Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Renovation Update -- the back bedroom


This was the state of the back bedroom, after the painters patched the peeling paint. I'm not sure why they thought they were obliged to spackle over the peeling wallpaper. I really wish they hadn't, because it was a nightmare to deal with when I was removing the paper.

Here's another shot of the wallpaper, for everyone who said "save the wallpaper" to ponder. It really was in horrible condition.

This house is full of mysteries. Under the wallpaper is a layer of unpainted plaster. Oh, so lovely to the touch.

I'm guessing that whoever painted the trim knew that someone was going to be following right behind them with wallpaper. What else explains the fact that the trim painter wiped their painty brushes on the pristine plaster? (See those horizontal bluey-green lines to the left of the door? Weird, huh?)

Even more of a mystery is why the plasterers only finished the lower 4/5 of the walls. The upper portion stops with the scratch coat. The ceiling is similarly unfinished.

And then there's the one tiny bit of moulding between the bedroom door and the closet door. There was no other moulding in the room, and no evidence that there ever had been.

Here's a close-up of the non-smooth upper walls and ceiling. I smoothed out the walls, and Robb and I have agreed to live with the ceiling for the moment. I actually love the ceiling's unfinished texture. I find the fact that one can still see the plaster-lath strips and the long-gone plasterer's brush marks oddly charming.

Although the rest of the house will be quite colorful, this room will be a cool almost-white. I think it will look soothing with the original trim.

The trim is a mess, but nevermind that. We're going to deal with bigger paint projects before I attack the windows and doors.

I got the walls primed, and then caught a cold and had some kind of weird head-thing going on, so I took a couple of days off. I don't trust myself on ladders, when I'm feeling sick.

Theater co-workers please avert your eyes from my open-toed, open-backed shoes. Every day I've worked in this room has been swelteringly hot, and I cannot bear to wear socks.


Tim said...

The progress that is being made is spectacular. Seeing as I'm nowhere near California, I feel bad that I'm just watching your life progress and not being able to provide any help. But everything you and Robb have been doing is amazing thus far.

lli said...

Did you happen to find a copyright date on the wallpaper? I ask because in my house, there was wallpaper over unpainted plaster- and the date on the bottom layer was 1950. (The lovely replastering job unfortunately accompanied a thorough de-Victorianing of the house. Goodbye pocket doors, molding, double decker mantels. Meh.)

If indeed your house was also replastered mid-century, they may have planned to drop the ceiling as well.Hence the last of finish coat. Just a guess.

lli said...

um, *lack* of finish coat.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

We considered that, but the ceilings are pretty low to begin with.

I wonder....

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

But, the more I think about it, the more the 1950's renovation makes sense. The "updates" in the kitchen seem to be from this era. And the wallpaper in the back bedroom had a sort of Tiki vibe.

Thankfully, we still have our pocket doors.

kelley said...

Ah, renovation memories. Whoever hung the wallpaper in my little house must've used superglue; it came down not in lovely curls but tiny wet shreds. (Think of the toughest label you've ever tried to soak/scrape off... and then imagine it wall-sized!) Your house looks lovely, though. Good luck!

Kristen said...

tsk tsk, no steel toes. I showed my mom your progress and she thinks its beautiful--a cool, airy look has replaced a theme of Busy in Beige.

and i for one support removing the ancient paper. If you had funding from English Heritage or someone to clean, repair, and restore the stuff for posterity's sake it'd be one thing, but if it's not in good nick it's not an antique, it's just old.

Anonymous said...

Whooo Hooo! It all looks like it is coming right along!

Where is your facemask? Don't mess around with those old bits of things floating around in the air. Even if it's just little bits now, it all adds up when you do a whole, old house.

I think the one room that had only limited bits of trim probably was like that for 2 reasons- either- the origonal owners had a lot of furniture "under arrest" - up against the wall- and didnt pay to have trim put in those spots, or there had at one time been an animal in the house that tore up the trim with it's claws. The trim gets removed so as to not be as unsightly/stained. You could rip out the remaining bit of trim and go to a local salvage yard or warehouse to get some other trim to match/replace what you need, or make a trip to Lowes and get reproduction trim for it.

I love the colors that I see in the house- they seem very light and sort of "beachy", faded and comfortable.

Have a good time and pace yourself- Gary and I used to go out to eat when ever we finished a room off to celebrate. We sort of had to anyway, as we had no stove or refrigerator! We got sick of that cheap Mcdonalds food very quickly.

I would look around in your neck of the woods for a good used cheap (energy star if possible) freezer. Figure out where you can put it, even if you build a small house attachment to keep it in- You will grow and freeze and can/jar tons of fruit, and will need a good sized place to store it in. What is your pantry situation like?
I can smell the pies in your new kitchen already!

When I got our house ready to sell (before I knew Gary and I were going to buy it) I put a small time capsule (A glass jar sealed with wax) with my family picture, dates of ownership and info, and some modern coins in it- tucked into a wall for future owners to find. Its cool to do, and you and Robb could do the same thing now, before every little space is walled up for the next 80 years.


John and Diane said...

Your house is looking great. We always feel like archaeologists trying to figure stuff out when we start getting into the walls and floors - and they always seem to have done stuff that doesn't make sense. Love the idea of the unfinished ceiling. And I'm not sure what color exactly that trim is but it reminds me of our house, that has a strange green color, which I absolutely love for how calming it is. Have fun!

Karen Anne said...

Ah, a 1950s renovation. I bet there was molding all around the room. That little piece looks a lot like the molding at about that height in the bedrooms in the 1920s California bungalow I lived in. Some PO took off your molding and somehow missed that piece.

That would be nice to recreate.


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