Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why My Hands and Shoulders and Other Various Parts are Sore, in case you wondered...

It feels like it has been a constant flurry of activity around here. Every moment I haven't been at work has been filled with something...whether it was continuing to work on the floors, runs to the hardware store, runs to do laundry (as I am still waiting to get a washer & dryer of my own), attending fun housewarming parties for other friends who have recently moved, or prepping far too much food for Thanksgiving.

The best part about all of it has been time with friends and family, though I will confess that seeing so much progress on the house has been pretty exciting as well. The floors are *thisclose* to being finished. For all intents and purposes they are livable now.

Hand scraping two rooms was a big job and I couldn't have done it without some great, great help. After the scraping, a coat of lacquer thinner mixed with acetone was applied to clean and smooth the floors. I could have gone the route of renting a sander to use, but I really didn't want that "new wood" look. I wanted the character of the floors to match the character of the house.

After the floors were clean, 4 coats of Satin Polyurethane were applied. That process took several days. Because of the house's layout, that meant I had to be out of the house for two nights while it dried, or be permanently trapped in either the bedroom or the kitchen, which was not an appealing though. So, I packed a bag and crashed at my mom's for a couple of nights.

The floors look gorgeous! I am so completely thrilled with the look. The satin finish gives the a great sheen without being overly shiny and gave the color a nice boost. We did find some matching lumber and that will be stained and distressed and woven in to the area of the patch in the near future. With any luck that will look pretty close to seamless when it's finished. I also may decide to scrape and patch the little hallway area between the bathroom and bedroom too, but that all can wait a bit.

Next project related to the floors will be to put trim back up around the baseboards. It's all purchased, just needs to be painted, cut, and installed.

This last weekend, with some help, I got the living room and dining rooms painted and the furniture moved in. Lots of things still need to be arranged and hung, but it's already feeling incredibly homey. And, I moved the TV out of the bedroom and back to its rightful place in the living room. Hopefully this will dissuade me from staying up too late watching TV!

Living Room in Progress-Harbor by Valspar

Christmas tree in progress too!
Hard to tell, but it's kind of a minty blue. My aunt said it looked like a big Tiffany Box.

From the Dining Room into the Living room. The Dining Room is Brushed Suede by Valspar.

Starting to get the built in filled.

New dining chairs from Kirklands are a dark brown and blue brocade.

Still need to get things hung...

The only room I have in mind to paint now is the kitchen. It has a nice buttery color in there now, but I'm itching to paint it a color  reminiscent of an old blue canning jar. But, I think I'll take a little break before I do that and decorate for Christmas!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Loading up, loading in, loaded down...

So, moving day has come and gone and I am just now getting around to a post.  This MAY have something to do with the continual hours of floor scraping, cleaning, and body dumping (okay, so it was just surreptitious night-time old carpet dumping, but that sounds lame) that have been going on.

Bottom line is, I'm pooped! And yet, there is still much more to do, so I can't stop just yet.

On Friday night, hours before moving day was to begin, I sat on the living room floor, covered with with yellowing varnish dust and had a mini-meltdown. I cried, I must admit (which is nothing shocking) and was adamant that we must rent a sander and stop doing this foolishness by hand. Thankfully, calmer and less emotionally charged head prevailed. Yes, our hands were cramping, yes I was pretty sure my lungs were filled with dust, but we could do this and it would be much better (and safer, seeing as how power tools are not our forte) to do it by hand.

You may recall the original state of the floor...

My friends were a total blessing that weekend, as G & L stayed late at the house and cleaned everything up in preparation for moving day and sent me home to get a shower and some much needed sleep. Unbeknownst to me, as they were leaving, G & L smelled gas and called the gas company. Of course, their first response is that they have to come shut off the gas completely until a serviceman can get out the next day to check it out. So, the move started in a house with no heat and no hot water.

I managed to wake up early enough to finish packing just as my other wonderful friends and family showed up to help start loading trucks and minivans. I couldn't believe how fast it all went! I guess that's the difference having a lot of help can make.

By noon we were at the house with most everything moved inside, getting ready to take a much needed pizza break.

My bedroom got all set-up and, thanks to a little help from L a couple of nights earlier, it was even painted. I still need to do some touch-up work, but the color is Valspar's Metropolis, a pleasant gray color. I will be accenting with pink and white. Yes, it's very girly. But I'm a girl and I don't have to try and man it up for anyone. :)

Metropolis (but nothing like the Cronenberg film)

This house definitely has some odd things about it. The mammoth closet in the bedroom is nice, but the fact that there are only 3 outlets and they're in very inconvenient places is not.

Mammoth Closet...a small person could live in here.

The bathroom could have probably been a bit larger and the closet a bit smaller since they back right up to each other. This would have allowed for some sort of storage in the bathroom. As it is, I am struggling to find places to store my makeup, deodorant, contact lens case, and curling iron.

The kitchen cabinets were all made by hand and are very interesting in their set-up. The cupboard where I keep my glasses is particularly interesting. They're also pretty short, so I'm making good use of the pantry in the utility room for a lot of items. The kitchen was the first room I unpacked, as I couldn't feel settled until that was out of the way. It still needs painting and decor hung up....and some random wiring checked. There were two light fixtures in the kitchen in the middle of walls that seemed to have no way to turn them on. Conversely, there is a light switch in the utility room that seems to serve no purpose, unless I am secretly controlling the power to someonelse's house, which could be pretty funny considering how many times I have flipped it on and off.

After everything was moved in, I called the gas company and they discovered there was a leak in my furnace. Lovely. Also, strangely, the serviceman blew out the pilot light on my water heater, though there was no issue with it and he had already turned off the gas to the furnace, so there was no danger.  Luckily, my realtor had suggested I have the seller purchase a warranty for these types of issues during the first year. So, after some run-around on the phone, they sent out a plumber...which was of no  use...and finally a furnace repairman. It took two days, and the furnace guy relighting my pilot light, but everything finally got repaired and things were much warmer.

Nearly a week has passed since the move-in, and while I would LOVE to have everything done (as I apparently don't deal well with upheaval), a lot of progress has been made.

scraping in progress

The kitchen and bedroom are unpacked (if not organized just perfectly yet) and the living room floor is completely scraped.

You can really see the difference when you look at the line between the dining room and living room. The dark side is the dining area, which we will start scraping in the next few days. At least that room is about 1/3 of the size and doesn't have any old tile adhesive on it!

post-scraping and smoothing with acetone & lacquer thinner

You'll notice the nice patch in the floor. This is part of the history of the home, as it used to have a gravity fed furnace that transferred air via a large vent in the floor. We're going to find a closer match to try and patch it, but it will always show...which I sort of don't mind, as it is a part of the extensive past of the house.

Le Patch

The *hope* is to have the floors completed (scraped, oiled, patched, trim put back down) before Thanksgiving, as I will be hosting it for the first time and would really like to have things set up so we could have a normal, relaxing day!

I really have to thank my friends and family again. They made moving a breeze and are STILL helping me get these floors, and some other smaller issues, in order!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All For A Floor

Today the first real project in the house began. Let's begin with the true "before" picture:
The living room (featuring the previous owner's furnishings)
The dining room (also not my furnishings, but what a great built in!)

So, it's nice right? It is. But...of course I can't be satisfied with things like they are! I have always dreamed of having wood floors in my home (also, a fireplace, but that's a far future project!). Plus, I think this carpet is WAY too light for a high traffic area like a living room and dining room that leads into the kitchen. I would never keep it clean, and it had a few stains already. 

I decided my first project would be to pull up the carpet and see what was hiding  underneath. Since this part of the house was originally built in the 1800s, I figured it was a good bet that there would be hardwoods underneath. However, it was risky, since the house was actually moved in the 1960s from across the street, so I could have found a mess. 

What I found instead...
That would be some nice floors with a LOT of old adhesive stuck to it.

Who put tile over these gorgeous floors in the past? Some choices will always baffle me. So, they're not perfect and it's gonna take a decent amount of work. I spent most of the day scraping.

But my first problem was tackling getting the utility knife package open.
Does anyone see the irony in being unable to open a knife package because you DON'T HAVE A KNIFE??

By the end of the day I'd made a little progress, though you couldn't tell too much. Tomorrow, back at it with the help of a friend and his dad's tools! My dreams of getting up new paint may go by the wayside as I try to get this floor done before I move in my furniture!

Monday, October 22, 2012

My First "Hive"

Today I closed on my very first home.

Maybe it seems silly to be nearing forty (let's not dwell on that, shall we?) and only now investing in your first property, but it's something I honestly wasn't sure was in the cards for me. Upon leaving the title company's office, key in hand, I got a little misty eyed sitting in my car. Could it have only been six months ago that I was crying, feeling like I was never going to own anything? never have a home of my own? It seems impossible.

Then I drove to my new (old) little house on its quiet, quaint street, and new it was true. It really felt like mine, as I sat making notes and picturing all the things I will do to make this "hive" feel even more like a home.

This process will involve lots of firsts, and I hope to chronicle the ups and downs here. Tonight mostly involved planning, but it also involved a bit of a revelation! The seller left me a lot of paperwork, including some pictures of the house before it had some changes made, and a newspaper from 1960 with a front page story of my 1890s house being moved from across the street so the First Baptist Church could build a new parking lot. The article talked about the potential first owners, one of which was the town's blacksmith/veterinarian. Somehow that seems about right!

I also worked with my friends to pull up the carpet in the living room to see what sort of shape the hardwood floors are in. They're going to take some work, and still look well worn...but I kind of like that. Tomorrow I'm off to work at removing ancient adhesive from the floors!

I'm glad they chose to move my little hive instead of tearing it down in the name of progress.