We have been putting in long, long hours at the house the past few weeks. So many hours, in fact, that we haven’t had much time to keep the blog updated. The increased sense of urgency is due in large part to the fact that we sold our current house! [Edit from Amy: Woot! Woot! ] We have had buyers for our house for many months now, but it became official last week. A part of the deal with the buyers is that we can remain in our house until the other house is inhabitable and we will “rent” from the buyers during that time. This allows us to use the equity from the sale of our current house to make the final push on the rehab.
So now the clock, which has always existed more like sand in an hour glass, is ticking much faster… like the stop watch at the beginning of an episode of 60 minutes. [Edit from Amy: I hate that clock. It really stresses me out.] Part of our agreement with the buyers is that we try to be out of our current house by August 15th. As of today, that gives us only six weeks! The reality is that I only have two weeks until I have to go back to work and then Amy joins me when school starts in four weeks.
In that short amount of time we still have a LOT to do. The major items include finishing plaster repair, priming the whole house, sanding and refinish all the floors, get at least one bathroom functioning, and create a temporary kitchen. [Edit from Amy: Easy peezy.] Many more projects remain after that, but we will take care of those once we have moved-in.
[Edit from Amy: This sounds crazy, but we are a little nutty when it comes to deadlines. We’re like allergic to missing them. Fun fact time: we got married, took 30 high schoolers on a trip to Italy, sold a house, bought a house, moved my house, moved Joe’s apartment, and spent a week in St. Lucia for our honeymoon… all in one month. We know how to bust a move.]
Here is a quick run down of what we have been doing…
I finally got around to refinishing the front door.
It took a while, but I’m pleased with the end result. Can’t wait to get the hardware cleaned up and get this door back where it belongs. Here is a “before and after” sequence:
A long time ago we pulled up some of the rough spots of the upstairs flooring and replaced the boards with new material.
We also added a couple the new boards in Aiden’s room and then also above the old staircase in the master bedroom. The more I thought about it and lived with seeing this fresh wood in our old house, the more I wanted to find a way to use the old flooring instead. I went back through all the boards we had previously removed and figured that I could make a few selective cuts to be able to re-install enough some of them back in the commons area.
This was a little trickier than I anticipated, but it all worked out in the end.
Most of the the jobs this week have revolved around the walls. The plaster repair got a lot more complicated this week as it involved many more repairs and fixes. One annoying fix involved cutting into our brand new drywall to move two electrical switches a few inches. We [Edit from Amy: meaning me.] failed to account for the width of the door casing when locating the light switches in the master bedroom and commons area. Oops. [Edit from Amy: As a consolation prize I hooked up some cheapo light fixtures upstairs and installed a few receptacles so the husband could have some light and new places to plug in tools.]
If I had been smart I would have cut out the wall in one piece so that I could just pop it back in, but I wasn’t thinking so I had to reconstruct the missing portion of the wall.
There were MANY rough areas of the plaster that needed to patched with drywall. The most frustrating area was the ceiling of the master bedroom. It’s hard to explain, but essentially I didn’t have a way to easily locate the overhead light without causing even more damage.
I finally decided the easiest thing to do was to go back and remove the floor in the loft so that I could access the ceiling space below it. I was not happy about doing this.
I was able to cut a hole from above and then hammer a new box to the floor joist.
[Edit from Amy: I was excited to finally be able to get a light installed there!]
Here are some of the more annoying obstacles I encountered while doing the walls…
We were lucky to have a couple friends and family members take turns occasionally watching the kids for us during this busy week, but Aiden did “get” to spend one whole day with us at the house. He didn’t mind at all – he had a movie marathon in his room. [Edit from Amy: “Aren’t you sooo excited to hang in your new room!? It’ll be the first time! It’ll be sooo cool! I’m soo excited! Joe, grab the camera, take his picture!!” Aiden- Eyes rolling. Tweenagers….whadayagonnado? ]
Lucy seems to be getting a little tired of the trips to hardware store. What do you think?
My only real problem with the plaster repair has been underestimating the amount of material I needed. This meant reordering supplies, which meant I ended up doing three rooms all at once to make up for lost time, which has meant 10-16 hour days to get it done.
The living room is currently in the best shape, but had some major issues near the chimney area (you can’t really tell in this pic).
The dining room is a complete disaster. Definitely the worst walls in the house. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just removed the plaster from a couple of the walls in this room last summer. Here are just a couple of the really rough areas (The pictures don’t really capture the full magnitude of the awfulness). [Edit from Amy: They really don’t.]
Here it what it looks like after repairs, adhesives, and three coats of joint compound…
The master bedroom had it’s own issues and also involved my first work on a ceiling.
On a side note, it’s interesting to step back and see the lines and shapes that the cracks have formed. Yesterday, in my fatigued haze, I had an idea for a horror film about rehabbers. [Edit from Amy: Huge market for that by the way.] Here’s a scene: One person is repairing cracks in plaster late a night and when they step back to admire their work they notice that the cracks have spelled out “get out” or “help me” or maybe the cracks formed a scary satanic symbol.
I’m glad that idea didn’t come to me when I was working at the house around midnight a couple days ago.
On to more positive thoughts…
Amy has been busting her butt priming all the drywall.
This includes most of the 2nd floor, the kitchen, downstairs bathroom, hallway, and all the downstairs ceilings. In addition, the plaster in the parlor and playroom have also been primed. We will post some pictures soon.
We have a couple more days of plaster repair and painting. THEN all our efforts turn to sanding and finishing the floors. This has been lurking in our minds since we bought the house and now the time has finally come. It has to get done before I go back to work. We have done our research and we are prepared…. I think.
Much more on that coming soon.