Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Let there be light~~

I am a person who has strong likes and dislikes. What I like, I like, what I dislike, I hate – and n’er the twain shall meet!

In my lovely old house, the kitchen was built in 1886. My goal is to make it look as close to original as possible, without giving up modern conveniences.

The ceiling has always been a problem for me. It has a dropped ceiling with acoustic tile. I have never liked the looks of that kind of ceiling and have been campaigning since we bought the house in 2004 to get it taken care of.

However, with a broken / healed neck, Norm has a very difficult time reaching up over his head for any kind of work like that, so it has been very low on his priorities.

This Christmas we were gifted by my parents with money to help fix up part of the house. We talked long and hard about what we wanted (needed) to be fixed up and made a decision.

The first project was the steps from the living room to the studio. The studio / bedroom area is a newer addition that was built on top of the basement addition. The original house was kitchen, parlor (living room), bedroom (my computer room) and upstairs bedrooms (the girls’ “suite”). The (now) furnace room was a cellar under the house that was probably accessed from the outside.

A bathroom was added on to the end of the bedroom later on. In the kitchen area, a porch (my pantry) was added on the west side and an entry way (laundry room) was added on the east side. Later on another entry way was added on and connected to a garage. The porch was closed off with a window instead of a door.

The Hunters (who lived here quite a long time) built the basement, opening a door from the former bedroom and putting stairs down; it connected with the furnace room and became two bedrooms, a bathroom and a family room.

The Millers – last people before us – built the addition on above the new basement.

Neither family finished much of their projects but the Millers were the worst. They cut a hole between the living room and the studio and put framing timbers in but never closed in the gaps between the wall and the timbers.

They did the same with the stairs. And the stairs!!! Oh, my living soul! There were 5 steps that had never been painted or covered … still the bare wood with spaces between so that you could see below and could even see light from the bathroom below. And the steps were uneven both in height and depth. There was no railing to assist you going up or down. The bottom step was only about 2 inches from the floor and many people (including me several times) fell because they were expecting to be on the ground and slipped or tripped. Even the railing that Norm put up was not much help.

This winter, Norm tore apart the stairs, measured, re-measured and re-measured, cut the pieces and got the new stairs put together. He had found, several years ago, some columns for the railing and put a new, heavier, railing on, as well. We discussed painting, etc. I took a scrap of wallpaper in to match the blue and got a lovely blue for the steps and the railing, as well as for trim for other parts of the room. Joy suggested we use some of the flooring from the studio (that had been done several years ago) instead of just paint. I also have a rug that I wove distinctly for the steps that will eventually go on them. Now the stairs are up and painted with the primer and waiting for time to put the flooring on and put the rug on.
You can see the inner wall where there was no repair, after the hole was punched through




The rug is just thrown on to see how it will look.  It will be centered and locked into place so that it doesn't slip

In the kitchen, we had (as I mentioned) the hanging ceiling and awful florescent lights I hate florescent lights! Part of the Christmas gift from Mom and Dad went to new lights there. We purchased lights from Menards earlier in January but they sat waiting for time for Norm to put them up.

This weekend was the time that *I* chose to have them put up, so I put one of the boxes on Norm’s chair in the kitchen as a “gentle” reminder. What he expected would take an hour took all afternoon! Never underestimate the powers of an old house and many, many hands that have remodeled it!

I had wanted (as I said before) to take the hanging ceiling down but I was willing to sacrifice my desires to the sensible energy abilities of Norm. But when he lifted up the hanging acoustic tiles to check on the wiring, we discovered that the plaster ceiling is just a few inches above hanging ceiling and doesn’t look “that” bad; plus when Norm put the ceiling back in, a corner broke, which will bug him until he fixes it (which MIGHT MEAN a plaster ceiling for me, after all).

Norm discovered that the original center light was spread to the two florescent lights by using light-weight lamp cord … a no-no in Norm’s eyes, so he got some heavier electrical wire and electrical boxes to put the new lights in. I am so grateful that Norm studied under a master electrician in his early life so that he can do most electrical things.
You can see the plaster ceiling just inches from the hanging one.

Using the "good" - "legal" lightbulbs


Now I have a new stairs, am waiting anxiously for the flooring and painting (which I will help with but can’t actually begin) and am waiting for the holes in the walls between the living room and studio to be done.

And then, there’s the east door from the basement landing waiting patiently, along with removing the ugly wallpaper and painting. But that’s another project for another day – warmer and dryer than today, for sure!

The ugly wallpaper and the taped door (where the real one will be "one day")
We are having an all day rain with strong northeast winds; if it were snow, we would have a nasty blizzard! But it’s a beautiful day, none-the-less. You have a beautiful day.


Jan said...

Its alway good to get those projects done.
We pulled up a rug three years ago due to my asthma and I am still waiting for the floor to be painted!

Frances said...

It's great to get stuff done... I also am on a re-do thing ATM - just need time time and money! I left a post at Maidmyown for you BTW, one post back from the top.


jayedee said...

oh connie! may i borrow norm for a bit? my house is now 16 years old and i still don't have baseboards! lol lol

Leslie Shelor said...

Wow! Such projects. Love the stairs (and agree with you completely about the ceiling!)

Bethany said...

This sounds SO much like my house! Old, remodeled, remodeled, rigged, jimmied, and remodeled more! I give you credit though, as we finally gave up. We are going to build a new house some day and push the old one to the ground to save energy, stay warm, and finally have a house that is finished!!