Three Ring Circus

No, the paint fumes didn’t finish me off – yet – and both DH and I are still alive, despite some rocky days at sweat equity central. Thanks to those who have written worried, though. I’ve not posted lately for two reasons. One is that it was getting a bit depressing to have such tiny changes to show for so much work, and the other is that now I can legally claim that this place has turned into a three ring circus. Yes, there are now three very active, moderately big, totally unrelated remodeling projects happening simultaneously, despite the fact that we are but two people, and beyond that, I have this strange desire to do things like eat, sleep, and check my email…

So, what’s happening around here at the moment? Well, the nook is still creeping slowly forward. There are actually four cupboard doors hanging, though one is coming down again so DH can see if he can get it to be hanging in a more acceptable fashion. Rather a shame to mount a new door only to have it look precisely as if it’s hung there for the last 150 years warping. :o(

3 of 4 doors, waiting for latches. Also have the right lower door hung. We are officially out of hinges, so I have to order the last couple pair – soon!

I’ve yet to resolve the hardware crisis, the only logical choices not being anything like what I love and have visualized from the start. However, if I don’t buy something tonight, I believe lack of metal will officially shut down progress. Not good. Yesterday I applied sanded texturizing paint (a first for me) to the only big wall panel that is removable. It looks great – only complaint being that I did a more artistic job than the people who did the real walls, so it isn’t a perfect blend. I think I can get away with it once it’s painted. Besides, it’s inside a cupboard, so who will be looking?

The second ring of our circus is the resuscitation of the laundry room project, which laid dormant for about 6 months after I had to quit working due to all the traveling I did at the end of last year. Since I’m to a part that isn’t so much fun for me, and I’ve had more than enough to occupy my time anyway, it wasn’t particularly easy to get back on task. However, I finally reached a point where I just couldn’t bear having the deep freeze out of place and in the middle of everything any longer, so I sealed the first section of tile, we moved the freezer, and I set up for the next segment. Tiling a floor this way is the pits. I’d sure love to be able to do the whole thing in one sitting, but there is just no way to move all those appliances out of there. Besides, I think my body would never forgive me. ;o) This past weekend, I laid the second section of tile, carefully planned to allow passage through the room, which is a major thoroughfare.

28 new tiles ready to be cleaned & sealed. Note the necessity of hiding the old, stained floor…

The mortar seems to be set, so next step is to clean up a couple days of fur accumulation and seal the terracotta before grouting. The new adhesive worked far better than the original stuff, which took about 2 weeks to dry, so despite the fact that it is harder to work with and a pain to clean up, I guess it was a good move.

My sewing room is the third act – both the oldest and newest project. When we moved in 25 years ago, the whole house was starting to look quite tired of itself. It had been decorated very much in the style of the 1970’s – approximately 100 years out of character – and even then I wasn’t fond of the look – or the tastes of the previous owners. What I claimed as my sewing room was one of the two worst, though. The layout of the room is odd, giving it eight walls. One end has a three wall bay, and the other end has a corner cut out for the doorway. (I’m just telling you that so you don’t start adding up the numbers and thinking I’m nuts.) The bay was wallpapered in a flocked paper with an overall striped look, golden yellow, deep cream, and gray. Three walls were painted a light green leaning slightly toward the blue side of the spectrum, and all the woodwork was painted a substantially darker version of the same. The remaining two walls, including the longest wall in the room, were covered with a dark brown, very fake looking wood paneling. Add carpet that is perhaps avocado gold and a window treatment of crisp, very white, Cape Cod curtains, and reddish brown, natural wood shutters, and it ends up being a cacophony of color that offended my senses enough to make me brave my first ever attempt at redecorating.

Remnants of original paint and wallpaper with replaced curtains.

I removed the Cape Cods to my daughter’s bedroom directly above, which had been fitted with heavy, dark, drapes, definitely not fitting for a baby’s room, and put creamy lace curtains in the sewing room – one less color and such a relief! After a couple years of nagging didn’t convince DH to paint, I decided I surely could do that myself, so bought a bucket of paint that matched the lightest stripe in the wallpaper, and set to work removing a second color – the green walls and woodwork. In the process, about halfway through the project, I threw my back out, and wasn’t able to finish – or for that matter, move normally for quite a few years. By the time I could have done anything, I’d lived here long enough to start feeling what the house wanted to be, so had totally reformulated my plans for the room. (Okay, and I learned how to wallpaper, so had a whole new realm of possibilities!) I bought paper I adored about 6-7 years ago, and it’s been waiting in a box ever since, looking for the day that I could have a good helper…

Enter, DD#1… She’ll be home on furlough in a couple of weeks, and in discussing plans for her brief visit, I commented that it would be fun to do a special project and would she like to hang some wallpaper. She grabbed eagerly to the idea, saying it would be fun. Fifteen minutes later, I found myself looking at my sewing room wondering what I’d done.

This is where I’m starting – avoiding showing 99% of the clutter

Since it has one of the few doors in the house, it had become a repository for things that need protected from the cats, and “sewing room” had drifted to more of a title of habit than reality. The fact that the cats didn’t have access was not wasted on the mice who invaded the house a few years ago when DD#2 proved to be an apt hostess by providing a never ending feast in her bedroom. Between the mountains of stored clutter and mouse mess and destruction, I was facing a disaster area. Even worse, with the nook project recently reborn and the laundry room still torn up, and the lack of safe zones for breakables, there just wasn’t a reasonable way to approach a clean up – very overwhelming!

However… I really want that room, so as the days before her furlough started vanishing, I ditched “reasonable” and just started picking at the project, hoping that I would receive bits of enlightenment along the way. It quickly became obvious that pulling out the carpet was mandatory – even though it can only be done a few square feet at a time.

The first patch of bare floor – yippee!!!!

I’ve been slowly working a path through the room, clearing sections of carpet to remove, rearranging all the stuff I can’t take out in an attempt to buy space. Last night the bay was cleared out, and I took the frightening, but decisive step of yanking down as much wallpaper as I could access. It came off easily, revealing an extremely ugly wall, blotched in several areas with mold, which was a bit of a surprise, but I think is old history.

Looks like it’s straight out of a This Old House makeover article!

I also found the mouse hole – which, of course, wasn’t nearly so cute as the ones in the Tom & Jerry cartoons…

Grrrr!!! I don’t mind them chewing the carpet so much, but did they have to eat the molding?

I look at the room and count the 12 days until my helper arrives, and I find myself a little overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. The mantle (retro-mounted by us a few years ago, and hanging over a large portion of the wallpaper) needs to be taken out, mold needs to be removed, the walls washed, patched, and primed, areas adjacent to the area to be papered should be painted – including two big windows, 3 high shelves on the long paneled wall must be unloaded and come down, along with all their hardware, the paneling needs to be scuff sanded, washed and primed – all this with the room filled to the gills with stuff that currently has no place to go. (Did I mention the big possum belly baking cupboard and the loaded steel shelving unit that are in the way?) I have no idea how this is all going to happen, but I suspect it would help if I had a “crew” and/or the body and stamina I had when I was 25…


The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh I love home improvement projects!!!! Even more when they aren’t mine!!!!:)

  2. Laughing – Toni, just come right on over. There’s more than enough to do here, and since they aren’t your projects, you should have a grand time. ;o)

  3. I found your post while searching for lace curtain ideas.
    I had to laugh as I read your trials and tribulations! So reminiscent of past projects around here. Good Luck!

  4. Thanks, Sandi! I always say any day that I made someone laugh hasn’t been totally wasted. As for lace curtains, I’m crocheting my own for the laundry room – thought the project has been hibernating the last little bit. I need to put them in my blog one of these days.

  5. De-De, wowzers, you sound so much like me(but with more skills)…if you ever want to get rid of the mantel, let me know, I love them:) Also, maybe we could help each other finish projects!!! You only think I am kidding, we could be each others ‘crew’…lol..Sally from the Ohio Doll Collectors list…(where are you in Ohio? I am in the middle)

  6. Laughing – you should have asked me about that mantle one day earlier. I’d have paid you to take it yesterday! This is a “where angels fear to tread” sort of place around here, but it would be fun to swap elbow grease! Will drop you a note privately re: where I am…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: