Sunday, May 22, 2011

The beginning of the Living Room, Dining Room, Sunroom Extravaganza

It's been almost a year since the finish of the guest room project it's been a nice break and we've gotten some other small projects done in the basement.  We have also gotten a new furnace and air conditioner installed, whoo hoo!

The living room and dining room is something I have wanted to tackle for awhile but it's a large project with the archways connecting the living room, dining room, and front hall and french doors leading into the sun room there is no easy starting and stopping point so the rooms need to be addressed as a group.

They were far from the worst rooms in our house but I'm more of a natural trim non-wallpaper kind of girl so I really wanted to tear into these to get out the old lady sheik.  On deck for this project is the removal of the ceilings in all 3 rooms, removal of wallpaper, plaster patching, trim stripping,  rewiring, ceiling replacement, window repair, trim refinishing, floor refinishing, repaint, new blinds and curtains, and replacement of most of the furniture.  Needless to say this is a large project.  I would love to say that this will be done by the end of the summer but I think a more realistic goal would be to be to the painting stage 1 year from now. 

It won't be so bad... we have an extra living room upstairs in what used to be the apartment and we've managed to box up and pack away almost everything we want to keep from the old setup.  Plus I'm trying to do a better job of cleaning up at the end of the day to hopefully make the process a little less stressful on everyone.  It's going to be a long one but I think it's going to be worth it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

All I wanted to do was plug in a fan...

Our house has a little sun room in the front of the house, the real estate listing called it a piano room but I always thought of it as the sun room. It's a small, only about 10 x 4 with windows on all sides and we never really found a good use for it, so when we purchased a treadmill earlier this year we started using it as a an exercise room.

Over the years most of the power in the downstairs of our house has been upgraded but in the case of the piano / sun room it was only updated as far as the basement. Below each of the outlets there was a junction box where the new basement wire was spliced into old knob and tube. We decided that plugging the treadmill into an outlet wired about 40 years before the modern treadmill was invented perhaps, was not the best idea. So Chris and I took a Saturday morning and pulled new wire for the north side outlet for the treadmill leaving the South side outlet untouched, figuring the only thing we might ever plug into it was a small fan, and the wiring should be able to handle that no problem.

Well a few months back it started to get a little warm when running out there so I decided to go ahead and plug a fan in. Immediately I run into a snag, the outlet is not polarized and the fan is. So I ran down to the basement where I have a grounding adapter figuring, without looking twice that this will take care of the problem, only to discover that that adapter is also polarized. At that point I decided to just throw in the towel and use one of the living room outlets. The closest outlet was thankfully polarized but the cord for the fan was too short and the only extension cord I could find was grounded. So I ended up using the living room outlet with both the grounding adapter and the extension cord.
I had a day off last week so I decided the tackle the sun room outlet so I could just plug in the damned fan already. I figured Chris and I were able to wire up the north outlet together in an hour, me doing the south outlet alone couldn't possibly take more than 2 hours. Four hours later I had some nice road rash going on my right arm and had various cuts and scratches all over, and all I had to show for it is the complete and total removal of the original wires, the ones I had planned to use to pull through the new wiring. At this point I took the only option left to me which was to remove the original electrical box and knock a larger hole so I could fish the new wire down into the basement.

Here is the original outlet, we had 2 of these in the house when we moved in according to Wikipedia this is is a "parallel and tandem outlet" rated at 250 v 10 A and can handle either a NEMA 1-15 or 2-15 plug. The 2-15 standard hasn't been used since the 60's so this must be quite a bit older than that.

Here is the original electrical box. This puppy was really in there, the cleat you can see on the right was nailed into the stud while the metal tabs on the left hand side had lath sandwiched between them.
And all told here is the damage I'm still trying to figure out of if the house or I got the worst of it.

At any rate by Sunday night I was able to get the whole patched up and the outlet installed. The wallpaper was a casually but fortunately the long sheers the previous owner left us seem to cover the area nicely.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Return to the guest room.

Well after powering through during my week of furlough things slowed down to a crawl right right before Christmas I broke into the finishing phase of the project. During the gap we stripped off all of the wallpaper, washed and scraped the walls to remove all of the old wallpaper glue stripped all of the trim and floor. By far the most painful part was patching the walls pretty much from June to November it was sanding the walls it was just so miserable I could barley make myself do an hour on it a day so it dragged on forever and ever. In December I started the finishing processing on the trim, I have some more detailed pictures of the process that I'll put up in a separate post we also brought someone in to redo the walls in our large closet which I also have some pictures of. More to come soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guest Room - Day 3

Yesterday I removed the carpet from the large closet and began stripping the entry door. Kind of a slow day. It's interesting to look around upstairs it looks like much of the trim and doors were salvaged from other properties. For example the bedroom door and one of the other doors upstairs have a double bevel edge on the panels.

While most of the others have a single bevel.
It also appears that the bedroom door once had a rim style lock instead of the current mortise variety. There is a hole about an inch from the edge of the door that was patched with a dowel at some point.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guest Room - Day 2

Well it's the end of day 2 the paneling is all down and the carpet om the room is all up. I decided to pull up the carpet because when I get into the stripping I don't want to pull out a carpet sodden with stripper later on in the process. I figure in the past 2 days I've taken the room back about 40 years.

I figure it must have been pretty comical for all 5 feet of me to be carrying these 4 x 8 sheets of paneling down the stairs and hoisting them into the dumpster.

Tomorrow I'm going to remove the carpet from the large closet and start stripping some trim. Rather than starting on the windows I'm thinking of starting on the door instead, since the floor will need to be refinished anyways I'm thinking about doing it in the room itself.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Guest Room - Day 1

Just finished up Day 1. I got the ceiling tiles removed and the furring strips down. The furring strips were probably the most difficult part. Many of them had a lot of nails located all in the same area. Good news is the ceiling looks to be in relatively good condition, although wallpapered of course. I did make kind of a cool discovery. Around the light fixture there is an oval outline. I suspect that at some point the room had a fixture similar to this.

I removed a couple sections of paneling. My goal was to get all of it down but I also neglected to consider the furring strips which was the most time consuming part. This is what was hiding under the paneling. It looks to be the same wallpaper that was in our bedroom except in blue instead of red.

Tomorrows goal is to get down the remainder of the paneling and to get the first window apart.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Home Improvement Week 2009

Due to the crappy economy I am required to take a week of unpaid time off this year. So I've decided to make the best of things and tackle the guest room, the current price holder for the ugliest room in our home. Current goal is to remove the paneling and ceiling tiles and to begin the process of reconditioning the windows by getting the frames and sashes stripped. Hopefully I'll be able to get more done but without knowing the condition of the underlying walls and ceiling it's difficult to know what kind of challenge awaits.