Tuesday, January 17, 2017
A back staircase is the stuff of dreams for old house nerds like us, but our back staircase left us feeling a little flat.
As we've been working on our quick office makeover, one of our major areas of excitement had to do with the minor overhaul of the room's back staircase.
More specifically, it had to do with removing that previous handrail, which was equal parts unsightly and unsafe.
We believe this back staircase was once fully enclosed by the tongue and groove vertical 3" strips of wood that now only exist from the stair treads down to the ground. It appears someone at some point opted to cut these off at each tread in order to open the staircase to the room.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
It's hard to make much progress on any given project without a little blood, sweat, and tears to go along with all of the work. In our quick office makeover, we officially have all three.
I'm convinced that one of the primary reasons we started this project was due to Wendy's...how should I put this... strong aversion to the carpet that has adorned the floor of this room since we purchased the house. Keep in mind, this wasn't so much an immediate aversion, but instead grew over time, like a giant stained and smelly feature of our home.
This is the only carpeted room in the whole house, and the carpet was likely installed 20 or so years ago. Here's how it looked on the day we moved in, and it was the best it looked since we bought the house.
Sure it was a little worn and a little dirty in spots, but initially it was passable. We knew we'd eventually (many years from now) pull up the carpet and the sub floor under the rug to expose the original pine floors that I believe are in good shape, but we figured until that day, that carpet would be fine. The only struggle in this plan is the fact that Wendy is what I like to call a "compulsive vacuumer." Wendy will vacuum a rug several times a week if she feels it may be dirty, and this carpet seemed to always look a little dirty. But we'd resolved to make do with what we had as other areas of the house seemed more pressing. And even though we always noticed a distinctive smell when we arrived at the house, Wendy and I just chalked it up to "old house smell" and something that was just part of the home.
Then our heat went out, our house froze, and we replaced all of the HVAC. When that happened the baseboard radiators leaked all over the carpet and padding, then the HVAC company used this room as a staging ground for the new equipment going into the utility room.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
We're in the midst of a "quick office makeover" which has now stretched into weekend four of work.
At this point I believe we have about one or two more weekends of work left until we reach the finish line, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the progress. If you ask us, the true challenge when it comes to "quick" makeovers is actually twofold. First, you need to resign yourself to the fact that you're going to sink time and money into a project that may not be permanent. But for me, the bigger difficulty comes from a seemingly simple question, "Where do you stop?"
The closet door in this room was one of those discussion items for us, specifically when it came to the hardware. Alex and I both like to do things the "right" way. We don't like cutting corners and we love original details. But at the same time, it's a slippery slope when it comes to small architectural details that need restoration. Before you know it you're spending more time than you want on a "quick" project while leaving your "not-so-quick" projects abandoned just a room or two away.
In our office, we believe the the closet door and its hardware are original to the home dating back to 1908. Previous work to the room resulted in layer upon layer of paint being applied right over those beautiful cast iron strap hinges, leaving us with cracked, bumpy, chipped, and generally worse for the wear hardware on this door.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Sometimes all you need is a little progress to get reenergized and very excited for what's to come!
We're not new to this DIY game and understand the amount of time it can sometimes take to feel like you're actually getting somewhere on a project, but at times it can be hard to remember just how it feels to transform a space when the transformation takes a long time to come to fruition.
Several weeks ago I shared with you my tendency to "convince" us to jump from project to project when my impatience (and feeling we're lacking progress) begins to mount. Though we have several ongoing and long term projects we're working on, I really felt like I needed a quick win to jump start my energy on our renovation. The inspiration to make this switch in priority came thanks to an offering of help from my parents, who offered to do some painting and help us move forward.
With the promise of help we whipped into high gear on prepping our new home's office for painting, and acquired all of the necessary supplies in anticipation of my parents' arrival. When the day came we all piled in our cars and headed to the house with thoughts of paint brushes dancing in our heads. While Alex finished up sanding and doing a final coat on all of the drywall patches, my parents and I began the time consuming task of priming everything in the room.
Personally, when I think of painting I often think of the quick and usually low cost but major impact of change a new wall color can bring to a room. Unfortunately, it's way too easy to forget the amount of time and effort this often takes. Between sanding and patching holes, getting the walls prepped for paint, priming, carefully cutting in around all of the trim, giving yourself adequate dry time, and making sure your brush marks all go with the grain of the wood and do not leave drips, before you know it you've invested many hours with your fingers crossed that you'll like the color when it's done.
Friday, December 30, 2016
2016 has admittedly been a turbulent year throughout the world.
If you've spent much time on social media lately you've no doubt seen the pleas from many to just move 2016 on out the door, that it's done enough, taken too much, left its fingerprints on history in far too tragic a manner.
Typically at this point in the year all of us DIY bloggers like to gleefully reflect on the past year and all that was accomplished. But it would seem a bit too saccharine if we were to focus only on all of the successes. So instead, this year we're going to take a quick look at all of this year for us, and reflect on the Good, Bad, and the Ugly of 2016.
Our year started out with a planned but difficult "Bad." I kicked off 2016 with absolutely no kicking at all following my second major hip surgery in as many years. Last year was the year of my right hip, and therefore 2016 became the year of my left hip.
This is the result of a hereditary and/or congenital condition called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI or even femoral acetabular impingement), where the head of my femur doesn't fit correctly in my hip socket. In order to correct it, my femur had to be dislocated, the top of the bone and my hip socket sculpted, and then put back in place. Let me tell you, it was not a fun thing to look forward to, or live through. In short the procedure corrected some significant pain and discomfort, but required four weeks of very little mobility, time on crutches, and months of physical therapy and strength training recovery.