Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SOLVED: Locked hallway cabinet.

Thanks everyone for helping me figure out the purpose of my locked hallway cabinet.  Yesterday a applied a bit of paint stripper to the illegible raised lettering.  It revealed:

It reads:
LeManquais Cabinets
In U.S. Feb.14.05
Canada Mar.28.05
A little Googling revealed the LaManquais made various electric components (although that info wasn't very easy to find)
Armed with this knowledge, I decided to be a little more forceful with the door.  Apparently I wasn't the only one to pry at it, and with relatively little force, it opened. Below is the picture of its' innards:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pleasure to Meet You, Mr. Leeson

Today while continuing the wallpaper removal in the girl's room, we uncovered a signature on the wall. It says:
"Nov 30 - 1892"
"Papered By"
"Harris J Leeson"

Click to Enlarge
For those, keeping track, this also seems to date our house slightly older than we thought.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Front of the House

Greg at The Petch House noticed that I didn't have any exterior photos.  Apparently I forgot to move it when when I brought everything over to blogger.com

Strange locked cabinet

This metal cabinet is mounted in the wall of our hallway. Anybody recognize it? There is a patent stamp, but it is unreadable because it has been covered with too much paint. I think when I get around to stripping it down that will shed some light.
The doors are fairly heavy duty.  About 1/4 inch thick.  The locks (for which I dont have the keys) look pretty wimpy.

Ideas from people so far:
Wall Safe:  Probably not b/c it is in the hallway, locks not beefy enough, and the doors are not inset which would allow them to easily be pried open.
Medicine Cabinet: In the hallway?
Old Electric Panel: 
Cabinet for Housekeeping Chemicals:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Starting work on the kids room

Since we have a long weekend I have been anxious to make some progress on the house. Today I worked on a few more mundane maintenance issues. I am still fighting with the plumbing, and I replaced a broken window pane in the roof of our greenhouse/atrium.

This glass room is accessible from the 2nd floor bathroom, and features a door to walk out to an open deck. Obviously the greenhouse isnt authentic to the Victorian era, but Celia loves it and dreams of tending to a small flower garden.
The real excitement today though was that I actually started on an actual restoration project. I started removing the wallpaper and stripping the painted trim in the room that will become the girl's bedroom.
Bedroom Door
Closet Door

Awesome Light Fixture

Bedroom Windows

Another interesting discovery is that this room has always had painted trim. I found evidence that indicates that the trim was never stained/shellacked. Take a look at this next picture. What you are looking at is the right side of the door trim. Once I scraped the paint off, words stamped with ink into the wood appeared:
The words are "From:" "Feet" and "No."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Surprise in the Garage

Today we worked on a few more misc jobs. We are still battling water issues. We discovered that the hose bib was dripping. It was leaking from two places and wasnt repairable. When I tried to remove the hose bib, the galvenized pipe basically fell apart. Arrg! That meant that this is the second plumbing job that has turned into a big deal. Looking in the basement at the pipes, the trick will be finding a good place to tie in. This hose bib is basically the first branch from the water supply line. If I am not careful, I could easily break more galvenized pipe and be replacing more than I bargained for...
On a better note, I gained access to my garage for the first time. The garage is a detached 2-3/4 car building. Much newer than the main house. The sellers (Well Fargo) lost the keys, so I was forced to break into it. I watched a YouTube Video on how to drill locks to learn the technnique. I took me about 1 hour to drill the handle and the deadbolt.
The best part of the whole day came next. Sitting in the garage is a pair of pocket doors. Even better, someone stripped them down to bare wood! We didnt even know that the house was missing the doors. The doorway leading from the foyer to the parlor has molding covering the pocket door channel. Apparently they removed the doors before they put up the molding. Sitting near the doors were the missing pieces to one of our screen doors. We had been told by the neighor that one of the french screen doors had been damaged in a wind storm and presumably disposed of. The glass panel (2 by 6 divided light window) is removable from the door to be replaced with a screened panel during the summer. More to come on these doors in the future.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Adventures Begin

We had the water turned on yesterday and I worked for a couple hours "dewinterizing". Since it was a foreclosure, they blew the water lines out with compressed air and put antifreeze in the drains. The process basically involves carefully watching for leaks as you open the shutoff valves at the fixtures. As luck would have it, the downstair half-bath toilet shutoff valve leaks. Pretty simple fix, but while I had it apart, I replaced the flush valve and the supply line. Should be great , right? No. After I got the toilet back together, I realized that it sucks. The flush is slow (drain/vent issue?) and the wax seal seems to be compromised b/c I get seepage under the toilet. So now we are trying to figure out our next steps. Either we start restoring the bathroom now (currently the bathroom is actually tolerable), or we just replace the toilet and move on to more important projects.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Hi, My name is Jason ('ChooseOpen' on OldHouseWeb). My fiance Celia and I just purchased this wonderful old house. On this website you will find ramblings about our trials and tribulations as we restore her. Below are some 'before' pictures that we took as we showed the house off to our friends...

We LOVE these newel posts!!!

Main stairs

Stained glass window at the stair landing

Servant/Back staircase

Dining Room bay window. All doors and windows feature these mouldings which look awesome with the 11 foot ceilings!

Dining Room
Fireplace in master bedroom sitting area.
1980's Kitchen