start tomorrow; I hope they show up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Entryway Finished

Finally, the entryway is finished. The walls look so much better painted. It was really nice having someone else come in and paint the high ceilings; I just wasn't comfortable painting on such tall ladders.

Everything is still a little dusty, but I don't see the point in cleaning when the floors in the stairway and upstairs bedrooms will be refinished next week, creating more dust.

(The color is a little off in these photos—the Hubbard Squash is a more mellow butter color, but we've had heavy rain the last few days so we don't have much in the way of natural light. It may be months before we can get good photos, unless we borrow some good lighting.)
Entryway area after paint stripping and finishing
Here is a photo before we bought the house
Entryway area before
I'm so glad this project is finished.
Shellacked and Painted--almost done
My closet has been repainted as well.

We hope you all have a good Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I'm pretty excited. The painters did the first coat today. They'll be back tomorrow to finish up and to paint the stair risers.

I decided to abandon the funky color in my closet and we've repainted it White Hyacinth—the ceiling color in the rest of the house.

Once we painted the master bedroom Ruskin Room Green, I didn't like the Orchid-colored closet anymore.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Almost Done

I've been busy this week. I finished staining the upstairs hallway today. The doors and drawers for the linen cabinet are also stained and drying in the garage.
That painted door is the very last one and will probably go in for dipping when we have the floors refinished—or I'll strip it myself if I'm not too busy with getting ready to move back upstairs.

The entryway is shellacked and finished. I finally got to pull up the floor masking today.

The fireplace is finished and the paint is touched up. If Mia ever chews on the fireplace again, she will probably find she has lost her cage spot in the living room.

Just a couple coats of shellac on the upstairs hallway and linen cabinet and we'll be ready for the painters on Monday.

Party Time

Our house turned 100 years old this year.

We decided a while ago to have an open house on December 15 (which is also a few days before our 25th wedding anniversary) — that's why we've been scrambling to get all these projects done.

We're planning to open our house up for folks to drop by and take the tour and hang out for a visit. We're inviting all our close neighbors, because they've tolerated a lot of ugly for a couple years now; I'm sure some of them are curious about the changes we've made to the house.

So, if any of you regular followers live close enough to Portand, OR and want to come, write me and I'll send you more of the details. I don't really want to post our address and contact info here on the blog. You can email me through my blogger profile. We'd enjoy meeting some of you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finish Trimwork

There are lots of pictures to post today. We "rented" Nathan from Craftsman Design & Renovation for a day and a half of carpentry help.

He helped us install crown moulding in our entryway. It wasn't installed quite as we were hoping because the picture rail would have had to be tipped too much to make it work. I think the rest of the rooms must have had the wood installed, then been plastered, then had the cove moulding and picture rail installed. The materials we had wouldn't have worked without digging into the plaster. So, we installed the picture rail with a small gap between it and the 1x6. It will have to do.
I've finished staining it, but I still have to shellac it.

Nathan also helped us install picture rail in the hallway/stairway. I had pre-stained the pieces so I wouldn't have to shimmy my way up the ladder to finish it, but, unfortunately, I was a piece short. I ran over to McCoy Millworks this morning and Nathan cut the last piece for us. I'll finish it at ground level and Jeff can crawl up the ladder and nail it in place in a couple days.
Nathan installed new boards on the fireplace to replace those damaged by Mia's adventure. We sacrificed some of the salvaged baseboard we stripped for the closet built-ins. It's old growth and has nice grain and is actually prettier than the piece that was there. I stained and shellacked it yesterday afternoon and this morning, though I still need to do some paint touch-up—again. Sigh.
And, finally, Nathan helped us with our shattered fir on the linen cabinet. It was really beyond repair. Our best option was to cut out the broken part and replace with another piece of wood. (Another scrap I stripped the paint off of.) Now that this piece is fixed, I can finish staining the linen cabinet.
I've got five days to finish all these staining and shellacking projects before the painters come next Monday!

Friday, November 9, 2012


The stairway paint stripping project is all done! I just finished the second coat of shellac this morning. I am so excited to be done.

Before applying the shellac, I went through and touched up the whitish spots with stain-colored paint. There were not many, but there were some in the hard-to-reach crevices.

Nathan from CDR—the talented carpenter who built our colonnades—is coming out on Monday to help us install the crown moulding in the entryway. That project proved to be beyond us. If we were painting, we probably would go for it, but with stain-grade we can't just fill the gaps and paint over the mistakes.

We also still need to stain the upper hallway and linen cabinet. It turns out installing inset doors when you don't know what you're doing isn't so trivial. So, we're still working on installing the linen cabinet doors. We're hoping to get them finished today, then I'll stain and shellac the linen cabinet.

Once we're done with the last of these staining projects, we'll be painting the walls again. And then having the floors refinished. I expect we'll be mostly done by the end of the month. At least I hope so, because I've already hired a floor refinisher to start right after Thanksgiving.

And because these before-after photos give me so much pleasure . . . I can't resist posting them again. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a before picture before the baseboard woodwork was stripped and stained during our remodel.
Staircase before paint stripping
Staircase almost after. We still need to paint.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halfway Done

Two coats of stain down, two coats of shellac to go!
Despite the fact that I procrastinated for a month and am behind my wishful schedule, I'm pretty happy with the project.

We actually have sun today, for a nice change, so I'll have to do some shellacking—at least the windows—later this afternoon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Staining Stairway

It took a bit of time today before we worked up the bravery to start staining the entryway. We procrastinated this morning by doing a run out to storage to bring a load of garage stuff back. It wasn't until this afternoon that we managed to get started.

I had intended to wait to post pictures until I finished applying the stain but, as usual, I'm too impatient to wait.

This is finally getting exciting!

This is the first coat, there is still a second coat to go on soon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Busy Weekend

Now that we've got folks hired to come in behind our project, we're compelled to keep moving.

Yesterday morning I gathered the last of the douglas fir moldings for finishing the entryway and replacing the picture molding in the upstairs hallway. At CDR's recommendation, I decided to stain the wood before installing it, so I spent a couple hours sanding the pieces and I'll stain them in a couple of days after I finish the interior woodwork.

Today I stained the two stairway windows. I hate this Mohawk Wiping Wood Stain. It's awful. It's way too drippy and it doesn't stir up well so it's hard to get a consistent color from one session to the next. I think we must have gotten an old can or something.

I am thinking about buying a new can—I don't want to because it's something like $27 a quart at our local suppliers—but we're not going to get a second chance at getting this staining project right. So I'll probably just suck it up and get a new can and see if it works better.

Today, Jeff mostly finished installing the support boards in the shelf-side of his closet. We need some larger finishing nails to better secure the pieces, then I'll be able to shellac them.

And now this evening Jeff is working on installing the hinges on the new linen cabinet doors. We need to get this upstairs woodwork stained and shellacked so the painters can come in soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Plaster Finished

John finished up the walls today. Despite a few nit picks, I'm quite happy with the job he did. Once the walls are painted they'll look so much better! He says the plaster will look less blotchy after it's had a few days to dry.

Though, after John left, I noticed he left plaster dust and drips on the light fixture. And, in general, the bare wood wasn't left as clean this time around. I think the fact that Friday afternoon came around may have affected the amount of final clean up.

Last time, he did an excellent job leaving the wood clean in the guest bedroom. If I can't get the painters to help me take the shade off the light to wash it, I'll ask John to come back and help. There's no way I can get up there to clean it up.

We'll probably start staining on Sunday—maybe as late as Monday—depending on the weather. If we actually manage to have some sun this weekend, we'll start bringing stuff back from storage. We need a douglas fir salvage board to repair one of the doors.

I've lined up the painters for painting these hard-to-reach areas and the floor refinisher to wrap up the project. If the current schedule works out, this project should be done by the end of November.