Okay. It’s not sudden. It’s far from sudden. But it feels sudden, because the difference is so amazing. When we bought this house every single wall was paneled except for the bathrooms, and the inside of one closet. In between we had walls that we could look through for the longest time (standing in the dining room we could look through the guest room, through the master bedroom, and out the window on the north side of the house), now the walls are covered again but with sheetrock instead of paneling, and the outside walls actually have new insulation instead of 47-year-old stuff filled with dirt, dead bugs and mouse carcasses (ew). When I was at our house yesterday I walked in the door, and my brain exploded. It is looking SO good! We haven’t even painted the walls yet, and suddenly they’re fabulous.
I tried to find “before” pictures that were taken when I standing in about the same spot as I was yesterday. There’s still plenty of construction mess, but that part doesn’t count. Look, look, look, look! OMG.
Living room, before:
Normally, I’m a “it’s wood, leave it there” sort of a person. But the 47 year old paneling didn’t look as good up close as it does in these photos. If time alone hadn’t been bad enough, the house was a rental for a decade or two, and there were a myriad of holes dotting the walls, many small, but some quite large (Dave enjoyed getting rid of the 70s era intercom system, but that left gaping maws in the paneling all over the house). Plus, see how the paneling that’s above the eight-foot mark stands out now? Before it was lost. Now it’s a feature. Be still my heart.
Today I’m playing a little catch up. Again. Neither of us has touched this blog since May. I can’t believe it’s been that long! I’m not even going to try to get us caught up to current today, but I’ll get us a bit closer.
Before I get started, I’m going to answer this burning question that I’m sure is racing through your mind right now: No, we have not been able to move into our house yet. We celebrated the one year anniversary of buying our forever home on September 24, by drinking some lovely Prosecco at the rental house. Sigh.
Anyway, let’s talk about a couple things that have happened.
Back in November last year we ordered some windows for our house. I don’t know if you’ll recall, but the front windows in the living and dining rooms were a mess, all scratched up, one of two panes missing, wouldn’t open, or all three. These are the view windows across the front of the house, looking out across the balcony and to the stunning view beyond. We went all out for these four. We also ordered windows for my office, the kitchen, and the breakfast nook. Two of these projects, my some-day office and the breakfast nook, have to be postponed. We could certainly store all these windows for some unknown period of time. As it turns out, we were able to use the windows I’d ordered for my office downstairs. I’ll get more into that in a bit.
On window install day, I got to our house pretty much exactly when the window guys did. In fact, I followed them up the driveway. It was slow going. Their truck did not like the combined weight of the trailer with all the windows in it and our hill. We all made it, however. Right away they set up a spot on the driveway to work, and started unloading glass.
They started with the hardest-to-install windows first: the living and dining rooms. Naturally we begin by removing the old glass and frames.
Then put the new windows in. Ooh, they’re so very pretty! And they actually open. What a concept.
In their “spare” time, they also replaced the little window in the TV room. I’d originally ordered this little square window for the kitchen, to replace a fixed window over what will eventually be the coffee bar. However, we discovered that the square window wouldn’t fit, and ordered a window of the correct size for the kitchen. That left this square one to go somewhere else. Luckily, there are two other square windows of exactly the same size, one upstairs in the living room overlooking the barn, and one downstairs in the TV room. We are planning on eventually replacing the little window in the living room with a door to lead out to a deck we haven’t built yet. That means that the only place left for this one is the TV room. Okay. The TV room it is! I’m so very glad I had the forethought to match the size of this new window to those a couple of existing windows.
They replaced the living room, dining room, and TV room windows on Friday. They returned on Monday to finish up. On Monday this old thing that looked horrible was scratched all up, and was difficult to open…
was replaced by a new beauty that is the opposite in every regard.
The windows I ordered for my office were, once again, the same size as a number of windows that are already in the house. For symmetry. I don’t know about you, but having a bunch of windows leaning against walls and in the way seems like a recipe for disaster. Instead of saving these three windows for my some-day office, we used them to replace horrible original windows downstairs across the front of the house. Ta da!
We do still have one large window, and one sliding glass door that we have to store somewhere out of the way, but that’s only two windows, which is much better than storing a total of six of the things. Whew.
Driveway to the barn
We had originally planned on pretty much ignoring the driveway shooting off to the barn for some time. We were talking to the gravel guys about the gravel we’d need for under the propane tank (this is a different story, and not one I’m going into today). He couldn’t help but notice the disaster of our barn driveway. He happened to mention (cough) that having gravel work done costs less if you have multiple jobs done at one time; instead of doing one this year, and another next year, it’s far cheaper to do them all this year. We had the guy bid for just the gravel under the propane tank, and also to patch the scar in asphalt left from repairing the line to the septic tank from the house, and graveling that secondary driveway. In the end, we did the obvious thing, and saved ourselves some cash by spending more now, and getting all three projects done at one time. This is how it looked earlier in the day before the work started.
The day before all this work was to happen Dave and Grant, our guest from SoCal, moved everything out of the carport to behind the barn where it wouldn’t be in the way. I cannot tell you how glad I am that Grant was here at that time. Not only did he love to help do this, as well as a bunch of other things, but we had so much fun while he was here. Bonus: Grant got to see the gravel work done. The two of them took a bunch of videos on Gravel Day, but the editing that was supposed to happen to them hasn’t yet, so those videos are not included here. Not yet. Hopefully one day they will be.
Anyway… Dave went out to the house early, before Grant was fully mobile (he’s 18, so he sleeps a lot), so I took Grant over a tiny bit later. Turns out Grant and I arrived just in time to not be able to go up the driveway in the car. It was blocked by the big stuff getting staged down below. Grant gleefully walked the ¼ mile up the road, and I ran errands.
Now we start clearing the driveway of pretty much everything.
This last driveway destruction picture shows them cutting a wider opening to this driveway. Dave’s intention was to make it wide enough that he could turn onto this secondary driveway when going between the house and barn. Well… turns out that my little car is the only one that can make this turn. We do have some extra gravel, though, and Dave hopes to use it at some point to widen this curve a little more.
Spreading the gravel…
It still amazes me, after a lifetime of watching roadwork being done, how much can actually be accomplished in a single day. The finished driveway to the barn is a thing of beauty. Apparently, for now, you’re simply going to have to believe me. I don’t seem to have a photo of it all done! LOL Egads.
We’ve told so many people about the three beams in the kitchen that I don’t remember if we’ve written about it here or not. The ceiling over the living room, dining room (I almost typed “diving” room; wouldn’t that be fun!), and kitchen is vaulted. Like everything else, it’s covered with cedar, finished with big open beams that hide the seams. Gorgeous! It’s really lovely. The one thing about it, though, is that the way the house was built all of those beams start at the peak, and run to the outside walls… except for three of them in the kitchen. These final three beams, instead of being supported by the exterior studs, were held up by… egads. I can hardly say it. Well, here’s a picture. The three beams did not extend all the way to the exterior studs, but instead were supported by the soffit over the kitchen cupboards, which in turn was held up by the cupboards. Who thinks up these things? Why would you do this? Why was this considered to be a good idea? The mind reels.
We bought three 20-foot, kiln-dried beams. Dave cut a sample of the old stain off of one of the beams to be replaced. Grant and I took it over to Sherwin Williams, and had them match the color. They did an amazing job of it, too. I put several coats on all sides of all the beams before Beam Replacement Day. The contractor brought over a bit of portable scaffolding, took down the first beam, replaced it with the new one, and so on.
And ta da! They’re gorgeous. Don’t look too closely, as the old beams are all rough-cut timber, and the new ones are not, but other than that they look like they were always there. It’s so nice to not have to worry about one of them falling on my head.
There’s more, a lot more, but this is all I have for you today. The sun is coming around the corner of the house, and is now shining in the window, which means it’s time for me to quit my desk until tomorrow.
We went over to our house on Sunday to do a little tidying up. You know how it goes. Work is messy. Sometimes time needs to be taken to get control of the mess that had been made.
I started with the totally easy stuff, and cleaned up the pile in the master bedroom that had accumulated with the walls coming down.
Maybe about half (or so) of the flooring in the dining room has bothered to let go of the underlayment so far. Ask Dave about the amount of work he’s put in on that little chore, and how much he’s looking forward to doing the rest. LOL Oh my. That pile of flooring sitting there over by the window has been driving me a bit bonkers, so clearing that away was my next task. I decided to play with the settings on my phone, and created a little time-lapse video of this chore:
As Dave’s been tearing the paneling out of the bedrooms he’s been stacking the wood against the wall in the living room. While it’s a grand place to stage the planks, boards, moulding, trim, and miscellaneous bits of wood, it can’t all stay there. For one thing, he means to take down the walls in the living room, too, but can’t do it with all that other wood leaning there. We forgot that one of the reasons we wanted to take the truck over was that we wanted to move the paneling and other pieces of wood from the house down to the barn. So we took the BMW. Ha! Because 8-foot-tall paneling pieces won’t fit in the BMW, we staged it all in the second garage. First I had to clean out the garage a bit.
Apparently, when the previous owner decided to put this house on the market, the yard wasn’t the only thing that was over-filled with blackberries and ivy. Yes, the garage was, too. They cut the plant material off at the outside of the wall, and again a couple feet down from the top of the walls, and left it all in a pile in the middle of the floor. That was months ago, so it was nicely dried up, and easy to move. I rolled all that plant-mess up, and carried it down to the nearest burn pile. Ta da!
As I dealt with the plant material and sweeping up, Dave continued getting nails out of the boards and planks. When I announced that I had rolled up the dead plant bits, and gotten rid of them, he joined me in the garage to move some of the bigger things out of the way, you know, the things attached to the walls. There is this one shelving unit that’s basically okay just in the way, so it was detached from the wall and moved around a few times. I don’t know if you can really see it, but there’s part of a cupboard hanging on the wall toward the right side of the above photo. There wasn’t much left of it or its neighbor to the right. There’s nothing left of either of them now. The wood from those cabinets was in such bad shape that it wasn’t worth saving. More sweeping, more plant material cut down, more sweeping… Dave has a plan. We start moving the wood from the living room to the garage in a large, slightly wonky figure eight. I took a brief squirrel moment, and cut some ivy out of a small nearby tree. I’m going to need a heavy pair of loppers to get the rest. Finally, the wood is all moved! Here it is in the garage. The living room walls are visible again. Hooray!
Oh, and yes, there are two (three?) door frames still in the living room. There is a different plan for those that will be executed on a different day. Now it’s time to stop for the day. Because it’s time to stop, here’s my closing photo:
The carpeting is stuck firmly to the linoleum in the library, and that in turn is stuck quite firmly to the concrete. Pulling up either/both is obviously something that can wait. Instead, Dave decided to pull up the carpet in the family room the other day. I think that must have been Friday. Naturally, he forgot to take any photos. At least, he didn’t share any with me. If any photos of this process exist, we’ll make sure they’re in an appropriate photo album, so they can be viewed.
Between now and then, I showed up at the house, and we had a grand time. I pulled staples out of the subfloor in the family room, while Dave pried carpeting off, you guessed it, more linoleum in the dining room.
This is what it looked like in the area where the family room and dining room meet. Ugly dark carpeting in an attractive arc over classic 1970s lino, which is on top of the subfloor.
The clean bits were under the family room carpeting, the ghastly bits under the dining room carpet.
I was industriously pulling staples (who said that it was okay to put down hundreds of the things to hold down one little pad… certainly not me!), while Dave made quite a bit of progress on the carpeting.
Here’s the final bit at the edge of the kitchen.
In the back of my mind I’d kind of wondered why the linoleum in the kitchen didn’t match anything else in the house. The cupboards all match. Why are the floors different everywhere? Well, apparently they didn’t start out that way, not upstairs at any rate. The horrifying lino that is currently in the kitchen was laid on top of the original lino. The dining room and kitchen matched. Now that makes more sense. It’s not good news, but it does make sense.
It’s time for a happy dance. All the carpeting in the dining room is up!
Oops. Wait a minute. There’s this corner at the opposite end of the staircase, under the windows. Oops.
You can’t see it in this picture, but all of the carpeting is gone from the dining room. Most of the linoleum is still there, as it’s stuck pretty good. Pulling that out is a project for another day.
(Note, no this is not the same photo as two above. See how this one’s darker? Clouds.)
Dave suggested that I end each post with a picture of our view. A view from my office sort of thing, or more appropriately, a view of the day. Either way you look at it, this is it.