Progress?

And…. scene!

The paint is off the woodwork in our bedroom. Yey!

Over the course of three days, our amazing paint stripping expert and her helper stripped the fireplace and fireplace cover, the pocket doors and moldings, the window frame and window seat, the base boards, the picture rails, as well as the moldings of the two other doors.

They used 12 gallons of zip strip, 7 gallons of denatured alcohol and a ton of elbow grease. More photos and details on a later post, but suffice to say the woodwork looks wonderful and, to my surprise, looks brand new – which is a bit weird.

Fireplace2

On a less exciting note,  we were left with a lot of goober on the walls. The room looks like an alien crime scene:

gooberNow to the tedious work of fixing the walls so that we can paint.

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And then this happened

Sometimes, even the most hard core DIY needs a little professional help. Since we seem to be a bit morose these days when it comes to getting stuff done around here, we decided to treat ourselves to a little help in the paint stripping department.

Check out the results of day 1:

Pocket Doors

Fireplace progress

The initial feeling of being inadequate and unable to get it together to make progress on the house was quickly replaced by “holy crap! That looks awesome!” And with that, I accepted that fact that it’s totally OK to hire someone to help every now and then.

Waking up from a long winter nap

We blew through our funds getting the garden apartment ready to rent, as well as spending money in the very un-glamurous-yet-very-necessary electrical and plumbing departments. Towards the end of last year, with the garden apartment rented, it was time to take a break and save up some cash for the projects ahead. They are:

Façade

Façade: This could potentially be a huge cost. The original façade is made of brownstone, which has been painted many times over the years. In its current iteration, it is pink. And it’s peeling. Our hope is once the paint is removed, the brownstone will be in good enough shape to be left alone, sans color. In case you are wondering, this is what it looks like now. Yes, we are the creepy house on the block….

SAMSUNG

Powder Room: Turning this once-closet back into a bathroom is the first step into a larger project of moving the kitchen down to the parlor level (it’s currently on the top floor, next to our bedroom).

Icky Parquet

Parlor Flooring: The original parquet floor is long gone. It’s been replaced with fake parquet, which was poorly installed and is lifting all over the place (the splotchy marks on it are not dirt, but residual glue form a sloppy installation). The idea is to replace it with period accurate parquet, with a nice border around it.

New Hatches: our house has two hatches, one in the front, one in the back. The front one was used as a coal chute, not sure what the one in the back was used for. In any case, both hatches are in dire need of replacement. The brick in the front hatch also needs repointing and the chute door needs a little love to make it look less like a horror movie set.

So yes, there is a lot of work ahead…

Happy New Year!

This fall was particularly busy as far as work for the both of us, so not a lot got done in the home front. We didn’t even get a chance to throw our 1-year houseversary party we planned for mid-December.

Looking back, we managed some key projects that made the house less of a hovel and more of a home. Remember this?

hoarders-hello

A lot of non-exciting yet crucial work has been done, such as updating the electrical and plumbing (I can’t stress how lovely it is to take a hot shower in the winter!). We also re-configured the house, making it an owner’s duplex over a garden rental (which is now rented – woo hoo!)

There is a lot on the list for 2013: restoring the parlor level powder room to its original location, laying the ground work for a new kitchen, addressing the super tiny third floor bathroom – those are the big projects. There are also plenty of little-ish projects to keep us busy along the way: removing popcorn from ceilings and walls, fixing cracks, stripping paint, re-painting… the list goes on and on.

So here is to another year of restoration adventures. Let the fun, uh, continue?!?

3 months

It seems that all we’ve done for the past trimester is work on the house. We haven’t really gone anywhere, done anything, or seen much of our friends. We have made some progress, particularly in the garden apartment. But the list continues, and as always the biggest to do remains to win the lottery – so we can afford to finish up our reno…

BASEMENT:

Install water heater (DONE)

Convert boiler from oil to gas

Remove wood paneling walls

Replace front and rear hatches

Update electrical panels (DONE)

Create laundry area (DONE)

Replace flooring

Improve lighting

Create workshop area

Create storage area (DONE)

Paint access stairway (wall and pipes)

Replace lighting fixture with something more suitable

GARDEN APARTMENT:

Remove tile in hallway and replace with wood (DONE)

Paint hallway and stairs (DONE)

Replace runner on stairs

Create new apartment entrance with coat/shoe nook (DONE)

Create actual functioning closet in former scary closet hallway (DONE)

Remove upper cabinets in kitchen (DONE)

Remove island and cook top (DONE)

Patch up hole left by kitchen island

Remove built-in oven and replace with range

Install French doors (DONE)

Fix floor under removed kitchen cabinet

Create proper laundry area (using existing hookups) (DONE)

Re-grout and install new shelves in bathroom

Install GFI receptacles near sinks in bathroom and kitchen

Install weather stripping on garden access door

Remove blinds

Free panted in shutters (DONE)

Paint

Replace plastic chandelier (DONE)

Replace hallway/entry way light

Add ceiling medallions in living room and hallway

Fix kitchen ceiling

Fix kitchen radiator

Replace fireplace cover with original cast iron cover

Paint entry alcove (DONE)

Clean out storage under stoop (DONE)

PARLOR FLOOR

Paint

Remove improvised room divider between front parlor and middle room

Demo closet/bathroom hybrid (DONE)

Re-install bathroom in closet location

Create kitchen/dining area in current rear parlor/bathroom

Build deck for yard access

Remove tiles in hallway, replace with wood

Remove fake parquet, replace with wood

Restore staircase (replace broken/worn steps, address excessive creaking)

Fix bubbling plaster under stairs

Skim coat as needed

Replace copper fireplace cover with original cast iron

Re-strip fireplace to remove left-behind paint and dirt in existing varnish

Re-glaze rear parlor mirror

Fix front parlor fireplace where wood is cracked

Replace front hall lighting fixture

Add light in entry alcove

Remove random doorway into rear parlor (from hallway)

Add door to garden level for privacy

Replace windows

TOP FLOOR

Refinish floors (DONE, for now)

Address new floor plan. Move master bedroom to rear, create master bath.

Turn micro-bathroom into walk-in closet

Clean and repair stained glass skylight

Look at the possibility of moving roof access ladder from its current location to closet in spare bedroom

Free up skylight in middle room

Remove and repair ceilings in front and rear rooms

Clean up painted-over air shaft windows

Remove Dumb Waiter gears in attic for use as decoration somewhere

Skim coat

Remove tile in hallway and replace with wood

Strip both front and rear mantels

Strip and repair woodwork

Replace windows

Re-glaze mirror at top of the stairs

Paint

Create doors for existing closet

Rites of passage and the passing of time

(internet is getting hooked up tomorrow – more regular posts to follow. In the mean time, here is what we’ve been up to)

From what I have been hearing, a sewer surprise in the basement is more or less a rite of passage for Brownstone homeowners. With the smell now mostly gone, the several pounds of baking soda I sprinkled on the floor are making the basement look like an outtake from the movie Blow – I expect Paul Reubens to casually walk up our basement stairs anytime now,  covered in white dust. Anyway, hopefully the poop chapter is done.

The leak was caused by a massive clog in our sewer pipe. Turns out, someone who lived here before we did had a habit of flushing paper towels. While I didn’t witness it, I was told by the hubs that a geyser of grossness (Poop. It was poop). shot out of the pipe as soon as the plumber opened the trap. The contents of the pipe, which were seemingly pressurized, landed on the floor of the basement.

No amount of cleaning and disinfecting was getting rid of the smell, so I figured “what about baking soda?” and spread an enormous amount of it all over the floor. Turns out it works (and makes the air salty). Anyway, it was everywhere – hence the Blow reference.

These past few weeks have been dedicated to moving, moving in, and getting some of the less sexy work done – anyone care to see our new electrical panel in the basement?

Huba huba!

How about the new gas meters? Ooooh!

And let’s not forget the fact that the water meter no longer drips on the electrical panels. Indeed, our basement has been the center of activity lately.  With the mechanicals all getting a once over, we will now be moving on to stuff that is actually  visually interesting.

Wall colors and a revamped garden apartment entrance coming right up!

1 Month

Our old house. While we're excited to move, it is also very hard to say goodbye to our awesome home for the past 6 years.

Today we have owned the Pink Lady for one month and moving day is looming closer. As a result, activity at the hosue is focused mostly on getting our duplex cleaned up and some basic fixes out of the way because as the layers are peeled away, new problems sprout. For instance, we found out that the only thing holding up the toilet on the third floor was the sewer pipe. The previous owner did some repairs and patched up the floor with plaster (a fine material for covering walls – not so much for flooring).  The hubs is keeping things moving by finishing the floors and taking care of all the little things that need to be done in order to make the place at least livable (like having a working shower).