Friday, July 17, 2009

Demolition is done!

According to our contractors, my darling husband Jon is a "trojan." They came over this morning to check out our progress and also tell us what to do with the exposed wiring left from demolition. They were blown away by how much Jon had accomplished. I can't take much credit other than making him sandwiches for lunch. He went through 2 respirators and over 40 jumbo bags of plaster, lathe, wood and cellulose insulation. He is now on first name basis with the wonderful people at our Hatch Hill dump in Augusta, ME.

He took a bunch of pictures during demolition for your viewing pleasure. Just looking at these makes me want to put a respirator on.

This amazing 2005 Ford F-150 is quite possibly the best purchase we've ever made.

Here's what it looks like now:

What will be a shower and closet.

This side will contain a double sink and toilet. That window will be taken out.

This is the shed dormer that I wanted to rip out and replace with traditional dormers. Too expensive. So we are going to add on to the end of the shed dormer one more window (where the ladder is pictured).

The other end of the bedroom, with closet that we are going to keep. It's plaster on the inside, but is in pretty good condition- so I'll repair where needed and repaint.

This is the crowning jewel of the entire project. Beneath the horrible carpet and this old padding we found these beautiful, wide plank, protected hard wood floors. We're going to refinish them. I love hardwoods in the bedroom with area rugs.

The other amazing discovery during this process was the fact that we didn't find any insulation in the outside walls. When we first looked at the house in May, I was struck by how cold this room was. I can't believe someone slept in here in the middle of Maine during winter without insulation on the outside walls. Also, the baseboard heat is obviously on those outside walls, so adding insulation should cut down significantly on our oil bills!

More good news: our contractors are going to start on Tuesday. They totally see my vision and even laugh at my jokes. It is really comforting to work with people I trust. They say the project will probably take about a month. It's definitely small scale compared to what they usually do, but they seem genuinely excited about the end product.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slipper chairs

In last month's House Beautiful, they featured these great (made in the USA) slipper chairs from Urban Outfitters. On first look I thought, "I ADORE that fabric, but can I pull off the mid-century modern look in my 1840 house?" But then I started looking around at other slipper chairs and realized that it's really a pretty classic piece (this one definitely has a mid-century feel however). And while ikat print is especially trendy right now, I think it has a hold on tradition as well. I deliberated for a week or two and finally came to the decision that if they went on sale or offered free shipping, I would cave in and buy them. Well...last week Urban Outfitters announced free shipping on select furniture, so I jumped at the opportunity and bought two. I have to say that I was INCREDIBLY impressed with Urban Outfitters customer service. They called me immediately to talk with me about my order and make sure I was who I said I was (which always makes me feel good).

I also need to give some credit here to one of my best friends, Abbey A.B. Bloom, who I consult on nearly every furniture purchase (and most clothing purchases) I make whether it be from Craig's List or anywhere else. She has the best eye for style and I trust her to tell me if I misstep. :)

The chairs helped me to make an executive decision to do our living room in blue and white, with yellow accents. The living room is on the front of the house, and the windows in the room are under the porch. The room receives a lot of light, but not streaming-in sunshine. To help brighten the room, I've decided to paint the walls white. The wood work and tin ceilings are already white, so I'll have to be really careful to select a complimentary white. The white will also give us a blank canvas for bold prints in the window treatments and furniture. Plus, I want to do the connected entry way in yellow. The idea is for the yellow accents in the living room to work with the yellow paint in the entry to connect the rooms visually. That's the hope anyway! I have no idea when I'll ever get these things accomplished, but now that the chairs are arriving in a couple of weeks...I hope it's soon. They'll look pretty stupid in the room the way it looks now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Red Rum

So there are many reasons why the bedroom on the back of our house reminded me of the Shining, but primarily it was the red wall-to-wall carpet, lack of many windows, and low ceilings. I started thinking about this and remembered that weird scene in the Shining when, I think, REDRUM, is spelled on the mirror. And then...I started thinking about how in New England, many people pronounce room like rum. So it has become a little joke in my head that our weird back bedroom is now the Red Rum.

Well, it's not the Red Rum for long. Jon began demo on Sunday night. We have a lot of cellulose insulation in our house and apparently it's pretty efficient, but have you ever tried to take it out? Holy mess. Also, we have tons of plaster. Plaster, lathe, cellulose insulation and a gross old red carpet make for the largest mess I've even seen within my dwelling. But demo is the first step towards our spanking new, gorgeous bedroom/master suite.

We met with our contractor yesterday morning who informed us that my dream of new dormer windows is totally out of our price range. Bummer, but I'll get over it. Instead, the plan is that we'll extend the existing shed dormer, add about 4 skylights, and a new window on the end of the house. This should solve the lighting problem. We're also tearing out the ceiling, so that will extend the head room making the room feel much larger. We're going to install beadboard on the ceiling and paint it with pretty high gloss paint to help reflect light. The roof is also going to be replaced, which is an annoying expense, but it's needed within 2 years anyway.

And the best thing is that we're going to start on this as soon as the demo is completed. It shouldn't be more than a couple weeks.

Red Rum Before:

Nice cracks in the plaster...

View the sagging ceiling...

That's a false front fireplace...

We found this wood stove pipe cover behind the fake brick.
This is where our bathroom will go...

The other side of the bathroom.

The stairway from the television room to the Red Rum.

Red Rum After the Start of Demo:

This is the cellulose! I could only get pictures from the bottom of the stairs as I couldn't find Jon's respirator!Yummmmy.
I can only imagine what it looks like up there.
Thank goodness the exposed roof structure looks healthy!

I can't wait to see that wallpaper gone.