Posts made in December, 2011

House alone

Posted by on Dec 30, 2011 in Exterior | 0 comments

We took this picture from across the street and it’s kind of funny because it looks we’re the only house on the block from this angle, like some big farm house. I know it never looked like that because it burned and was rebuilt at the same time as other houses on the block but it’s a cute optical illusion.

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Primed house

Posted by on Dec 29, 2011 in Painting, Renovations | 0 comments

The first color we picked for the outside (which was corroborated by neighbors, friends and passing new acquaintances on bicycles) was called elephant gray.

Despite it’s name it was actually a nice deep grey with just a faintest suggestion of mauve to it. Unfortunately the painter said it was too dark and would rapidly fade, and since we aren’t tripping over extra tens of thousands of dollars we are just dying to spend on paint every 5 years we decided to find something lighter.

The painter then suggested we try the primer tinted elephant gray at 50% to see what that looked like.

This is what it looked like. Weird sad mauve:

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I figured it was a good thing we didn’t plan on doing the whole house in this color, but a few passing neighbors thought it was the final color and said they liked it. Oddly it was also pretty close to the color I was originally arguing strenuously in favor of (and learning that Americans say the word mauve very differently than I do :) )

And here it was and I quite disliked it. Looked already kind of sad and dirty already. Next up almost painted…

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Plaster Gouging

Posted by on Dec 11, 2011 in Painting, Renovations, Upstairs Bedrooms | 2 comments

Here we are in the interior inspecting the work the plasterers have done… So far we’ve been exceptionally pleased with the people we hired. Plaster work is their specialty and they are gouging the walls all the way back to the lath and then replastering, sanding etc.
But it’s creepy the way the walls look while they’re in process. Gouging is the right word for it. As if the walls and the house itself has been grievously wounded, cut to its bones, the skin peeled open to see what’s behind.

I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphize the house to this extent, not while we’re fixing it. So I tell the poor media room it’s for your own good, this is only necessary surgery and soon it will all be done and you’ll be all fixed up. Can’t wait until it’s done!

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Prepping to paint

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in Painting, Renovations | 0 comments

Before the painters started we decided we’d better take down all the antique glass and brass irreplaceable bits of etched thin Victorian glass globes. So I set about packing it all up into boxes with tons of bubble wrap and carting it all box by box 2 very tall flights of stairs to a safe spot in the corner of the attic.

Here’s one of the dining room vacant angels before and after removal of its crystals, each wrapped in bubbles and labeled:

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And here’s one of the globes and detail of the globe. It looks like some kind of jungle hunting scene. I’m sure I see lions and old school guns. Oh those crazy Victorians and their exoticism.

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These globes were screwed into old gas lines which of course are no longer operational but had been converted to candles at some point in the past. I found a pretty cool candle base in these two; some kind of china. I’m sure it’s terribly rare and valuable :) these are the little surprises that I have found delightful even if antiques roadshow would probably tell me they’re best used as candle plates, which I will continue to do.

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We looked behind the wall

Posted by on Dec 9, 2011 in Parlors/Dining, Renovations | 3 comments

We agreed with all y’all making comments and decided to have at ‘er last night. We went to home depot and bought a crowbar and started to pry it off:

At first we thought we might be in luck, plus we were having fun, because it’is always fun to break things. (All the little flakes that make it look like it’s snowing in these pictures are the dust/plaster/asbestos that started flying around. So I insisted we put masks on to carry on).
The top row of paneling that brought it to that extra height came off relatively easily and behind it was plaster wall. Hooray!

Then we started to pry off the stuff below and it got a lot harder. It wasn’t coming off easily at all because despite having issues, it was put together the “hard” way, ie in separate pieces and tongue and grooved together, so it wouldn’t come off in one piece. We started to look behind it and confirmed what we feared… no wall!

So we got more off but couldn’t get the bottom off properly, it’s really seriously attached behind the baseboard that we need to save. Once it was mostly off we discovered:

  • No leprechauns, bags of gold or dead bodies
  • No wall either
  • Some really dirty insulation (though not behind the outside wall siding we could see, just between this room and kitchen!)
  • More damn cast iron pipes
  • Some wiring on different circuits for no apparent reason

It was then we stepped back and realized that we had kind of broken our dining room:

It wasn’t until today during daylight, after asking the painters to please give us an estimate on all three options: Drywall, Plaster, Get a woodworker to install new baseboard, that we realized we have a bigger problem. That damn cast iron pipe, is cracked:

This would make at this point pretty much all cast iron pipes we’ve met so far cracked. And now we’re quite worried about that big vertical drain pipe in the middle which we have to assume will crack eventually, but replacing that might very well mean a true world of hurt, and destruction of plaster all the way up as well as the floor of the ensuite bath upstairs.

On the plus side we are trying to view this as a true stroke up luck, because if we had not opened this wall up, we wouldn’t have known about that cracked pipe. And who knows how long would have gone by, perhaps with an eventual unpleasant smell of sewage right behind our brand new dining room wall…though it might be a vent stack and thus not as big an issue.

That said – 90 degree bends, cracked cast iron, shitty plumbing job (pun intended)… it’s a world of hurt and Dave is not pleased. We are calling a plumber to investigate our options immediately.

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