These journal entries track our progress as we undertake our adventure of restoring this very old home. The main reason for keeping this journal on the web is that we have found that there are very few resources (books or websites) that follow all of the trials and tribulations of restoring an old home...from start to finish.
November 3, 2002
Gay repainted the upstairs bathroom and I started priming the woodwork in the dining room.
I also decided what to do above the mantel. I'm going to frame it in so that it jutts out about 4" from the wall. This will provide the mass on that wall that I would like to see. Before closets were added on either side of the chimney the fireplace would have stuck out into the room and this will bring a little of that feeling back, in a subtle way.
Gay found an ad that showed a room with colors that we really like. (Martha Stewart colors. She may be evil...but her colors are good.) Interestingly, when I was scraping one of the windows I uncovered a large section of the original paint. And it's darn close to the color we picked (or Martha picked) for the woodwork.
We have a lot of work to do in here before Thanksgiving!
Out of curiosity, I took a level to the sagging guest room floor upstairs to see just how bad it is. I wasn't expecting the answer!
From the high point at the wall the floor drops 2-1/2 inches in about 6 feet, then rises back up at the facing wall. The sag runs perpendicular to the floor joists...which points to the sill. The sills below this room were replaced at some point. I think they just didn't bother to try to raise things back up in the process. There's a lot of bounce in the floor. I'm wondering if the answer is to sister new floor joists to the old to try to make the floor level and rigid. Someday.
Like William's new glasses? -- Bill
November 10, 2002
I built a frame for above the mantel and put it into place. I doubled up the studs in the center so that we will have a good anchor for hanging a very heavy mirror.
I used 5/8" drywall to close it in and am going to skim coat the whole surface to give it a little of the feel of the surrounding plaster walls.
I will need a couple more passes to finish patching the surrounding plaster.
Meanwhile, Gay and William finished priming the rest of the woodwork in the room.
Several people emailed asking what Gay's secret is to cleaning up and painting old radiators. No secret really. A wire brush, some elbow grease, a comfortable chair, some music, a lot of patience, and a badly mangled paint brush. Essential for the job. If it doesn't look like this when she starts on a radiator, it will when she finishes it.
I took down the badly tarnished dining room chandelier and William got to work polishing it.
The going was tough so I chipped in to help. Slowly it started to shine. We'll have to finish it next weekend. (Don't know why I look so angry.)
I cut in around the ceiling. Painting the ceiling will be our next step in the "Race to Turkey Day." -- Bill
November 17, 2002
Because of other obligations, we had limited time to work this weekend, but did make some progress. The dining room ceiling is painted, as well as all of the windows, doors, and woodwork! We've started cutting in the wall color but can't proceed much more until all of the patching is finally dry. Next weekend we should be ready to do some final sanding and then paint the walls.
Guess we need to get a turkey! -- Bill
November 24, 2002
Well, the dining room is painted and looks great. But we still have a lot of work left before Thursday. (Scraping the windows, cleaning the wood floor, finishing the chandelier, moving the furniture in, etc., etc.) I am going to take off Tuesday and Wednesday from work to get everything finished up.
So we don't spoil it for our guests, I'm not going to post any more shots of the dining room until Thanksgiving day...probably sometime that evening. Check back then and see the finished project.
Meanwhile, thanks to everybody who's sent us emails cheering us on! We hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving! -- Bill
November 28, 2002
Here was the scene on Tuesday when I got back to work on the dining room. Painted, but still with lots of cleaning up and detail work to do.
I added moulding around the base of the build-out over the mantel, scraped and washed the windows, touched up paint where needed, scrubbed (and scrubbed, and scrubbed) the floor, put the cornice boards back up, and hauled out my mitre saw. Finally I was ready to hang the mirror and put down our new sisal rug.
The mirror was found at a yard sale years ago by Gay and her mom. I think they paid $20 for it. It works perfectly here.
Then it was back to work on the chandelier. William and I put old tube socks on our hands and polished away with Brasso until it shined and was ready to be rehung.
Gay hung the new curtains and got the table set. By this morning, we were all ready! (We were short on chairs so had to supplement with the lovely metal folding chairs.)
William and Gay's mom got into the spirit of the holiday.
And soon the rest of our guests arrived. We had 14 folks packed around the table and a 26 pound turkey!
Everybody stuffed themselves and seemed to have a great time. And, except for the turkey and Gay's cooking, the dining room was the hit of the day.
Hope your day was a great one too! -- Bill