Saturday, May 30, 2009

Layers of History - Transitions

It nevers ceases to amaze me how many layers of materials have been put into, and onto, our 56 year old house. There are a numerous variety of materials used for flooring throughout our home, many indicative of the 50's era. In the front entry is green flagstone, adjacent to the grey tiled powder room. The wood flooring is prevalent throughout most of the first floor. The kitchen has 2-3 layers of vinyl flooring, which we plan to replace with cork when we remodel the kitchen.

The upstairs studio (currently in demoltion process) has maroon vct tile as can be seen in the first photo. We originally discovered the vct tile when demolitioning for the bedroom redo. It looks to be the asbestos type, commonly it was made in the 9x9 size we have. The 2nd photo is of the first step upstairs. This was carpeted and removed in our entry overhall. It revealed the original hardwood finish, and a couple of the main colors the house was originally painted, as can be seen in the third photo. This allowed us to match the greenish gray that we eventually painted our dining wall. We intend to redo the entire upstairs hardwood floor at some point to match the original on the stairs.

Downstairs, adjacent to the vct bedroom the hallway has a darker, possibly walnut, hardwood floor. The 4th photo is the transition between Ava's room and the hallway with the hardwood adjacent to the Ikea flooring we put in over the VCT tile. This hardwood extends the run of the hallway in the lower level and continues into the master bedroom. Unfortunately, the hardwood is in pretty rough shape. There are several water damaged areas, and several irregularly leveled areas. I've never dealt with hardwood flooring installation, repair, or refinishing before so this one will be left to the professional. We may just recarpet over it.

The last photo is the dark hardwood at the new bathroom threshold. The bathroom project is a topic for a later post, but in a nutshell, we redid the whole room over the course of 14 months. The flooring is hardipanel smooth cement board, along with the walls and ceiling. I was able to install the cement board flush with the original hardwood in case we are able to save it.

I have removed all the Gened up baseboard trim in the downstairs hallway and revealed a lot of plaster damage. We have yet to install any thresholds downstairs yet until we fix these plaster issues and really tackle the hallway as an individual project. We may just add a layer (to the layers of history) of homasote over the existing plaster which would allow me to avoid any more trim installation. So many modern remodeling plans, so little time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bedroom Redo #1

The very first time we looked at our house as it sat vacant we could see the ceiling of the 3rd bedroom was on floor from water damage. This was pretty much the only thing we could see in the house with the blinds all down. I remember telling Wendy, "this isn't going to work". The next time I saw this room was when the neighbors gave us a heads up that "Gene" was in town and working on the house. We drove over and had our first chat with Gene, he was mowing the lawn.

Our conversation went something like:

Us: "Hey, cool house, do you wanna sell it?"

Gene: "Umm its not ready to sell."

Us: "It was on the market a year ago, and has sat vacant ever since"

Gene: "Umm yeah, I don't live here any more"

Us: "Can we have a tour?"

The tour revealed a few things that were mysterious from only an exterior view. One, the house had been Gene's personal ashtray since he'd been back. Two, the reasoning for the low windows in front is because of the stairs. Finally, the reason the ceiling was on the floor in said bedroom is because Gene didn't install the refrigerator icemaker water line correctly in the kitchen above. In its year of vacancy, this leak led to the collapsed ceiling. At the time of our tour, Gene was "gene-ing-it-up" smattering layers of drywall and mud into the irregular collapse. It was a mess.

Fast forward to us living in the house for 8 months, a baby due in two months and we're using the only livable bedroom of three. Beyond Gene's icemaker madness, we also discovered a downspout leak unknown to us. The cat alerted me to it when he was messing with the bubbly plaster by the side window. Basically the water was draining down the brick instead of the downspout. Ten contractor bags of demolition later, I had removed the rot. Our house has no insulation, the exterior walls are built of brick, then 4" block, furring, and plaster.

To make a boring story short, we infilled the wall with a little drywall & actual plaster and replaced part of the over the course of a couple weeks with the help of my uncle, a plaster craftsman. We installed some Ikea flooring, replaced all the trim, closet shelving, and painted the room white. We bought the white Izaac Mizrahi Target furniture on the clearance cheap (2 nightstands, 2 dressers), who knows it might be a collectible item in 30 years. I made the bed in college. We hung the Charlie Harper 'Skipping School' print and called it a wrap. After all was said and done, we actually got two nights to sleep in our new room before Ava was born.