Who Needs Drywall When You Have Americana Wallpaper?

On Monday I showed you the beautiful, spectacular, outside of the house including the most wonderful window that has ever been installed. Today we move to the inside. These photos are some of the last “pre-demo” photos we have, but I use “pre-demo” loosely. Very, very loosely. Truth is, these were post early demo, but long before this last weekend when family came down and shit got real.

First up, the bathroom. These photos are during the initial deconstruction of the big items, so we could tear it all out.

House Renovation June 2015-41House Renovation June 2015-47Here’s the bathroom into the start of demo, as well as the gaping old chimney hole that was behind the medicine cabinet.

House Renovation June 2015-51House Renovation June 2015-38House Renovation June 2015-37House Renovation June 2015-55Moving on from the bathroom is my brother-in-law’s old bedroom, and what will be the new bathroom. This is the room we put a new window in, as shown on Monday’s post.

House Renovation June 2015-58House Renovation June 2015-60The closet is going to be expanded and will house the washer and dryer.

Next up is the first office, and going to be new guest room (I think). We were going to use the downstairs bedroom in the addition as the guest room, but I’d really prefer to work in that bright beautiful room the vast majority of the time. It’s currently set up as our makeshift office/pantry while the kitchen is torn out, but I think I’d like it to stay an office. 

This room however has seen the most transformation of the years. It first was a lavender nursery (before we moved in), and then it stayed that color for a long time as a guest room, before it became my office/soap room. Below are a few before/afters of when it was my office versus what it looks like now. There was an intermediary step of it being a little more torn apart because we had moved the office, and had to put a new window in. This is pretty clear though on the differences over time.

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Here are more shots from similar angles.

DSC_0732-01House Renovation June 2015-63DSC_0745-01House Renovation June 2015-64DSC_0730-01House Renovation June 2015-61Second to last is “the green room” which has been everything from an office, to a makeshift bedroom while we built the addition a few years ago, to a storage / soap room.

House Renovation June 2015-67House Renovation June 2015-69House Renovation June 2015-70This final photo leads us into the main part of the house, which has seen a crazy huge change. Let’s just soak this in, because my upcoming posts will look shockingly different.

House Renovation June 2015-73House Renovation June 2015-71With that I leave you in bewilderment, and knowing that yes, I definitely made sure to keep a piece of that fantastic americana wallpaper. Like I wasn’t going to put a swatch of that up framed in the completed renovation? Yeah. Right.

Heather

Eight Years and Two Doors

As of this blog post, the only way to tell where our kitchen used to be is because the sink and fridge are still hooked up. That’s right – it’s down to the studs. We need to back it up a quick notch though, since I haven’t posted any of the “before”. As of a few weeks ago this is what the outside of the house looked like.

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You’ll notice two side-by-side doors, one new window on the far right, Andy in the process of installing a window on the left, and a terrifying heap of what the hell in the middle. Let’s walk through these before we get to the inside. Well, except for the window on the far right. We won’t discuss that one because it’s not gross, it was straight forward, and I can’t find any pictures. I may not have even taken them. Here’s me. Here’s the rails. I’m off them.

A crazy freak malfunction in a pneumatic nailer and one 16 penny nail straight through Andy’s thumb (I will save you the photos, but he missed all bone/nail/nerves), we have a new door to what will become the mudroom. In fact, we have two functioning doors side-by-side. Eventually the old door will become a wall with a fridge in front of it, but for now it’s like a fun house guessing game for the dogs of which door I’m going to let them out of in the morning.

House Renovation June 2015-4 House Renovation June 2015-5

If this didn’t look messy enough, let’s move on.

On the far left is the room that will become the new bathroom. This room, as you can see, also needed a new window pretty badly. It’s not that I hated the oddly long sliding basement windows, but I hated the oddly long sliding basement windows. Not only was the windows coming out, because – gross, it was coming out so we could fit the new layout of the bathroom. House Renovation June 2015-25

House Renovation June 2015-28

House Renovation June 2015-34Tada! That one wasn’t too bad.

The old bathroom window was the kicker. Get your heave bucket situated firmly in front of you. At no point move it.

House Renovation June 2015-8This is the bathroom window from the inside. What a window, right? Well, it wasn’t ever put in properly. Shocking, I know. It was more of a hack in the side of the house. There’s nothing better in this world than a permanent closed window, which was installed improperly, in the room that gets tons of moisture.

House Renovation June 2015-10Oh yeah, that’s mildew and rot. Let’s go closer.

House Renovation June 2015-12Have you lost your dinner yet? No? Let’s try again.

House Renovation June 2015-13Still No? One more.

House Renovation June 2015-15FOUND ALL MY BOBBY PINS! Also, I just found your dinner spewed on the floor. You’d spew more if you could have smelled it.

Take it in, take it in.

House Renovation June 2015-18I think that’s all I’m going to leave you with now. I’ll be back with another set of “before” images of the house on Wednesday morning so I can try to get everyone up to speed pretty quickly.

Be safe, strong, and go empty your heave bucket.

Heather

Wednesday Renovation Recap: So Many Stair Parts

Hey, friends! I have something to tell you before I delve into this renovation update. Here it goes.

I, Heather, am totally into the now-cancelled show Ready For Love. There, I said it. I’ve been watching the season on-demand since it’s been cancelled. I don’t even care that it’s like a jacked up version of the Bachelor without any roses, plus three bachelors and dating coaches. I also think the Rancic’s are a totally cute couple even though I literally know nothing about them outside an interview I saw and the fact I watched about four episodes of their reality show in a row one time. To be blunt, this show just makes me inexplicably happy due to the love factor and the hilarious awkward laugh factor. So the lesson is this, don’t question what makes you happy, even if it’s awesomely bad TV. I sort of wish it was going to have a second season.

Whew! I am so glad I got that off my chest. With that said, let’s get into the renovations! As you know we finished the living room and we’ve pretty much just been enjoying it since, with little work on the rest of the house. That doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting around though. We’ve been working on the garden (update to come next week!) as well. With all of the enjoying and planting going on it doesn’t mean we can stop working on the house for too long. With that said, we need to get these darn stair parts finished and out of the master bedroom so we can lay flooring and move up there already!

DSC_3923-01Over the last couple weeks or so I finished up the stair treads and finally was able to take them off the scaffolding and move them aside so I could start the balusters, trim and a few other boards.

DSC_3930-01Once the stair parts were moved out of the way, I used the scaffolding to set up all the other parts. You never quite realize how many stair parts there are until you’re prepping them all!

DSC_3943-01I think total, between the balusters, trim, risers and other wood parts Andy asked me to take care of, there were over 50 parts I was priming. Yep, you read right, priming. Believe it or not we do paint wood, just very selectively. All of this wood is poplar which was both free for us (sawed from our woods),  but it’s not exactly the best wood to seal and let the natural shine through. I actually asked Andy to keep them natural but he really wanted them white. Truthfully, I’m okay either way. I’ve learned that Andy’s ideas are often beautiful. While he’s almost always against painting wood, he absolutely loves contrasting staircases that allow gorgeous wood to shine. By painting the “meh” poplar white, we will be able to showcase the walnut rails and the beech treads. Don’t expect to ever see white trim in our house though, you would be just as shocked as me.

DSC_3946-01With the stair parts finally primed, we’re ready to paint white! While we aren’t there yet, we will be soon. I’ll be picking up basic bright white eggshell paint this week. We’re going eggshell to allow the white parts to “sit back” from the glossy wood we’re trying to accentuate while still allowing the white parts to be easily cleaned. Update: I bought the paint and we’re going with satin since it has a soft sheen to it, and is easier to wipe down than eggshell. After researching it more I realized that eggshell was a pretty bad idea for high-traffic surfaces. We’re not painting the stair parts Dover White like the rest of the main downstairs area simply because it isn’t bright white. We really want it to be a classic white just in case we ever decide to repaint. The Dover White we have from Sherwin-Williams is a beautiful white but it does have a slightly yellow undertone, which we don’t want. It will also be best if we ever decide to change the wall colors, so we’re not left with a staircase with a slightly yellow undertone which could clash dependent on the color we re-paint. We’re certainly not intending to, but it’s a lot easier to repaint a wall than repaint stairs!

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Balusters in process!

That’s all for now in the stairs department. With the treads and railings finally done, and all the other parts close, we’re still making progress.

DSC_3925-01Though, I do have to admit, it’s pretty hard to keep progress going when all you want to do is stay outside planting your garden until dusk and then sit in your living room you’ve been waiting years for. On and up though! Next milestone goal: Move into the new master bedroom!

xo,

Heather

How To Be Classy Like Me: DIY Potato Box

Alternate Title: How To Build A Box To Grow Potatoes In, Even Though You Can Buy A Bag of Potatoes  For Really Cheap, So You Might As Well Use These Directions To Build A Compost Bin.

Let’s face it friends, I’m classy. It’s been quite a while though since I’ve put out into the internets a tutorial on how to be classy like me, so lets delve right in.

The first thing you need to know is that anyone who’s anyone calls this online world of ours The Internets. “But wait Heather,” you say, “my grandparents still call it The Internets”. You’re damn right they do. They’re classy. Take a lesson or two.

Secondly, I am fantastic at building, which is what today’s lesson is on. In fact, building things is potentially one of my biggest strengths. You’ll see just how good I am at building by the end of this. I promise you will be impressed. It was part of my classy-lady training in my wee years. So, let me impart on you this wisdom so you too can build a box to grow potatoes in, or a compost box if you want to get fancy you saucy minx.

Step One

Decide how large you would like your potato box to be. Generally they are between 2 and 4 square feet. I decided to make mine approximately 3 square feet. Why? Because that’s the classy amount, and because 3 feet happened to be the size of the majority of lumber we had. I mean, bought. We absolutely did not build this entire thing out of scrap lumber. I would never do that. It’s just not…classy. To that tune, let’s move onto step two.

Step Two

Acquire the finest, and most currently in style, lumber known to man. Money is no object. Except that it’s literally an object, but that is neither here nor there at this moment. Don’t get caught up in the semantics. To acquire the lumber for my potato box, I visited a local high-end barn which specialized in reclaimed beat up pine. They even store it outside under a piece of corrugated roofing and plywood, how classy.

PotatoBox (34)Some of the lumber is already painted with nail holes in it. Some of it’s ripped apart and missing entire sections. It’s the newest thing in lumber. Don’t question the fact it’s what some might consider “low-grade” lumber. If you listen to me you’ll realize you are ahead of the trend and then when you’re friends catch on, you’ll be all, “I’ve been doing that for years already”. Even hipsters don’t know yet that this is so uncool it’s cool.

PotatoBox (2)Step Three

Take your awesome saw and cut through each piece so they are all the same length. Once you figure out your height you would like, cut it down by two feet. Why? Because you realized you really only have enough lumber to make it about a foot shorter. That’s fine, you really only wanted it this height anyway.

PotatoBox (3)Step Four

To assemble you’ll need a screw driver, a bucket of the finest screws, and a square. Make sure your bucket of screws is only of the highest quality.  One must always have a golden screw. Ignore your significant other who is humoring you by staying out of the way and letting you do this all by yourself, while looking on with an amused and yet skeptical eye. Do I want a level? No I do not want a level. I do not need a level. Leveling is for those who are not confident in their exceptional building skills.

PotatoBox (4) PotatoBox (5)Step Five

Square your boards up on each edge and screw as you go. We do not level, but we do square up. We are making a box, not a rhombus. Be classy and know your shapes.

PotatoBox (6) PotatoBox (7) PotatoBox (8)Step Six

Take the boards you found that were slightly shorter than you hoped for and attach them to your non-rhombus frame you just built to act as the posts. Make sure the posts are more or less flush with the bottom of the frame. Again, you do not need a level, just feel it out. You need these posts so you can add further boards as your potatoes grow and you add more soil. Do not under any circumstance accidentally trip over your frame and almost take a face first digger. You are classy. You do not take diggers.

PotatoBox (11) PotatoBox (12)

Step Seven

Build up a few more courses of boards on the sides by screwing directly into the posts. Do not take into account the weight of this structure and how far you will have to move it before you do this. Classy people realize this issue but then convince themselves they will be totally fine and able to muscle it into place.

PotatoBox (19)If you have a tractor with forks that can move the finished structure you may be okay. However, be prepared to have a significant other on the tractor laugh at you and remind you that you wanted to do this all yourself. Telling them to get off the tractor so you can move it then results in them laughing and continuing to move logs. This leaves you to your own devices since you made it clear earlier on this was your project and your project alone. Classy people also then come to their senses and realize they really do need to move the box into place before they build it any further, lest they want to have multiple visits to the chiropractor. As you may have deduced already, classy people do not go to the chiropractor. They are perfect and never need a doctor of any kind. Most definitely not a team of people to keep their back in line at least once a month.

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Step Eight

Now that you’ve decided to move your base over with only a couple coarses of boards you must keep one thing in mind: Absolutely under no circumstances are you to be caught swearing while carrying it across your yard. Classy ladies do not say things like, “Bleeping bleep bleeper”.  You get it put perfectly into place in the garden and make no mention of how you perhaps should have leveled it first. Thankfully it’s perfect because you’re perfect, and you do not have to press it into the soil more on one side and back fill it so it sits level-ish. That definitely didn’t happen.

PotatoBox (21)Step Nine

Now that you have your box in place which was perfect the second you put it down, take your gardening fork and turn over the soil. I will hear none of the fact it would have been easier to till the soil pre-putting the  box down. You know good and well it is much easier to till the soil when you have four sides of wood blocking your fork when you pull back on it. Do not contemplate moving the potato box so you can till the soil properly, classy people do not second guess their decisions no matter how poor they were. Then again, classy people never have poor decisions.

Step Ten

The final step is to continue to screw the rest of the boards into place pre-planting if you would like, but leave a couple boards off the front so it’s easier to plant. The other option is to leave as is, plant, and then add boards as your potato plants get higher and you add more soil.

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That’s it! You have either just made the best damn potato box or the best damn compost bin in history. This is a fact. Do not Google it. Classy people don’t Google to realize a blog writer is full of shit.

Crap. Classy girls don’t say shit. Or crap.

Crap.

xo,

Heather

Reclaiming Our Living Room

We’re in the mountains of Maine today reclaiming our sanity, which has given me some time to edit some photos and catch up on some posts. I have to tell you guys how relaxing this is. I’m sitting in a rocking chair, in front of a wood stove, in a stream of sun, with a mug of hot tea. To say this is nice is an understatement. So while we reclaim a sense of balance and relief at being away from renovations for a couple days, let’s talk about our reclaimed southern pine floors we put down in our living room.

Flooring (22)These floors are my dream floors. The beautiful variation, the saw marks—count me in. They are the type of floor you see on Houzz and keep as an inspiration piece. They are floors you look up price wise and, when you’re on a budget like ours, gasp and fall over sideways when you see the cost. They are also the floors which my husband managed to divert from the waste stream.

Because of how this floor is laid, when all is said and done there’s a decent amount of waste. When Andy saw this he realized there was enough to do the floor in our living room, floor the small space in front of the new stairs and maybe, just maybe, build a someday farmers table for our someday porch—and keep these extra pieces out of the dump. So of course, it came home.

It was his first wedding anniversary gift to me and to say I was delighted would be a gross understatement.

We had been keeping this flooring in our barn for months on end, so it was important to bring it into the house to acclimate before we laid it. It was a little more organized than this (the day we started laying it) but more or less there were piles of flooring everywhere. My shins are direct proof of these piles. You would have thought at some point I would have learned to step over or walk around the piles instead of directly into them. Lesson not learned.

Flooring (5)When it came to laying this flooring it definitely took time. Unlike regular flooring, with reclaimed flooring you have to match widths, sometimes you have to fix splines, and in general it can be a little frustrating to line up. To make it easier for us I decided we needed to pile all of the flooring by width so we could easily grab what we needed. The boards ranged from 6″ to 12″ so there was definitely a huge amount of variation. It was much more efficient versus our original layout kind of seen above and below. In other words it was not the most efficient method.

Flooring (13)To start laying the floor we needed to make a border around our concrete hearth. Andy took two of the shorter and narrower width pieces, put a 45 degree angle on each and laid them on either side of the hearth. They were held together in with biscuits and secured to the subfloor with construction adhesive and finish nails through the face (top) of the flooring. One of the advantages of a floor like this is that you either will never notice the finish nails, or they look like part of the original product.

Flooring (4)Laying the first course of flooring was pretty much like any other flooring—start in the center. To do this easily we found the center on each wall with a measuring tape, marked it, and use a chalk line to connect the two center marks.

The next step shows why this flooring takes longer than other types. With most flooring you can grab whatever works and lay it, as they are all the same width. With this type of flooring it was vitally important for us to lay every board for our rows out ahead of time for two reasons:

  • We needed to ensure we had enough of the same width to create the entire row.
  • We needed to ensure the great variations in the wood would look visually appealing when put together. A very clean red piece of wood could either look great, or horrible, next to a darker very marked up piece of wood. In floors like this they don’t need to perfectly match because in the end we wanted a varied look. There were a few times however we swapped pieces out because they just looked wonky.

Once test laid, we had to ensure the butt ends (where the two boards meet up end to end) would sit flush so we cut the ends off to make them square.

Once we had a chalk line on the floor we followed that line with our boards while making sure the flooring was centered, and not to the left or right of the line. To secure this type of flooring we glued it down and biscuit jointed on the the butt ends.

Flooring (3)After the floor is laid and we were sure it was centered, we braced it on one side. We did this with scraps screwed into the subfloor firmly against the non-tongue side (but not so tight it bowed the flooring). This is so when we installed one side we didn’t throw the flooring off kilter from the original straight row. Flooring (11)From here it was a matter of laying everything. Some of the boards weren’t perfect on the edges so they needed to be planed down a little, some needed to be stood on in order for them to slide in easier, and some of them worked perfectly. It was important not only to lay down our rows prior to securing it, but to also test fit the pieces too.

Flooring (6) Flooring (8)With the test fits complete, we banged each piece into place (using a scrap piece of wood, not hitting the actual flooring) and nailed it securely. Andy used his pneumatic flooring nailer, but there are plenty of just fine regular ones too—you just have to hit them harder.

Flooring (10)Once we finished a few courses we removed the blocks we initially secured against the first course and kept on going in the other direction.

Flooring (12)With the easier of the two sides done (to the left of the hearth from the direction in the photo above) it was time to tackle the right side. It wasn’t particularly harder, but it did require just a little more work.

Flooring (14)The first row we laid on this side was the most complex. We had to both secure it to the hearth, and attach it to the original course. To tie into the hearth side, we used the biscuit jointer to pull everything together. The issue was the original course had the groove where we needed a tongue. Why was this a problem? This meant only one thing—a spline.

A spline is a thin piece of wood inserted into the groove of flooring to turn it into a tongue. Since we needed our center board to have two tongues, a spline was the only way to do it. I didn’t get any great picture of a spline, but if you look in the photo above there is a thin piece of wood sitting on the concrete hearth—that’s a spline. They can be bought, but Andy made ours on the table saw with some scrap wood. To put in the spline we glued it into place and then finish nailed, and then set the nails, to secure it and to make sure the nails were flush so the next piece of flooring would actually fit.

After this part I didn’t get many more photos of day one. We were getting to the final courses laid on this side, we were hungry, and we were in the last push for the night.

The next day however, we got up early and started again. Andy’s friend stopped by with his black lab and while they chatted they laid the last course. His buddy is also in construction and builds furniture too so it was great to have him stop in to inject some energy, and help, into the final push.

Flooring (19)When all was said and done, and a day and a half of work later, we had a beautiful floor.

Flooring (20)There was much rejoicing and dancing.

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We’ve had this floor laid for about a week or so now and it grows on us more and more each day. There was something off though and we weren’t sure what it was until it hit us. The thing with our house is that we’re going to have a lot of different flooring. We’re keeping the oak in the original house, we’ll have beech upstairs as well as beech on the staircase and in the downstairs bedroom, and we have the beautiful reclaimed floors in our living room. When we stepped back we realized the reclaimed floor just wasn’t tying together. It looked great, but we needed it somewhere else so it looked like it was on purpose and not just an after thought. That’s when we realized we had enough to lay in front of the stairs and how well it would bring everything together.

While we are going to finish the staircase first, we laid a few boards and I’m happy to say it totally fixes the balance issue. With the wide living room and the small amount in front of the staircase it looks great together and looks purposeful.

Flooring (1)We’re very happy with the floors so far, and frankly, everything. The house is pulling together so nicely and we love it.

I’ll be back next week with an update of all the little things we’ve been doing including higher-quality photos of the lighting we installed, new lighting we’ve put in since, paint in the staircase and more.

With all that said, I’m checking out and am going to head out into the woods. We’re going to go tap some trees to try and get a little more maple sap before the season is over, cut some wood, and spend the day with family cooking over a fire outside and having fun in the snow.

xo,

Heather