Sunday, 20 September 2015

Finishing the Foyer

After just a few short weeks, we have the majority of the work done in the foyer and front stairwell.  Even though we hit a few unexpected bumps along the way, this project was actually fairly easy and painless.

We started with a lot of red wallpaper and carpet.  Surprisingly, the wallpaper came down easily and with very little damage underneath.  One of the biggest jobs was replacing the damaged drywall from where the roof above had been leaking for many years.  

We also tore up the red carpet on a whim.  With the wallpaper gone, it just didn't look right.  With that job done, we were able to begin priming and painting.  We chose to use the same colour that we had already painted the living and dining rooms.  We thought that would help make everything feel bigger, and keep a good flow going throughout the main floor.  We also have a 5 gallon pail of it that we are trying to use up!  I don't think we'll ever buy one of those again.

We can't believe how big the foyer feels now!  Without the patterned wallpaper and the dark trim, it has really opened the space up.


We still have a lot to do in this space.  The stairs need a lot of work, we have to reupholster the pink bench, and we are looking for a new console table that will be more functional than the old sewing machine.  But for now, we are moving into the mudroom.  Work has already started in there, and it's going better than expected.  I'll post about that soon!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Lessons Learned: Lesson #3 - Plans and Timelines

It's no secret that I'm a planner.  I plan each lesson and routine in my classroom at work, I plan our vacations to maximize our time away and I plan each of the renovations that we do to the house.

Our plan for the hallway was to strip the wallpaper, prime and paint.  Keep it simple, and have it done before we return to work.  We were going to leave the stairs until the final phase of this project.

But, sometimes plans change.

Last night we walked into the front hall and realized how awful the red carpet looked against the primed walls and trim.  We have hated that carpet since the day we moved in, and I had done some poking underneath the carpet and knew there were beautiful hardwood stairs just waiting to be seen again.  So at 11:30 pm, we dove right in and starting ripping out the carpet.

The first piece to go was the odd "puddle" at the bottom.

Once that was gone, we tackled the steps.  This carpet was installed with hundreds of nails, staples and tack strips.  It took us most of the day to remove all of them, but we are so happy with what we have uncovered.

Needless to say, the hallway won't be done before we return to work tomorrow, and that's ok. Sometimes plans change.  Projects grow and develop, which usually means they will take more time. That's been a hard lesson to learn, but a necessary one.

Eventually we will be giving the steps a fresh coat of stain and painting the risers white to match the trim, but for now we will continue with our original plan.  Progress will slow down now that we will be back at work, but hopefully within the next week or two, this section of the hall will be done.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Goodbye Creepy Children (The Hallway, Phase 1)

With the end of summer in sight, we decided to try and tackle one more big project before heading back to work.  One of biggest projects we still have to complete in this house is definitely the hallway.  It begins with the foyer and front stairs, includes what we refer to as "the landing" at the top of the stairs, then continues down the upstairs hall and down the back stairs.  Its massive.  And the whole thing is wallpapered.



That's a whole lotta wallpaper! Creepy children wallpaper, to be exact! Its one of those things that you either love, or hate, and i can't say that either of us love it. 

"Girl Swings While Pondering Life"

"Boy Courts Girl With Clarinet"

"Ring Around the Rosie to the Sounds of Banjo Boy"

Although lots of people walk into the house and tell us how much they love it, it's just not our style.  But stripping all of that wallpaper is a big undertaking! So, we have decided to break it into three phases.  We are hoping to have the front hall and stairwell done before heading back to work.  Phase two will be the back stairs and upper hallway, and phase three will be the landing, since redoing the bookshelves will require a lot of work.  The final thing will be removing the red carpet on the stairs.  That way we can protect whatever is underneath while doing all this work.

So last weekend, Jeremy felt the wallpaper itch and started stripping the front hall.  Believe it or not, it came down in full sheets, and in about one hour we had the foyer and stairwell completely stripped back to the plaster and drywall.


Things were going great until we got to the very top of the stairwell, where we uncovered some unexpected water damage and mould. YIKES!


After having the roof inspected and repaired, we were able to carefully remove the crown molding, cut out the old drywall and replace it with a new sheet.

We have now been starting to patch and repair all of the damage which will be a fairly lengthy process.  Our goal is to have it completed by the end of the long weekend.  Just in time to return to work!