I’ve been meaning to write this post since H and I moved, but it took me forever to find the cord to the camera. As you all know, H and I bought a house, and closed at the end of April. Since then, we have been doing non stop work on the house, just about every weekend and every night after I’m done with work. Now that H is done teaching school, she’s spending lots of time during the day working as well – and it doesnt even really feel like we’ve done anything. First though, I’ll give you a little bit of a backstory on the house.
We bought it from a lady who was 92 or 93, and living alone. She got around really well, and (at least to me) looked to be really healthy. She had trouble hearing, but she was pretty quick on her feet. Unfortunately, its a big house for H & I, and was really big for her, so she had troubles keeping it clean and was hardly using most of the space anyway. The most interesting part about her though, was that her dad built the house when it was built! How crazy is that? She had literally lived there her entire life, and her dad built the place. After doing all of this work, I kind of want to track her down and ask her a whole crapload of questions, but I’m not going to – I’ll leave her be.
The house was built in the 20s, and lots of the stuff inside was still original (even push-button light switches!). The biggest treasure though (and most telling of the times) was the attic. When I went in there to check out the wiring, the first thing I thought was it was super dirty – then I realized that the family had taken newspapers and tossed them in between the celing rafters for insulation (huge fire hazard). All the papers were from 1932-1933, and some were in really good condition, so much so that we got them framed. At any rate, here are some before and after pictures of the house. We took the before on the very first day we moved in. Our progress has been slow, but we’ve been moving forward at least.
This is the living/dining area and the front room. The sustainable hound is pictured. This is what it looked like when we bought the place.
This is me looking at a bag of rolls of toilet paper on the floor. Note the carpet in the kitchen, and the chandelier – which she inexplicably left for us that I do not particularly care for.
This is a picture of the carpet in the bathroom. The house was almost totally covered in carpet, including the kitchen, both bathrooms and all entryways. There were 2 places without carpet: 1 bedroom and 1 portion of a room in the basement. Something I dont understand, at all – who even likes carpet?
Sorry for the sideways shot, but this is the bathroom. Note the painted window, multiple drapes and mirrored wall. The door at this point is open as far as possible (not even making 90 degrees) and there’s about 6 towel racks in the bathroom – something I dont understand either. She lived alone, but had space for like, 12 towels in the bathroom!
This is the kitchen – again with the carpet. In the back of the picture, that’s the breakfast nook, with built-in seating. All of the cabinets that you see in the picture were hand made and built into the house. Those were removed, and the ones that were salvageable are going to go into my outbuilding for storage, etc.
This was our first task in rennovations – getting rid of the stinky, ugly, dirty carpet. I am glad that was there though – because it protected these awesome original hardwood floors from damage and wear and tear from about the 60’s on (we found some puke-green shag carpet pieces in the corners and under some staples)
We then moved on to the bathroom, and honestly this is something that I think I regret – We smashed up this tub with a sledge hammer because it was made of cast iron and we couldnt get it out any other way, but it was a bit bigger than standard tubs so we’ve had to do a little extending of the wall to make the new tub fit. After we smashed it up, we found out you could get them refurbished, which I would have considered.
The bathroom, without any fixtures. We have since sanded all the trim down and removed the window frame.
That’s from the dining room into the kitchen as I was working on something – The wall is gone, so is the light, and those 3 wires hanging down are going to be for light switches and an outlet. None of the electricity upstairs was working at this point, but because of the age of the house, they added some outlets upstairs when they finished the wiring downstairs – resulting in the majority of the power being off upstairs but not all. This was good for some things (like using power tools) but remarkably bad for H, as she ended up getting shocked a few times when taking some outlets off of the wall. She’s made a complete recovery though – and the zap wasn’t even bad at all.
This is one of the bedrooms now. We’ve painted all the trim and the walls, done all the wiring and it’s ready to go! Unfortunately, this floor had carpet on it but the carpet didnt have a pad and wasnt pinned down at all – it was basically a piece of carpet used as a rug, so the floor in this room took some pretty heavy damages. This is a guest room.
This is our bedroom, and not the wiring hasnt been completed at this stage, but the painting is done and just about everything else. At this point, the wiring has been completed in this room as well.
This is a picture of what the kitchen looks like now, after about 14 tries to level the floor and multiple times re-doing work that had already been done, we got to put in the floor. This is the handiwork mostly of H and my dad, who spent a whole day working on this. The floor is now done in here, as well as the painting and some cabinets are hung up. We are hoping to finish the cabinets this week.
That’s all for now – we have a lot to go still, but we’ve done a lot. I’m still not used to turning on the lights when I go upstairs (Because we havent had electricity for so long). It’s coming along, and it has been really expensive, but i’ll que you into those numbers when the task is finished.