Saturday, September 22, 2007

I've dropped, but still painting....

Today, we had a very productive day and we finally have some pictures of progress... The new stove and refrigerator was delivered and installed, Steve installed the kitchen light, excavated the electrical box for the porch light and installed my $5 Lowes clearance porch lantern. For some really odd reason, someone had taped off the live wires in the box, then filled the box with fixall and there was this weird lump in the siding where the light was supposed to be.

We also came up with a solution to a really big problem - floor covering. The original plan was to install wall to wall carpet throughout the house, an as time and money allowed, replace the damaged hardwood floor with the oak flooring I had gotten from the neighbor in Long Beach. The house has large sections of floor that we badly rotted and missing, so it seemed like a reasonable solution - until we actually started pricing carpet and installation on Thursday. The quotes we got from several places ranged from 1600 to 2000 dollars, for the bottom end stuff, which was way more than I had thought. I had a breakdown and called my folks to get some ideas - We talked through just painting the floors, to putting plywood over it, and the best we were able to come up with was to install laminate flooring in the two worst spaces - it would be easy to remove an reuse when I repaired the original floor since it just sits on top. It would be much cheaper and we could install it ourselves - although it was going to push us up to own Wednesday deadline. That was the plan until this evening when my darling husband got an idea - the dining room was covered 3/4 of the way with asphalt tiles over the original wood floor, and the remainder was the plywood we put over the sub floor to replace the areas earlier covered with plywood and the rotted sections of flooring from decades of water damage. He decided to see if the tile would come off, and if so, see how bad the floor was. He laboriously chipped off the tile and found that the floor was in decent shape, so as a temporary measure, we will paint the plywood similar shade of brown and in the coming weeks after we move, I will patch the floor with the salvaged wood, and since it has a finish on it that is similar, we can live with it until I can afford to have the floors sanded. So in the end, it was just the time and painful labor.
During all this, I have been painting, and now have the kitchen walls and ceiling, Living room and dining room walls and ceiling, bedroom walls and ceiling, hallway and entry ceilings complete with two coats of paint. I have one coat on the Entry and Hallway Walls, and still have not started the front bedroom or closets yet - the front bedroom is going to wait, since as my folks pointed out, we are moving from a one bedroom and don't really have anything to move in there till we get our stuff out of storage in a few weeks. I will paint that after we move in. However, I have also not done any of the woodwork yet, so I will continue to work on that over the next few days. I am going to get the living room and bedroom done first, then the dining room, kitchen, hallway and entry as I have time.
We also installed my plaster ceiling medallion in the dining room. I bought it several years in San Francisco and had it in my Long Beach apartment. It reminds me of the Victorian house I used to live in in the city (San Francisco) and I just love it. It looks very at home with the beamed ceiling. It will look stunning with my great grandmother's crystal chandelier hanging under it.

Finally, I installed the gorgeous fixture I won on Ebay a few weeks ago. It arrived completely rewired and ready to go - so up it went and I absolutely LOVE how it looks. The scale and design are perfect for the space, and as I had mentioned before, it matches some other vintage fixtures I had bought earlier. Isn't it pretty???

So tomorrow is a day of rest so we can get the rest of the stuff done and actually get moved, although we have to o some shopping for some area rugs to cover the bedroom and living room floors - there are some really nasty spots to contend with. Its now to the point that every bit of progress is making the house feel more and more like home...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Paint till you drop...

Well, we are moving in a week from tomorrow, and we have been working like mad. Steve has finished scrubbing the final frontier - the front bedroom that until a few hours ago housed the tools. We hit a milestone by finishing all the carpentry repairs in the front bedroom and dining room- the trim was so hacked up where the partition had been and some was missing for some unknown reason - although a crummy plaster patch job on the ceiling suggests water damage. The tools have now been relocated to their permanent home in the basement. Steve has worked wonders on the filth - the rooms actually resemble someones home. He has also been patching the 500,000 holes in the trim, walls and ceilings throughout the house in preparation for the painting. I have been painting like crazy, and have the first coat on the walls in the back bedroom, hallway and entry room, and both the walls and ceiling in the living room. Tonight I put on two coats of paint on the kitchen walls in preparation for the new stove an refrigerator we are having delivered on Saturday! My original plan was to find some used ones, but I have not had any time to go search ones out, hope they work and then figure out how to get them home. I did some shopping around and found some very nice ones by Frigidaire - That's what we have in our Long Beach house and have been very happy with them. I got the lower mid ranged ones, the stove has cast iron burner covers instead of steel, but other than it is pretty basic. The fridge has glass shelves instead of wire, a full shelf in the freezer, and an ice maker. I don't have the water hookup yet, but I was planning to add it later anyway, and buying it up front was cheaper then ordering it later, and I got the glass shelves, which are much easier to clean. The best part is that they will deliver an install it for free, and switch the door swing on the fridge. With all of the other stuff we are trying to get done, its a help.
We also had a carpet installer out today to measure for the carpet. He was referred to us by our realtor and so far I have been impressed - the showed up when he said, and was quick and extremely polite. We need 108 yards of carpet for both bedrooms, the living room, dining room and hallway. The Entry hardwood floor is still decent so that will remain exposed. He will be installing the carpet next Tuesday, so we have to go pick it out tomorrow, and he will take care of all the rest - again, one less thing to deal with!So now, I have to get the dining room walls and ceiling painted, the front bedroom walls, the ceilings in the kitchen, entry, hallway and both bedrooms, plus all of the woodwork, including the beamed ceilings before next Tuesday. I have been taking afternoons off of work so that way I can stay caught up at the office while getting everything done.
We have also staring moving the kitchen items over - since the cabinets are cleaned, we have been taking over 2-4 boxes every time we go over full of stuff, and getting it put away. It will help a lot next week.
Hopefully I will have some new pictures to post in the next few days - the pale yellow we choose looks really nice and I can't wait to get the trim painted to give the full effect.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Well, we have had a very productive week here - the bathroom wainscoting is in and painted, the floor is laid an the commode is installed. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong connector so its not working yet. It looks really nice! It turned out really good and was really cheap. I spent less than
$200 and got a new floor, walls, and commode. The before and after photos are shocking I think.
This week the new electrical will be hooked up and the wall sconces will be hooked up and we can use a light switch to turn on the bathroom light - the
first time since owning the house! Steve also tackled the rest of the cleaning this week and cleaned out the front bedroom closet. There are no words to describe the filth - just numbers of hot water buckets needed to get the stuff off. he also went into the attic and disconnected the disused wall sconce wiring on either side of the dinning room built in. When we removed it, we found two set of LIVE wires stuffed in the wall that needed to be dealt with prior to reinstalling the trim. While up there, he brought down more rat infested storage items and two more decomposed bodies - along with the decon box. It has been over a week now and we have a trap set with peanut butter and the peanut butter is still there, and the trap is not sprung, AND no smell. Lets hope we are done with those little buggers!
Painting has also begun in our bedroom, and I just Love the pale yellow we choose - it really brightens up the room and looks way better than the nasty Navajo White that was there before. I have had that color in so many places I have lived and find it dingy and dreary looking - it hides dirt because it looks like it. After the floors went into the bath, I changed my mind on the wall color and instead of Yellow above the wainscoting, We picked a very pale sky blue. It will look good with our existing peach and turquoise blue towels and bath rug. We have made such great progress this last week and if all goes well, the painting will be done by the end of the week and the carpet can be put in - Then we can start moving stuff in, although this week I am going to start on the kitchen since the cupboards are clean and the rats and roaches have been evicted.

Monday, September 10, 2007


We took Sunday off for some rest and relaxation, and found ourselves at the local salvage yard. I lucked out and found four matching doorknob back plates to replace the mismatched ones in the house, and a cast iron vent cover for our Long Beach house. For some reason, when the house was built, they cheaped out in the bathroom and kitchen and placed plain plates on the doors. This is one of those cases where we are going better than original and I am putting ones that match the rest of the house. The other exciting purchase was on Ebay where I found a perfect fixture for the front entry for 30.00 - and it matches the fixtures I bought four months ago for the dinning room exactly. How lucky is that?

The ones I
bought before

The New One:

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Oh the Humanity...

Well, last night my oh so brave husband set out five rat traps with Peanut butter and we arrived at the house this morning with four sprung traps and three bodies - one in the front bedroom, one in the dining room, and one in the attic. The fifth trap still had peanut butter and was not sprung, so Steve thinks we got them all. Lets hope so! He also sealed up the basement to prevent more from coming in. While down there, he found another one, it had died of other causes and was quite smelly ( so I hear, I won't go within two rooms of the things). To top off the day, while we were prepping the kitchen floor for the new linoleum, he took a second look under the cabinets and found another mummified one. Sigh... Hopefully, with the basement sealed up and the occupants dealt with, we are done with the rats. (and to think I complain about ants)
The good news is that we got the kitchen 98% finished... I scrubbed the rest of the cupboards & drawers last night, and Steve had scrubbed most of the walls over the last week, so now all that is left is the ceiling to clean before painting. Steve also filled in all the imperfections on the walls and trim, so all that is needed is a light sanding and we are ready to go. Today we installed the new floor an it really looks nice for 98 cents a square foot it looks really nice. I picked a greyish brown slate looking tile, and it works nicely with the blond oak cabinets. We laid it at a diagonal to give it some more interest, and we are going to paint the walls a very pale yellow and the trim a greyish white.
We also put up bead board paneling inside the dining room built in alcove. (Sadly, the one we uncovered was so chewed up by rats and covered in filth that had soaked through the wood, so we had to removed it and BLEACH the walls behind it). For now, we are just going to install some shelves, and at some point later I will rebuild it.
Steve also scraped up all the old linolum in the hallway that was chipping off in preparation for carpet. Sadly, half the hardwood floor is wrecked for repeated flooding from the bathroom over that past 90 years. Oddly enough, the wood is not oak, but appears to be maple. The bedrooms also share the same wood. The living room, dinning room and entry were all floored in oak. We are making some real progress, and by next weekend, we should have the painting started an the bathroom close to being done. I am almost done with the wainscoting, and then I can put a coat of primer and paint, then we can lay the floor in there to. I am going to use the same tile as I did in the kitchen.
tomorrow is a rest day for us, so we don't totally wear ourselves out. I am going to try and take some time off this upcoming week so I can get the bathroom done, but I have a lot of project work going in at the office to.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

How time has flown...

Whew! we have been swamped the past week trying to get moving an make some more progress... we have to be out of the rental by Oct 1 so we have gone into overdrive. The good news is that the bathroom subfloor is replaced, the plywood for the linoleum underlayment is installed, and the bead board wainscoting is installed. I have also gotten all of the new wiring & electrical boxes for new switches and wall

Pictures of what we were up against

sconces run but not hooked up yet. Soon you will actually be able to turn on the bathroom light using a light switch rather than plugging in a worklight.. Civilization, here we come! Steve has been a cleaning manic and has gotten most of the house ready for paint - surprisingly, the existing paint is not worn like the first thought, it was just really filthy, an now that the walls and trim have been cleaned, they look they were recently painted. I am still amazed how people could live in such filth.
We also finally started in on the basement cleaning, finding that there was a homeless encampment down there, along with a more recently deceased rat..EWWWWW!!!!! Steve the rat undertaker took care of that, and we got rid of the homeless persons paraphernalia, which no doubt was attracting more rats.
We also had somewhat of a run in with a live rat on Wednesday night, I brought over a coffee can to use for screws and hardware, but failed to get all of the coffee out, so when we arrived on Wednesday night, the plastic lid had been chewed through, and there was rat debris on the dinning room floor, which Steve had thoroughly cleaned on Tuesday night.
I have been in rat denial, thinking they had all left since there has been no food in the house for over 6 months, and Steve saying No, they are probably still here. I have been snapped out of my happy rat free world and have to face the fact that the not so little buggers are lurking after dark looking for the next meal. Steve has volunteered to be the rat catcher and disposer and set the traps Friday night. Saturday HE is going in first to dispose of the bodies. If he can't catch them with traps, I am calling the exterminator. At least the carpet has not been installed yet!
Tommorrow night I will finish installing the Wainscoting trim in the bathroom and hopefully get a coat of primer on everything so I can paint on Saturday. Then comes the finish flooring and then a working commode. Then we will really be civilized.