Well, That's One Way To Remove Wallpaper...

by Rachel Blackburn in ,


The kitchen reno is rolling along.  We took the time this week to create a calendar of events and anticipate the kitchen will be done {except for the finishing touches that always take way longer than they should and are not essential for the kitchen to function} a week before Thanksgiving.  

Now that I've put that out there, we have to stick to it, right?  

This week was plumbing {new kitchen sink sewer and vent pipe} and demo {half my kitchen disappeared}.

We have moved from layers of wallpaper to layers of linoleum.  On the bright side, that fuzzy half-painted-on wallpaper in the living room is gone.  

Before:

After:

Hello, new dining room!

The wall next to the kitchen cabinets will come out too, eventually.  We are trying to keep our sink and dishwasher for as long as possible during the renovation.

The "beams" turned out to be cleverly stained 1x8's.  That made them pretty simple to remove: hit them hard and they will fall down.

The old linoleum was super stylish:

And for kicks, here's a shot of the new plumbing:

The walls that made up the kitchen were cobbled together and kind of crazy.  It made us think that the kitchen had been renovated once, albeit many years ago.  There were strange things like insulation in the wall between the kitchen and the living room, etc.

At any rate, the walls are gone and we couldn't be more excited about how open the living room is feeling! This coming week we will finish demo-ing out the water heater closet and some shelves in the garage that are presently covering up where the water heater will move to, plus tackle the rest of the plumbing.  


Re-creating a Closet (or two)

by Rachel Blackburn in ,


It's funny how renovation projects have a domino effect.  In order to fix a funky floor plan in the guest bath, we are ripping out a hall linen closet and demo'ing and reconfiguring Caden's bedroom closet, both of which have to be done before we can finish renovating Caden's room.

The hall bath is shaped kind of like a "s".  The hall coat closet backs onto it on one side, and the original master closet backs onto the other side.  It's awkward.  

When we talked to our realtor about 86-ing the hall coat closet, she wasn't all that keen on the idea.  Apparently coat closets are actually used here in Portland.  I, being from Southern California, have never really seen the need for a coat closet.  I hang my hoodies in my bedroom closet thankyouverymuch.  Oh well.  If it'll sell the house, we'll keep the coat closet.  But it has to move, because that bathroom layout is hard to live with.

The hall had 2 closets: the coat closet and the linen closet.  We decided to make the linen closet the coat closet, turn the original (small) master closet in our room into the linen closet, eventually absorb the hall coat closet into the guest bath and build a giant walk-in closet in our room.  Problem solved.

It just makes Caden's room a little more complicated to renovate.  

Before

Before

After

After

This is Caden's room: 

Lovely wallpaper, don't you think?  I think it's lovely.  It peeled off over the course of 2 evenings, one spent pulling satisfying large chunks off the wall by hand (wallpaper that is so old it's crackly is great!) and another spent with the steamer.  Lovely wallpaper.

Phase 2 was staining the ceiling.  That took 2 evenings.  It could have all been done in one day if Michael's arm hadn't been in danger of falling off after the first night.  It's all good though - he could move his arm again 2 days after he finished.

Phase 3 was demo'ing the closet and hall linen closet, since they back onto each other.  

The kids had fun playing peek-a-boo with that.

The master bedroom is on the left, Caden's room is on the right.

The master bedroom is on the left, Caden's room is on the right.

How many kinds of wallpaper can you see in that shot?  Hint: there would have been one more if we hadn't pulled the rose wallpaper down already.  Total count of wallpaper prints in the 3 rooms we've touched so far is now up to 7 with the discovery of one print hidden under Caden's baseboards and another hidden in his closet.

Next came rebuilding the closet.  Framing and drywall are the name of the game.  So is white noise, because our white noise kept the kids from waking up as we worked on the room in the evening.  They can sleep through a chop saw in the next room if the white noise is on.

Currently Michael's still working on drywall.  It's going slower than i had hoped, but honestly that's a good thing.  It means we're getting more sleep and spending more time with friends and family than we are working on the house.  

We'll keep you posted as we move along with this room!  It's going to be be-YOU-ti-ful (to quote Caden) when it's finished!


Found Treasures

by Rachel Blackburn in


We are deep in the midst of moving walls and hidden treasures are being unearthed!  It's always fun to do work on a house just for the things you learn about the previous owner.  

The previous owner of this house was a collector.  She bought the house circa 1961 and lived in it until she passed away in 2012.  Our first introduction to this house was the estate sale the trust held in the fall of 2013.  She had a lot of things, some of which were very collectable.

So, it wasn't a huge surprise that we found a cache of old magazines in the cubby above Caden's closet when we went to demo it - National Geographics from 1910-1940's.  They are so much fun to look through!  Things have changed a lot in the last century.

Who knows what else we will find as we work our way through this house?  I can't wait to find out!