Thursday, January 31, 2008

Five signs I'm done paint stripping for the day

Today I'm taking a vacation day. Among other things I needed to catch up on, I was happy to have a chunk of time to work on some paint stripping. What else?
Well, it's the end of the day, and as things drew to a close, I realized that there are clear signals when I need to be getting done. so here they are:

#5 - Everything is covered with sticky, brownish-gray goop. Tools, supplies, me, everything. My socks are sticking to the floor. Green scrubbies are stuck to my butt. It's not a pretty sight. Look away!

#4 - I don't have any splinters & there's nothing in my eyes. Quit while I'm ahead. (I'm sure Murphy's Law will make me fall on the ice, blow dirt in my eye, and cut myself on some mundane thing like a can lid later tonight for pointing that out).

#3 - I'm hungry. For chocolate. And I have that damn "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" song stuck in my head. And now I want ice cream. And we have none. Why is that my hungry song? I take that back - at least it's not the "Baby back ribs" song from Chili's -- that one conjures up all those gross Austin Powers images. Ribs though, huh? mmmm....

#2 - It's beer:30.

#1 - The hallway trim is starting to look good:

Signing off...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A job for Peel-Away

Paint stripping is going OK overall. Here's this weekend's installment - pretty much all of the major trim in the hallway has been hit with the heat gun:

And, I spent the morning 'touching up' the previously stripped wood trim along the stair stringers. That is to say, I spent the better part of the day scrubbing paint off 2 pieces of wood. They look good, though:

A couple of uh-ohs so far.

1. The animal room door trim appears to have been stained a touch lighter/redder than the rest of the trim, supporting Ken's claim all along that that room's footprint was somehow altered. Perhaps it was attached to the master bedroom, like a nursery? We don't know, and the floors and ceilings aren't making it obvious. Though the door might have been moved, I think the overall floorplan upstairs was probably similar to what it is now - we found a very similar upstairs plan in an old bungalow plan book.

2. Inside the guest room (and we're betting inside all the bedrooms), the trim was never painted. We suspected as much; often upstairs rooms in bungalows had painted trim. We're stripping it anyways, though, because I can't wait to see those giant built-in drawers sing! The trim so far pretty much appears to be the same gorgeous fir used elsewhere. But, since it was never stained or laquered, it's MUCH harder to strip - the paint, of course, sticks to the wood much better. Not a good job for the heat gun, so I think some peel-away is in order. But we can wait on that till after the hallway gets done - just something to plan for! The silver lining is that we can stain the upstairs trim a lighter-color oak, which could be really cool.

OK, back to stripping...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Eureka: hallway

I had a eureka moment today.
Q: Why do these eureka moments always happen in the bathroom?
A: Because that's where This Old House mag is. (and in the case of our shower door Eureka, that's where you see toilet partition brackets that inspire the hinoki panel).

OK, TMI, right?
Anyways, I did have a eureka moment about the hallway.

The problem was that we took off the ugly, hideous railing that was attached to the top left part of the stairway. It had a short section of ugly old 1970s dowel-type railing that would impale you should you slip and skewer yourself on the end. And it stuck out into the stairway, which was uncool and unaesthetically pleasing. I think that removing it was probably not OK as far as code, but it was necessary from the perspective of design.

So again, another typical Bangor Bungalow conundrum: how to integrate form & function? Especially when I always come down on the side of form. Except the few times that I've had very sore knees from hiking/snowshoeing, then function starts to sound good and a railing seems like a decent idea. Here's what our hallway looks like now, mostly denuded of paint & wallpaper:

So, looking through the Jan/Feb 2008 This Old House, there's an article about an Arts & Crafts foursquare, and in between the bouts of jealousy because of the quartersawn oak trim and coffered dining room ceiling, I noticed a teeny little picture in a corner: their stairway, which was set up very much like ours - and how they got a railing on there without making it look like an eyesore. Here's a photo of the photo - they didn't have this pic online, sadly:

The solution is to put up a chair rail, darker paint/wallpaper below it, and attach the railing to the chair rail so it looks like one and the same. Ha! The setup is absolutely perfect, and I think we'll have to do it. Eureka! Thanks again Mom for the subscription!

So here are a couple of before shots of the hallway, which I grabbed from old pdfs just to jog our collective memory about how far we've come already.

This first one is the upstairs part, the end with all the bedroom doors, which is shown during paint stripping on the previous blog entry:
And here's the part that's the end of the living room, from just before we bought the house. Kind of gives me heart palpitations to see those curtains again. Avert thine eyes!

Note: Ken just started laughing hysterically when he saw the 2 photos above. Yup, UGLY.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New year, new project

OK, we've officially (re-)started working on the hallway. It extends from the living room on the main floor up to the second floor, so we're talking about a large section of wall, baseboard, 1 window, some wall repairs, tidying up where we removed the old closet door (now the shower stall) and 3 doorways into the 3 bedrooms.

The hallway will be tough to photograph, since it's long & 2 stories, but we'll give it a go. Here's a before pic of the upstairs part, near the end where the bedroom doors are. They'll be the lion's share of the paint stripping, then we'll be in the home stretch. This photo was from earlier today, obviously wallpaper was already gone and the next task was paint stripping.

The good news is that a lot of the project has already been started, simply because we were doing other things nearby and it made sense to do the hallway while we were at it. So, wallpaper came down (it was sooo ugly that Ken had to rip it off right after we moved in), the green 'brain' carpet was ripped off the stairs & floor the day we bought the house, we started stripping the stair stringer baseboard and the window while we were stripping other things, and we patched a lot of the walls & drywall while we were doing the bathroom. Oh, and it's all re-wired with lighting and smoke alarms, etc. Phew!

What's left to do is:

  • a moderate amount of paint stripping
  • fixing a bad section of wall (drywall then our lovely sanded JC skimcoat to mimic plaster)
  • some ceiling smoothing
  • paint walls and stain trim

We have the paint already (leftover living room color + some off-white from the downstairs bath to mellow it out) and all the other supplies, so this should be a very, very cheap project too.

The idea is to work on it a bit at a time then voila! We'll suddenly be done. Meanwhile, we plan to do at least 1 small, leftover touch-up type job from the kitchen or bathroom each week, so we can wrap those up too. The goal is to finish up everything by, let's say, end of March? Sound good? Then we move on to the lovely mudroom, having trashed the old crappy rug all winter with out salty boots. Ha!

So today, we started paint stripping (photo above, about an hour's worth) and we finished the door over the microwave cabinet in the kitchen. Sweet!

We built the microwave door from an old oak cabinet door from the salvage place in Searsport (see this entry for the Before pic) and a piece of pebble glass I successfully pulled from an old window from a different salvage place. Ken figured out how to cut the pebble glass using boards to clamp it and then just a glass cutter to score & snap. Phew - that was stressful! Then we just cut & re-assembled it, and installed. We tried some fancy door-holder-uppers but they were awkward & we settled on the good old fashioned hook & eye to hold the door up for extended periods of time. Much more vintage, methinks. Luckily we had lots of brass hook & eyes that came with the house. Score!

Stay tuned for the next bit of progress...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thinking of spring & summer already

Well, I have no new house photos as I'm still here at Schoodic, but I can't wait to get back & get going again. A couple of cool developments: we've figured out how we want to do the mudroom. Though we originally sketched a fairly elaborate built-in bench system, we happened upon this site with a very efficient design and a similar-looking room size & setup, and it clicked with us. See their photo below. Our woodwork, hanging racks, bench, etc. will be oak, not white-painted woodwork, and we'll figure out an arts & crafts style bench to build instead of country style, but the layout & setup look just about right. Our walls will be the pistachio-green color of our kitchen trim, a color original to the mudroom walls. We have a schoolhouse light fixture, and we found a schoolhouse globe with green stripes at a local antique store (I think it was $5, score!!!), so we'll replace the plain white one with that beauty. The wiring is all done, smarty Ken did the mudroom wiring when we did the kitchen next door. Also, the back door light was included in that rewire - that was the light that wouldn't turn off for the whole first year we were in the house, then we cut the power & had no back light for the next year. Simple pleasures...

Back to the mudroom: The design is much simpler than what we planned, so the project is sounding easier for a change! Thanks, fellow blogger! Also, great idea on the dishpans for boots. We are quite messy, especially in winter.

Development #2: As soon as I get back, I'll be taking a night class at the local community college in sustainable landscape design. As long as I get in to the class (I hope it's not full!), we'll get to actually design our own yard & will end up with a materials list & a plan by late April. So then we'll definitely be a go for yardwork this summer, and a summer outside sounds great, after slaving away inside in the kitchen all last summer.

Is that cabin fever already? At least I'll get to think about plants & gardening all spring...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This week's 'home' needs no improvement

No progress to report on the ol' Bangor Bungalow, since Ken is getting ready to head back to work, and I'm out of town teaching a field class. We did manage to grout the backsplash, and got some inspiration for the mudroom, PLUS I hear that my first issue of This Old House mag. arrived (Thanks MOM!)

So I'm living out here for the next couple of weeks, spending a bunch of time in the great outdoors. Talk about an aesthetically pleasing place to be, on a quiet peninsula on the coast of Maine in winter. (Schoodic, in case you are ever in the area - worth the trip for sure!)

Or at least that what's the red fox who visited yesterday thinks...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

X-mas treasures

The house really made out this holiday season! In addition to Home Depot gift cards (thank you!), 3 bricks from 3 separate people (how fab are our friends & family; see updated brick counter below), loads of yummy food, and a FANTASTIC set of new power tools, the kitchen got a perfect set of vintage gifts. A colormatched green mixing bowl circa the 1940s and 2 great green cookie cutters, PLUS the ultimate apron in colors that are very complementary to the kitchen color scheme.

What makes it the ultimate apron? Well, we'll tell you. It has 2 oven mitts attached - yes, freakin' ATTACHED as part of the apron skirt. Holy hilarity, Batman.

We couldn't resist using it to make our family's New Year's delicacy (which is pretty vintage too) - mini-slices of pumpernickel topped with Cheez Whiz (in the jar, not the aerosol kind!) mixed with a smidge of mayo, topped with thin slices of onion and then broiled a few minutes. Yes, it sounds corny, but they really are quite tasty, and a New Year's tradition!

Happy New Year!

It's getting cold up here - you can tell when this happens...