Sunday, December 25, 2011

First time rebuilding a light fixture.

Happy Holiday's everyone!  I haven't posted in a while b/c I have been spending quality time with the family for the holidays.  My latest project is the original gas/electric combo chandelier from the back entry foyer.  I removed the fixture and brought it to my other house for disassembly/cleaning.  Progress is great.  I am having a blast cleaning it up and re-wiring it.  All of my parts are coming from TX Lamp Parts.  They are a small outfit near Dallas and have been great in shipping small quantities at a reasonable price.  And quickly too!
I will be writing a new blog post soon with before/after pics.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cleaning up a mess

Celia and I have finally finished removing the wallpaper paste from all of the back entry walls.  It was a messy job!!!  Most of the paste scrapings ended up on the floor so we decided to tackle cleaning it.  First we swept the floor, then carefully scraped any bits stuck to the floor with a putty knife. Finally we scrubbed it on our hands and knees with damp rags.  This floor is in really nice condition* so we probably wont get around to sanding/refinishing anytime soon.  Here is how the floors look now:

*As with everything old, nothing is perfect.  While these floors are mostly in great shape, at some point in history, the radiator leaked and rotted the floorboards beneath it.  The current plan (in the distant future) is to gather enough scrap pieces from other rooms that have incomplete flooring (i know the dining room has a huge patch and will probably need to replace the whole floor)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inside corner plaster repair

I just made a post over at OldHouseWeb Forums soliciting input on how to properly fix a gap in plaster (inside corner)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Side Entrance Progress

This weekend Celia and I attacked the wallpaper paste on the side entrance walls. Celia likes to use the garment steamer and I use the Zinsser spray. As we have removed the wallpaper in this room (and the girl's bedroom) the we have been repeatedly surprised to find signatures on the wall.  This weekend, I found Nancy Strandberg's dated Mar 5 1990 and Celia found an unknown person dated Apr 24th 1913.  I have tried to reach out to Nancy since she seems to still live locally.  (No response yet. UPDATE 12/19/2011: We have been told that Nancy was/is a professional wallpaperer)
Apr 24th 1913

During our work on the entryway, I decided to take down the coat hooks.  It is basically a painted board with about 6 hooks attached to it.  It appears that it has been a LONG time since anyone had bothered to take it down. It turned out to hold a couple of surprises:
1. The board is walnut with beautiful grain.  I am looking forward to stripping the paint adding a few coats of shellac and hanging it back up in it's original spot.

2.  Under the coat hook were two layers of old wallpaper.  We like the blue one!  It is the oldest layer.  Both were carefully steamed off the wall and are being kept safe.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Untold dangers of old house ownership

Well, I was standing outside talking to my new neighbor today and his dog bit me :(

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our House's Dirty Little Secret?

We are just beginning to strip all of the doors and trim in this house.  "Just beginning" as in I have striped almost one single door and about 20 linear feet of trim.  The trim and doors seem to be made of pine and I had originally thought they were simply painted white or tan.  Unfortunately no fancy wood species underneath.  However, today while working on the closet door in the girl's room, I noticed that the door appeared to have a faux grain paint job (aka faux bois).  I didn't notice this earlier
a. because I dont think the trim has the same treatment
b. I worked on the back side of the door first.
c. Using the heat gun causes all layers to come up at once.

Take a look.  It looks like they were going for a golden oak look to me.  This surprises me because the stair cases are dark walnut. I would have never even guessed that faux painting would even been a possibility if I had not read about it on Craig & Yvonnes old house blog 6 months ago.  What should I do now?  Has anyone attempted to refinish their doors with faux wood grain?


During the purchase process, we obtained a termite inspection which found some evidence of termites in a.) three tree stumps b.) a garage 4x4 post.
The pest control company is onsite today performing the remediation services. Hopefully all goes well and I don't have to worry about termites ever again.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Back Entry - Before Pictures

Here are some "before" pictures of the back entry area before Celia and her mom started removing the wallpaper.  Sorry for the shadows.  They are cast by the bright work lights.
Back stairs

Door to the back parlor.

Side door to outside.

My Head is in the Gutter

Hello All!
Today I worked on my gutters.  Actually most of the house is lacking gutters.  The PO removed the built-in yankee gutters when they put a new roof on in 2009.  Since then the house has been gutter-less except for around the porches.  These gutters themselves are in pretty good shape, but were literally overflowing with leaves and pine needles.  So I cleaned them all out. (Not very exciting work).  Also, all of the gutters were missing their down spouts. Apparently they were never put back up after the house was painted.  I spent about $75 on parts and had the new downspouts put up in about 2 hours.
While I was working outside, Celia and her mom decided to start removing the wallpaper from back entry. The wallpaper was extremely thick so it pulled off the wall in full sheets!  Unfortunately, the wallpaper was applied with wallpaper paste and the paste stayed firmly adhered to the wall.  The Garmet Steamer that we are using is doing a pretty good job of reactivating the paste so that it can be scraped off the walls with a putty knife.