Our FourSquare

Our FourSquare

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Having finished my Masters degree, completed the various tests for licensing, my goal is to blog at least once a month. So here's part of this month's blog. We have mostly completed the dining room, but by mostly I mean we still have all the trim to take the paint off. I have run across several places on some of my blog reading faves: Battle of the Strippers and for inspiration to work through to the end goal: Thank you for your inspiration! to help with this project.

Then we've started on the "Gold Room", aka Chuck's room, man cave, Gentleman's Quarters. We found it was aptly named with our original term. When we pulled off the various layers of paint wallpaper combos, we found stenciling with what looks like gold dust of some sort. Any ideas on how to find out? I Google'ed it and found they did use various metal dusts back then. Haven't tried a streak plate yet.

Any who, we got excited about our ultimate plan - which was to put up beams to fix the various ceiling issues. We should have taken all the paper/paint down first, sanded, stained, and polyurethaned before we put the beams up.

Running out of power, so I'll put up pics later. Note to self, door blog on tablet ever again. ugh!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Time for a little reclaiming...

Recently I ran across a Craigslist Ad for architectural salvage for sale. I contacted the poster and it turned out an old house, foursquare from the same time period as ours, was being torn down and they were selling what ever anyone would buy so it was not lost to demolition.

It makes me very sad to see old homes torn down, but I was glad to see they wanted what could be saved to not be lost forever. We purchased a built-in cabinet, some stair spindles that are the same as our missing spindles, some bookcases - sadly the doors were missing, a couple of light fixtures - which of course we now regret not buying a couple of the other fixtures,  and we purchased porch railings, and some window trim. That, also, we wished our bodies could have held out a little longer to take more of the trim down and reuse it some how. We spent the good part of a Saturday pulling and prodding on wooden parts that had been holding on for over 100 years. They were not real happy about letting go, but they finally gave. I think they will enjoy their new home - oh I hope they do - I hope they do not bring with them any unforgiving spirits with them. Yikes - hadn't thought about that until just now. Well - we'll just have to make them happy in their new home, if that is the case.

Domestic Management Services, Inc., the company that was taking care of all the transactions and contracting the excavation, was wonderful to work with. All the others working on preparing this home for its last days were also very wonderful, caring people. Overall it was a great experience, our bodies were sore and we were tired, but it was a good days work.
This is one of the lights we should have purchased. We kept going back and forth - would it look okay in our home, our home has the original light fixtures - which was something we loved about the home - we were concerned about betraying them. They wanted a bit more than we wanted to pay for a light that we weren't 100% certain we would be using. Yes, we could have sold it, but I didn't really want to do that - so we just didn't get it.

This is the built-in cabinet we purchased - which actually extended probably a foot above the ceiling. I can't wait to get this put into our home. We were originally going to put it exactly where a built-in had been taken out of our house by a PO, but this one is actually longer than the original and so it won't fit on the same wall. It was originally a beautifully stained wood cabinet and will be again. We had no idea it extended way above this ceiling. What a fabulous surprise!

I didn't take pictures of our salvaged pieces - mainly due to exhaustion - but I will soon and post them. Can't wait to get all of it incorporated!

Time flies when you're trying to figure out your next step and find the right product....ahhh the product.

We've known what room was going to be receiving our attention - but what to use? We've pondered....a lot!

The dining room is the next to get restored to its better days, but what do we use to repair the walls? Pondering, pondering, pondering - oh the painful pondering! After reading hours upon hours (not an exaggeration) of conflicting information and not being able to find plaster, other than Plaster of Paris, we finally gave up and have been applying joint compound to our paper/paint combination removed leaving beautiful old plaster clean walls. 

Ya know, Nicole Curtis, who I love, makes all that paper removal and cleaning up with vinegar and water look so easy and so quick. We knew it would be much harder than it appeared, but there's that little part of me who had hoped it was just that easy as it looked on TV. Forever the optimist!

This weekend will hopefully be the final coat to the walls, we hope! Then it will be time to paint. That has been back and forth multiple times - from a gold to a grey/green. I think we are at grey/green choice again. Now - what type of paint? Latex? Milk Paint? Primer first? Oil based? Water based? UGH!!!! Anybody have any thoughts on the matter of type of paint to use over lime plaster walls? 

We also have on the near-to-do list to make the air vent to go above our faux fireplace, aka, air return ducts. We had an incident during the birthday party we don't want repeated. A poor, sweet young lady had her favorite red balloon sucked right in and down - gone forever! Still haven't found it! The plan for this is to create some fret work type of wood vent. Something like below, but with a more varied pattern.

We also are going to strip the numerous layers of paint from the trim and go back to shellacked wood. Oh what fun!

We have also now located natural hydraulic lime on the internet. We have ordered some to use to try a little tuck-pointing. Yikes.

Oh - also - we'll be hooking the upstairs tub back up to the plumbing.

And finally - but hopefully not finally - in other words it needs done ASAP - we've been waiting on a roofing company to get back to us to repair our roof and have not had a bit of luck with them, which has really been quite disappointing. We are going to be contacting a different local company this week and hopefully we'll have better luck. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Oh gmail, how you stress me...

Somehow I've messed up my accounts associated with my blog and haven't been able to get in. UGH!!!

Progress has been slow. We've found the type of crown we should be putting back into the house so it's accurate with the rest of the trim in the house - classic craftsman. Woohoo!

Classical Craftsman from Windsor One

Now we're trying to figure out how to attach the picture molding to the outside walls. Any good ideas?  We have plaster attached to brick. There isn't any wood within the brick other than where the windows are located. We may just attach the picture molding lower than we originally intended, I'm just not sure what that will look like.

We (Chuck) have been fixing the smaller cracks in the plaster in the dining room. There are too many ways to do it the one and only right way! Those of you doing this as well know exactly what I'm talking about. We were originally going to try to do lime plaster, but we were unable to find the type of lime needed. We ended up deciding to use drywall mud. We'll see how it goes.

What can anyone tell me about painting old lime? Again, many, many authorities explaining how, but none of them match. Do we use an oil-based primer first? Does it not really matter? We are both in our 50's. UGH!! But anyway - at this point - I just want it to last - say 50 years - being an optimist. Someone else can worry about it after that.

We did find a fireplace mantel that we've put in the living room for our faux fireplace / air return ducts. It looks great. We found tile that we are okay with. It was not our original intention - but it's beautiful. We did finally find the tile we wanted when we were looking for other tile - after we bought the green marble tile. Of course - but that's okay. I think this is going to be wonderful. I'll see about adding some pics.

Above is the fireplace we found to create the faux fireplace for our air return ducts for the central heat / air.

Below is a picture of the dinning room.

It seems as though the POs just painted straight onto the plaster and it seems to have stuck.

We pulled all the wall paper off the walls. It had substantial water damage. Don't tell, but I kinda liked the pattern. Just saying.  Below is a picture of some of the paper before removal. We've kept a large chunk of it and I'd like to use it as a mat for some pictures in the future. Realize I peeled the green paint off the wallpaper in order to save it; there was also another layer of wallpaper on top of this wallpaper. This paper was attached directly to the plaster.

So after removing all the paint and paper - sometimes - fortunately all together at times - I spent hours using various buckets and cleaning vinegar, hot water, scrub brushes, scrub pads and clean rags to remove wallpaper glue residual, dirt, gunk, etc. Now, overall we have smooth, white plaster walls, with the exception of where there was water damage from unfixed leaks. Fix leaks immediately. Water is very bad when it comes to your home!

Then we hit a stopping point - as previously mentioned - trying to determine the proper (longest lasting) method of fixing cracks, etc.

Next - or coinciding - will be paint removal from the trim. Any thoughts? This we have also researched forever - to see how to do it in the least damaging manner and safest. Not sure those go together. So - hopefully we'll just go with something and be done prior to Thanksgiving. 

I so look forward to the gathering at Thanksgiving time! LOVE IT!!!! I'm hoping to have the dining room finished.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wall paper, wall paper, wall paper, paint...

The last several weekends have been devoted to removing the covering from the plaster walls in what is now the dining room. There was inI don't believe this is the original dining room, but we did not re-open the doorway from the kitchen into the previous dining room. We decided the best traffic path would put the dining room into what was probably the original back parlor.  Otherwise we would be doing through the family room/gentleman's quarters into the dining room.  Eh - it is what it is.  For a few days we thought about returning the pathway from the kitchen through the bathroom but decided we preferred to have a larger bath and more wall space in the kitchen for cabinets.  We'll see how that plays out.  I guess we can always undo what we've done.

Uh, no!

There was actually THREE layers of wall paper and one layer of green latex paint - thank goodness it was latex.  However, in some places they painted the latex on the plaster where they had pulled some of the wall paper off. Not completely, mind you. Why? Why did you do this?  Good grief!  Who does that?

We used a Wagner Steamer to remove said paint and paper. It worked pretty well honestly. Sure a lot easier than that rotary thing. Easier than scraping alone. Easier than just thinking it away.  I tried that as well - did not work AT ALL!  Ugh. Who knew??? Okay - well maybe everyone including me - but it was surely worth a try.

Now we have to take all the remainder of the glue/paste from the wallpaper off the walls before we repair the plaster and paint the room.  Nicole Curtis used vinegar to clean off the glue from the plaster, so I'll be looking for what strength we should use to do this.  Do you think vinegar will eat away at the plaster - lime - vinegar - I dunno.  Any thoughts out there?  I know from teaching science when we put vinegar on a rock we can determine that it is limestone because it bubbles up.  Just makes me concerned.  Maybe there's no relationship.

Very excited about the changes.  We did lose a little plaster in the paper removal...seems as though the paper was holding the plaster on the wall. Rut ro.....

Also contemplating the building of a dining table with draw leaves.  Very interesting. So little on the web about it OR I haven't typed in the right key words. Maybe they are called something else to most of the world.

Also on the to do list is:  finish fireplace area - put trim back on, finish bathroom little things, some touch up paint, shelves in cabinet, remove paint from wood trim in dining room and gentlemen's quarters.  Not sure about front room yet as far as trim.  Some pictures will follow soon.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Before and Afters

This will be a post that is continually edited.


Tub/Shower Area BEFORE...

Tub/Shower Area AFTER...

Yes - the tile extends past the tub - but here is the reasoning: we plan to put a hook up for robes, towels, etc. and that way the wall won't get wet. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I think I'm not sure I like it...sigh.

Vanity Area Before...

This is the vanity area - you can see the outline of some  kind of cabinet from before.

Vanity Area After...

The Built-In...

Chuck found these really cool old cabinet doors and we had to do something with them, so....
we made a cabinet above the toilet and a built-in linen/etc. cabinet.

The beginnings of the cabinet above the toilet.  See the DH on the ladder? He's amazing!  A big thank you goes to Jared for allowing us to borrow the ladder we bought for him.  It's a great ladder, if only it were lighter!

Here's the beginning of the built-in.  We (me) originally planned to stain the back, but decided it would look better painted white.

This is the door above the toilet. It had originally been painted several times.  The last coat was a yellowy white.  I scraped and sanded and still the chips show through.  We should have just gone ahead and used paint remover.  It may happen someday - but for now, it's fine.

This one didn't have paint on it.  Which brings me to a conversation about paint today.  Add the lead back in! OK...probably not, but geeze!

Old window, scraped and painted.  Probably should have re-glazed, but it will be fine - it makes it look more authentic, right?

Getting closer to done....not a fan of this paint!
Notice the top of both cabinets.  Chuck fabricated them to resemble the original medicine cabinet in the upstairs bathroom.

We think this bath might have been originally used only by the maid.  The original owners had several live in maids over the years. I have their names on ancestry.com. I'll look them back up and add them to this post.

The original bath was quite a bit smaller.  The tub is quite narrow. Originally it was scooted closer to the toilet by 8-12 inches.  There was a built-in on the other side from what we could tell.  We believe that room was the original dining room.  This room was most likely the maid's bathroom and a butler's pantry based on the various things we found when we gutted the bath.

Where we put the built-in linen cabinet was a doorway into the kitchen.  We thought about re-establishing the door way and then decided against it to keep the larger bathroom size and give more privacy for the bathroom.  Where the sink is, it looked like there was shelving and cabinets or possibly a dry sink.  Not really sure.  I thought we'd taken pics of it, but right now I haven't located them.

Almost finished, just need to add the bottom piece.  See the hardware?  I followed Nichole's advice from "Rehab Addicts" and cooked them in the Crock Pot for a while.  The paint did come off fairly easily! 

New hinges. The knob we found in an antique shop in Marshfield.

The finished cabinet.  Waiting for the paint to fully cure before leaving the doors closed.