Monday, September 15, 2014

Sneak Peak - Painting our Victorian House

Oh man, we've been scraping, priming, and painting on the old Victorian all summer long!
Will this job ever end?

I'm not ready for the big house painting reveal yet, but can give you a sneak peak "how" we do it.


My ride - The Condor Lift.  It has a arm lift, a turret, and a boom lift/extension.  It goes up 45 ft.

Thanks goodness we only have to go up 30ft. to reach the top of the gables to scrape, prime, and paint.  

Every time I use the Condor Lift I learn something new, or may be I should say I re-learn something new.   Today, I re-learned where the gas gauge is.  Ooops, I was lucky I had 1/4 tank of gas.  Good deal.  

Last time we painted the house (2008) I ran out of gas and a couple for hours stuck up in the air, sitting in a light rain, until Jon came home and rescued me.  

Let's take a ride, ok?

Ah, good angle.  I see I need to get the broom and sweep away the paint chips we scraped off the east gable.  This photo shows the 5-window east bay (interior is the living room)

Living Room, 5-window East Bay -  taken in 2007
At this point I had stripped the wallpaper, Jon installed new ceiling drywall,  we were ready for  taping, mudding.  Jon bored golf ball size holes in the outer perimeter walls and blew in insulation. 

What is the toughest part of restoration----all of it.  But big lesson I learned right from the start is that restoration is time consuming dirty work--its hard to keep work site clean enough to live through it.  Sometimes its hard to keep motivated.  Oh yeah, and I forgot the big one . . . restoration is expensive.  Educate yourself, be fearless, move forward and do what you have to do.  

Living Room - East Bay - 2008

Ok, ok, - back to the ride on the Condor Lift . . .
New color, is a deep green and same ivory trim

Up, up, up,  Little brown ancient building across the street was once a pickle factory.
From the Condor lift--this is the front yard and long driveway, looking north

Still going up

Ok, we're at the top of the east gable.  This is the third trip this summer at this gable.  First trip was scraping, second trip was priming, and now I'm ready to put first coat of ivory top coat.  We're using Sherwin Williams Super Paint.

Yesterday, it took me a couple of hours to paint the gable trim and soffet.  It's been a tough year to paint a house.   Seems like it rains a couple days each week, making it difficult to get our work done.

We are blessed to have a great painting helper, Becky Stevens, a most fascinating person.  

Halloween Weekend
Fri Oct 31, Sat and Sun Nov 1 & 2
10:00a until 4:00p

I'll be sharing more details in another post --but here are some highlights:

Jon and I will offer guided tours of the house, talk about its architecture, previous owners, and the good, bad, and ugly of doing a whole house restoration.  

During the house tour, the downstairs will be filled with a dozen artisan friends demonstrating, displaying, and selling beautiful handmade items.  
Featured Artisans: 
Jerry Johnson - rug weaver
Claire Nordness - wool spinning
Linda Durrant (me) - quilting
Barbara Johnson - basket weaver
Sue Moerke - gourmet dog treats chef
Kay Durrant - wood carver
Sue Martin and Doris Weed - water color artists/humorists
Becky Stevens - repurposed furniture designer
Amy Powers - The Village Hive Bakery Amherst (delicious samples)
Tom Spoerl - Trout Bum Bakery Scandinavia (bringing more delicious samples)
Scandinavia Library Group will serve chili and brats on the front lawn
Admission is $2 per person--donated to The Humane Society of Waupaca County
Entertainment: ghost stories--my favorite actress Donna Rickel, and fortune telling by Madam Sams

I'm am busy handing out flyers about the event, interviewing our artisans so I'll have some great information for a radio program I'll do with WDUX   Thursday Oct 30 8 a.m..  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Restoration - Some Light At The End of the Tunnel

Closing old window off the east porch, and creating new blackboard.

This post is about our bathroom remodel.  The last time it was remodeled was 1945 when the Quien family installed the first bathroom in the house, the room was formerly the kitchen pantry.

Because we installed a new bathroom shower--we closed the old large window and installed a small awing window.  I told Jon, don't tear out the old exterior window frame or clapboard--I have an idea to make it a blackboard.

First,  I ask you a question--isn't there always a pot at the end of a rainbow?

The toilet sat next to the door at the east entrance during the bath remodel (about six weeks).  At some point we totally forgot it was a toilet and used it as a table.  Thinking about that now sounds so yucky.

Let me show you some photos


East entrance - bathroom window shown lighted (center of photo)

So, as I mentioned before the bathroom was added to the house in the fall of 1945 by the Peter and Ruth Quien who were getting ready for the wedding of daughter Mary Jane to Edward Fossum November 10, 1945.  

The mother of the bride Ruth, her birthday was also November 10th.  

What do you think my birthday is?  You guessed correctly.  My birthday is also November 10.

To read Donna Quien's article about the first bathroom:

Bathroom Window (before)

 The curtained window was the only privacy wall for anyone taking a bath in the tub.  I never took a evening bath--cause you never know who may come knocking at the east entrance door.  You know what they say?  The night was blind, but the neighbors weren't.  Ha. Ha. 

This is our friend Steve Stichman helping my husband Jon demo the bathroom.

Before Photo: the curtained bathroom window.

Removing plaster

Jon turned and said to me, "I want to run away from home."

The 120 year old plaster was opening up like a spring bud . . .

The bad plaster was directly over the toilet and the tub.  I remember looking up at the ceiling many times while bathing, seeing five intersecting plaster cracks in the ceiling.  Uft-dah!!!

I wondered who would be the first one to take a direct hit from a chunk falling old plaster.  Glad we got the bathroom remodel going before someone got hurt.  I saw little gritty pieces of plaster on the floor as a warning for some time.  

The simulated marble Melamine wall covering might have been added during the 1960s. 

Before Photo
We're keeping the medicine cabinet and light fixture; they're cool art pieces.

Our downstairs bathroom has three doors.
This is the east door leading to the office.

The office

The kitchen, just beyond the west door of bathroom

Back to photos of the bathroom demo:
east wall (sink area)

We kept vintage light fixture to re-install

removing old plaster

removing the cast iron tub

I'll be checking with Ray the tub restoration guy from Neenah, Wisconsin.  He can look up the Kohler serial number and tell me the day it was manufactured.  

It is fun to note--we purchased our upstair's bathroom Kohler claw foot tub from Ray.  That claw foot tub serial number indicated it was manufactured May 12, 1903 - Plant Line 2, Kohler WI, about 11:30a in the morning.


Blueboard/Concrete bloard installation, taping, mudding, and tile work:

Reserved space for storage bins
Our master tile guy is Jerry Weinman and his son Jarrod.

Jon - installing awning window above shower.

Installing shower doors

Jon asked me if I was going to install the shower plumbing?
I told him I'm not a plumber, I'm a janitor.

Jon re-isntalls the vintage medicine cabinet and light fixture.
I'll be showing you more pictures later--after the painting and storage is done,
BUT--in the meantime, check out my new blackboard
I'm so pleased . . .
I asked Jon to convert old bathroom window frame

 . . . into a great big blackboard.
You Know What I Mean, Butterbean?

I have a couple more coats of chalkboard paint to do.
My first writing on the blackboard will be fun--I'm sure.